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Religiously, when we think of traditions, we usually think of something bad. For example, the Pharisees made useless the commands of God by their traditions (Mk. 7:13). A tradition is something handed down from one generation to the next. These Jews had developed what they called verbal traditions which were eventually recorded in a book called the Talmud. To them, these traditions were as binding as the word of God. They asked Jesus, “Why do your disciples transgress the tradition of the elders.” (Matt. 15:2). This was in reference to the washing of hands and to them it was essential and binding. These Jews erred greatly in binding these traditions of men. In doing so, they transgressed the commandment of God (Matt. 15:3, 6). Before his conversion, Paul was a Pharisee (Phil. 3:5) and he was extremely zealous for these verbal traditions (Gal. 1:14). On the other hand, God’s word itself is referred to as “traditions.” God’s commands are traditions handed down by Him through the Holy Spirit (1 Cor. 2:10-13), and He is serious about folks holding them. Paul wrote, “Therefore, brethren, stand fast and hold the traditions which you were taught...” (2 Thess. 2:15). He praised the Corinthians for keeping God’s traditions (1 Cor. 11:2). This verse also tells us that they kept them just as Paul delivered them. We must keep all of God’s traditions just as He delivered them without addition or subtraction. Those who change them, or go beyond them, bring on themselves a curse (Gal. 1:6-9) and are cut off from fellowship with God (2 Jn. 9). Paul instructs us in how to deal with those who fail to keep God’s traditions, “But we command you, brethren, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that you withdraw from every brother who walks disorderly and not according to the tradition which he received from us.” (2 Thess. 3:6). Sadly, many in the religious world today are guilty of doing to the Gospel the same thing the Jews did to the old law; they are making it useless by their traditions. As a result, the Jews were splintered into different “denominations,” - Pharisees, Essenes, Saducees, etc.. Today, as a result of mingling traditions and commandments of men with the pure Gospel, there are different “denominations.” Just as the Jews recorded their’s in the Talmud, religions today record their’s in books called the Methodist Discipline, the Baptist Manual, The Catholic Catechism etc.. Just as the Pharisees, these people will be condemned for making vain the commandments of God by their traditions. God’s word is complete, containing all we need religiously, and for eternal life (2 Tim. 3:16,17; 2 Pet. 1:3). So there is really no reason to add traditions of men. Just read, study, and obey the Bible, nothing more, nothing less, and you will serve God just as He wants you to, and, you will receive eternal life.
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