Now I’m serious about this. You may think I’m joking, but I’m not. Sometimes we are so proud of our own thoughts that we refuse to give them up, even if it makes God a liar! Romans 3:4 God forbid: yea, let God be true, but every man a liar; as it is written, That thou mightest be justified in thy sayings, and mightest overcome when thou art judged It is just a simple but sad truth that we can love our own thoughts to the point of making God a liar. We can be taught something by our preacher, our teacher or our parent, from birth and we think we know it is true. At the same time we claim that we love God and the Bible, but we will choose a lie over the truth of God’s Word more often than not, if it means giving up that which we hold so dear to our hearts.
It’s true my friends. Please examine your hearts. In the 15th chapter of Matthew Jesus is teaching the Scribes and Pharisees. I don’t suppose it was going over too well, but he was telling them they were way too proud of their traditions, and that this was something that they were going to have to give up. He keeps talking to them about the traditions of the elders. These are the ingrained beliefs that have been passed down for many generations, and which we still believe are necessary to keep us safe. In verse 3 he says, “why do you transgress the commandment of God by your tradition?” You might say that there is nothing wrong with a little tradition, it keeps us safe, and it keeps us in unity, but here Jesus is warning them that by keeping tradition they are transgressing the commandment of God. Is it possible to obey God and still keep the traditions of men?
He goes on to rebuke them some more, and in verse 6 he says to them “And honour not his father or his mother, [he shall be free]. Thus have ye made the commandment of God of none effect by your tradition.” In the next verse he goes on to call them hypocrites. Rather strong words, and I’m sure, words that they did not want to hear. But this is a very serious rebuke to those who honor the traditions of men, and at the same time transgress the commandments of God. Don’t forget this.
He speaks of people who draw near to him with their lips, but their hearts are far from him. This tells us that we can speak much of him, testify of him, follow the rules and traditions, but our hearts can still be far from him. Verse 9 says “But in vain they do worship me, teaching [for] doctrines the commandments of men.” Do you hear this? If you teach as doctrines the commandments of men, you are worshiping God in vain. He is not pleased with these offerings. He is repulsed by the things we bring him that are pleasing to men. The things that please men are an abomination to God. Later, the disciples came to him and told him that the Pharisees were not happy with him for the things he was saying. Jesus told them “Every plant, which my heavenly Father hath not planted, shall be rooted up.” Once again, a pretty harsh judgment. If it is not planted by God and honoring him in every way, he will root it up. No amount of striving by man to build it up, repair it and enforce it will have any effect. God will tear down that which does not honor him.
Remember this. If you bow to please men, if you claim that you love the traditions of men, God will root you up. He refers to men who do this as hypocrites. Our human reasoning might some times want to tell us that we are doing a good thing by obeying the traditions of men, but Jesus said that we are not. This can be confusing to a person who is steeped in tradition. As Bennie Giesbrecht said in his book Keeping the Faith, enforcing a belief in the One True Church is essential to giving him power. Think this through. If you believe in the one true church, you might see a place where you feel you are simply honoring the traditions of men and you might feel troubled by it. However, you also know, without even thinking about it, that if you question it, the repercussions will be severe. You begin to recount the ways in which you do believe in excommunication and avoidance, the ways in which you are sure it is necessary to wear a headcovering and a beard (according the the church’s interpretation) and before you know it, you are overwhelmed. You back away from your questioning, because you know very well that if one brick is moved the whole wall will fall. Thus the power of the church is strengthened. So, remember this…..questioning will lead to a complete destruction of your former structure. It will all fall down. Go to the preacher and question his teachings. If you go to him, rather than have him come to you, you will take the upper hand. It is a spiritual principle. God will help you if you take the first step. It is when you are fearful and wait for them to call you up to visit, and then you tremble when you are found out that that spirit of fear is allowed to take you over. Go to them first, with scripture. Hold them accountable. And do not make God a liar. If your traditions and your own beliefs are in conflict with scripture, then you are making God a liar. Consider well the depth of this.
Truth justice mercy and love