Friday, December 31, 2010

When Truth Collides with Tradition

It is easy to get stuck in a rut. And it is super-easy to cuddle up in our comfort zone.

So often tradition is this way. And, of course, many different kinds of traditions are good.

But when Truth confronts our tradition, do we easily re-adjust our thinking?

In Acts 10 and 11 I noticed an incredible example to us of how we should respond to Truth, even when it goes against everything we have ever thought, believed, or even valued.

Remember when Peter was on the roof and saw the vision of the animals on the blanket? God was teaching him that everything He called clean was, in fact, clean. Then (in His perfect timing, of course) Peter was visited by Cornelius' messengers, asking him to come and meet with Cornelius, a Gentile nonetheless.

As a result of his visit and the Lord's grace, Cornelius and others there, who also heard the word, were saved.

"While Peter was still speaking these words, the Holy Spirit fell upon all those who heard the word" (Acts 10:44).

So here is Truth colliding with tradition. What tradition? These Jewish disciples and followers of Christ had no idea salvation could come to the Gentiles the way it had come to them.

"And those of the circumcision who believed were astonished, as many as came with Peter, because the gift of the Holy Spirit had been poured out on the Gentiles also" (Acts 10:45).

Now, if you think they were surprised, imagine the response of the Believers back in Jerusalem!

When Peter returned, they complained against him because he had eaten with the Gentiles!

(I wonder how often we judge and complain against our fellow Believers before we have heard the whole story or considered what God might be doing, in spite of us . . .)

I would have loved to have been a fly on the wall when Peter explained the whole story and testified of God's work with the Gentiles.

"If therefore God gave them the same gift as He gave us when we beleived on the Lord Jesus Christ, who was I that I could withstand God" (Acts 11:17)?

(Don't you just love Peter? Despite his glaring faults, when he recognizes Truth, he just says it! I have a "Peter" in my house. His brother is a "John." And they are just awesome together. :-) But anyhoo. . .)

What was the response?

"When they heard these things they became silent" (Acts 11:18a);

What do they think? What do they do with this new Truth? It sure doesn't line up with what they have always been taught. It doesn't match their idea of God.

What would you do? Would you try to keep God in the box of all your pre-conceived ideas? If so, then you would fail to worship the God of the Bible. You would turn to the god of your imagination. The one that fits who you felt more comfortable serving.

Thankfully, these New Testament Christians were convinced that Truth was worth changing for, worth repenting for, worth altering everything they had ever understood before.

"and they glorified God, saying, "Then God has also granted to the Gentiles repentance to life" (Acts 11:18b).

And, boy, am I glad.

So when Truth collides with your tradition, what is your response?

1 comment:

Laine said...

Happy New Year! Just thinking of this today while reading about Joseph in Matt. 1. Tradition held that he should divorce Mary..or worse she could have been stoned. But Joseph chose TRUTH in obeying what God told him to do...not Joseph's plan A but it was God's. This is challenging! Thanks Rebekah!

Hope everyone is staying well---we are praying for yall!

Love you,