By Wayne Schatzle


       Jesus was continually correcting the established religion of His day about putting their manmade traditions over the truth revealed to them by God. Over the centuries, the priesthood had formed opinions from interpretations of the Law and made them binding as the Law itself!

       Modern Christians find themselves is a similar situation. Most of us are born into the religion of our parents, which has been added to for 20 centuries now. Many like myself have taken the task of proving their beliefs from the Bible, and have found that few doctrines accepted by most Christians are provable by scripture. In fact, many beliefs are easily traced in the pages of church history as to how they were developed over time. It is up to the individual if they choose to follow tradition or the Truth.

       The change from truth to tradition could have been an innocent attempt of dedicated leadership to gain a better understanding of God’s will, or it could be a deception orchestrated by Satan to pollute the Truth and have mankind follow error. I watch quite a bit of TV preachers. The common theme is how one can go to heaven by just believing and confessing Jesus is Lord. Presumably all those that claim Christianity as their religion will be saved. I have always been struck by Jesus statement: wide is the way that leads to death and many go therein, but narrow is the way to life and FEW will find it… also, many are called but FEW are chosen… and, through much tribulation you shall enter the Kingdom {Mt 7:14; Mt 22:14; Acts 14:22}. Do you begin to see a discrepancy in teaching? Interestingly, after Jesus’ told of the narrow way- He then warned of FALSE prophets {speakers} that would deceive those seeking salvation. Do you realize that Jesus warned about deception more than any other thing? The apostle Paul revealed that Satan has transformed himself into an angel of light and we should not marvel that his MINISTERS also appear righteous! That is shocking to think that by outward appearance it is impossible to discern a false minister. How are we to discern whom is speaking the Truth of God? Isaiah said it best "to the Law and the testimony, if they speak not according to that there is NO light in them" .{Isiah 8:20}

      We are warned: let no man defraud you of your reward- amazing, we can be tricked out of our reward of salvation. Ephesians four describes it this way: "we should no longer be children tossed to and fro and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the trickery of men, in the cunning craftiness by which they lie and wait to deceive". Deception is mentioned over 100 times, and Satan is the master deceiver beginning in the Garden of Eden. This is heavy stuff! Why is it so many just believe what they hear but never take the time to check it out?

       Traditions are fine as far as they go- but never let them replace nor supercede the Bible, especially as we near the end of days. "in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to deceiving spirits and doctrines of demons" {1 Tim 4}. When asked about the end of the age, Jesus warned first "take heed that no one deceives you"- then listed some of the tribulation to come. In the book of Revelation the well-known reference of the four horsemen of the apocalypse, the first rider is a false Christ sent to deceive.

       Friend, it always comes down to serious bible study. Don’t take anyone’s words above scripture… check it out. We are told to WORK out your own salvation. Get some good bible tools and do your homework. Your very life is at stake. Draw near to God and He will draw near to you. We are told to WORK out our own salvation, and Paul told Timothy: "be diligent to present yourself approved to God, a worker who does not need to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth" 5/10/02