TRUST: In Traditions or In Truth

TRUST: In Tradition or In Truth is a dilemma that we are continually confronted. In this life, there are competing forces for the direction of your life, for your soul. Obviously, there are the forces of darkness and evil; then, there are those of light and God. In relation to this battle, Paul tells us in Ephesians 6:11-1311 Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. 12 For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. 13 Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand.

For the follower of Jesus Christ, the presupposition is that the battle, struggle or fight is real and inevitable. Consequently, we are to take a position to equip ourselves to experience victory in this battle. From theory to practice, we see Jesus addressing TRUST: In Tradition or In Truth.

Mark 7

The Pharisees and some of the teachers of the law who had come from Jerusalem gathered around Jesus and saw some of his disciples eating food with hands that were defiled, that is, unwashed. (The Pharisees and all the Jews do not eat unless they give their hands a ceremonial washing, holding to the tradition of the elders. When they come from the marketplace they do not eat unless they wash. And they observe many other traditions, such as the washing of cups, pitchers and kettles.)

So the Pharisees and teachers of the law asked Jesus, “Why don’t your disciples live according to the tradition of the elders instead of eating their food with defiled hands?”

He replied, Isaiah was right when he prophesied about you hypocrites; as it is written:

“‘These people honor me with their lips,
    but their hearts are far from me.
They worship me in vain;
    their teachings are merely human rules.’

You have let go of the commands of God and are holding on to human traditions.”

And he continued, “You have a fine way of setting aside the commands of God in order to observe your own traditions! 10 For Moses said, ‘Honor your father and mother,’ and, ‘Anyone who curses their father or mother is to be put to death.’11 But you say that if anyone declares that what might have been used to help their father or mother is Corban (that is, devoted to God)— 12 then you no longer let them do anything for their father or mother. 13 Thus you nullify the word of God by your tradition that you have handed down. And you do many things like that.”

14 Again Jesus called the crowd to him and said, “Listen to me, everyone, and understand this. 15 Nothing outside a person can defile them by going into them. Rather, it is what comes out of a person that defiles them.” [16] 

17 After he had left the crowd and entered the house, his disciples asked him about this parable. 18 “Are you so dull?” he asked. “Don’t you see that nothing that enters a person from the outside can defile them? 19 For it doesn’t go into their heart but into their stomach, and then out of the body.” (In saying this, Jesus declared all foods clean.)

20 He went on: “What comes out of a person is what defiles them. 21 For it is from within, out of a person’s heart, that evil thoughts come—sexual immorality, theft, murder, 22 adultery, greed, malice, deceit, lewdness, envy, slander, arrogance and folly. 23 All these evils come from inside and defile a person.”

In the passage above, Jesus rebuked the Pharisees for equating and teaching the traditions of man as doctrine of God. In doing so, the Pharisees nullify, at least in their form of worship, the commands of God.What comes out of a person is what defiles them not what goes into their mouths. Christ was/is highlighting and guiding through the dilemma TRUST: In Tradition or In Truth.  Truth, not traditions, must reign supreme in our hearts and minds. Jesus, in His conversation with God in John 17:17, said “your word is truth.” Other examples of how Jesus TRUSTed in Truth rather than traditions was that He talked with women, ate with sinners, healed on the Sabbath and allowed His disciples to eat consecrated grain. Those are just a few example of how Jesus did not trust in traditions. He would not follow traditions over truth nor should we.

Paul too attacked man’s confidence in the tradition of the day in Philippians 3. He said,

For it is we who are the circumcision, we who serve God by his Spirit, who boast in Christ Jesus, and who put no confidence in the flesh— though I myself have reasons for such confidence.

If someone else thinks they have reasons to put confidence in the flesh, I have more: circumcised on the eighth day, of the people of Israel, of the tribe of Benjamin, a Hebrew of Hebrews; in regard to the law, a Pharisee; as for zeal,persecuting the church; as for righteousness based on the law, faultless.

But whatever were gains to me I now consider loss for the sake of Christ. What is more, I consider everything a loss because of the surpassing worth of knowingChrist Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things. I consider them garbage, that I may gain Christ and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which is through faith in Christ—the righteousness that comes from God on the basis of faith.

The people believed by following traditions that they could be considered righteous. Paul refuted those assertions or claims. He explicitly stated that righteousness only comes through faith in Christ as Lord and Savior. Paul directed the consciousness of TRUST: In Tradition or In Truth.

Examples of traditions that are in opposition to the truth are:
  • Baptizing infants
  • Christmas trees
  • Confessionals to priests
  • Easter egg collection and the practice of not eating red meat on Good Friday
  • Prayers to Mary, or for release from purgatory
  • Processes of Penance
  • Supplying pastors luxury vehicles or jet planes
  • Times of Sunday worship service (my church meets at 2 p.m. on Sunday)
  • Type of worship music
Those are just a few traditions that divert attention away from the truth which is the Word both the written and living who is Jesus (John 14:6). Jesus rebelled against the traditions of His day that were in opposition to the way of God. We too should examine traditions to see if it is supported by multiple scriptures. If not supported in the Word especially if opposed or condemned, we need not support that tradition. It should be eliminated from our lives. That would be the example of TRUST: In Tradition or In Truth that Christ expects of His Church. Jesus valued truth over traditions and relationships over rituals or rules.

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