Thursday, April 22, 2010

Commandments or traditions?

"He answered and said unto them, Well hath Esaias prophesied of you hypocrites, as it is written, This people honoureth me with [their] lips, but their heart is far from me. Howbeit in vain do they worship me, teaching [for] doctrines the commandments of men. For laying aside the commandment of God, ye hold the tradition of men, [as] the washing of pots and cups: and many other such like things ye do." - Mark 7:6-8

I'm sure that many reading this would be familiar with the passage, as much as they would understand that this statement was made by Yeshua to the Pharisees, a first century sect within Judaism, in the presence of His (Yeshua's) disciples. Yeshua was responding to an accusation made by the Pharisees that His disciples were basically in the wrong because they ate some grain (basically bread) without having washed their hands first. If you read the passage (Mark 7:1-23), you will get a much better understanding of the whole context of the dispute - I do not want to take the time to flesh it all out right now so that I can get to the issue I want to point out. (BTW, I do not recommend that you read it in the NIV, nor in the ESV, because I believe they slaughter the translation of this passage, particularly in vs. 19!)

One of the favorite labels, or accusations that Christians like to ascribe to other Christians when they feel that the other is being too strict with their own life, or with another is..."Pharisee." It is the best way that many feel they can get another Christian to "back off", so-to-speak, or, to discredit the alleged "Pharisee" to others. Now, I do believe that with "right judgment" (cf. Lev. 19:35; John 7:24), people that are "Pharisaical" can be identified. However, I also think that the "Pharisee" label is way to often employed. And one area that is often the situation for accusation is in the case of holidays/holy days. There has long been debate over the issue of what day/days are biblical/non-biblical.

Without getting into specifics here, let me simply ask a few questions: Why do you celebrate the days, and, or, times that you do? Where did/do they come from? How did they develop? Are they simply traditions of men, or do they come from the scriptures? And last but not least...are you sure that God is pleased with them?

In time to come I hope to flesh this out more, but in the mean time I hope you will take the time to begin to ask some very pointed questions of yourself, and what it is that you believe. If you truly care about what God has to say about it in His word, are you willing to really prove your beliefs and examine yourself (1 Thess. 5:21; 2 Cor. 13:5 respectively)? Are you following the scriptures, or the traditions of men...traditions that are not harmless, but are in fact contrary to His word?

Do you know?

No comments: