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“Oh, the unspeakable greatness of that exchange,—the Sinless One is condemned, and he who is guilty goes free; the Blessing bears the curse, and the cursed is brought into blessing; the Life dies, and the dead live; the Glory is whelmed in darkness, and he who knew nothing but confusion of face is clothed with glory.” Trailady

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A person God turned around many times.

Monday, May 16, 2011

Traditions (Part II)

So Satan has false traditions within the church which God calls His own. Not that God put the false traditions there; they crept in without people suspecting it.

Paul writes of this. “That because of false brethren unawares brought in, who came in privily to spy out our liberty which we have in Christ Jesus, that they might bring us into bondage.” (Gal. 2:4). And John also relayed to us from Jesus, “I know thy works, and tribulation, and poverty, (but thou art rich) and I know the blasphemy of them which say they are Jews, and are not, but are the synagogue of Satan.” (Rev. 2:9).

Moses saw it happening to the Israelites in his day: “For I know that after my death ye will utterly corrupt yourselves, and turn aside from the way which I have commanded you.” (Deut. 31:29). Peter expected it. “But there were false prophets also among the people, even as there shall be false teachers among you, who privily shall bring in damnable heresies, even denying the Lord that bought them, and bring upon themselves swift destruction.
And many shall follow their pernicious ways; by reason of whom the way of truth shall be evil spoken of.” (2Pet. 2:1,2).

Daniel saw it in vision happening to the future Christian church. “And he shall speak great words against the most High, and shall wear out the saints of the most High, and think to change times and laws.” (Dan. 7:25). “And he shall destroy wonderfully, and shall prosper, and practise, and shall destroy the mighty and the holy people.
And through his policy also he shall cause craft to prosper in his hand;…and by peace shall destroy many.” (Dan. 8:24-25).

“And in his estate shall stand up a vile person, to whom they shall not give the honour of the kingdom: but he shall come in peaceably, and obtain the kingdom by flatteries.
And with the arms of a flood shall they be overflown from before him, and shall be broken….
And after the league made with him he shall work deceitfully: for he shall come up, and shall become strong with a small people.
He shall enter peaceably even upon the fattest places of the province; and he shall do that which his fathers have not done, nor his fathers’ fathers; he shall scatter among them the prey, and spoil, and riches.…
He shall … have indignation against the holy covenant:…and have intelligence with them that forsake the holy covenant.
And arms shall stand on his part, and they shall pollute the sanctuary of strength, and shall take away the daily sacrifice, and they shall place the abomination that maketh desolate.” (Dan. 11:21-24,30,31). And only those who “know their God” and “understand” can discern the replacement of a false religion for the true, while “the wicked” who “forsook the holy covenant” shall not understand. “The wicked shall do wickedly: and none of the wicked shall understand.” (Dan. 12:10).

This very ruse of false religion Jesus brought to light. “He answered and said unto them, Why do ye also transgress the commandment of God by your tradition? …
But in vain they do worship Me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men.” (Matt. 15:3,9). How subtle the serpent is! But, to the heart yearning for God’s love, living in a loveless, Christless religion, and finally finding Christ and His love, how obvious the lie of false religion! Even those ignorant in the details of theology, who have come to know the love of Jesus, see the fallacious façade and boldly say to the reigning doctors of the law, “Will ye also be His disciples?” (Jn. 9:27).

Not only in religion and theology, but the scripture speaks of other forms of false traditions elsewhere. “Beware lest any man spoil you through philosophy and vain deceit, after the tradition of men, after the rudiments of the world, and not after Christ.” (Col. 2:8). “O Timothy, keep that which is committed to thy trust, avoiding profane and vain babblings, and oppositions of science falsely so called. Which some professing have erred concerning the faith.” (1Tim. 6:20,21).

This counsel concerned philosophy, secular and even spiritualistic traditions. Philosophy and science attempt to explain nature, “to know, and to search, and to seek out…the reason of things.” (Ecc. 7:25). This is not forbidden in the Bible. They want to find the meaning of life, and the causes of natural forces, results we detect with our senses. But, divorced from the Bible, excluding its evidence, only leads away from truth. All that philosophy and science did for Solomon was provide a wisdom that led into “madness and folly.” (Ecc. 2:12). It drove him to “vanity and vexation of spirit, and…no profit under the sun.” (Verse 11). It ended in his total “confusion of face.” (Ezra 9:7).

Without the true understanding of the character of God and faith in Him, the human mind will never decipher the cause and meaning of life. Curiosity and inquisitiveness alone are not sufficient resources to comprehend life because of the influence of limited human understandings and explanations we’ve been taught all of our lives. Ignorant of God, this world and life will remain an incomprehensible and spirit-deadening chaos. Human philosophy is good as far as it goes, until it stops short of glorifying God and His law; then it immediately begins a descent into darkness and confusion.

“Behold, they are all vanity; their works are nothing: their molten images are wind and confusion.” (Isa. 41:29). “They shall be ashamed, and also confounded, all of them: they shall go to confusion together that are makers of idols.” (Isa. 45:16).

Idols of opinion within human philosophy do no differently. Only God in Christ can deliver us from the confusion Satan and his agents use to leach faith and hope from the human soul.

Egypt was the home of the most ancient atheism, rebellion, and philosophy. Egypt spread these aspects of paganism into Greece. God in vain tried to warn Israel away from any further association with them. “Therefore shall the strength of Pharaoh be your shame, and the trust in the shadow of Egypt your confusion.” (Isa. 30:3). “Do they provoke Me to anger? saith the LORD: do they not provoke themselves to the confusion of their own faces?” (Jer. 7:19).

All the atheism and bold worldliness and promiscuity of Egypt led, and its modern counterpart in secularism today will lead, to one inescapable end. A totally reprobate mind, devoid of balance and mental health, and a reckless life careening to its own destruction. Without the truth of God’s character, atheistic philosophy and science are simply extensions of spiritualism. It is spiritualism disguised as natural law and it covertly dooms it adherents to perpetual depression; it blights the mind with darkness, stealing from it any remaining childhood innocence, joy, and friendship. “And they shall look unto the earth; and behold trouble and darkness, dimness of anguish; and they shall be driven to darkness.” (Isa. 8:22).

Another form of false traditions is what the Bible calls, vain conversation. “Forasmuch as ye know that ye were not redeemed with corruptible things, as silver and gold, from your vain conversation received by tradition from your fathers.” (1Pet. 1:18). This form of evil looks safe because we learned it from our parents; and since everyone does it, it seems very natural and normal. It’s the home-grown jokes, the ribbing, teasing, horse laughter, the gossip, the cool friendships, the jesting, and the stubbornness in advancing higher in character. These may seem innocuous to life, yet they were absent in Christ’s character and are foreign to the Holy Ghost and the angelic hosts. All Jesus knew was excellence, which He saw in His infinitely pure and holy Father.

We learn these traditions from our environment, our family, extended family, neighborhood, our work place. Even the media, through the TV and radio and internet, urge us along in these deeply rooted “natural” habits and practices. It is the general acceptance and norms which train us in the use of crude speech, crudeness in thinking and in a careless attitude toward responsibilities entrusted to us.

These traditions’ daring braggadocio declares publicly that the traditions held by such a person are unchangeable, which it inherited from his parents and family, and such an individual refuses thus to even try to reform.

The fathers’ traditions appear in the game of cut-downs on a person’s weaknesses, instead of selflessly working to lift them up and helping them overcome their weaknesses. So self-exaltation and cruelty and prejudice have a part in “traditions of the fathers.”

Other traditions of our fathers permit the human to cross into open transgression while seeming right and feigning innocence. We see these traditions in the little white lies, the stealing for “survival”; its about carelessness toward bringing glory to our Creator, the love of popularity and making the local set of taboos the standard instead of the law of God—the source of natural law. It answers to the Psalmist’s verse, “It is time for Thee, Lord, to work: for they have made void Thy law.” (Ps. 119:126).

Followers of natural law would have fled from all these traditions of the fathers because it would have discerned an absence of trust and love, which childlikeness thrives on.

The Holy Spirit directly guides all those in whom natural law dwells. “For when the Gentiles, which have not the law, do by nature the things contained in the law, these, having not the law, are a law unto themselves:
Which shew the work of the law written in their hearts, their conscience also bearing witness, and their thoughts the mean while accusing or else excusing one another.” (Rom. 2:14,15). These, who have natural law but don’t have the Bible, will be the first to recognize its holiness and great worth, and will accept it joyfully. They have faith; and though their faith in God needs more definition and instruction, they have peace and grace. They even have experience in God’s providence in their behalf.

They are Gentiles, as the churched people would judge them. Yet they have more divine wisdom than many church folks. They have put the unknown God to the test and He came through for them because of their faith. Examples of this are Jephthah, the half-breed; the wise men from the east who knew more about the Messiah than the Jews did, and had the faith to act on that knowledge; the shepherds feeding their flocks near Bethlehem and largely ignorant of the Old Testament scriptures, yet rehearsing their hopes in the Messiah.

“Thus saith the Lord, Keep ye judgment, and do justice: for My salvation is near to come, and My righteousness to be revealed.
Blessed is the man that doeth this, and the son of man that layeth hold on it; that keepeth the sabbath from polluting it, and keepeth his hand from doing any evil.
Neither let the son of the stranger, that hath joined himself to the Lord, speak, saying, The Lord hath utterly separated me from His people: neither let the eunuch say, Behold, I am a dry tree.
For thus saith the Lord unto the eunuchs that keep My sabbaths, and choose the things that please Me, and take hold of My covenant;
Even unto them will I give in Mine house and within My walls a place and a name better than of sons and of daughters: I will give them an everlasting name, that shall not be cut off.
Also the sons of the stranger, that join themselves to the Lord, to serve Him, and to love the name of the Lord, to be His servants, every one that keepeth the sabbath from polluting it, and taketh hold of My covenant;
Even them will I bring to My holy mountain, and make them joyful in My house of prayer: their burnt offerings and their sacrifices shall be accepted upon Mine altar; for Mine house shall be called an house of prayer for all people.
The Lord God which gathereth the outcasts of Israel saith, Yet will I gather others to him, beside those that are gathered unto him.” (Isa. 56:1-8).

All the traditions from Satan dissolve away when we enlist ourselves with Jesus and abide in the Beloved, “under whose wings thou art come to trust.” (Ruth 2:12). “Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter: Fear God, and keep His commandments: for this is the whole duty of man.” (Ecc. 12:13). “Fear God, and give glory to Him; for the hour of His judgment is come: and worship Him that made heaven, and earth, and the sea, and the fountains of waters.” (Rev. 14:7).

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