"He answered and said unto them, Well has Esaias prophesied of you hypocrites, as it is written, This people honors me with their lips, but their heart is far from me. Howbeit in vain do they worship me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men. For laying aside the commandment of God, you hold the tradition of men, as the washing of pots and cups: and many other such like things you do. And he said unto them, Full well you reject the commandment of God, that you may keep your own tradition.” Mark 7:6-9 (See also Matt 15:7-9)
It’s no secret that many “Christian” churches have become abusive businesses disguised as churches, run by CEOs disguised as shepherds. Churches like this prey on the vulnerable and unwary, and cater to human selfishness in order to attract and recruit members. Those in the world can usually see this far easier than most Christians who are usually too close to the problem to recognize it. Sad to say, many people have turned away from faith in Jesus Christ and want nothing more to do with Christianity in general because of the pain and suffering that they have endured at the hands of these so-called “churches?” and their counterfeit leaders. Jesus gets blamed for the folly of rebellious men (and women) who refuse to adhere to the clear teachings of the Bible. Instead, these false leaders teach their own ideas, theories and opinions as if they were the truth and the clear commands of Christ.
As noted above, the Bible says in Mark 7:6-7, “This people honors me with their lips, but their heart is far from me. Howbeit in vain do they worship me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men.”
Why then do so many professing Christians embrace the commandments of men as if they were actually the doctrines of Christ? In verse 9, Jesus gives us the answer, “Full well you reject the commandment of God, that you may keep your own tradition.”
The reason that so many professing Christians embrace the false teachings of so many powerful “churchmen” is so that they can keep the traditions that they have grown so fond of and have come to love so much. But Jesus made it very clear that manmade traditions are very dangerous. We read in Mark 7 verse 13, “Making the Word of God of none effect through your tradition, which you have delivered [handed down]: and many such like things you do.”
Since the traditions of men make the Word of God of none effect, this makes the traditions of men one of the most dangerous if not the most dangerous enemy of the Christian faith. The following verses demonstrate why. I did not include verses 10-12 above in the King James translation, because in most translations these verses are difficult to understand, but the Amplified translation sheds some light:
“For Moses said, Honor (revere with tenderness of feeling and deference) your father and your mother, and, He who curses or reviles or speaks evil of or abuses or treats improperly his father or mother, let him surely die. But [as for you] you say, A man is exempt if he tells [his] father or [his] mother, What you would otherwise have gained from me [everything I have that would have been of use to you] is Corban, that is, is a gift [already given as an offering to God], Then you no longer are permitting him to do anything for [his] father or mother [but are letting him off from helping them]. Thus you are nullifying and making void and of no effect [the authority of] the Word of God through your tradition, which you [in turn] hand on. And many things of this kind you are doing.” Mark 7:10-13 (AMP)
In context, we see here that the traditions of men spoken of in the previous passage of Scripture are referring to the practices of the Pharisees who chose to teach their manmade traditions instead of teaching simple obedience to God’s Word in the area of the care owed by children to their aging fathers and mothers. The Pharisees taught that a man was exempt from his obligation to financially help his father and mother if he already gave money to the temple treasury (Corban). Jesus said at the end of verse 13 that there were other similar things that they were doing.
It is no mystery how the Word of God is actually nullified and made of none effect. Obviously we see here that what causes this monumental problem is man’s word being taught and observed instead of God’s Word being taught and obeyed. Today we see this problem on an epidemic level. Christians are regularly instructed to obey the complex and confusing teachings of men rather than the clear and obvious teachings of the Bible. Most commands in the Word of God are so simple that even a child can understand them. Yet counterfeit leaders pull off their con rather effectively by convincing their followers that their typically complicated teachings (of men) are actually the teachings of the Bible when in fact they are not. They do this by twisting Scriptures and lifting verses out of context in order to make theses verses look like they are saying something that the Bible does not say.
On a different note, though I hope to cover the topic of vain worship (Mark 7:7) in a future article, I want to briefly mention here that many Christians who follow the traditions of men rather than the ways of Christ, have no clue that their worship of God (e.g. Sunday morning service) is therefore done in vain. Ironically and hypocritically, they sing songs of worship to God while their give their allegiance and obedience to men and to their false teachings.