There’s a noteworthy element of Jesus’ ministry that we can easily forget: His intended audience. Think about it. During Jesus’ 3 years walking the paths of Capernaum, the Decapolis, and Judea, to whom were His most pointed and scathing words directed?! The bulls-eye of His gaze and correction was almost wholly focused on the religious people—those who claimed to know the way, but remained far from the Kingdom.
Most often, these pointed words were directed at the teachers of the law and Pharisees. They seemed to be much better at telling others what they ought to be doing than humbly confessing and changing their own missteps. Jesus was exposing arrogant duplicity (unfaithfulness or deceit). It was His biggest concern for those that claimed to follow Him. In so doing, they were missing out on grace. They missed their need for grace, and they missed the availability of it for those they despised!
Here’s an example:
but their hearts are far from me.’” (Mark 7:6 NIV)
If Jesus were to walk on Earth today, I often wonder what words would He have today for pastors, teachers, politicians and leaders, particularly those of us who operate under the often poorly defined banner “evangelicalism”?
Duplicity is where someone lacks integrity. They say one thing in speech, another in action. They’re one person on the outside, but someone else inside. They act in a certain way with one set of people, another way when with others in their lives.
What do you think? If Jesus came today, would His words be as corrective to His Church as they were to the religious leaders of His time? Would integrity or duplicity be Jesus’ characterization of conservative evangelicalism as a whole? What say you?
In my next few posts I will propose three ways we can miss grace. These are three areas to which we, as Christ-followers, can be blind to. Every generation seems to struggle with these three heart-driven counterfeits of God’s Kingdom. Each of these errors show our tendency to hide, be someone we are not, or live in competition with each other. What would the Church be like if we embraced the forgiveness and redemption we have in the Gospel, and if we lived in the genuine humility that Christ’s amazing and needed grace produces?