Sometimes people refuse to associate with the church because Christians may seem to be less than perfect. A frequent excuse among men for not seeking salvation through Jesus Christ is, they say, "the church is full of hypocrites." Sadly, this charge is partly true.
This is an apology, a personal confession, and a statement of fact; after all, Christians are still only people, and people often fail to be at their best. The answer is, "yes, there are hypocrites in the church." But l' don't feel it necessary to say that the church is "filled" with hypocrites. We should give Christians some benefit of the doubt and assume that, although they are human, they are earnestly trying to live in accord with their convictions. We must- recognize the vast difference between those who are trying to live as Christians but who make mistakes and those who say they are Christians but do not try to live better.
The church is not the only place where we find hypocrites, however. They exist on the golf course, the highways, and in business. They are everywhere. Although you may not attend church because of them, have you given up golf, or driving your car, or working for a living because of them? Of course not, it wouldn't be practical. We overlook the hypocrisy of our golf companion when he cheats on his score, we do not cease to drive our car because the man in the next lane speeds, and we do not refuse our paycheck even though a fellow worker steals and does not give a day's work for a day's pay.
Why, only when the church is involved, do we feel hypocrisy seriously enough to withdraw from that association? If we quit church because of a hypocritical Christian, why don't we quit work because of a hypocritical fellow worker? It would be just as logical, yet I have never heard this excuse used for quitting work, have you? It has been said (but not by the Bible) that the church is a hospital for sinners. Jesus said nearly the same thing in Matthew 9:12, "They that be need not a physician, but they that are sick".
More exactly, the church is where God places those who come to him through Christ, See Acts 2:47. However, it is clear that, of those who come, many do not remain faithful to the teachings of Christ. Jesus spoke of this situation in Matthew 13:24-30 when told the parable of the wheat the tares. Tares are a useless weed which were, in the parable, sown in a field by an enemy of the farmer. Rather than pull out the sprouting tares, thereby destroying much of the wheat, the farmer decided to let the wheat and the tares grow together and then to separate them at harvest. Jesus explained His parable in Matthew 13:37-43 saying,
He that soweth the good seed is the Son of man; the field is the would; the good seed are the children of the kingdom; but the tares are the children of the wicked one; The enemy that sowed them is the devil; the harvest is the end of the world; and the reapers are the angels. As therefore the tares are gathered and burned in the fire; so shall it be in the end of the world.
The Son of man shall send forth His angels, and they shall gather out of His kingdom all things that offend, and them which do iniquity: and shall cast them into a furnace of fire where there shall be wailing, and gnashing of teeth. Admittedly, there are non-Christians who are better than some who claim to be Christians. There may also be non-Christians who are morally stronger than some who are, indeed, Christians. If you are one of these and you are a very good person, does that eliminate Your need for a savior? The apostle, Paul, said (in Romans 3:23), "For all have sinned and come short of the glory of God." Thus, all men need the savior
Jesus Christ, and there are none who can come to God without the savior; Jesus said, "I am the way, the truth, and the life; no man cometh unto the Father but by me." Thus, if even a good man is to be saved, it must be through the way of Jesus Christ. Church membership is unavoidable when one obeys the will of Christ; this obedience results in a reaction by God of adding the obedient believer to the church. It is God who places the believer in the church, the believer has no choice in this matter. For further study examine the message - "Is church membership essential to salvation?" and also the message "You can be a Christian without joining any denomination".
Salvation and eternal life are obtained only through Christ. Christians, themselves, must live in the church with hypocrites who claim to be Christians and whose lives are an embarrassment for them and for Christ. However, those who seek salvation must not let the Hypocrites deter them, for disobedience to the will of Christ will result in condemnation; the existence of hypocrites in the church will not be a valid excuse on judgement day.