Teaching The Commandments Of Men As Doctrine Is Worshipping God In Vain!

(All Bible quotations, except otherwise stated, are from the New Heart English Bible).

Isaiah 29:13 The Lord said, “Because this people draws near with their mouth and with their lips to honor me, but they have removed their heart far from me, but in vain do they worship me, teaching the commandments and doctrines of men.

Isaiah 29:14 Therefore, behold, I will proceed to do a marvelous work among this people, even a marvelous work and a wonder; and the wisdom of their wise men will perish, and the understanding of their prudent men will be hidden.”

One of the greatest challenges facing Christians is how to respond to erroneous doctrines. Every servant of God has been confronted with this situation, and each must decide how to stand with the truth against the spirit of error. The Lord Jesus showed us the perfect way to handle this challenge in his various encounters with false teachers. Jesus had hypocritical religious leaders firmly in his sight, and didn’t pull any punches when confronting them with the truth. His most vitriolic speeches were reserved for merchants of error and peddlers of lies. At one time, he even had them whipped mercilessly out of the temple! Obviously, Jesus cared more about the integrity of God’s word than in maintaining a nice-guy image.

St. Mark 7:1 Then the Pharisees, and some of the scribes gathered together to him, having come from Jerusalem.

St. Mark 7:2 Now when they saw some of his disciples eating bread with defiled, that is, unwashed, hands, they found fault.

St. Mark 7:3 (For the Pharisees, and all the Judeans, do not eat unless they wash their hands and forearms, holding to the tradition of the elders.

St. Mark 7:4 They do not eat when they come from the marketplace, unless they bathe themselves, and there are many other things, which they have received to hold to: washings of cups, pitchers, and bronze vessels.)

St. Mark 7:5 The Pharisees and the scribes asked him, “Why do your disciples not walk according to the tradition of the elders, but eat their bread with unwashed hands?”

St. Mark 7:6 He said to them, “Well did Isaiah prophesy of you hypocrites, as it is written, ‘This people honors me with their lips, but their heart is far from me.

St. Mark 7:7 But in vain do they worship me, teaching as doctrines the commandments of men.’

St. Mark 7:8 “For you set aside the commandment of God, and hold tightly to the tradition of men.”

St. Mark 7:9 He said to them, “Full well do you reject the commandment of God, that you may keep your tradition.

St. Mark 7:10 For Moses said, ‘Honor your father and your mother;’ and, ‘He who speaks evil of father or mother, let him be put to death.’

St. Mark 7:11 But you say, ‘If a man tells his father or his mother, “Whatever profit you might have received from me is Corban, that is to say, given to God;”‘

St. Mark 7:12 then you no longer allow him to do anything for his father or his mother,

St. Mark 7:13 making void the word of God by your tradition, which you have handed down. You do many things like this.”

In the passage above, the Pharisees, zealous and passionate as ever in defending their traditions, had the effrontery to challenge Jesus and his disciples about their non-observance of the religious dogmas the sect had established. The hypocrites had set up many rules of outward righteousness, outside of the laws given to the Jews by God through Moses. Not only did they fabricate and add their own dogmas to God’s word, they actually placed their human traditions above the word of God, excusing violations of God’s commandments as long as their traditions were upheld. Jesus, never one to miss an opportunity to take down error and repudiate falsehood, mercilessly eviscerated their hypocrisy and vain worship of God. Jesus considered it a great act of deception and vain worship to claim to honour God while deliberately subverting the word of God for the sake of human traditions.

The bottom line is clear: you cannot claim to love God while disregarding his word, for God and his word are one. If we love God, we must keep his commandments and never add to them, for to add to the word of God or to remove from it, through human traditions and dogmas, is the greatest disrespect we can offer to God. To place human traditions above the word of God is idolatory, pure and simple, as that amounts to having another god besides and above the Word of God, who is God. It’s as serious as that! No wonder Jesus did not spare any such trivialising of the word of God! The only evidence that we love God is the keeping of his commandments. Offering lip service to God, while violating his commandments and supplanting them with human traditions, is a sure sign that our hearts are far from God and our worship of God is vain. When we teach and defend commandments of men as doctrines, we’re simply setting up another religion that God knows nothing about. That’s what Jesus said.

St. John 1:1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.

St. John 14:15 If you love me, you will keep my commandments.

St. John 14:21 One who has my commandments, and keeps them, that person is one who loves me. One who loves me will be loved by my Father, and I will love him, and will reveal myself to him.”

St. John 15:10 If you keep my commandments, you will remain in my love; even as I have kept my Father’s commandments, and remain in his love.

1 John 5:2 By this we know that we love the children of God, when we love God and do his commandments.

1 John 5:3 For this is the love of God, that we keep his commandments. His commandments are not grievous.

In the old testament, anyone who added to or subtracted from the scriptures was placed under a curse. Similarly, in the new testament too, to add to the word of God or remove from it is a grievous offence to be punished with eternal damnation in the lake of fire. The apostle Paul, under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, placed under a perpetual curse, anyone, including angels, who would preach a gospel contrary to the one he was sent by Christ to bring to the church. Thus, no one has the authority to bring human traditions into the church and place them side-by-side with, or even above inspired Scripture. Nobody has the authority to add to, or remove from, the word of God. Anyone who does that is certainly inspired by an antichrist spirit, and not the spirit of Christ.

Deuteronomy 4:1 Now, Israel, listen to the statutes and to the ordinances, which I teach you, to do them; that you may live, and go in and possess the land which the LORD, the God of your fathers, gives you.

Deuteronomy 4:2 You shall not add to the word which I command you, neither shall you diminish from it, that you may keep the commandments of the LORD your God which I command you.

Deuteronomy 12:32 Whatever thing I command you, that you shall observe to do: you shall not add thereto, nor diminish from it.

Revelation 22:18 I testify to everyone who hears the words of the prophecy of this book, if anyone adds to them, God will add to him the plagues which are written in this book.

Revelation 22:19 If anyone takes away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God will take away his part from the tree of life, and out of the holy city, which are written in this book.

Galatians 1:6 I am astonished that you are so quickly deserting the one who called you to live in the grace of Christ and are turning to a different gospel —

Galatians 1:7 which is really no gospel at all. Evidently some people are throwing you into confusion and are trying to pervert the gospel of Christ.

Galatians 1:8 But even if we or an angel from heaven should preach a gospel other than the one we preached to you, let them be under God’s curse!

Galatians 1:9 As we have already said, so now I say again: If anybody is preaching to you a gospel other than what you accepted, let them be under God’s curse!

Galatians 1:10 Am I now trying to win the approval of human beings, or of God? Or am I trying to please people? If I were still trying to please people, I would not be a servant of Christ.

Galatians 1:11 I want you to know, brothers and sisters, that the gospel I preached is not of human origin.

Galatians 1:12 I did not receive it from any man, nor was I taught it; rather, I received it by revelation from Jesus Christ (NIV).

We’re told in Scriptures that, in the last days, some would fall away from the true and original apostolic faith, and would give heed to seducing spirits and doctrines of devils, which they would introduce into the church as church dogmas and traditions. Such heretical doctrines are said to be inspired by demons, with the sole aim of leading men and women astray from the truth and into hell. That’s apart from the fact that commandments of men are grievous and burdensome, and make the practice of religion tedious and frustrating. With the extent to which traditions of men are embedded in the various denominations in Christendom, we don’t need any reminder that the last days spoken of by apostle Paul are here upon us! We’re truly living in perilous times!

1 Timothy 4:1 But the Spirit says expressly that in later times some will fall away from the faith, paying attention to seducing spirits and doctrines of demons,

1 Timothy 4:2 through the hypocrisy of men who speak lies, branded in their own conscience as with a hot iron;

1 Timothy 4:3 forbidding marriage and commanding to abstain from foods which God created to be received with thanksgiving by those who believe and know the truth.

1 Timothy 4:4 For every creature of God is good, and nothing is to be rejected, if it is received with thanksgiving.

1 Timothy 4:5 For it is sanctified through the word of God and prayer.

1 Timothy 4:6 If you instruct the brothers of these things, you will be a good servant of Christ Jesus, nourished in the words of the faith, and of the good doctrine which you have followed.

1 Timothy 4:7 But refuse profane and old wives’ tales. Exercise yourself toward godliness.

St. Matthew 23:1 Then Jesus spoke to the multitudes and to his disciples,

St. Matthew 23:2 saying, “Upon the seat of Moses the Pharisees and scribes sit.

St. Matthew 23:3 All which they will say unto you, observe and do; but their works do not do, because they say, and do not do.

St. Matthew 23:4 For they bind heavy burdens that are grievous to be borne, and lay them on men’s shoulders; but they themselves will not lift a finger to help them.

In conclusion, the Scripture is very clear about God’s disdain for adding to, or removing any precept from his word. Christians are not called to revise and modify the word of God as we please; rather, we’re to obey and observe all the commandments of the Lord, without turning to the left or to the right. God abhors any traditions of men added to the church to usurp or supplant his commandments. Doing that amounts to a great disregard for God and his word, and all who do so are promised the fierce wrath of God. True religion and true love for God are demonstrated by our fidelity to the commandments of God. If we love God, we will keep his commandments without any additions or subtractions. If we introduce human traditions into the church and elevate them to the level of doctrines, though we may swear that we love God, yet our action betrays our hearts as being far from God, and our worship of God as vain. As people that truly love God and worship him in spirit and in truth, we must preach and practice the word of God only, nothing more, nothing less and nothing else! May God help us to forever remain true and faithful to his word and his word alone!

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Published by Dr. Ndubuisi E. Ojo

Dr Ojo is a disciple of the Lord Jesus Christ, and a student of the Word of God, who believes firmly in the original apostolic faith as the only authentic version of Christianity, and the only legitimate basis for Christian conduct, order and doctrine.

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