The sins of some men are conspicuous, going before them to judgement, but the sins of others appear later. So also good works are conspicuous, and even those that are not cannot remain hidden… (1 Tim. 5:24-25)
Paul is writing to Timothy, his young protege whom will carry on the work of defending the gospel, salvation and teaching of Jesus. Of course, there are already people in the 1st Century after Jesus dies and rises that begin to distort and contort this teaching. This is who Paul is referring to in the above statement. Some of these imposters are good at hiding their scams… their deeds are “conspicuous”, though they still “go before them to judgement”, because God sees inside the hearts of everyone.
On the flip side are those that do “good works”. One can be “conspicuous” about doing good things that reflect the ways of Jesus. In fact, this is how they are to be done, in anonymity and seeking the honor of things unseen instead of flagrantly displayed to gain the favor of the temporal society. (Matt. 6:1-4) Nonetheless, those that do good will be found out as well, because these things can’t “remain hidden” either, for they benefit others and fill them with joy overflowing. Did Mother Theresa bandage the wounds of lepers in Calcutta to be noticed? No. However, people took notice. Was the Salvation Army started to become a well known world-wide organization? No. It was begun to bring the gospel, food and shelter to the hurting and homeless, and it became recognized for it’s positive effect on society as well as it’s example of a reflection of Jesus to the watching world.
It is the same for us who follow Jesus today. Those of us who present ourselves as “pastors” or “leaders”, must be deeply careful of our hidden, inner life. We will be found out for whatever we’re doing, whether we think it’s small or large. Spiritual leaders in the church- how do you behave at 2 a.m. on a Friday night while everyone is asleep and you think no one is watching? God sees every bit- He is just enough to have you found out somehow, someway. Guard your life and your heart from hypocrisy. We must learn from the failures of televangelistic self-proclaimed demigods and pedophile pontiffs. Even the little things we do in secret will eventually be no secret at all, neither to God nor people. Therefore we’re not only to confess them to God, but also to people, and if they’re severe, we ought to confess them before all people and come clean. We shouldn’t guard a paycheck or our ego in order to keep ourselves in the status quo. We ought to live such holy and good lives that a stranger could have a hidden camera in our house and see that we are both normal, consistent with our public appearance, and above reproach in every way.