The Baptist Beacon
Nullifying The Word Of God
By Elder Steve Perrigo
The Apostle Paul wrote in his epistle to the Corinthians about the power of God's Word, the Gospel of Jesus Christ. This power is in preaching. He states... I Cor. 1:18 "For the preaching of the cross is to them that perish foolishness; but unto us which are saved it is the power of God. Paul also wrote to the Romans....Rom, 1:16 "For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ; for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek."
John in his Gospel, introduces the being of Jesus as "The Word." But it is the introduction of Paul's Epistle to the Hebrews that reveals the purpose of God today. Heb. 1:1_3 "God, who at sundry times and in divers manners spake in time past unto the fathers by the prophets, Hath in these last days spoken unto us by his Son, whom he hath appointed heir of all things, by whom also he made the worlds; Who being the brightness of his glory, and the express image of his person, and upholding all things by the word of his power, when he had by himself purged our sins, sat down on the right had of the Majesty on high;"
The Word of God is a spoken word, a living word. God is still in the communication business and He is trying to speak to His Creation and His People. His word is powerful and effective. But what can nullify God's Word and law? Jesus said, "Thus have ye made the commandment of God of non effect by your tradition, Ye hypocrites, well did Esaias prophesy of you, saying, This people draweth nigh unto me with their mouth, and honoureth me with their lips; but their heart is far from me, But in vain they do worship me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men." (Matt. 15:6_9) Tradition has nullified the Word of God, manmade tradition. A repetitious practice becomes a tradition if it is maintained for a long enough period of time. Traditions today in religion are jeopardizing the cause of God. What particular tradition or practice are we referring to? The power and effect which tradition plays in the manner of our worship as well as the force is has upon our attitudes of life; the way we see ourselves and others. The Sunday morning ritual of going to church for example; the order of service, the songs we sing, the way we pray, all of these are popularly accepted traditions. But, if someone breaks with the tradition and changes something from the accepted norm, watch out for trouble! Somebody is going to complain! Many will talk and questions will be raised! In fact, somebody will find fault with the change of practice. That is what happens in religious practice. The ceremony of doing something a certain way becomes more important than the reasons or meaning upon which the ceremony was established. Have you ever asked why something is done a certain way and the reply was, "That's the way we've always done it!" Is that an answer? God's instructions, even in ceremony, prescribed reasoning and promoted knowledge.
Hosea, the prophet of God, declared a warning to God's people. Hos. 4:6 "My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge: because thou hast rejected knowledge, I will also reject thee, that thou shalt be no priest to me: seeing thou has forgotten the law of thy God, I will also forget thy children." The religious environment of today follows the same pattern. God's people are being destroyed for their lack of knowledge of God and His ways. Among the variety of religions professing belief in Jesus Christ one will find much teaching and instruction in God's Word. You would think the people should be in prosperity and great spirituality because of the abundance of teaching! Unfortunately, the opposite is true. Hosea prophesied indicating the very ones responsible for such a crime; the priesthood. In like manner the ministry of God falls under the same indictment. Malachi was much plainer in another indictment. Mal. 2:7_9 "For the priest's lips should keep knowledge, and they should seek the law at his mouth: for he is the messenger of the LORD of hosts. But ye are departed out of the way; ye have caused many to stumble at the law; ye have corrupted the covenant of Levi, saith the LORD of hosts. Therefore have I also made you contemptible and base for all the people, according as ye have not kept my ways, but have been partial in the law."
Has not the message of God become incomplete in these days we live? We are so enthusiastic in getting people saved, making converts, and yet we have left off the major portion of the revelation of God, how to live unto God. Jesus laid out an indictment to the religious leadership of His day saying..Matt. 23:15 "Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye compass sea and land to make one proselyte, and when he is made, ye make him twofold more the child of hell than yourselves."
Why would Jesus say such things? Were they not doing good? Jesus said no! They were deceiving the ones who were seeking God by teaching their own interpretation of God's Word. Their whole motive in many cases was the number they could report or the measure of difficulty it took to make their disciple. Do not reports from evangelistic endeavors today follow this same pattern? Indeed, this same scenario occupies our concept of success among churches today! In fact, there is a certain arrogance displayed in our announcement of how true we have remained to God's Word. Another indictment from the man of God recorded in God's Word identifies the same pattern. Jer. 8:8 "How do ye say, We are wise, and the law of the lord is with us? Lo, certainly in vain made he it; the pen of the scribes is in vain.
Another translation clarifies the last phrase of this scripture: "Behold, certainly the lying pen of the scribes hath made it falsehood." Even though we may be God's representative upon this earth, when we handle God's Word in error, the effect is catastrophic. The catastrophe falls upon the people's spirituality; their knowledge of God. Ones spiritual knowledge of God has an effect upon every one who comes in contact with such an individual. So also is the lack of effect when one is not spiritually minded. Many today only repeat what some man has said is the truth of God without confirming the truth through personal knowledge of God's word. Making God's Word a part of ones personal experience with God enhances their awareness concerning spiritual matters. Jesus said...... John 8:31_32 "Jesus therefore said to the Jews who believed him, If ye abide in my word, ye are truly my disciples; and ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall set you free."
To abide in the Word of God is to live in it or make it our place of habitation, the center of our life. If God's Word becomes secondary in our life we become devoid of God's illuminating Spirit. The light that is within us becomes darkness. It is what Jesus was speaking about when He said...Matt. 6:23 "But if thine eye be evil, thy whole body shall be full of darkness. If therefore the light that is in thee be darkness, how great is that darkness!
There has been a lack of emphasis put upon studying God's Word or seeking the will of God. When God's people leave off inquiry of God's Word relying wholly upon one man to tell them what "thus saith the Lord", they fall prey to manmade tradition becoming ceremonial, ritualistic worshippers. The indictment of Jesus follows that He made to the religious rulers of His day. Mark 7:13 "Making the word of God of none effect through your tradition, which ye have delivered: and many such like things do ye." The common concern today is the lack of God's power displayed in church worship. Is it not the nullifying of God's Word through traditions of manmade origin? Ineffectual worship can be blamed upon the worshippers but ultimately God places the blame upon those given the responsibility to lead the people. The result of traditional, ceremonial "worship" is Hypocrisy! God is looking for true worshippers, knowledgeable worshippers who seek after Him. Those who worship God follow God's way of worship. John 4:23_34 "But the hour cometh, and now is, when the true worshippers shall worship the Father in spirit and in truth; for the Father seeketh such to worship him. God is a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth.
The lack of spiritual worship associated with spiritual living has created gross hypocrisy in many churches. Hypocrisy has driven away our youth! We may "talk the talk", but don't "walk the walk". The effect of traditional worship has become only an external "show" rather than the internal working of a Heart towards God. The last place a "sin_sick, sin injured" person wants to be is in church. Why? There is no longer any help or refuge among those in church; only condemnation and judgement without mercy. The place of healing has become a place of torture where people are ostracized. Instead of pointing them to the "great physician" with Holy Love and compassion that they may be cleaned inwardly, we make unloving demands of conformity to manmade plans and precepts thus nullifying the word of God.