(Will you still continue without looking back?)
(2Th 2:15) Therefore, brethren, stand fast, and hold the traditions which ye have been taught, whether by word, or our epistle.
Are all traditions good for one’s faith? How can I know my traditions are OK with God? What should I do if I found my traditions against what God requires? We will answer these questions to find out if looking back has something to do with our continuing.
What is a Tradition?
Tradition refers to a certain beliefs and practices handed down from fore parents unto their generation. For example; “Lucky charms, Superstitions, Idol worship, Christmas, etc.” or it could be something purely nationalistic or familial and not really concerning spiritual. Many are based on the experience of others, then imitated until many years passed and it became a layman’s term. Then it became part of the culture and common practices of many that’s why it became a tradition. Many traditions were based on the commandments of man, or because it is what is acceptable to many. But good tradition does not come against God’s word. Because, maybe in the mind of one person what he is doing is giving praise to God, but if it is not based on His words, and only from man, it is vain.
Tradition at times depends on the dominance of culture and practices in a certain place and also on some historical matters. For example, if your country is among the colony of Spain, likely you have a Roman Catholic persuasion handed by your family because historically we are colonized for long years, more than 300 years. It means somebody had chosen it for you. If you were born in Arab countries, most likely you will inherit a Muslim faith, Islam. If you were born in India, you will probably and literally be a worshipper of cows, rats, snakes and many others like in Hinduism. If you were born in China, most likely your faith is Buddhism or Taoism. Or if you’re from a certain place which believe every spirit or even material things worthy of devotion then that could be so. We can name many things which these things are also present in other places around the globe. So, tradition is mostly a territorial and family influence since childhood. One believes and embraced a thing without studying it first or examining it if it is according to God’s word. But now that we have the right age and mind it is not wrong if we search for truth concerning what we all believe. The more we can prove that what we believe is worthy of our faithfulness. The more we can continue once we look back. And this is not a matter of disproving our family or our fore parents if they handed us good things. After all this is our own life and when we face God someday they can’t do something on our behalf. God knew all man as it is written
Joh 2:25 And needed not that any should testify of man: for he knew what was in man.
Just how many Traditions people have?
Traditions are countless and some are from simple to complex. Every individual, every family, every town and cities and every nation can have traditions, not just one but many. Read Mark 7:1-13 to consider what the Lord says.
Mar 7:4 And when they come from the market, except they wash, they eat not. And many other things there be, which they have received to hold, as the washing of cups, and pots, brasen vessels, and of tables.
Mar 7:8 For laying aside the commandment of God, ye hold the tradition of men, as the washing of pots and cups: and many other such like things ye do.
Mar 7:13 Making the word of God of none effect through your tradition, which ye have delivered: and many such like things do ye.
What comprises a good Tradition?
Tradition is useless even if you do it for God and in the name of God. It is also useless even if you do it with all of your heart, mind, soul and strength and even if almost all people are doing it also with you. God sees our heart and our emotions are deceptive (Jer.17:9). You can be so happy and feel blest even if you are not believing yet (Lk.24:41). So, the validity of our traditions depends not on our acceptance and sincerity, neither on others, but on God who accepts and approves of it (2 Tim.2:15). This is what the Lord told the Pharisees;
Mar 7:6 He answered and said unto them, Well hath Esaias prophesied of you hypocrites, as it is written, This people honoureth me with their lips, but their heart is far from me.
Mar 7:7 Howbeit in vain do they worship me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men.
And a good tradition is based on the word of God rightly divided. It does not come against God’s teaching.
Mar 7:9 And he said unto them, Full well ye reject the commandment of God, that ye may keep your own tradition.
We must be concerned first to obey God’s command before we obey man’s command or traditions (Mat.15:2-3.). Peter during his time had a good answer in Act 5:29
“We ought to obey God rather than men.” (also Acts 4:19)
He also wrote this to Jews who formerly were engaged in traditions that are vain.
(1Pe 1:18) “Forasmuch as ye know that ye were not redeemed with corruptible things, as silver and gold, from your vain conversation received by tradition from your fathers;”
And a good tradition has neither addition nor subtraction in the word of God. It must not just be shown that you can read it from the word of God but it should be considered if it is written for all time. That’s where rightly dividing the scripture should be more taken into consideration. You must know if a certain belief or practice ceased already or still in effect.
Paul also mentioned the word tradition but others do it erroneously
(2Th 3:6) Now we command you, brethren, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that ye withdraw yourselves from every brother that walketh disorderly, and not after the tradition which he received of us.
It means that tradition, when it is according to God’s word and handed to us, should also be done properly.
(Note also the word Tradition: It has a word in it like “Addition” and nearly to “Contradiction”) .This will give us a clue what tradition is if not based on God’s word.
Your Dilemma-Your Decision
Along the way, as you study some of what you hold dear in your faith and finding it if according to the scripture God approves of it, you found that something isn’t right but you are afraid to question those persons that taught you this. You are afraid that those people around you might react differently on the changes that are happening to you especially your love ones who tell you that your faith you believed for so many years and was handed to you is already more than 5 centuries old. But your love must choose wisely.
Mat 10:37 He that loveth father or mother more than me is not worthy of me: and he that loveth son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me.
If you love your priest, pastor, minister, teacher more than Christ you are not worthy of Him. And if you love your parents more than Christ you do not love what can give you more worth and you are making yourself not worthy of Christ. You are choosing between your Creator and a created being and it is written that everyone missed. We all come short of His glory (Rm.3:23).And sad to say through traditions, many have chosen to love their parents more than God. And when you accepted traditions and rejected God, it’s just like this
Jer 2:13 For my people have committed two evils; they have forsaken me the fountain of living waters, and hewed them out cisterns, broken cisterns, that can hold no water.
Paul also has a good example when placed in some kind of a dilemma. If you are zealous of your traditions Paul is beyond his equals and more zealous about it.
Gal 1:13-14 “ For ye have heard of my conversation in time past in the Jews’ religion, how that beyond measure I persecuted the church of God, and wasted it: And profited in the Jews’ religion above many my equals in mine own nation, being more exceedingly zealous of the traditions of my fathers.”
When the truth was revealed to Him by God he did not considered his zealousness to his traditions, not even consulting any human being to affect his obedience. He won’t allow somebody to make a decision for him. He is already grown up and can respond to what God says.
Gal 1:15-16 “ But when it pleased God, who separated me from my mother’s womb, and called me by his grace, To reveal his Son in me, that I might preach him among the heathen; immediately I conferred not with flesh and blood:”
How about you? Who makes decisions for yourself when it concerns you and your God? Will you leave it to your traditions? Will you not take responsibility for your every action?
The Dangers –your Destruction
(Col 2:8) Beware lest any man spoil you through philosophy and vain deceit, after the tradition of men, after the rudiments of the world, and not after Christ.
The word of God cautions us from the traditions of man. We have to be aware of it, be careful of it and that means a big ‘NO’. Tradition can be according to an acceptable philosophy but it can also be deceitful and can destroy you. It destroys you because you have chosen to obey it rather than Christ. You listened to the words of man yet you rejected God’s words (Mk.7:9,13). You consider pleasing yourself and other people rather than pleasing God.
Yes there are struggles and sacrifices (Php.1:29-30) when we decided not in favor of the traditions of man and it is included in one’s faith . But it is better to suffer the consequences that man can give rather than suffer from disobeying God. And man can also reward you for obeying them but God has better and more rewards for those who will choose to love and obey Him more than anything and anyone else. If you do not examine your tradition according to what His words says, or if you already have done it and learned that God is not pleased with it, I now leave it unto you and you decide.
Gal 4:16 Am I therefore become your enemy,
because I tell you the truth?
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