The Trap Of Tradition

Matthew 15:1-9, Colossians 2:1-9

Seek ye first the kingdom of god and His righteousness

Last year a soldier on a particular day was set on guard at a particular place on a path in a park. When he asked what was the purpose of the guard no one seemed to know, but it was always done, the same time and the same place each year. The matter was then, out of curiosity, investigated and it was found that the practice went back to the last century, when the Queen had had a special tree planted there and a soldier was appointed to guard it for a time. It developed into a tradition and was carried out long after the Queen and the tree had gone!

We are all aware, for example, of the Church of Rome which has placed Church tradition on the same level as Scripture as a valid source of Christian truth. Look what a haul of heresies such as purgatory, images, and Mariolatry have come in by the ever-increasing freight train called Tradition. In the middle of this century, the pope added another new "truth" - the bodily assumption of Mary into heaven!

But we who claim to follow the Bible alone are still prone to fall into the trap of tradition. We see this in little ways: we perhaps like to sit in the same seat in worship and are annoyed if a stranger has taken that seat before we arrive. We do not have a liturgy, but our order of service may be inflexible. When a new pastor comes who would like to change minor things, he is reminded, "Oh, but we always do it this way."

The Pharisees had taken age-old tradition and used it as a cloak for their sin. By calling their money "corban" or a gift, they could evade their responsibilities towards their needy aged parents, because their possessions were now dedicated to the Temple. Such pious words were from men whose hearts were far from God.

Every Christian, every true Church needs to be on guard against tradition. It can begin so innocently and indeed apparently of necessity, but when it is in conflict with Biblical actions and duties, it is a trap!

FOR THOUGHTS: Are there any traditions in my life that are a trap?

FOR PRAYER: For heart honesty in drawing near to the Lord (v 8).