A Call To Repentance By
Gary Ray Branscome

  In vain do they worship me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men… Making the Word of God of none effect through your tradition. (Mark 7:7,13)

    As one reads Mark 7:7-13 it becomes evident that the traditions Christ was referring to, were explanations of Scripture. Therefore, while we usually associate the word “tradition” with customs or ceremonies, Christ was concerned with how the Bible was being interpreted, and specifically with explanations aimed at getting around what was said. He called those explanations “tradition” because they consisted of commentary (man’s word) not the Word of God.

    While many today see nothing wrong with explaining this or that passage away, Christ made it clear that whenever the words of Scripture are explained away, the Word of God is being made “of none effect” (Mark 7:7-13). That means, essentially, that those who explain away anything that the Bible says are hindering the salvation of souls (Romans 10:17). Therefore, since salvation is a pretty serious matter, let me present a number of Bible passages that are being explained away in our own day, while calling those who are guilty to repent.

THE BIBLE SAYS: “Then Joseph being raised from sleep did as the angel of the LORD had bidden him, and took unto him his wife: And knew her not [sexually] TILL she had brought forth her FIRSTBORN son: and he called His name Jesus.” (Matthew 1:24-25)
TRADITION SAYS: Joseph never knew Mary [sexually] and she never had any other sons.

THE BIBLE SAYS: “John did baptize in the wilderness and preach the baptism of repentance for the remission of sins.” (Mark 1:4)
TRADITION NUMBER ONE SAYS: Infants can be baptized without repentance.
TRADITION NUMBER TWO SAYS: Baptism has nothing to do with the remission of sins.

THE BIBLE SAYS: “As I live, saith the Lord God, I have no pleasure in the death of the wicked; but that the wicked turn from his way and live.” (Ezekiel 33:11)
TRADITION SAYS: God does not want some of the wicked to turn from their way and live, but has predestined them to damnation.

THE BIBLE SAYS: “They on the rock are they… which for a while believe, and in time of temptation fall away.” (Luke 8:13)
TRADITION SAYS: Once someone believes they can never fall away.

THE BIBLE SAYS: “Let both [wheat and tares] grow together until the harvest: and in the time of harvest I will say to the reapers, Gather ye together FIRST the tares, [unbelievers] and bind them into bundles and burn them: but gather the wheat [believers] into my barn… the harvest is the end of the world.” (Matthew 13:30,39)
TRADITION SAYS: The wheat [believers] will be harvested before the tares [unbelievers] and the harvest of believers will be before the end of the world.

THE BIBLE SAYS: “Christ is become of no effect unto you, whosoever of you are justified by the law; ye are fallen from grace.” (Galatians 5:4)
TRADITION NUMBER ONE SAYS: You cannot fall from grace.
TRADITION NUMBER TWO SAYS: Falling from grace just means that you lose some blessings, not that “Christ is become of no effect unto you”.

THE BIBLE SAYS: “And this is the will of Him that sent me, that every one which seeth the Son, and believeth on Him, may have everlasting life: and I will raise him up at the last day.” (John 6:39,40,44,54)
TRADITION SAYS: Christ will raise believers up before the last day.

THE BIBLE SAYS: “If any man shall take away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God shall take away his part out of the book of life” (Revelation 22:19)
TRADITION SAYS: Once your name is in the book of life it cannot be blotted out.

THE BIBLE SAYS: “For as often as ye eat this bread, and drink this cup, ye do shew the Lord’s death till he come.” (1Corinthians 11:26)
TRADITION SAYS: We are not eating bread, because the priest has turned it into Christ's actual flesh.

THE BIBLE SAYS: “Take, eat: this is my body.”
TRADITION SAYS: It is not really Christ's body.

THE BIBLE SAYS: “These things have I written unto you that believe on the name of the Son of God; that ye may know that ye have eternal life.” (1John 5:13)
TRADITION NUMBER ONE SAYS: You cannot know that you have eternal life.
TRADITION NUMBER TWO SAYS: You cannot know that you have eternal life until you have a salvation experience.

THE BIBLE SAYS: “He said unto them, This is My blood of the new testament, which is shed for many.” (Mark 14:24)
TRADITION SAYS: It is not really Christ's blood.

THE BIBLE SAYS: “Ye are not under the law, but under grace.” (Romans 6:14)
TRADITION SAYS: You are still under the law that requires tithing.

THE BIBLE SAYS: “I do not frustrate the grace of God: for if righteousness come by the law, then Christ is dead in vain.” (Galatians 2:21)
TRADITION NUMBER ONE SAYS: Our works make us holy in the sight of God.
TRADITION NUMBER TWO SAYS: We please God by obedience to the law.

THE BIBLE SAYS: “When the Son of man shall come in His glory, and all the holy angels with Him, then shall He sit upon the throne of His glory; And before Him shall be gathered all nations: and He shall separate them one from another, as a shepherd divideth his sheep from the goats:” (Matthew 25:31-32)
TRADITION NUMBER ONE SAYS: Christ's sheep [believers] will not be at the last judgement.
TRADITION NUMBER TWO SAYS: Only sheep [believers], not goats [unbelievers], shall stand before the judgement seat of Christ.

THE BIBLE SAYS: “I suffer not a woman to teach, nor to usurp authority over the man, but to be in silence.” (1 Timothy 2:12)
TRADITION SAYS: That does not apply to us today.

THE BIBLE SAYS: “But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it: for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die.” (Genesis 2:17)
TRADITION SAYS: “Ye shall not surely die.” (Genesis 3:4)

    In the final example I quoted Genesis 3:4 in order to emphasize the fact that those who contradict the Word of God are speaking the word of Satan. Instead of contradicting God's Word, we ought to humbly accept and believe what it says.

    Some of the traditions that I listed were invented by people who were actually trying to harmonize a passage with what the Bible says about Justification by Faith. Nevertheless, they were going about it in the wrong way, for whenever we contradict the Word of God, we are doing the devil’s work.

    No matter what the Bible says, we must let the words stand as they read. For Example: In trying to understand the words, “baptism doth also now save us” we must never contradict what they say (1Peter 3:21). If the Bible says “baptism doth also now save us,” then that is exactly what God wants us to believe and teach. However, because the Bible defines baptism as a “baptism of repentance,” Peter’s definition of baptism was broad enough to include repentance and faith in Christ (Acts 2:38). Therefore, Peter was not referring to the performance of the ritual itself, but to conversion, of which baptism is the outward evidence.

    For another example, consider the words, “Christ is become of no effect unto you, whosoever of you are justified by the law; ye are fallen from grace.” (Galatians 5:4) Some Christians try to explain that passage away because they assume that if they could fall from grace, their salvation would depend on works. However, they are missing the point, because those who seek to be “justified by the law” are those who are trusting in works, not those who do not have enough works. Therefore, works are the problem, not the solution. Because we are saved by grace, grace alone can keep us from falling (Jude 24, 2Timothy 1:12, 1Peter 1:5).


    Those truths that are explicitly stated in Scripture, “here a little, and there a little” are the standard to which all teaching must conform and by which all teaching is to be judged (Isaiah 8:20 and 28:10). At the same time, anyone who contradicts that standard is rebelling against God. Nevertheless, American churches have drifted so far from the truth that such contradiction has become common place.