In this week's video, we were looking at Christian hypocrisy. If you haven't seen it yet, here it is:
I had to cut a lot out from the book to stop this episode from overrunning, but one thing I want to highlight in the blog today is the difference between "David Hypocrisy" and "Saul Hypocrisy".
When we look back on the lives of these two Old Testament kings, we think highly of David and not of Saul, and yet that's not really because one was more sinful than the other. Think about David's acts of hypocrisy for a moment. Even though he claimed to love the Lord, he lusted after a married woman (2 Samuel 11:2), he committed adultery with her (2 Samuel 11:4), he tried to cover up his sin by manipulating her (very loyal) husband (2 Samuel 11:6-13), and when all that failed, he even had the man killed in battle (2 Samuel 11:14-27).
You don't get a worse rap sheet than this. These are staggeringly terrible sins! And yet here's the important thing: when David was confronted about them, he confessed and repented immediately saying, "I have sinned against the Lord." (2 Samuel 12:13) David then promptly recommitted to principles he believed in and he lived those principles out.
Now contrast him with King Saul. When Saul was made aware of his sin, he didn't confess and repent immediately. Instead, he tried to justify himself. Indeed, even when the prophet Samuel pressed him on his disobedience, the Bible says that "Saul insisted" (1 Samuel 15:20) on his innocence.
This is really the only difference between the two kings: David repented quickly of his sin; Saul didn't. That David was a better repenter than Saul is the only reason we think favourably about David and not of Saul. They were both sinners. They were both hypocrites at times in their behaviour. But David repented; Saul didn't. And that's why God showed David favour and not Saul.
It's the same principle for the rest of us. Both Christians and non-Christians will sin. We're all human; it's inevitable. The only thing that separates believers from unbelievers is that while Christians are "Davids" who recognise their sin against a holy God, repent and recommit; non-Christians are "Sauls" who refuse to acknowledge their wrong-doing, who don't believe they need forgiveness, and who instinctively try to justify themselves.
You see, in this respect, it's not really sin that sends people to hell. It's only unrepented of sin that sends people to hell. We're all going to sin. We're all going to fall. That's what humans do. But when that moment comes, will we be a "David", or will we be a "Saul"? Will we be honest about our wrong-doing, repent, and come to God for forgiveness? If so, we will be forgiven! If we try to hide that sin however, and if we try to justify our behaviour, we will be condemned.
Now with all that said, when the Bible talks about an increase of religious hypocrisy in the last days, it can only be talking about an increase in "unrepentant hypocrisy." The Bible is saying we're going to see Christians increasingly becoming "Sauls" in the last days. We're going to see Christians who not only sin, but who try to justify that sin; who claim it's ok; who claim that God doesn't mind. That will be the main difference we see going forward.
And that's really what I wanted to highlight in this week's video. For example, I mentioned that Christians are now giving the "ok" to homosexuality. But the important point is that when these Christians are confronted with clear Biblical passages that highlight their error, they are no longer "Davids" who confess and quickly repent of their attitude; they are instead now "Sauls" who continue trying to justify homosexuality. Similarly, in the video, I talked about Christians increasingly swearing and blaspheming. When confronted about it, they are no longer "Davids" who immediately confess and repent, but instead they are "Sauls" who try to justify it. (Like the blogger, John Shore, who said God was okay with it and he'd carry on.) In the video we also saw the drunken girl in the street who, when confronted about her partying lifestyle, wasn't a "David" who immediately repented, but who was a "Saul" who instinctively tried to justify her behaviour...until the interviewer got her backed up in a corner and she had no choice but to come clean.
That's what the problem is today. Not so much that Christians sin (although that still is a problem), but that they are increasingly unrepentant about their sin. We are becoming people who try to justify sin, in contravention of the Bible. The more we willingly harden our hearts to the truth like this, the more calloused our consciences will become, and the higher the likelihood that we'll continue sinning in future.
There are two takeaways from this blog then. The first is that if you are struggling with a sin, don't feel condemned, and don't feel you are ever beyond the grace of God. In your lowest moments, just remember King David. Remember his rap sheet and know that if God can forgive an adulterer and murderer like David, he can forgive you too! And the second takeaway is that if you do sin, remember King David again. Remember that he repented quickly and that God is quick to forgive. Remember that God understands you're going to fall. But what's important is whether you get up again. Will you be honest? Will you be humble? Will you confess, repent, and recommit? It's repentance that makes all the difference.