“So put away all malice and all deceit and hypocrisy and envy and all slander. 2 Like newborn infants, long for the pure spiritual milk, that by it you may grow up into salvation— 3 if indeed you have tasted that the Lord is good” (I Peter 2:1-3).
Chapter Two of I Peter begins a conclusion which directs the reader throughout the rest of the epistle. Peter identifies “five” sins involving our speech and attitudes which we must eliminate.
The word “so” is another way of saying “therefore.” As a consequence of who we are in Christ and our desire to be holy as He is holy (I Peter 1:16) God directs believers to put away or cease what we are accustomed to doing. What follows is not a pretty list, but Peter is less concerned with hurting people’s feelings as he is with truth. Please notice the adjective “all” which precedes all five nouns. This repentance is to be a total renunciation of ungodliness.
The first sin mentioned is malice. The second is deceit. The third is hypocrisy.
Hypocrisy comes from the Greek word ὑπόκρισις (hypokrisis) which means play-acting or pretense. It was the word for an actor in the ancient Greek plays. It means a person pretending to be something they are not. It is from this Greek word that we derive our English word hypocrite.
Now, this is not a problem on the stage when involved in performing in a play or live musical. However, it is a sin when pretending to be someone you are not in your relationships with other people. One pastor writes that hypocrisy is, “to give an impression of having certain purposes or motivations, while in reality having quite different ones.”
Jesus saved His most stinging criticism for the Pharisees. Seven times in Matthew 23 He pronounced woe upon them because of their hypocrisy.
One of the most common criticisms of the local church made by non-believers is that the “church is filled with hypocrites.” The common response is “Well then, join us! There is always room for one more.”
The Scriptures tell us otherwise. We must repent of any and all pretense in our Christian behavior. We must be people of integrity. God encourages us to be so. As His children, we must be so.
Have a blessed day, beloved.
Soli deo Gloria!