In our current study of Jonah, it was emphasized that while Jonah identified himself as one who “feared the Lord” to the mariners during the storm (1:9), Jonah was probably self-deceived in his sin of rebellion. Jonah certainly wasn’t walking as one who feared the Lord while he was in the process of fleeing “from the Lord’s presence” (1:3). To fear the Lord is to obey His Word (Psalm 112:1; John 14:15). Jonah turned from God’s Word (1:1-3).
The Writer of Hebrews warns us about the deceitfulness of sin and the hardness of heart that results (Heb. 3:12-14). We must take the warnings of Scripture seriously. We should earnestly ask the Lord to reveal our blind spots to us. Are we like Jonah claiming with our mouths something contrary to what we are displaying with our actions?
But alas what is one the better for having others commend him, and his conscience condemn him? What good will it do a man when he is in hell that others think he has gone to heaven? (pg. 16)
The man who is a pretender…carries Christ in his Bible but not in his heart. (pg. 16)
The hypocrite deceives others while he lives, but deceives himself when he dies. (pg. 16)
The wicked hate the hypocrite because he is almost a Christian, and God hates him because he is only almost one. (pg. 16)
Could you find no way to hell, but by seeming godly? (pg. 18)
Let us therefore take heed of this kind of pageantry or devout stage play. (pg. 18)
How should we respond? As I said above, we should earnestly pray that the Lord would reveal any hypocrisy within our hearts. We should also take heart because the Lord pursued Jonah. The Lord pursues His people out of His compassion, mercy, and steadfast love. The very fact that we would even hear His warnings is evidence of His kindness leading us to repentance (Rom 2:4). Pay careful attention to the conclusion of Watson’s warning:
Christian, if you mourn for hypocrisy, yet find this sin so potent that you cannot get the mastery of it, go to Christ. Beg of him that he would exercise his kingly office in your soul, that he would subdue this sin, and put it under the yoke. Beg of Christ to exercise spiritual surgery upon you. Desire him to lance your heart and cut out the rotten flesh, and that he would apply the medicine of his blood to heal you of your hypocrisy. (pg. 19)