“So they come to you as people do, they sit before you as My people, and they hear your words, but they do not do them; for with their mouth they show much love, but their hearts pursue their own gain. Indeed you are to them as a very lovely song of one who has a pleasant voice and can play well on an instrument; for they hear your words, but they do not do them.” Ez. 33:31-32
Several months ago, Mary Ann and I were fellowshipping about something in our living room and she made the comment, “They’re secret sinners.” When she said that, a spiritual bomb exploded in my heart. I had already been meditating upon the issue of Christians sinning (that’s a misnomer, isn’t it?). And then my friend Jerry posted a verse on Facebook from Ezekiel 33:31-32 which is outlined above. And then while ministering this morning with another brother, I sensed the Lord speaking it to me again. Therefore, if this article can help just one reader; it will have been all worth it.
What is a “secret sinner”? Well, we know that it’s not an open sinner. In other words, we know that it’s not an unbeliever. Because unbelievers sin openly and have no qualms about it. A “secret sinner” is one who portrays themselves as being righteous, but behind the closed the doors of their heart, mind, and home, they are sinning secretly. In other words, they are leading a double-life. In front of other Christians, they lead one life…but hidden away in their heart and mind is another life. We have a word for this: it’s called a hypocrite. The etymology of this word is a very interesting study indeed. Even before the time of Christ, the word was used for “an actor” especially one who “used the doctrine of linguistic expression.” In easier language, it means one who uses all the right words to sway an audience into believing he is someone who he really isn’t in real life.
I’m reminded of an interview I watched years ago with Sylvester Stallone (the actor who did all the Rocky movies). He said he called ahead one night to a restaurant to make reservations that he and his wife liked to eat at. It was a popular restaurant. And unless you made reservations, you were going to have to stand in line outside and wait to get in. When he and his wife arrived, the host was expecting them and undid the guard-rope to let them in. A man in line saw this and got upset (thinking that Sylvester and his wife were getting preferential treatment), and yelled out to Sylvester, “Hey Rocky, you think you’re real tough don’t you? I could take you on any day of the week.” Sylvester turned and said to him, “Do you really think that because I portrayed a boxer in the movies, that I know how to fight? I couldn’t fight my way out of a wet paper bag…I’m an actor.”
So in real life, Sylvester is just an actor; he’s not a boxer. But he does a good enough job on screen to fool the audience. He may be able to fool the audience, but his wife knows the truth, the director knows the truth, and the other actors on the movie set knows the truth. In the same way, we have these actors living among us, portraying themselves to be someone they really aren’t. But God knows the truth, their family usually knows the truth, and they personally know the truth. These people sit beside us with their bibles open. They sing the songs that we do. They talk “Christian-ese” even. But inwardly, they’re secret sinners…hypocrites. The only group of people that Jesus ever turned His back on in the Gospels were the hypocrites. He told them seven times that hell would be their eternal home. Every single person that Jesus ever called a hypocrite was a religious person. They were either a Pharisee, a Sadducee, or a Scribe. These were all people of proposed spirituality. They were esteemed by the people as being religious people who supposedly knew God. But they didn’t. It was all an outward show. They wore the right clothes, they spoke the right language, they carried the scrolls with them…why, they even taught others spiritual truths about the bible.
But inwardly, Jesus said they were secret sinners. A secret sinner is one who acts like they’re a Christian in front of you and others, but behind closed doors they lust, look at pornography, curse, live in the flesh, lie, gossip, tell (and listen to) lewd jokes, drink, smoke, etc. They’re actors. Jesus said we would know them though…by their fruits. Does anyone beside me find it interesting that the only tree in all of scripture that was ever cursed by God was a Fig tree? Does anyone beside me find it even more interesting that Christians are referred to as Fig trees in James chapter three? Hmmmmm…I’m sure you can connect the dots to this truth.
King Saul was a secret sinner. Samuel the prophet came to him and gave him the word of the Lord. The Lord had told Samuel to tell Saul to go and utterly destroy the Amalekites (please see my article entitled Then Came Amalek for a deeper understanding of the spiritual significance of Amalek by clicking here). But Saul disobeyed and kept back the best of the sheep, the best of the oxen, and even Agag, who was the king of the Amalekites. When his sin was found out by Samuel, and Samuel confronted Saul on the matter, Saul tried to take the way of the Catholic (1st Sam. 15:25), and have Samuel pray for him, and also asked Samuel to forgive his sins. Only God can forgive sins. And we read of other things that Saul did and secret desires he had. We read later on in the Old Testament that he died and went to hell. The difference between King Saul and Kind David was that Saul rejected the Word of the Lord (1st Sam. 15:23, 26) whereas David despised the Lord (2nd Sam. 12:10). One is forgivable…one is not. David loved God, but yet he backslid and was sinning in secret (2nd Sam. 12:12). But when confronted, he repented and turned his back on all sin, and we never read of him sinning again. He had a complete change of heart and mind. But Saul rejected the word of God, and did not want to repent. He wanted Samuel to pray for him and he wanted Samuel to forgive him of his sins. He didn’t want to go to God on his own and confess his sins…he wanted another to do it for him. And this is a spiritual atrocity in God’s eyes!
If you call yourself a Christian and you are secretly sinning…God calls you a liar in 1st John (and Revelation 21:8 says that all liars shall end up in the Lake of Fire), and God also calls you a child of the devil in 1st John. I’m not talking about unintentional sins here (1st John 1:7 & Numbers 15:22-29 deals with the unintentional sins that we commit without knowing it). I’m talking about willful, premeditated sins. There is no excuse for it listed anywhere in the New Testament.
Jesus calls these secret sinners by another name also in the New Testament. He calls them “Tares” in Matthew 13. Out of the 70 parables that Jesus gave, He only gave us the interpretation for two of them: The Sower and the Seed, & the Wheat and the Tares. Notice in Matthew 13 that the tares are growing up with us, and among us. Jesus said the tares are “the children of the wicked one.” Let me pose a question here: what makes a person a child of the wicked one? According to 1st John 3:10, the children of the wicked one and the children of God are distinguished by one thing only…those who sin, and those who don’t!!
If you’re reading this today, and you’re a secret sinner (a hypocrite) know this: YOU WILL NOT MAKE IT – YOU WILL SPLIT HELL WIDE OPEN AND SPEND ETERNITY IN THE REGIONS OF THE DAMNED…NEVER AGAIN TO HAVE A SECOND CHANCE!! Are your secret sins really worth it? There’s no such thing as a Holy hypocrite. The bible has much to say about hypocrites. We’ll just list some verses out of one book alone…the book of Job (the first book of the bible ever written). And remember that Abraham was Job’s great-great grandfather (Gen. 46:13)…so Job knew the truth about hypocrites, for his own grandfather, Jacob, played the hypocrite for many years.
Job 8:13 “…the hope of the hypocrite shall perish.
Job 13:16 “A hypocrite shall not come before Him.”
Job 20:5 “The joy of the hypocrite is but for a moment.”
Job 27:8 “For what is the hope of the hypocrite…if God takes away his soul.”
“Examine yourselves, to see whether you are in the faith. Test yourselves. Or do you not realize this about yourselves, that Jesus Christ is in you? – unless indeed you fail to meet the test?” 2nd Cor. 13:5
…to be continued