Not giving heed to Jewish fables, and commandments of men, that turn from the truth.Titus 1:14
Dear Church and Friends,
These two things hamper the church still today; fables and commandments of men. In today’s letter I will address both.
Fables: Paul writing to Titus warns him to ignore the Jewish fables that were so prevalent among the population of his day. In our Gentile American churches we don’t struggle with the Jewish version of fables as much as our own Catholic and Protestant fables. We make them with great ease just like we make lucky charms out of practically anything.
A fable is any story that mixes some biblical truth with a local superstition. (The example I am about to give is a creation of my own) Once, during the settling of the American west, there was a godly man by the name of Rev. Throckmorton Snagget Jr. He was a preacher and evangelist who went from place-to-place founding churches. One day, while fasting and praying, he was murdered by a group of Indians who found him kneeling by Crestfall Creek. He fell into the water where he died. The locals hearing of this tragedy, buried him by the stream and erected a pillar in his honor. As the years passed, the women of that county would come to the graveside and draw water from the creek to make medicinal remedies for their family. They claimed the stream bed that received Rev. Snagget’s blood sanctified the water that flowed over it and so made effectual their medicines.
You see how easily we can take Christian spirituality and twist it into something completely non-Christian. Titus was suppose to “. . . rebuke them sharply, that they may be sound in the faith; (Titus 1:13). Paul also warns Timothy of fables twice in his letter (see 1 Timothy 1:4 and 4:7). This is still a danger in our churches today.
Commandments of Men: Our true obedience is to the commands of God. This is our first duty. The commands of men are those things that we add to the word of God. They are our own additions to help us “get it right.” They always include things to do and not to do. The commands of men are always based on works and not on faith. We love to make our lists and check things off. We feel approved when we do and guilty when we don’t.
A commandment of men is something that takes a component of biblical truth and adds human effort to make it effectual for salvation or for Christian holiness. (The example I am about to give is a creation of my own) Once during the early colonial days of America, a certain frontier town found itself booming. The merchants in that city made the decision to open their doors on Sundays to take advantage of the increased business. All of the shopkeepers and merchants in that town wore a purple armband as the badge of their association. The leading church in that city was shepherded by the Rev. Throckmorton Snagget. He decried the breaking of the sabbath and declared that anyone in his congregation found in possession of a purple armband would be removed from membership. Over the years that command grew to include any article of clothing with the color purple in it. “A true Christian,” Rev. Snagget said, “would never wear such a God-dishonoring color.”
These are the things that we turn into salvation essentials. Things that God never once asked of us. They turn us from true introspection of our motives, from considering what God says in his word, and from one another when we don’t measure up to the “outside” standard. As Paul says, “. . . that turn from the truth.”
We must stand against fables and works salvation. They are a cancer that can very easily infect our churches today.
Music: The Master’s Chorale.
Prayer Requests: Please pray for the following.
- Wilma and Jack Simmons, West Point, Ky. Wilma and Jack Simmons are missionaries serving in West Point, Ky. “Our mobile children’s ministry has come to a standstill since the pandemic struck. Pray that we will have wisdom and patience and God’s guidance as we seek ways to witness to children during this downtime.”
Craig’s Catechism: The Third Part of Our Belief.
- Question 254: What does He do in the order of nature? Answer: He keeps all things in their natural state.
- Question 255: Where then do all these alterations come from? Answer: From the same Spirit, working diversely in nature.
- Question 256: Is then the Spirit but nature? Answer: No. He is God, ruling and keeping nature.
All my best.
Join the Bible Bistro Mailing List
Get notified of menu changes in the Bistro that include. . .
- New book releases.
- New teaching content.
- Changes to the website.