Imposters Among Us

Imposters Among Us

If a stranger shall sojourn with you and would keep the Passover to the LORD, let all his males be circumcised. Then he may come near and keep it; he shall be as a native of the land. But no uncircumcised person shall eat of it. Exodus 12:48

Growing up in church, I remember sitting in Sunday school while the teacher prayed, knowing that we were all supposed to close our eyes. I was that annoying kid who kept my eyes open so I could see – and tell on – those who didn’t close their eyes. It made me feel pious to be the prayer police. Assuming this role had nothing to do with authentic faith. It was a false religiousness that anyone could see through. I was a hypocrite, pretending to be spiritual when I was not because it made me feel good about myself.

Today’s passage also involved hypocrites or imposters – those who traveled with the Israelites but who were not Israelites. In the story, as God’s people made their exodus from Egypt, there were others who tagged along, A mixed multitude also went up with them (Exodus 12:38). As God had passed over the Israelite’s homes in the 10th plague, he commanded his people to celebrate this Passover. In today’s passage, God gave specific instructions regarding the Passover celebration. If a foreigner wanted to partake in it, he was welcome to do so, but he must first be circumcised. The Israelites welcomed all, but to become one of them required sacrifice. Mandatory circumcision weeded out those imposters who didn’t believe but were simply along for selfish gain.

Thankfully, church doesn’t require circumcision today. Because of Christ’s sacrificial death, we don’t have to do anything – except believe – to become one of God’s children. I’m grateful for God’s grace, but this, I think, breeds insincerity. Sitting in church on Sunday mornings, there are imposters among us – those who claim to be of the faith but are not. They get something out of being there and they likely believe themselves to be faithful. Their lives however, show that they don’t follow God, but rather themselves. Often, they appear pious. They don’t smoke, drink, swear, or gamble, and they condemn those who do. They, however, spend very little time seeking God’s will or loving those around them. Their faith is a sham, and they are imposters.

I know this because I’ve been there. I’ve sat in church because it made me feel pious, while I lived only for myself. Today’s lesson about hypocrites then, isn’t a lesson to be pointed at others. If I read today’s passage and think about all those other people who need to read it, then I’m still that annoying kid in Sunday school. Today’s lesson is for me. Daily, I must make sure that I’m not the imposter. Daily, I must purposefully abandon my way for God’s. If I fail to do so, then I naturally follow me, living as the hypocrite.

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