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Jesus Never Called a Believer a Hypocrite

by Michael Edwards  
3/03/2018 / Bible Studies

The author is against all sin. I agree totally with Paul.

What then? Are we to sin because we are not under law but under grace? By no means! Romans 6:15 ESV


This Bible study as most I have written is designed to rid the believer of any doubt regarding God’s love for them and their complete and total forgiveness in Christ. It is only satan who wants you to doubt your total forgiveness and righteousness in Christ which leads you to doubt God’s love. Satan knows that doubting these truths is specifically what keeps a believer trapped in reoccurring sin and ineffective for God. These studies are designed to renew the mind.

The purpose of this article is to reveal the truth that God never called a believer a hypocrite no matter how badly they failed. The title of hypocrite was exclusively reserved for the self-righteous unbeliever.


When Christians fail to act like Jesus, some unbelievers will call them hypocrites. Even Christians sometimes do this to other Christians who fall into sin.

God pointed out to me that when we see people called hypocrites in the Bible, and the fact that there will be no hypocrites in heaven, God is never addressing those who have placed their faith in Jesus. It is always speaking of self-righteous unbelievers, with one interesting exception I list below. 

The reason God does not call believers hypocrites is because believers see themselves in the truth of God’s perfect moral standard and admit openly that they cannot keep it. By throwing themselves on God’s mercy and grace, believers are far from hypocritical. When they say they need a Savior, they are saying they see in truth how high God’s standard is, and they respect it as just. 

On the other hand, non-believers—just like believers—know God’s perfect standard through their conscience, but instead of admitting they cannot keep it and turning to God for help, they like the Pharisee’s, portray themselves like they are good enough for God. They choose to justify themselves by comparing themselves to the outward appearance of others, even Christians. Always able to find someone whom they believe is worse no matter what their behavior may be, they declare themselves good enough for God.

“If God exists,” many say. They claim they do not need a savior to save them from their sins, just like the self-righteous (those who trust their own good works) Pharisees in Jesus’s time.

Jesus called the Pharisees white-washed tombs full of dead men’s bones. In other words, on the outside, they appeared to have it all together, but on the inside a different reality was present. While they thought they were pulling a fast one on others, they had been deceived and had actually pulled the wool over their own eyes.  

The truth is, without exception, the self-righteous unbelievers were the only ones Jesus called “hypocrites,” not those who had placed their faith in Him.  “You hypocrites! Well did Isaiah prophesy of you” (Matt 15:7). You can see this for yourself by reviewing the 18 times the Greek word translated hypocrite is used HERE.

Jesus was angry with the self-righteous. His main problem with the Pharisees was that not only were they misled by their own self-righteousness, they were leading others off in the same wrong direction, further under the Law and away from God’s saving grace. The apostle Paul was just as angry with those who were leading the Galatians away from grace and back under the Law, pronouncing a double curse on them (Gal 1:8-9).

Hiding our sins to impress others, acting like on our own we are good enough for God while knowing that we are not, is the hypocrisy that God hates. It is a form of pride, and it keeps people from God’s saving grace. 

If you have placed your faith and trust in Jesus as your savior, you need not worry about being denied access to heaven for hypocrisy because you are not sin-free. You have been washed clean by the blood of Jesus. If you have lied, stolen and committed other sins, no matter how heinous, if your faith is in Jesus it will not be a liar and a thief who are getting into heaven. Believers are under grace where sin is not counted against them and not the law. You are a new creation in Christ, so clean that when you enter heaven it will be as if you never sinned. 

Just think of Peter, who followed Jesus for three years and failed more than once. One time he loudly stated he would never leave Jesus’s side even if all the other disciples did. Then soon after, well within remembrance of his pledge to Jesus, Peter denied Jesus three times when Jesus needed him the most.

Yet not once do we see Jesus calling Peter a hypocrite. Peter failed like all believers do at times, but Jesus lovingly comforted and brought Peter back to a place where he ended up being of great use to God. You can find numerous examples of believers (King David, the Corinthian Church, Abraham, etc.) who non-believers would want to call hypocrites when they failed, yet the bible does not. You never see Paul or the other disciples calling believers hypocrites even though there were plenty of times when they could have done so. Like Jesus, they loved and encouraged other believers back onto to their feet.  

The One Exception - Something to Really Think About Christian

As noted above, people today perceive Christians as hypocritical when they sin, implying Christianity is all about keeping the law, which it is not. This false idea of Christianity often portrayed by the church to the masses is what has kept many from coming to Jesus. God nor the Apostles call a believer under grace a hypocrite when they fall short in law keeping. Ironically, in the New Testament, the only time a believer is said to act in hypocrisy is when the Apostle Peter, who had been living outside the law like a Gentile, acts like he keeps the law and shuns those same Gentiles when some Jewish disciples of James show up in Antioch. In other words, he tries to look more like a believer by his actions when religious people show up. Religious people are always concerned by what others think and outside appearances.

And the rest of the Jews acted hypocritically along with him, so that even Barnabas was led astray by their hypocrisy. Gal 2:13

If we break the law when those we fear cannot see us, then keep it when the religious bunch is present to please them, and judge others along with them, we are acting just like Peter, then Paul would call us a hypocrite as a believer.  

in Galatians 2, Paul points out the hypocrisy and strongly rebukes Peter for his actions. He indicates that Peter stands condemned when in Christ the Bible says there is no condemnation.

Paul goes on to emphasize that we are justified by faith in Christ alone and not by adding the law on as a requirement for salvation.

But when Cephas came to Antioch, I opposed him to his face, because he stood condemned. For before certain men came from James, he was eating with the Gentiles; but when they came he drew back and separated himself, fearing the circumcision party. And the rest of the Jews acted hypocritically along with him, so that even Barnabas was led astray by their hypocrisy. But when I saw that their conduct was not in step with the truth of the gospel, I said to Cephas before them all, “If you, though a Jew, live like a Gentile and not like a Jew, how can you force the Gentiles to live like Jews?”

We ourselves are Jews by birth and not Gentile sinners; yet we know that a person is not justified by works of the law but through faith in Jesus Christ, so we also have believed in Christ Jesus, in order to be justified by faith in Christ and not by works of the law, because by works of the law no one will be justified. Gal 2:11-16

Peter had the truth he could share with the religious bunch, instead, he chose to act like them out of fear of being judged by them. Sounds like something we often do as Christians, fearing what others will think if we share the gospel with them.

Peter's actions, and Paul claiming he stands condemned, may be a picture of how a person can be severed from grace in Gal 5:4. This verse tells us that a believer falls from grace, not when they sin to much, but when they add the law back in as a requirement for salvation. This is how Peter was acting, and is a lesson for all believers who do not want to be even temporarily severed from God's grace. 

You are severed from Christ, you who would be justified by the law; you have fallen away from grace. Gal 5:4 ESV

The truth is our salvation has nothing to do with us and everything to do with the perfect Lamb of God, who was offered as a sacrifice for our sins. The reason we placed our faith in Jesus is—like Peter and the other disciples—we saw ourselves in truth, falling short of God’s standard. Just like in the Old Testament, when sinners brought offerings for their sins, the priest did not examine the sinners; he knew why they were there. He examined the offering and if the offering was acceptable, the innocent lamb was sacrificed and the person went home free. When we brought Jesus, we brought the perfect Lamb of God given to us as a gift, personally by God himself. 

Who shall bring any charge against God’s elect? It is God who justifies (Rom 8:33). 

The truth is that you do not want to be caught dead under God’s law. If you are a non-believer, God loves you, and Jesus came to save you. God is not against you. He is your only hope. Go HERE to learn more.

Read more on this topic: Sin Does Not Make a Christian a Hypocrite


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