THE TRADITIONS OF MEN
A Call To Repentance By
Gary Ray Branscome
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
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
THE BIBLE SAYS: “They on the rock are
they… which for a while believe, and in time of temptation fall away.”
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.”
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
TRADITION SAYS: It is not really
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
TRADITION SAYS: It is not really
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
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
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
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.
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.