In ancient Greece the theaters had no scenery and the actors wore no costumes. To portray a character, however, they carried hand-held masks which they would place in front of their faces. It was designed to portray the character of the person in the role they were playing. They would walk onto the stage, mask in hand, and when speaking, hold it before their face.
The word hypocrisy, as we know it today, had its roots in the Greek word hupokrisis. It meant “acting a part in a play or feigning to be what one is not.” In other words, a hypocrite is one who wears a “mask” to hide their real identity.
John addressed hypocrisy when he wrote, “If someone says I belong to God, but doesn’t obey God’s commandments, that person is a liar and does not live in the truth.” Strong words that leave no “wiggle room.”
True Christian faith results in consistent Christian living. John is confronting all of us because Christian faith results in Christian living and Christian service. If we profess to be “Christian” but do not demonstrate Christlike behavior in “word and deed,” we are wearing a mask to present ourselves as someone other than who we truly are. We are “feigning” to be who we are not.
John is encouraging us to look at our behavior in the light of God’s Word. He says candidly that “the way we act gives us the assurance that we belong to Christ!”
Prayer: Father, we are all capable of hiding who we truly are from others. But we cannot hide ourselves from You. May we come out of hiding and be truly Christians. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
Scripture for Today: 1 John 2:4 Whoever says, “I know him,” but does not do what he commands is a liar, and the truth is not in that person.