Therefore, to prevent mistakes, and that we may not be deceived and think we believe when we only presume, I shall give you six differences between a sincere faith, which is the flower of the spirit, and a hypocritical faith, which is the fruit of fancy.
1. A hypocritical faith is easy to come by. It is like the seed in the parable which sprung up suddenly, Mark 4:5. A false faith shoots up without any convictions and soul humblings. As Isaac said, “How comest thou by thy venison so soon?” Genesis 27:20. Likewise, how does this man come by faith so soon? Surely it is of different nature and will quickly wither away. But true faith, being an outlandish plant and of a heavenly extraction, is hard to come by. It costs many a sigh and tear, Acts 2:37. This spiritual infant is not born without pangs.
2. A hypocritical faith is afraid to come to trial. The hypocrite would rather have his faith commended than examined. He can no more endure a Scripture trial than counterfeit metal can endure the touchstone. He is like a man who has stolen goods in his house and is very unwilling to have his house searched. So the hypocrite has gotten some stolen goods that the devil has helped him to, and he is loathe to have his heart searched. Whereas true faith is willing to come to a trial. “Examine me, O Lord, and prove me; try my reins and heart,” Psalm 26:2. David was riot afraid to be tried by a jury, no, though God Himself was one of the jury. Good wares are never afraid of the light.
3. A hypocritical faith has a slight esteem of true faith. The hypocrite hears others speak in the commendation of faith, but he wonders where the virtue of it lies. He looks upon faith as a drug, or some base commodity that will not go off. He will part with all the faith he has for a piece of silver and, perhaps, it might be dear enough at the price. But the man who has true faith sets a high value on it. He reckons this grace among his jewels. What incorporates him into Christ but faith? What puts him into a state of sonship but faith? Galatians 3:26. O precious faith! A believer would not exchange his shield of faith for a crown of gold!
4. A hypocritical faith is lame on one hand. With one hand it would take up Christ. But it does not with the other hand give itself up to Christ. It would take Christ by way of surety, but not give up itself to Him by way of surrender. True faith, however, is impartial. It takes Christ as a Savior and submits to Him as a Prince. Christ said, “With My body and My blood, I endow thee.” And faith says, “With my soul, I worship Thee.”
5. A hypocritical faith is impure. The hypocrite says he believes, yet goes on in sin. He is all creed, but no commandment. He believes, yet will take God’s name in vain. “Wilt thou not cry unto me, My Father, thou art the guide of my youth! Behold, thou hast done evil things as thou couldst,” Jeremiah 3:4-5. These impostors would call God their Father, yet sin as fast as they could. For one to say he has faith, yet live in sin, is as if a man should say he was in health, yet his vitals had perished. But a true faith is joined with sanctity. “Holding the mystery of faith in a pure conscience,” 1 Timothy 3:9. The jewel of faith is always put in the cabinet of a good conscience. The woman who touched Christ by faith felt a healing virtue come from Him. Though faith does not wholly remove sin, yet it subdues it.
6. A hypocritical faith is a dead faith; it tastes no sap or sweetness in Christ. The hypocrite tastes something in the vine and olive. He finds contentment in the carnal, luscious delights of the world, but no sweetness in a promise. ‘The Holy Ghost Himself is spiritless to him. That is a dead faith which has no sense or taste. But true faith finds much delight in heavenly things. The Word is sweeter than the honeycomb, Psalm 19:10. Christ’s love is better than wine, Song of Solomon 1:2. Thus we see a difference between true and spurious faith. How many have thought they have had the live child of faith by them, when it has proved the dead child. Take heed of presumption, but cherish faith. Faith applies Christ and makes a spiritual concoction of His body and blood. This supper was intended chiefly for believers, Luke 22:19. Christ’s blood to an unbeliever is like aqua-vitae in a dead man’s mouth: it loses all its virtue.