God’s Word is the benchmark of life
They worship me in vain; their teachings are but rules taught by men
He replied, “Isaiah was right when he prophesied about you hypocrites; as it is written:
“‘These people honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me.
They worship me in vain; their teachings are merely human rules.’ – Mark 7:6-8
You have let go of the commands of God and are holding on to human traditions.
Don’t surrender your study of God’s word to others for the sake of convenience. To do so is to abandon the gift of having the Bible in our own tongue and available to you.
There was a time when the Bible was not available to the masses. The Bible was available only to the clergy. It was against church regulations for the common people to even get a peek of God’s word.
Putting the Bible in the hand of the common people was one of Martin Luther’s greatest accomplishments. He translated the Bible into the language of the common people and made it available to anyone who could read.
Since then, the people are no longer solely reliant upon the clergy for information from the Bible. Prior to the people having the Bible in their own tongue, the clergy used the Bible as a tool to control and frighten the people.
We are thankful to Luther and the many scholars who have toiled tirelessly to make sure that we have God’s word in our common language and in our hands. Unfortunately, many of us have become lax and complain that we are too busy to make time to study God’s word.
Consequently, we are reverting to times of old. Because we refuse to make time to study God’s word, many scholars and religious leaders are taking liberty with the Scriptures.
They are explaining away the things of God. When new customs become popular, the churches of our day change God’s commands or turn a blind eye to them to accommodate these customs and practices. Nobody can explain God’s word better than God.
Unfortunately, people latch on to these new practices and forget all about God’s commands.
After a little while, because we neglect the study of God’s word, we tend to believe that the new custom comes from the word of God.
We are living in some troubled times. Constantly governments change the state laws to conflict with God’s law. When this happens, we are to cling to God’s law.
Duly elected governments are legitimate. We in the Christian church have a responsibility to adhere to the laws of the land, however, the legitimacy of a government is not an excuse to abrogate the laws of God for the laws of man.
There is no law or regulation upon this earth that is greater or more important than God’s commands. God’s word is the benchmark of life.
Church tradition and regulations cannot be in conflict with the Word of God. God’s law takes precedence over all law of man. Therefore, when man’s law conflicts with God’s law, Christians are free to ignore them and to cling to and adhere to God’s law.
Jesus wants us to study and to know his word. The better we know it and grow in it, we grow to love God. When we love God, we are prepared to make sacrifices. We give a little more. We stand up for what is right. God’s word and not the world’s standard becomes our benchmark.
Serving God is not doing what we think is pleasing to those who will see our actions. Pleasing God is doing what is right, in God’s sight. Amen.
• Rev. Samuel M. Boodle, pastor at The Lutheran Church of Nassau, can be reached at P.O. Box N 4794, Nassau, Bahamas, or telephone: 323-4107; E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org, Website: www.Nassaulutheranchurch.org.