Compromising Truth For The Sake Of Tradition
The "traditions of men" do not have authority over Scripture, although it seems we place more importance upon rituals and traditions than the teachings of the Bible. When this happens the word of God is rendered powerless in our lives. Jesus said that there are those who draw near to Him with their lips (talk), but their heart is far from Him (their life invalidates their profession). In vain do we worship Him, teaching doctrines and commandments of men (Matthew 15:8,9; 7:21-23; Mark 7:6-9). The power to overcome sin is in following the Word of God, written and human form (John 1:1,14).
There are many reasons we attend a particular church. It could be that we were raised in the church, family and friends attend it, the familiar environment, baptized there, married or dedicated there or its proximity to home. Whatever the reason we remain there. But should any of these reasons transcend the importance of truth? Absolutely not! They are subordinate to truth and do not replace the importance of knowing and following truth. Jesus said whoever loves his father, mother, son or daughter more is not worthy of Him (Matthew 10:37). We must be willing to leave comfortable and familiar surroundings, as did Abraham, and follow Jesus the Truth.
With so many different Christian doctrines, how do we establish unity in the body of Christ and at what price? We sometimes compromise our beliefs by yielding to the voices of those calling for harmony and cooperation. This is done while sacrificing truth. The popular thinking of the day appears to suggest that all religions are equal and in spite of differences, ultimately lead to God. We are finding that for the sake of unity many religious groups are burying the old hatchets of doctrinal differences and beginning to see eye to eye. True unity of God's people is always based upon truth. Jesus prayed for His followers to be one as He and His Father are one (John 17:21). God has called His people to uphold unity on the platform of truth and not sacrifice it for the appearance of unity. Only by following the leading of the Holy Spirit who will guide and lead to truth can we achieve true unity.
Following the crowd has often proven to be wrong but dangerous as in the case of the antediluvians in the time of Noah (Luke 17:26). Only eight people went into the ark to be saved from the flood. Sodom and Gomorrah is another example of how it is not always wise to follow the crowd. Christ said, "...wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat: Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it" (Matthew 7:13,14). Jesus also said "That which is highly esteemed among men is an abomination in the sight of God" (Luke 16:15). Truth has never been popular with the masses. And those in the majority today, as in ages past are not really looking for truth as much as they are looking for a religion that will allow them to live as they want to live.
Sincerity coupled with error can be deadly. In fact it doesn't count for anything—unless it is coupled with truth. Sincerity of the heart is praiseworthy and necessary for faith, but it is not an acceptable substitute for following truth. One can be sincere, yet sincerely wrong. For instance, there are people who practice "snake handling" as part of their religious beliefs. As a result some have died. This practice may be performed out of a heart of sincerity but if what they are doing is based on false doctrine it can be deadly. People have also believed the second coming of Jesus was to occur on a specific date. They were sincere, but they were wrong. The Bible says, no man knows the day or hour not even the angels in heaven (Mark 13:32; Matthew 24:42). Our sincerity is founded in understanding Scripture and conforming our lives to it. Just as sincerity does not negate natural law, neither does it cancel spiritual law.Written by Carl Parker