Believest Thou Are Free: Part 1

Monday, July 07, 2014

Then the Pharisees and scribes asked him, Why walk not thy disciples according to the tradition of the elders;” (Mark 7:5)


Is your life a recurring tradition?

Some phrase it, “same thing, different day,” which merely means doing the same thing you’ve done before on a different day. We believe this is a simple example of holding on to traditions. We sometimes like to clutch tightly to the things of yesterday and repeat them today, tomorrow, and forever. We desire a routine to life so that we know what to expect, so that we won’t be challenged and so that we won’t fail.

But what if doing the same thing on a different day is keeping us bound? What if grasping the old life is stunting our new growth? What if we’re holding on to traditions that God has exonerated? What if we’re trying to make a law out of something Christ freed us from? What if our choices are keeping us chained?

Traditions. What are they? In the Greek, the word “paradosis” is translated to mean tradition. It is defined as something that is given over or handed down by word of mouth or in writing. In this series, we will refer to traditions as religious mandates created in the minds of men, that have been passed down through the generations. These type of traditions attempt to make God’s word null and “of none effect” (see Matthew 15:2, 3, 6; Mark 7:3, 5, 8, 9, 13; Colossians 2:8; 1 Peter 1:18; and Galatians 1:14).

In the context of the scripture in Mark 7, the Pharisees and scribes were attempting to accuse the disciples of not holding on to the traditions of the elders. Their tradition of washing hands is not related to how we wash our hands before eating for sanitary purposes; rather this tradition of washing hands was part of a religious ceremony invented by the scribes. Jesus stressed to the Pharisees and scribes that these types of ceremonies held no value and that true defilement comes from the heart (Mark 7:13-23), not from someone not washing their hands. He then rebuked them for rejecting the word of God in order to follow after traditions of men.

Same thing, different day.

Sadly, some of these same practices have crept into the church today; some churches only allow their members to eat certain foods, others attempt to make you dress (or not dress) a certain way to be in right standing with God. Others create rules that keep people away from their church; while others create rules that must be followed in order to be a part of their church. Some church leaders make it a point to bind their members to man-made traditions and deceive them into believing these practices are God’s word.

Are you being deceived? Can you decipher between a tradition of men or the word of God? If we (or our church) are holding on to things that cannot be found in God's word, then it’s more than likely a man-invented tradition. Not everything in the old day is necessary today. Christ died for our freedoms, not our chains.

Questions for Reflection:

1) Are we mimicking the scribes and holding to traditions that have no value?
2) Are we a part of church communities that bind certain laws on us that reject the word of God (Romans 14:5, 7-23)?
3) Are we inventing religious ceremonies that honor us, but dishonor God?


Thank you for joining us for our Believest Thou Are Free mini-devotional series! Tune in next Monday for lesson 2: Vain Tradition, Vain Worship, as we continue to free ourselves from traditions that separate us from God!

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