â€œWoe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye are like unto whited mausoleums, which indeed appear beautiful outward, but are within full of dead menâ€™s bones, and of all uncleanness.â€ (Matthew 23:27)
â€œBeauty is only skin deepâ€ seems to be the modern secular equivalent of this â€œwoeâ€ inÂ Matthew 23.
The corresponding Old Testament statement is probably this: â€œAs a jewel of gold in a swineâ€™s snout, so is a fair woman which is without discretionâ€ (Proverbs 11:22).
This principle has lasted for millennia simply because it is easily observed in all cultures. Our Lordâ€™s application to the scribes and Pharisees was particularly pointed: â€œEven so ye also outwardly appear righteous unto men, but within ye are full of hypocrisy and iniquityâ€ (Matthew 23:28).
God is not interested in the â€œpretty outsideâ€ but in whatâ€™s on the inside.
â€œBut the LORD said unto Samuel, Look not on his countenance, or on the height of his stature; because I have refused him: for the LORD seeth not as man seeth; for man looketh on the outward appearance, but the LORD looketh on the heartâ€ (1 Samuel 16:7).
Hypocrisy and iniquity are the two attributes of â€œuncleannessâ€ identified by Christ.
The core of hypocrisy is the intent to deceive others, either with actions or words. And the core of the biblical teaching about deception is the false teacherâ€”those who look like and talk like Godâ€™s people, â€œbut inwardly they are ravening wolvesâ€ (Matthew 7:15).
Iniquity is the biblical term for â€œwithout law.â€ Such a person has no desire to submit to authority, and is both willing to do evil and is dangerous to be around. Cain murdered Abel, the Bible insists, â€œbecause his own works were evil, and his brotherâ€™s righteousâ€ (1 John 3:12).
Such a condition should never plague us. Jesus â€œgave himself for us, that he might redeem us from all iniquity, and purify unto himself a peculiar people, zealous of good worksâ€ (Titus 2:14). HMM III