Christians are hypocrites. First of all let me say to you these three words are absolutely true. These three words are also loaded with many thoughts and valid concerns from those outside of Christianity. I would also say these three words have been used as an excuse to dismiss altogether the claims and validity of Christ. They have also been used as an excuse for Christians to distance themselves from the Church.
Why do these three words have such heavy meaning and why do they carry such heavy criticism when levied against Christians? I believe they carry such weight because first they criticism is true and secondly, because those within and outside of Christianity have an extremely unbiblical view of the doctrine of sin. In other words, people at large do not realize how sinful, how truly wretched they are in the eyes of God.
The apostle Paul says in Romans 3:10-11, that there is NONE that does good, not even one! There is none that even seeks after God. In the following verses he goes to explain how wicked men truly are. This is the unsaved man. Jesus even refers to the religious leaders of his day as a brood of vipers. Tim Keller recently said that, “The Christian understanding of sin is much different than people think. I can’t preach a sermon or pray a prayer without sinning.”
I have no problem with the statement that Christians are hypocrites because we all are. The problem I have is the connotation behind the statement. That because Christians are hypocrites it invalidates the truth of the gospel and I can continue to reject God and live in my sin. As Mark Dever brilliantly put it, “Christians may be vipers like the rest of the world. The difference is, they know they are.” The unbeliever refuses to come to the realization that they are wicked and in need of grace. The only difference between Christians and the unbeliever is God’s grace has been given to the believer to know their need of forgiveness, repentance and a Savior. The need for an advocate, Jesus Christ to stand before God and say, “I have absorbed and taken all of the Father’s wrath for this viper, for this hypocrite. They have received in the place of wrath, My righteousness.” This doesn’t mean Christians are better, this doesn’t mean we do not sin anymore. It simply means that God in His grace has pardoned our sin and in it’s place we’ve been given the righteousness of God’s Son. The Christian then seeks to rely on grace in this life to live unto righteousness, until the day of ultimate redemption in heaven where we are freed forever from the bondage of sin. If you realize today that you are a viper in need of grace. Call out to God, repent and believe the gospel.