Mark 7:9 (NKJV)
He said to them, “All too well you reject the commandment of God, that you may keep your tradition.”
Tradition isn’t a bad thing. I quite enjoy tradition actually. I love Christmas and our Christmas traditions that have become a yearly staple. Yes, traditions can be very nice, however when they become bondage that’s where their benefits end.
Religion is full of traditions, and always has been. If you’ve grown up in a church you are probably quite accustomed to those traditions. Traditions generally grow out of something that has been good or has worked in the past and people grab onto them in the hopes that they will continue to work in the future. It’s not a bad thought on the surface, but does it help us to be more spiritual? The answer is no. Often times, we do things that seem good because we always have, yet there is not much power in them. Paul wrote in 2 Timothy 3:5 warning Timothy, “having a form of godliness but denying its power. And from such people turn away!” Tradition in of itself may not be wrong but when it becomes something we do without understanding, it then turns into bondage.
Many denominations do things more out of fear than they do out of godly reasoning or direction. I have seen this clearly in one particular sect of Christianity we have in our area. The people belonging to this sect are wonderful people, hard workers, thrifty, and very innovative. There is a lot of their culture that is to be emulated. However, one that is dangerous is their tradition of bondage. There are many things that they do simply based out of tradition, many of which they have no understanding of why they do them. They do them based in a fear that if they don’t continue God will reject them.
This Jesus spoke about in Matthew 15:9 where He said, “And in vain they worship Me, teaching as doctrines the commandments of men.” The ironic thing is, all these traditional practices bring absolutely no one closer to God. God sent Jesus to make us free, not bind us by fear. Hebrews 11:6 tells us that, “without faith it is impossible to please God”. Faith by definition is surety. You cannot be sure of anything that you cannot understand. If you can’t be sure, then you can’t have faith, and if you can’t have faith you are living in sin. This is the very reason why scripture is written. Knowledge of His Word is what leads us to God, not traditions based on the whims or fears of man.
I don’t write this to bash or look down upon anybody. The Bible tells us that when we know the Truth that very Truth will set us free (John 8:32). I’m so glad that Jesus didn’t come to give more rules but to free us from the bondage of trying to follow them. God desires a relationship with us. A good relationship is never one where someone is forced into obligation. God so loved the world that He sent His Son to set us free. If His Son sets us free we are free indeed, from every whim and tradition of man. Have tradition at Christmas with your family or any other time that blesses you. When it comes to your faith, have the freedom of a relationship with the most amazing Father to ever exist!
John 8:36 (NKJV)
Therefore if the Son makes you free, you shall be free indeed.