By Pastor Jeff,
Matthew 15:1-9, “Then the scribes and Pharisees who were from Jerusalem came to Jesus, saying, “Why do Your disciples transgress the tradition of the elders? For they do not wash their hands when they eat bread.” He answered and said to them, “Why do you also transgress the commandment of God because of your tradition? For God commanded, saying, ‘Honor your father and your mother’; and, ‘He who curses father or mother, let him be put to death.’ But you say, ‘Whoever says to his father or mother, “Whatever profit you might have received from me is a gift to God” then he need not honor his father or mother.’ Thus you have made the commandment of God of no effect by your tradition. Hypocrites! Well did Isaiah prophesy about you, saying: ‘These people draw near to Me with their mouth, And honor Me with their lips, But their heart is far from Me. And in vain they worship Me, Teaching as doctrines the commandments of men.”
Here we find the scribes and Pharisees who loved to burden the people with rules and regulations then exclude themselves from the laws that they should be obeying. They had condemned men for not washing their hands but refused to take care of there own parents. They claimed that they had dedicated their money to the house of God so could not use it to help their parents needs.
Now, not all traditions are a bad thing, after all, we all were told to wash our hands before we ate when we were growing up which is not a bad idea. We all have family traditions that we have carried on sometimes for many generations. Even the word of God tells us that we should keep some traditions, 1 Corinthians 11:1-2, “Imitate me, just as I also imitate Christ. Now I praise you, brethren, that you remember me in all things and keep the traditions just as I delivered them to you.” 2 Thessalonians 2:15, “Therefore, brethren, stand fast and hold the traditions which you were taught, whether by word or our epistle.”
So, what is the problem with the traditions that the scribes and Pharisees laid upon men? Colossians 2:8, “Beware lest anyone cheat you through philosophy and empty deceit, according to the tradition of men, according to the basic principles of the world, and not according to Christ.” The problem comes when we take a tradition then turn it into a law that we need to obey or find our salvation in jeopardy. I can think of many things that I was taught and even taught myself that became a law that must be obeyed. One significant one that is taught in many churches is found in Malachi 3:8, “Will a man rob God? Yet you have robbed Me! But you say, ‘In what way have we robbed You?’ In tithes and offerings.” Pretty clear, Huh? Well if you read the entire book of Malachi you will find out the author was writing to the priest not the people. This offering or tithe was not of money either, it was of sacrifice which in most instances in the Bible we find it was of crops not money. I can spend more time on this subject but I hope I at least made you double think tithe as something you can choose to do rather than have to do!
Other traditions that have been laid on mankind as law are dress, hair, entertainment, discipline, food, and many more that have caused many a saint to walk away form God rather than closer to Him.
Keep this one thing in mind and I believe you will never fall into the trap of turning a tradition into law, 1 Corinthians 10:31, “Therefore, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.”
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