Jesus fiercely guarded the integrity of the word of God against limiting or misleading religious traditions, does he not also do so today? He is the same yesterday, today, and forever, and I do not see him growing tired of that which motivated him on Earth.
“Jesus replied, ‘And why do you break the command of God for the sake of your tradition? For God said, “Honour your father and mother” and “Anyone who curses their father or mother is to be put to death.” But you say that if anyone declares that what might have been used to help their father or mother is “devoted to God,” they are not to “honour their father or mother” with it. Thus you nullify the word of God for the sake of your tradition.’ Matthew 15:3-6
The Pharisees were nullifying (reducing to nothing) the word of God, replacing its life-giving truths with traditions of their own invention. There is a difference in God’s eyes between the teacher and the taught. The Bible is clear that when we become teachers, we take on a new level of spiritual accountability. When we become shepherds, we answer to the Great Shepherd, who jealously guards his sheep. When we teach untruths from the pulpit and replace the word of God with powerless traditions, we harm the children of God, and God is protective of his children
Many Christians have become hopelessly compromised by insidious traditions which nullify the word of God – misleading ideas which have an appearance of humility but confuse us about the very nature of God. Let me present a single, simple example – something I hope most believers can get on board with. I’ll present the word of God first, and the tradition second.
“Very truly I tell you, whoever believes in me will do the works I have been doing, and they will do even greater things than these because I am going to the Father. And I will do whatever you ask in my name, so that the Father may be glorified in the Son.” John 14, 12-13:
Jesus was speaking to his disciples from the heart, in the knowledge that the cross awaited. Contextually, he is talking about his miracles, urging his disciples to believe in him as the Son of God because of the works he has done in their sight. Caught up in the Spirit, he prophesies that those who believe in him, including believers down through the ages, will perform the same, and even greater miracles. In the power and effectiveness of his children, Father God will be glorified. What a glorious promise!
How many churches believe and teach what Jesus promised we will do and how many churches are seeing their members operating in the power of the Holy Spirit with all nine gifts of the Spirit (1 Corinth. 12:4-11) including healing.
We lower our expectations of God, reducing his incredible promises to match our experience. By doing so, we lose our hold on faith, because we are no longer clinging to his word – our grip has been transferred instead to the tradition, and we are well adrift of the truth. Once we drift from the truth of God’s active, compassionate, interventionist love, and the promises of his miraculous provision, deliverance, and healing, we lose sight of who God is altogether. We paint a lesser picture and worship it instead.