22 December, 2014

Vain Worship

"Then came to Jesus scribes and Pharisees, which were of Jerusalem, 
saying, Why do thy disciples transgress the tradition of the elders? 
for they wash not their hands when they eat bread. But he answered 
and said unto them, Why do ye also transgress the commandment of God 
by your tradition?" (Matt. 15:1-3).

The Pharisees were the respected religious leaders of the Jewish people. 
They believed that they had the liberty to add to the commandments 
of God. The law of God did contain various ceremonial washings to 
signify the unclean becoming clean. The Pharisees simply added other 
washings to emphasize and "perfect" the law of Moses. There 
is no express commandment forbidding these ceremonial additions, except 
the regulative principle (e.g., Deut. 4:2; 12:31). These additions 
have no warrant from the Word of God.

Jesus Christ is the champion of the regulative principle. He strongly 
rebuked the scribes and Pharisees for adding to God's law. What happens 
when sinful men add rules and regulations to God's law? Eventually 
man-made tradition replaces or sets aside God's law. "Thus have 
ye made the commandment of God of none effect by your tradition" 
(Matt. 15:6). The ancient Christian church added its own rules and 
ceremonies to the worship of God and degenerated into the pagan and 
idolatrous Roman Catholic Church. If we do not draw the line regarding 
worship where God draws the line, then, as history proves, the church 
will eventually degenerate into little better than a bizarre pagan 
cult. Christ's rebuke to the scribes and Pharisees applies today to 
practically every (so called) branch of the Christian church. "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" 
(Matt. 15:8-9).

No comments: