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An Acceptable Practice? Part 2

An Acceptable Practice? - Part 2
The Laws of Hermeneutics

Beware lest anyone cheat you through philosophy and empty deceit, according to the tradition of men, according to the basic principles of the world, and not according to Christ. Colossians 2:8 (NKJV)

One of the biggest hindrances of true Church worship and a relationship with Jesus is the stuff that was added by man over history - stuff that was never given to us by God -  religious stuff. To be blunt about it, I can find myself very frustrated at religious practices that have been composed of the many rules and practices added by the religious clergy, by cultist, and even religious zealots.  These are things that have been added in an attempt to control, manipulate, and to dictate how people are to commune with, pray to, and are able to worship God. My point is simply this - God doesn't require these practices, so why does man?

In Part 1 of An Acceptable Practice we began to look at the subject of acceptable practices within the church, and how we can learn what should or shouldn't be practiced.  Thankfully we have been given the Law of Hermeneutics to guide us through this process, which simply consists of 3 qualifications to qualify something as good.  They are:

1.    If it was taught by Jesus in His earthly ministry.
2.    If we can see that it was practiced as recorded within the Book of Acts.
3.    If we can see that it was plainly taught within the Epistles - the letters written by the Apostles in the New Testament. 

We also gave two examples of acceptable practices, which were, (1) The Lord's Supper, and (2) Water Baptism.  Let's take a look at an example of a common church practice that doesn't meet the three criteria listed above in the Laws of Hermeneutics.

1.    Auricular Confession, which is simply the audible confession of a sinner to the ear of another man.  This is not speaking of going to your brother and confessing any sin you may have committed that involves him, but going to another man and confessing your sin against God and asking for that man to forgive you.  This is commonly practiced within one denomination and it is their personal belief through what they call sacred tradition those sacred beliefs passed down through the generations of church clergy.

The problem with this tradition is that it goes against what Jesus taught.  He specifically told us to confess our sins directly to God the Father saying, "Our Father in Heaven, hallowed be Your name...forgive us our sins as we forgive those who trespass (sin) against us...(Matt. 6:9-13).  And we are absolutely told there is only one mediator between God and us, and that person is Jesus.

For there is only one God and one Mediator who can reconcile God and humanity - the man Christ Jesus. 1 Timothy 2:5 (NKJV)

Furthermore, nowhere within the New Testament is there an instance of the Apostles hearing private confession.  Nor do we find any of the Disciples confessing to a Pharisee or Priest.  So we can clearly see that confessing our sin and asking forgiveness from anyone other than God through Christ is in contrast to God's Word.  

Some reading this might conclude that this isn't a big issue, but this couldn't be further from the truth.  Jesus warned us repeatedly about exchanging God's Word with the religious inventions of man.  We see one such admonishing within the Book of Mark about rejecting God's commandments in an attempt to keep a man-made tradition.

And in vain they worship Me, Teaching as doctrines the commandments of men. For laying aside the commandment of God, you hold the tradition of men - the washing of pitchers and cups, and many other such things you do.  He said to them, All too well you reject the commandment of God, that you may keep your tradition...making the word of God of no effect through your tradition which you have handed down. Mark 7:7-9, 13 (NKJV)

 So using the principles within the Law of Hermeneutics we can clearly see that this Auricular confession was (1) not taught by Christ, (2) it was not practiced by the early Church as recorded in the Book of Acts, and (3) it is not taught in the Epistles.  In conclusion, we shouldn't accept it for general church practice today. 

The truth of the matter is that there are many things going on within religious groups today that are not proper according to the Word of God.  I am sure as you read the Scriptures you will be able to detect these things and be able to see that a religious practice is nothing like a relationship with the Living God Jesus Christ.

Hey Christian, remember this is why Jesus died on a cross for us.  That's why the curtain separating the place where God dwelled in the inner sanctuary of the temple ripped from top to bottom so that we would have direct access to God through Jesus.  When we apply the Laws of Hermeneutics, we will discover these fallacies, and avoid the pitfalls of Satan's schemes.

STUDY QUESTION: What does God tell us to beware of in Colossians 2:8?

PERSONAL INVENTORY: Can you see the Laws of Hermeneutics helping you to discover the truth from indoctrination of religious practice?

APPLICATION: Read your Bible, start a relationship with Jesus today.  Ask Him into your heart, and receive Him as Your personal Lord, and Savior.  Don't rely on religious practice to save your soul.

Father, thank You for Your truth and the understanding of it.  I thank You for my relationship with You, and the right to be called a son of God.  I denounce the religious practices that have been indoctrinated by men seeking to pervert the simplicity of the Gospel, and I thank You for revealing Your truth. In Jesus' name, amen...

Be Blessed, Pastor Scott

Copyright ©2017 by Pastor Scott Wright.
Unless otherwise indicated, Scripture taken from the New King James Version. Copyright 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved. Bible text from the New King James Version is not to be reproduced in copies or otherwise by any means except as permitted in writing by Thomas Nelson, Inc., Attn: Bible Rights and Permissions, P.O. Box 141000, Nashville, TN 37214-1000