Since God Created humans, only God can provide specific understanding of human behavior. God gave Solomon Divine Wisdom (1 Kings Chapters 3 and 10) to explain what and why behavior is as it is, and Proverbs 10:1-24:34 are randomly written, as if they were Solomon’s judgments about individual cases brought to him, or simply God-given explanations about life. New Testament passages may help see the continuation of Wisdom offered through Jesus Christ.
Proverbs 21:3: “To do righteousness and justice Is more acceptable to the LORD than sacrifice.”
The worship gatherings of the churches of Christ are designed by God to bring the righteous together before the Lord to offer their sacrifices. “Coming to Him as to a living stone, rejected indeed by men, but chosen by God and precious, you also, as living stones, are being built up a spiritual house, a holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ” (1 Peter 2:4-5). The worship of the churches of Christ consists of offering sacrifices of: Lord’s Supper and preaching the Bible (Acts 20:7), contributions (1 Corinthians 16:1-2), prayers (Acts 12:5), and singing with the heart (Ephesians 5:19). Christians do not assemble because their lives are perfected, but because they need to remember that God forgives those who are “giving thanks to the Father who has qualified us to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints in the light. He has delivered us from the power of darkness and conveyed us into the kingdom of the Son of His love, in whom we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins” (Colossians 1:12-14).
There are, however, people who attend church to cover up their daily sins, but this proverb shows that church (“sacrifice”) can never take the place of daily commitment to obey God. In other words, God is not honored with sacrifices from someone who disobeys daily! God’s Prophet, Samuel, told King Saul: “Has the LORD as great delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices, As in obeying the voice of the LORD? Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice, And to heed than the fat of rams. For rebellion is as the sin of witchcraft, And stubbornness is as iniquity and idolatry. Because you have rejected the word of the LORD, He also has rejected you from being king” (1 Samuel 15:22-23). God’s Prophet, Hosea, told Israelites: “For I desire mercy and not sacrifice, And the knowledge of God more than burnt offerings” (Hosea 6:6). In the New Testament, Christians are told: “Therefore by Him let us continually offer the sacrifice of praise to God, that is, the fruit of our lips, giving thanks to His name. But do not forget to do good and to share, for with such sacrifices God is well pleased” (Hebrews 13:15-16). All who try to use church worship as a cover for their daily sinful lives are the definition of “hypocrite.” Going through the motions of worship without devotion to God’s Law the rest of the time is rejected by God. “Sinners in the congregation of the righteous” (Psalm 1:5) will not be tolerated. Jesus Christ has said: “Well did Isaiah prophesy of you hypocrites, as it is written: ‘This people honors Me with their lips, But their heart is far from Me. And in vain they worship Me, Teaching as doctrines the commandments of men’” (Mark 7:6-7).
NO ONE is a hypocrite just because they attend church—hypocrites are life-long sinners who use church to mask their sins!
All Scriptures and comments are based upon the New King James Version, unless otherwise noted.