I was almost in all evil in the midst of the congregation and assembly.
Are you a hypocrite? God and King Solomon send you a warning to keep you back from this great sin you will have to explain in the Day of Judgment (Eccl 12:13-14). They want you to take good advantage of attending church rather than it becoming an additional sin.
Are you a sexual hypocrite? Do you attend public worship of God while guilty of sexual sins or while allowing sexual fantasies against God’s laws for love, marriage, and sex? Sexual sinners will cry in this life and the next for having committed such a crime.
Hypocrite! Holding sins while pretending to worship. Hypocrite! Privately loving sin and publicly honoring religion. Hypocrite! Singing and praying with lips, while savoring lusts in the heart. Hypocrite! Visiting a holy God with an unholy soul. Hypocrite! Knowing God yet allowing the very sins He hates. The soul pain of a religious fornicator is great!
Scorner! Do you come into the house of God, where He is exalted and praised, and where His laws are read and explained, and then go your way to continue in sexual sins, either of the mind or body? You are a fool and scorner! You mock your Creator and teachers to keep your favorite sexual fantasies or activities. This error will come back to haunt you.
God burned up Nadab and Abihu, though His chosen priests, for using new incense in His worship (Lev 10:1-2). God killed Uzzah for touching the Ark when it shook in transit (II Sam 6:6-7). God gave King Uzziah leprosy in his face for thinking he could perform a priestly function (II Chr 26:16-21). Yet you go into God’s church with secret sexual sins!
Solomon in this chapter warned his son and children of the sin of adultery (Pr 5:1-2,7). By the desirable, and seemingly innocent, enticement of a strange woman (Pr 5:3), a foolish man is brought down to destruction and misery (Pr 5:4-10). When the sin has worked its course, he cannot believe his folly at rejecting the warnings (Pr 5:11-13). In the words before you, he admitted one of the greatest agonies of all – religious hypocrisy!
In the place where men go for comfort and peace – the church, he was tortured with fear, guilt, and shame. Knowing God and His hatred for sin pounding his conscience, he tried to worship, while addicted to his enslaving sin (Pr 5:22). The internal conflict was great – his new man crying against the old – the Spirit convicting against the lustful thoughts of the devil. O wretched man that I am! who shall deliver me from the body of this death?
At times, a sinning saint might wish he had not known the way of truth. Worldlings have no such pains. They sin with abandon. Their conscience is so seared as to be quite silent. The sinning saint knows such deadness is that of an atheist, which he cannot be, no matter how hard he might try. The praise of the righteous, the joy of the faithful, and the reading of Scripture are goading pains. This is the agony of a religious hypocrite!
How did it begin? Playing with a small attractive sin! He allowed exposure to the most alluring temptation for a man – another woman. Her flattery enticed him (Pr 5:3). Then his lusts had the idea that taking her offer of intimacy would bring great pleasure (Jas 1:14-15). But as quickly as the thought of pleasure came, it disappeared just as quickly, after he had damned his soul with the hated act. His conscience was now condemned!
How will he excuse his sin to God? How! He had been privileged in life to have a church where the truth was taught and godly virtue exalted, including sexual purity and integrity. But in spite of the blessed privilege, he had allowed and indulged his pet sexual sins. Now his conscience chases and tortures him – reminding him of countless warnings that he ignored and squandered. Soon he must explain his folly to the dread Judge of all.
Reader, keep your heart with all diligence (Pr 4:23). God hates hypocrisy. He wants your heart, all of it. He does not care about your lips, if your heart is not all His first. He does not care about your attendance, if you think approvingly about sin. Men who pray in public with eyes full of adultery are marked for the darker regions of hell (II Pet 2:13-19). God seeks the sacrifice of a broken and contrite heart (Ps 51:17). Forsake your sins!
Any lukewarm approach to religion, in public or private, is repulsive to God. He would rather have you cold than lukewarm (Rev 3:14-15). Jesus Christ will spew you out of His mouth for being lukewarm (Rev 3:16). He rebuked Ephesus for having lost their first love (Rev 2:1-5). Hate your lukewarm heart. Hate your self-righteousness, just because you may not be guilty of any sexual sins. Do not despise others while you are a sinner.
Use God’s assemblies to humbly hear His word to condemn the sins in your life (Jas 1:21-25). Go into the house of God to be corrected (Ps 63:1-2; 73:16-22). If your pastor does not condemn sin plainly and powerfully from scripture, you need a new pastor or church (Is 58:1; Jer 23:28-29; Matt 5:19-20; II Tim 4:3-4). Do not drag in. Prepare. Pray. Participate. You will answer to God for every assembly you were privileged to attend.
Self-righteous woman! Have you read this warning with disdain for such foolish men and with joy at the tormenting consequences of their sin? Your wickedness is worse, for you have no conscience, nor is there much hope of your recovery. You have already drowned in the self-flattering deceit and pride of your wicked heart and simple mind. If you can find even a twinge of conscience, confess your arrogant presumption before it is gone.
Monogamous man and loyal woman! Do not think you escape the warning. Hypocrisy can occur with any sin – and all are equal to God. Neglecting or defrauding a spouse is like adultery. You owe your spouse great sex, whenever, however, and wherever they like it (I Cor 7:1-5; Pr 5:19). Backbiting and whispering are variations on murder. James warned that one sin is guilt of all before God (Jas 2:10). Any hypocrisy is a horrible sin.
This proverb has warned young men. You will face this horrible agony and misery of conscience, if you play at all with whorish women, whether by pictures, words, activities, or thoughts. Get away from them! There is no greater temptation than the strange woman, and she will take you all the way down to death and hell (Pr 2:18; 5:5; 7:27; 9:18).
However, God is merciful to the repentant (II Sam 12:13; Matt 21:31-32). At His right hand sits the Lord Jesus Christ, the great and only High Priest of the Christian religion (Heb 3:1; 8:1). He was tempted to sin, including sexual sins, just like other men (Heb 2:17-18; 4:15-16; 5:1-6), but He never sinned. He can and will intercede for you to God.
Hypocrite, have you learned it is hard to repent? Have you learned you cannot break the bondage of sexual addiction (Pr 5:22-23)? Only if God possibly gives you repentance can you be delivered from the devil (II Tim 2:25-26). What can you do? Run from your lusts (Pr 5:8; II Tim 2:22)! Run to Christ (Luke 7:36-50)! Beg God for mercy (Luke 18:9-14)! He can and will forgive you; He can and will help you; He can and will prosper you!