"You have a fine way of rejecting the commandment of God in order to establish your tradition!" -- Mark 7:9
I'm not sure why this passage of Scripture seems to speak to me so clearly every time I read it. I have blogged on this passage previously, but I wanted to address it again in light of my recent post on alcohol.
This statement from Jesus really challenges me to evaluate every tradition in light of Scripture. From the type of music we use in church to the translation of the Bible we use to the constitutions and covenants that govern our corporate convictions, I want everything to be governed by divine revelation. We must be subject to God's Word! How can we expect to please God when we reject his commandments in order to establish our own traditions?
What about our traditions like Christmas and Easter? Why do we celebrate these things? Do we celebrate because we enjoy it, or do we celebrate because we enjoy God and want to honor the name of Christ? Do we hold convictions against certain practices simply because we were taught to do so?
This evaluation of our traditions will require great effort. If we want to be biblical in every area of our lives, we must know our Bibles and we must apply God's Word to our lives. We must recognize the principles behind the biblical practices and seek to apply those same principles in our own traditions. We cannot expect to please God by doing whatever we want to do without thought to the reasons why we do them.
"There is a way that seems right to a man, but its end is the way to death." -- Proverbs 14:12
"Unless I am convicted by Scripture and plain reason--I do not accept the authority of popes and councils, for they have contradicted each other--my conscience is captive to the Word of God. I cannot and I will not recant anything, for to go against conscience is neither right nor safe. Here I stand, I cannot do otherwise. God help me." -- Martin Luther at the Diet of Worms, 1521
May our consciences, too, be captive to the Word of God!