Archive for June, 2012
Wretched man that I am, who will save me from this body of death? – Romans 7:24, ESV
Since the beginning of the year the Lord has really put Romans 7 on my heart in such a way that in everyday life I find myself thinking on this passage and it’s implications. I wanted to share a few observations the Spirit has revealed regarding this text that they may help you.
The Direction of the Sins of Christians is Christ
Set aside those who would call themselves Christians and let us focus on those who are truly saved. Those who are truly saved still sin. This sin is because of our flesh. The flesh is that part of us which is still human. This is reflected in Romans 7 as Paul contends that the law is holy, but finds us sinful. God is holy, his law is just, and it finds us in guilt. What can a Christian hope to do with the guilt that God has heaped upon us by our own sin? We have to conclude that we are wretched and unsalvageable. Then comes Christ and the full glory of God was crucified on the cross and then rose on the third day so that we might believe. Therefore the sin of the Christian calls not to their guilt, for the guilt of the Christian was put on the lamb as he was slaughtered, and instead points to Christ. The holiness of the law is reflected in God’s wrath on the son because of the sin of the believer. (more…)
“You leave the commandment of God and hold to the tradition of men.” Mark 7:8, ESV
“But when I saw that their conduct was not in step with the truth of the gospel, I said to Cephas before them all, ‘If you, though a Jew, live like a Gentile and not like a Jew, how can you force the Gentiles to live like Jews?’” Galatians 2:14, ESV
As a younger man I find that when I talk to people who are younger most of the unbiblical traditionalism they see is in the rear view. It’s behind them with their parents or grandparents and their churches. Organ music, older translations, and wearing a suit to church are all considered to be forms of judgementalism which when used for evil is something to be run from. I have attended many churches which have told me that they were not like my last church because they weren’t harmful to my faith and were rather there for me. Traditionalism and hypocrisy is a sin, and the bible does recognize that those who appear to be most devoted can actually be traditionalistic hypocrites, but the scripture also seems to indicate that if we run from tradition to more tradition and not the cross of Christ that we can just as easily fall into sin as those we view as traditionalistic. This is a warning to my generation which is up and coming in church. If we go from tradition to tradition we have neglected the faith and should suffer as hypocrites.
When Christ walked the earth his most vocal critiques were Pharisees who were misled by their passion for godless tradition and sinful hearts into killing Christ. Traditionalism has at it’s heart man. When man is justified by man’s works then man is worshipping himself. A traditionalistic person will replace their love of God with love of self. Traditionalism does not bow to scripture but rather sets it’s own course. Traditionalism leads away from Christ to pride or despair. Pride if one feels as though one can truly find salvation in self, or despair if one feels as though there is no hope to find salvation because it can’t possibly come from self.
Characteristically traditionalism is considered to be cultural. Old churches which use hymnals, don’t have electric guitars or Facebook pages, where preachers are stern about sin could be considered traditionalist by the larger community or even other believers. The solution presented by some is to create an alternative community that looks like the world around them, does not call out Christians on their sinful behavior in humility, and spend large money on advertising and reaching people. The problem is that this is not enough.
Years after Christ died Cephas (Peter) was the head of the church in Jerusalem when he was approached by an upstart evangelist named Paul (formerly Saul). Paul, filled with the Holy Spirit, calls Cephas out on his traditionalism. Cephas had just started the church of Jerusalem, he had grown large, and he had led the church into traditionalism. Cephas’ traditionalists were called the “circumcision party” because of their requirement that Gentiles who came to believe in Christ should be circumcised to be Christians. Paul calls out Cephas for his hypocrisy and tells him to repent. So where had Cephas, with his new systems, new church, and new ideas gone away from the gospel? Traditionalism. (more…)