By Zac Poonen
1.Hypocrisy:To be a hypocrite is to give others the impression that we are holier than we actually are. It is the same as being false, or telling a lie. Jesus pronounced a curse on hypocrites seven times in Matthew 23:13-29. Jesus told the Pharisees that their inner life was “full of self indulgence” (Matthew 23:25) – which meant that they lived only to please themselves. Yet they gave others the impression that because they knew the Scriptures well and fasted and prayed and tithed their income, they were holy. They appeared very pious externally. They prayed lengthy prayers in public, but they did not pray at length in private – just like many today. It is hypocrisy if we praise God only on Sunday mornings, but do not have a spirit of praise in our hearts at all times.
2.Spiritual Pride: Spiritual pride is the most common sin to be found among those who pursue after holiness. We all know the parable of the self-righteous Pharisee who despised others even in his prayer (Luke 18:9-14)! It is more than likely that 90% of all prayers offered in public by believers are primarily meant to impress others who are listening and not prayed to God at all. The Pharisee in the parable may not have been evil like other sinners in his external life. But Jesus hated the pride with which he thought of his spiritual activities and with which he despised others. It is spiritual pride that makes believers constantly judge other believers. Jesus taught that the greatest person in heaven would be the humblest (Matthew 18:4). The greatest virtue found in heaven is humility.
3.Impurity : Impurity enters into our hearts mainly through our eyes and our ears. This impurity then comes OUT from our hearts and expresses itself through the various members of our bodies – primarily through our tongues and our eyes. Anyone who seeks to be pure must therefore be especially careful about what he sees and what he hears. Jesus hated impurity so much that He told His disciples that they should be willing to pluck out their right eye and cut off their right hand rather than sin with those members (Matthew 5:27-29). When do doctors recommend the amputation of the right hand or the surgical removal of an eye? Only when things have become so bad that without the removal of these organs, the whole body will die. This is what we need to understand in relation to sin as well. Sin is so serious that it can imperil our very life.
4.Indifference to Human Need : Jesus was angry when the leaders of the synagogue did not want Him to heal a man, just because it was the Sabbath day “He was deeply disturbed by their indifference to human need” (Mark 3:5– TLB). We are commanded to do good to all men, especially to the children of God (Galatians 6:10). Jesus taught that those who did nothing to help their brothers who were in need of the basic necessities of life, would be cast out of His presence in the final day (Matthew 25:41-46). We may not have the gift of healing to heal sick believers. But we can all certainly visit those who are sick and encourage them. That’s all the Lord asks of us. The rich man went to hell because he did not care for his brother Lazarus, who was a fellow-Jew and a fellow-son of Abraham. The priest and the Levite in the parable of the good Samaritan, were exposed as hypocrites by Jesus because they did not show compassion on their fellow-brother-Jew who was lying on the roadside wounded.
5. Unbelief :The Bible speaks of an unbelieving heart as an EVIL heart (Hebrews 3:12) Jesus rebuked His disciples seven times for unbelief. (See Matthew 6:30; 8:26; 14:31; 16:8; 17:17-20; Mark 16:14; Luke 24:25). It seems that He almost never rebuked His disciples for anything else!! Unbelief is an insult to God, because it implies that God does not care or provide for His children even as much as evil fathers on earth care and provide for their children. Victory over depression, bad moods and discouragement can come only as we have faith in a loving Father in heaven and in the wonderful promises He has given us in His Word. Twice we read of Jesus being amazed – once when he saw FAITH and once when He saw UNBELIEF!! (Matthew 8:10;Mark 6:6). Jesus was excited whenever He saw faith in people. And He was disappointed when He saw people unwilling to trust in a loving Father in heaven.