Monday, September 19, 2011

Making Void the Word of God

He answered them, “And why do you break the commandment of God for the sake of your tradition? For God commanded, ‘Honor your father and your mother,’ and, ‘Whoever reviles father or mother must surely die.’ But you say, ‘If anyone tells his father or his mother, “What you would have gained from me is given to God,” he need not honor his father.’ So for the sake of your tradition you have made void the word of God. (Matt. 15:3-6)

Blind Guides

The Pharisees and scribes were influential men in Israel. People looked to them to interpret and explain the Law of God — to lead them in righteousness. And yet, throughout the Gospels we find example after example of them being unfaithful in that duty. “Blind guides,” Christ called them (Matt. 15:14). They were well-deserving of His rebuke: “why do you break the commandment of God for the sake of your tradition?” (vs. 3)
You hypocrites! Well did Isaiah prophesy of you, when he said:
“‘This people honors me with their lips,
but their heart is far from me;
in vain do they worship me,
teaching as doctrines the commandments of men.’”
(Matt. 15:6-9)

The Commandments of Men vs. the Commandments of God

No man has the right to declare something as truth which God has not already declared to be truth (or, which is out of accord with His nature, since He is Truth itself). Let our appeal be to Scripture and Scripture alone — this is our standard!

Now, God has appointed preaching as one of the means by which we may come to understand His Word (see Romans 10:14), and there are many preachers who faithfully proclaim the truth, strengthening the church, and are worthy of honor (1 Tim. 5:17). Our brothers in Christ may (and should!) also come alongside us to encourage us, but we can’t ride on their coat-tails either. (Remember, we are not called to ‘be holy as your brother is holy’)

As the Reformers maintained, no man or earthly institution may stand between men and God’s Word. When the day is over, it is our responsibility to seek God through prayer and His Word, and by His grace, to apply what we learn to our lives.

Taking Every Thought Captive

We destroy arguments and every lofty opinion raised against the knowledge of God, and take every thought captive to obey Christ. (2 Cor. 10:5)
Nothing falls outside the realm of Christ’s Lordship. No thought is too far-flung, no action too personal, no word too casual, no emotion too uncontrollable. “He is the Lord our God; his judgments are in all the earth.” (Ps. 104:7)

How About Us?

Is God’s Word truly our standard for all of life? If we respond, “yes,” then are we truly willing to live our “yes”? Or did we say it because we know it’s the right thing to say?

Do we know what God hates, and do we, in turn, hate it? Or do we excuse it?

Do we truly love God, and, by consequence, love what He loves? Are we willing to unashamedly endorse what is true, right and beautiful, because God said it is? Or is that too embarrassing for us? 

When it comes to what we "like," are we willing to hold it up to the light of God’s Revelation and to reject it if it doesn’t stand? Or would we rather ‘break the commandment of God for the sake of our preferences?’ Some food for thought…
Search me, O God, and know my heart!
Try me and know my thoughts!
And see if there be any grievous way in me,
and lead me in the way everlasting!
(Ps. 139:23-4)

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