Traditions have a bad reputation in the Western Church. In America, it seems as if the Church will go to great lengths to remove any form of “tradition” so as not to appear like the Pharisees, who created their own traditions and held them equal with the commands of God. Yet, I believe it is necessary for the Church, both in American and across the globe, to hold to traditions.
I do not speak of man made traditions, though. Then we would be like the Pharisees. No, I mean traditions that are holy. Traditions that drive a soul to God. Traditions that glorify God. Traditions that exalt the name of Christ. Traditions that assure the heart of true doctrine. Traditions that the apostles taught. These traditions are not like the man made commands of the Pharisees but are exactly the opposite.
Traditions, when used improperly, can be bad. I will not deny that fact. However, traditions, when properly practiced or observed, will not only edify the soul but will glorify God. Paul speaks of keeping traditions in a positive way three times in the New Testament and two out of the three times appear in 2 Thessalonians.
2 Thessalonians 2:15 (ESV)
15 So then, brothers, stand firm and hold to the traditions that you were taught by us, either by our spoken word or by our letter.
2 Thessalonians 3:6 (ESV)
6 Now we command you, brothers, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that you keep away from any brother who is walking in idleness and not in accord with the tradition that you received from us.
Both of these verses, in light of the context of the epistle, put tradition in a rather good light. In fact, I would call this type of tradition holy because it aims to edify the believer and glorify Christ.
In 2 Thessalonians 2:15, the charge is for the believer to be rooted in the traditions of the apostles for the purpose of not falling prey to false teaching (this false teaching concerned the day of the Lord and that the believers had missed out on Christ’s return). In chapter 3, the charge is to stay away from anyone who is walking in idleness and not according to the traditions that the apostles taught. These two commands make it clear that the traditions the apostles taught to these believers are extremely important to keep. If you keep the holy traditions you may obtain the glory of the Lord Jesus Christ (2 Thess. 2:14). If you do not keep the traditions, you will be avoided like a leper (3:6).
Therefore, the believer is to imitate the apostles. We are to walk as they walked. Step where they stepped. Imitate them as they imitate Christ. Their teaching is profitable and trains us in righteousness since their teachings are God-breathed (inspired by the Holy Spirit) (2 Tim. 3:16; cf. 2 Peter 3:15, 16). The traditions they have taught the Church edifies the believer, strengthens the believer’s assurance of truth, is used by the Spirit to sanctify the Christian, and glorify the source of these traditions, Christ Jesus our Lord.
Being traditional doesn’t have to be bad. In fact, if done right, being traditional is one of the most Christ-like things anyone could ever do since the apostles themselves were following the Lord Jesus’ steps. What better tradition is there?
via Daily Prompt: Traditional