Thursday, December 1, 2011

Traditions of Men, Replacing the Righteousness of Baptism

Mark 7:1-8 (ESV) Now when the Pharisees gathered to him, with some of the scribes who had come from Jerusalem, [2] they saw that some of his disciples ate with hands that were defiled, that is, unwashed. [3] (For the Pharisees and all the Jews do not eat unless they wash their hands, holding to the tradition of the elders, [4] and when they come from the marketplace, they do not eat unless they wash. And there are many other traditions that they observe, such as the washing of cups and pots and copper vessels and dining couches.) [5] And the Pharisees and the scribes asked him, "Why do your disciples not walk according to the tradition of the elders, but eat with defiled hands?" [6] And 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; [7] in vain do they worship me, teaching as doctrines the commandments of men.' [8] You leave the commandment of God and hold to the tradition of men." So Jesus was righteous and knew it, so he didn’t have to pretend by following traditions of men. So it is with Christians. We are baptized, we are righteous. It gives us freedom. We don’t have to follow traditions of men, pretend to be righteous, or try to be righteous, work on our sanctification as they say these days. And this to me seems to be the problem with Baptist theology, or at least the culture around it. They make baptism into something we do for God. They then do it repetitively, at least in many cases. But baptism to them, is nothing more than a confession of faith, and since they don’t believe it conveys righteousness or sanctification as scripture says, they then make it about the traditions of men. Now it is not baptism that makes you righteous, but the fact that you don’t use colorful language the likes of what Paul used in Phillipians. You Don’t Smoke. You don’t Drink. You don’t dance…. Of course, the sins of which God speak, gossip, coveting, using his name in vain, and by that I mean preaching false doctrine and claiming it doesn’t matter. Some of this is just crass Wesleyanism that would water down the law inorder to make righteousness attainable. But when this road is taken, more often than not, God’s law is swapped for man’s law. And if you do happen to drink a beer and smoke a cigarette, knock up your girlfriend and so on, you can always just be rebaptize, repledge. Be careful though, you might soon figure out that that best waits till you are ready to go, do it once right before death… Or just admit you are a sinner, and Christ forgives you, you are a saint, because “he is our righteousness.”

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