After telling you my very personal story with homosexual love, this is what dawned on me about the whole thing: This is about the Church’s hypocrisy.
(NOTE: I am NOT calling the church a hypocrite, I am simply spelling out for you what those who are PRO this whole marriage thing are crying out, for yes, we are all hypocrites in some form or fashion. But if you want to understand how to overcome the problem, you need to have a deep understanding of your opponent’s view.)
As many of you know, most supporters and members of the LGBT community have revolted against the church’s condemnation of homosexuality using some pretty good arguments. Many are saying that it’s because they permit some sins, like obesity while condemning other sins like homosexuality. They are angry at the church’s ability to just pick and choose which sins will be acceptable and which one’s aren’t, thus making it hypocrisy, (see that blog here).
So now that we know that the main problem is hypocrisy, let’s see what our Messiah’s answer is to hypocrisy.
The Bible says that if we are faithful in the little things then we will be faithful in the big things (Luke 16:10)
Well, big things are happening which is what brings me to how and why this is a hypocrisy issue.
Jesus said in Matthew 23:23:
“Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you tithe mint and dill and cumin, and have neglected the weightier matters of the law: justice and mercy and faithfulness. These you ought to have done, without neglecting the others.”
The Church is known for being hypocrites. Sadly, but truly, this is a fact. I can’t tell you the countless, painful times I have encountered hypocrisy and have also caught myself being a hypocrite. We aren’t perfect and we can’t be, but that doesn’t mean we quit trying to please our God. We are more capable of loving God than what we give ourselves credit for, and through that love we will become more holy, or set-apart, as the Hebrew word is literally translated
But, we are going to delve a little deeper than just the surface level translation and define these three words, “justice, mercy and faith” in their original Greek definitions.
The part that has intrigued me is that the our English Bibles have used ONE word to translate THREE Greek words that were used to describe the word “Justice” in this passage.
1. The Greek word used for justice is “krisis” (looks a lot like crisis, right?! I honestly don’t believe that’s a coincidence. As we all well know, English comes from both Latin and Greek influences!) Well in short, it means “decision.” And that is exactly what crisis’ lead us to; hard decisions. But a deeper look at this would suggest the entire process of investigation in order to make a decision. It encompasses the entire act of separating fact from fiction, myth from truth, reality from rumor, in order to pass a needed judgment on a particular situation. Let’s face it, while on this earth, whether we like it or not, judgments must be and are being made., Jesus Himself tells us to NOT neglect “krisis” or not to neglect passing judgments.
Yes, I see the hairs on the back of your neck rising. Don’t worry. I am going somewhere with this.
The other two words that are used to make up the one English word, “justice” we read in this passage are “kai” and “ho.” “Kai” is really important because it insinuates a “cumulative force” (Strong’s Dictionary of the New Testament, Pg ), which is exactly what happened in order for the Supreme court to make the decision they did on Friday. They needed a large “cumulative force” in order pass something like that. And Jesus is calling us to find a “cumulative force” as a united whole, fighting and loving for the same Commanding Officer, YHVH, in order to pass judgments, separating fact from fiction and lies from truth, as I think we can all agree that there are a lot of lies floating around our world today.
The last word is “ho,” which implies the feminine form of this word. But it is obvious to say that the word justice cannot come from anything but a judgment call and that passing judgment that creates such a resounding effect, means that there is of course a large cumulative tidal wave of astounding strength to create such a shock in the world.
2. The Second word is “Mercy.” This word in Greek is “eleos.” It means the free gift of forgiveness of sins, but is more related to the misery that sin brings. God is tender to the misery our sins bring, yet the only thing that stops his attempts at lessening the misery of our sinful acts is our own stubborn will to continue on the path we are on, without making “teshuva.” Strong’s Exhaustive Greek and Hebrew Concordance of the Bible states, “Grace removes guilt. Mercy removes misery,” (Strong’s Dictionary of the New Testament, Pg. 202).
I don’t know about you, but it’s pretty miserable being a Christian today. Hearing about our brothers and sisters in the world being murdered, us being persecuted here and no one quantifying or qualifying it, seeing morality eroded from our very society… I mean this is awful. And we need God’s mercy to remove this misery that we are in because of our own stubborn sin.
3. And the third word Jesus uses to eradicate hypocrisy is two Greek words, “pisits” and again, “ho”. Again, I am kind of astounded at the simplistic translation for the word for pistis into this abstract word, “faith.” Here, this word means, “moral conviction . . . especially reliance upon Christ for salvation…assurance….belief.” (Strong’s Greek Dictionary of the New Testament, pg. 202). Faith isn’t just about believing in something we can’t see, but being fully assured of Jesus and His works, His words (all of them) and the volume of the scroll that He came in (Hebrews 10:7, Psalm 40:7). Because this whole word can be summed up into a “conviction of truth.” But how can we know truth, the Truth in the midst of a ginormous cultural shift of redefinition?
Looking at these original Greek words that are our God-given antidote for hypocrisy mean so much more in the context of their original definition than the current cultural understanding of justice, mercy and faith. In an age where once concrete terms are being redefined, from marriage, to gender to equality, a believer’s only hope returning to the Word of God and its most accurate and contextual understanding of our its words.
And that is the strength that the body of believers need today in order to make an impact for God’s Kingdom. Because in the end, this isn’t about party lines, denominational doctrines or even merely sin, but this about a real battler for people’s hearts and souls, causing oppression and creating suffering and confusion for many. This is about a hurting God abiding by every immutable law that He has placed in the spaces and places that only the spiritual beings and forces can reach. Both YHVH and the enemy abide by these laws and we must as well in order to truly move mountains here on earth.
If we are going to understand the power behind the spiritual disciplines, such as prayer and fasting, mourning and repentance, then we must understand Jesus’ words about people being hypocrites and His answer to that problem.
Since Jesus gave us the answers to the problem of hypocrisy, which Jesus poetically illustrates when He said, “You blind guides, which strain out a gnat and swallow a camel,” then we can Obviously conclude that the Church has done just that somewhere along the way or we wouldn’t be where we are today. We have neglected the weightier matters of the law and for many Christians, considered the entire law irrelevant for today. which is exactly why the supreme court ruled the way it did, making marriage a matter of sate and not a matter of the Church.
The answer everyone keeps screaming is love, but our Messiah just gave us a very different answer, to not ignore the weightier matters of the law, justice mercy and faith.
So, I see this as a test. A test to see if the body of believers will come together under the true words of our Messiah and His answer to hypocrisy and the mercy to repent, (which comes in part 3 of this discussion). Understanding that there needs to be a revolution first, within the believing community before we can win any other hearts for our God. He must get His house (His people) in order first, before we can out and win lost souls for Him. But rest assured that while we are working to get our houses in order, we will start being the change that we need in the world, thus preaching the Gospel not through empty, trite words, but through power of action and urging others to envy and want the God that we serve.
And I think that is what He is hoping from all of this: A desperate search for Him and His heart and most of all, our trust in His way of deliverance, not our ideas of what it should be.
…but even then there is greater mercy in repentance than what we think, as we’ll talk about it part 3.
Comments are welcome. All (loving) discussion is encouraged!
EDIT: I wrote this on Saturday, the day after the ruling. After reading several blogs and opinions of those that DO agree with the supreme court ruling, their only argument FOR the ruling being just is due to hypocrisy. I had no idea that they would use the hypocrisy of the Church in their arguments for this. That makes Jesus’ answer to hypocrisy all the more relevant and paramount. That is what makes this blog post so important. It is simply the Bible’s answer to the Accuser of the brethren, the left and the ones who are “pro” this redefinition of marriage. As a people, “called out and set apart for His purposes” we must challenge those church leaders who are pro-same-sex marriage with the Word of God and a proper contextual understanding of Jesus’ words and answers to problems today. As believers we are to be above reproach as much as possible, so please read on to part three for the rest of what the Bible says about this cultural shift not only in this country, but in the entire world.
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