Luke 11:46 – He said, “… You’re hopeless, you religion scholars! You load people down with rules and regulations, nearly breaking their backs, but never lift even a finger to help.”Â (The Message)
Jesus was ranting about the Pharisees and teachers of the law.Â They made up all these rules to follow in order to truly ‘follow God’, making it impossible for the people to find God.Â They couldn’tÂ live up to the standards.Â Jesus was not very impressed with this!
I believeÂ there are many so-calledÂ ‘biblical principles’ that have become the new law and those who teach these biblical principles have become modern-day Pharisees and teachers of the law.Â When I talk about ‘biblical principles’, I am referring to those things that have been made into a whole new theology but areÂ basedÂ only loosely onÂ a passage or fewÂ passagesÂ in the bible – things that are neverÂ directly covered in Scripture.
Â As if people are not burdened enough with all theÂ ‘rules’ for following Christ (ie: daily devotions, regular church attendance,Â etc.), others feel the need to add more burdens – tithing,Â being under ‘covering’,Â etc.Â Although the Bible talks about reading the Word regularlyÂ and meeting with other believers, it does notÂ make any reference to ‘daily devotions’ or ‘regular church attendance’.Â These things have become unwrittenÂ RULES, when they were never meant to be rules.Â It eliminates GRACE.Â Who needs ‘grace’ when you can earn your way into God’s good books?Â
The other list of burdens (tithing, ‘covering’ theology,Â etc.) are never explicitly laid out in Scripture.Â While tithing was commanded for the nation of Israel as a means of God’s provision for the Levites, Paul never commanded it for the Gentiles.Â Giving generously was encouraged, but it was never made into a law with the threat of curses coming upon whoever did not comply.Â Rather Paul fought very hard for the Gentiles NOT to be forced to follow Jewish law.
Acts 15 – “1Some men came down from Judea to Antioch and were teaching the brothers: “Unless you are circumcised, according to the custom taught by Moses, you cannot be saved.” 2This brought Paul and Barnabas into sharp dispute and debate with them. So Paul and Barnabas were appointed, along with some other believers, to go up to Jerusalem to see the apostles and elders about this question….7After much discussion, Peter got up and addressed them: “Brothers, you know that some time ago God made a choice among you that the Gentiles might hear from my lips the message of the gospel and believe. 8God, who knows the heart, showed that he accepted them by giving the Holy Spirit to them, just as he did to us. 9He made no distinction between us and them, for he purified their hearts by faith. 10Now then, why do you try to test God by putting on the necks of the disciples a yoke that neither we nor our fathers have been able to bear? 11No! We believe it is through the grace of our Lord Jesus that we are saved, just as they are.” (NIV)
Why do people pour all their energies into these new ‘teachings’ when there are things Jesus and the apostles actually taughtÂ that we don’t do?Â Making disciples, bearing one another’s burdens, confessing our sins to each other, forgiving one another…Â There’s plenty of things listed to keep us going for a while without having to create new theologies.Â Even so,Â these things were never intended to be made into laws to burden the people underÂ weights they cannot bear.Â Jesus died to take care of that, didn’t He?