GRACE TO GROW
Jerry A Collins
· Do traditions have any significance for our xian lives?
· What is to be the basis of our unity as believers?
· Do any man-made rules have a part in our spiritual growth?
We should always measure the church’s teaching, traditions, structure and authority by Scripture. During the Reformation, the mantra, sola scriptura, showed the commitment to only the Scripture to determine what was correct for the church. Today, the church should continue to scrutinize the teachings and traditions taught against those given in the Bible. If these are shown as unnecessary or wrong they must be changed or abandoned. Traditions are only helpful if they teach something but they are never sacred in and of themselves. Institutions, structures, traditions must be seen as a means to an end. When no longer useful or biblical we should not hesitate to opt for another. Traditions can become so sacred that we even teach them as doctrine. Remember that false teaching can come from within the church as easily as from without (Col 2). So the body of Christ must be in subjection to Scripture not the traditions of men. Galatians 2 illustrates the significance of tradition giving way to scripture and God’s truth. Our traditions, whatever they may be, must never become more important than the truth of the gospel.
1. THE GOSPEL WILL BE ATTACKED BY TRADITIONALIST
Ministry for 14 vears
1-2 5 times Paul went to Jerusalem (1) Acts 9:26-30; Gal 1:18-20 visit
after he left Damascus (2) Famine visit Acts 11:27-30; Gal 2:1-10 (3) To attend
Jer Council Acts 15 (4) Visit at end of 2nd
miss journey Acts 18:22 (5) Final visit Acts 21:15-23:35. 14 years he has been
preaching the gospel. Now with Barnabas a Jewish believer and Titus a Gentile
believer her visits
Run in Vain 3-5 The reason for this
private meeting was the fear that I mite
be running or had run in vain vs 2. It is not
that the apostle has any doubts or misgivings about his gospel message of the
past 14 years. After all he had received that very message from Jesus Christ.
But he feared that his ministry could be hindered or compromised by Jewish OT
Law-keepers who insisted that things like circumcision were still necessary to
be saved even for gentiles (Acts 15:1). And if the
2. BIBLE PEOPLE MUST STAY UNITED ON TRUTH OF THE GOSPEL On one hand the apostles supported decision of Paul & Barnabas not to have Titus circumcised--a specific issue. Titus was living proof that apostle’s doctrine was different than Judaizers. Apostles & Paul held same beliefs. Man never saved or sanctified by man-made traditions or rules. On other hand they also recognized Gods hand & calling of Paul/Barnabas to ministry of gospel.
No correction or modification 6 The
apostle’s did not correct or modify Paul’s message. There were no changes made.
This amounted to a full endorsement instead. Titus was allowed to leave
Affirmed His ministry 7-10 Here, Paul’s
ministry is put on equal footing with Peter’s. The one to the
gentiles and the other to the Jews. This apparently, contrasted vs 7 with the view of the Judaizers
whose traditions said that al gentiles had to become good Jews in order to be
saved. It was clear to those who mattered that
this ministry was authenticated with God’s favor vs
8. God had given success to both as they preached the gospel message to two
different groups of people. This was so clear in fact, that it was all sealed
with James, Peter and John vs 9 ratifying this
understanding with and endorsement by handshake. In other words, they all
shared this message and ministry in common. There was unity and agreement that
allowed the gospel to advance in spite of opposition to distort it. They only
made one request vs 10—continue caring for the poor
which is why they were in
(1) Don’t believe that your religious or spiritual or personal traditions have the same authority as the Scriptures. Your rules can be broken and I would not sin. But God’s Word cannot or I will sin. If you believe your rules carry same weight as Word of God you will cause division and become a false teacher.
(2) Tradition keeping leads to pride and pride biggest enemy of growth. Say I believe xians should not mow on Sunday so I make that rule which I keep. It is impossible for me to pass my neighbor on way to church without saying ‘I thank the Lord I am not like he is’. Keepable rules always lead to ride which destroys growth. By the way, Gods has rules too but for most part you cannot keep them mt 22:34-40; mk 7:15-23; Gal 5; Mt 5:48. But unkeepable rules don’t lead to ride they lead to humility-he starting point fr growth isa 66:1-2.
(3) Know the Word so well that you can discern what the truth is and have unity based on truth not tradition. That is the only kind of unity the Bible recognizes. The same unity the apostles and Paul had.