Know Your Bible
April 2004

"Why Do Ye Also Transgress The Commandment Of God By Your Tradition?"

In Matthew 15 when Jesus' disciples did not wash their hands before eating bread, the scribes and Pharisees asked Jesus, "Why do thy disciples transgress the tradition of the elders?". Jesus asked the more important question in verse 3: "Why do ye also transgress the commandment of God by your tradition?" and proceeds in the next few verses to give them an example of the fifth commandment in the Decalogue to prove His point. The conclusion Jesus drew is found in verse 6 with His statement, "Thus have ye made the commandment of God of none effect by your tradition." By devoting their property or means to God, they had relieved themselves from having to obey the command of God to honor their father and mother.

What we must learn is the very lesson Jesus was trying to teach to the scribes and Pharisees: Man's traditions quite often violates God's commandments. Quite often man's traditions relieve us from what it is that God has commanded. This is not a problem that ended in Jesus' day but has, instead, flourished up unto our present day and shows no signs of going away any time soon.

God commands in Acts 4:12 that "Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved." Today we have religious people engaged in the tradition of calling themselves by man-made names to distinguish the kind of Christian they are. Yet God has said there is "none other name...whereby we must be saved". The only "name" we can read about in the Scriptures that disciples of Christ wore was "Christian" (Acts 11:26; 26:28; 1 Peter 4:16) The same is true in regard to the name of the church. There is every name under the sun that can be found for churches. This, too, is another tradition that has caused many people to be led to the false conclusion that "there is nothing in a name". Again, the command of God in Acts 4:12 is made "of none affect by your tradition".

God commands in James 2:24 that "Ye see then how that by works a man is justified, and not by faith only." Today there are preachers who teach and people who believe that works has nothing to do with saving and the salvation comes at the point when a person believes. Therefore, this tradition of man is substituted for the commandment of God and people by the millions are believing they are saved by faith only. Thus man's tradition has "made the commandment of God of none effect" just like they were doing in Jesus' day.

God commands in 1 Peter 3:21 that "The like figure whereunto even baptism doth also now save us (not the putting away of the filth of the flesh, but the answer of a good conscience toward God,) by the resurrection of Jesus Christ:" and also in Mark 16:16 that "He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned." Today there is a very popular tradition of man which says, "Baptism has nothing to do with saving people!" and "If you're not saved before your baptized, you just go in a dry sinner and come up a wet sinner!". Thus baptism is looked upon as a "sacrament" or some other type of "church ordinance" but not as a commandment of God. Once again, people by the millions "transgress the commandment of God" by their traditions.

God commands in Romans 14:17 "For the kingdom of God is not meat and drink; but righteousness, and peace, and joy in the Holy Ghost." Today the tradition of man is so strong that there can hardly be a church found but what doesn't have kitchens, fellowship halls, and gymnasiums. It has even reached the point that if a church could be found that didn't offer these things to it's members and the community, they would indeed be considered odd and out of step. It is amazing how the traditions of men have rendered the "commandment of God of none effect". Yet, God still commands in 1 Corinthians 11:34 that "...if any man hunger, let him eat at home". God has given the duty and responsibility of eating to satisfy hunger to the home and not to the church. Yet, many continue to "transgress the commandment of God" by their traditions.

Can we not see that the problem Jesus faced with the scribes and Pharisees of His day is a problem that has not gone away. Jesus went on to explain in verses 8 and 9 that when we elevate the traditions of man to equal or greater significance than God's commandments, any worship we attempt to render to God will be in vain. While people may give the Lord "lip service", their heart is not willing to serve Him and do what His will is in the matter. "This people draweth nigh unto me with their mouth, and honoureth me with their lips; but their heart is far from me. But in vain they do worship me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men." How can our hearts be with God when we are transgressing the commandments of God with our traditions?

---E.R. Hall, Jr.

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"Is This The Truth?"

Ask a denominational preacher if what he preaches is the truth and he will surely say, "YES!". Ask him if one must believe the truth in order to be saved and he will no doubt say, "YES!". But, ask him if one must believe the particular doctrine which he preaches in order to be saved and he will probably answer, "NO!" (Now, make sense out of that!)


The Bible teaches man is saved by God (Titus 3:4-5), Love, (John 3:16), Mercy (Titus 3:4-5), Grace (Eph 2:9), Christ (Matt 1:21), Blood (1 Pet 1:18-19), Holy Spirit (1 Cor 6:11), Gospel (Rom 1:16-17), Faith (Rom 5:1), Repentance (Acts 17:30), Confession (Rom 10:10), Works of Faith (Jam 2:24), Baptism (1 Pet 3:21). The Bible nowhere teaches men are saved by any one thing only!

---Richie Thetford

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Tooth decay can be very bad, but truth decay is much worse.
Many people would serve God if they could do so in an advisory capacity.
The universe points to the God of Whom the Scriptures speak.

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