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CityLight Pastor Commentary:
“Thus you have made the commandment of God of no effect by your tradition” (Matt 15:6). Jesus issued this stern rebuke to the scribes and Pharisees because they insisted the Messiah should play by their rules. We must always be cautious to avoid giving tradition and religion prominence over faith and a relationship with God.
Tradition is effective and quite obviously worthwhile when it helps us to obey God’s commandments and facilitates a relationship with Jesus Christ. Yet Jesus cautions against erecting false barriers to salvation. The Pharisees had built up a system of rules and regulations for the people of Israel, and one was only considered righteous if he played by their rules. Some Christian denominations have done the same over the past two thousand years, dictating who can be ‘saved’ by adherence to a works-based framework. Yet we know that salvation does not come by works, but by faith (Rom 3:28).
Jesus’ question is the same today as it was then: do you know Me? We must always seek to know Jesus; only by knowing Him can we truly follow His commands. New behavior can never produce change; we must let Him change us first if we ever want to behave differently.
“Father, I know you gave Your Only Son – Your Most Prized Possession – for me. Help me to embrace Your grace. There is nothing I can ever do to earn Your favor, and nothing I have to do to earn Your love. You love me as I am. Change me into the child You want me to be!”
© Michael D. White, 2014. All rights reserved.