Matthew 15

Doctrines of Men

“But in vain they do worship me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men.” (v. 9)

Man seems to be so prone to accept false teachings. The Bible warns us of this many times, but still we will not search the scriptures to see whether those things we are taught are really true. Even the best of men can pass on something they had heard, and it sounded right, but may not have been exactly what the Bible says. We still accept the doctrines of men. There are many verses in the New Testament alone that warn us of this error. We must be careful lest we worship the Lord in vain. This may be referred to in the parable of the Wheat and Tares from chapter 13.

The “Commandments of men” often resemble the Commandments of God. It is sometimes hard for us to discern between the two on our own without help from the Word of God. Sham worship is “vain” and means nothing to God. That is what we have when we teach, and seek after, and even live, the commandments of men. So, what are the “commandments of men”? Simply those schemes that man conjures up out of his own mind, as seen in the vain philosophies of men. (Col. 2:8) Or mans false ideas about sciences, (1 Tim 6:20), these things ruin and destroy all that is godly, and good.

If our worship is vain, then our faith is also vain, for worship is the strength of faith. If our faith is vain, we are “of all men most miserable,” and know it not. We hide behind a façade, and robotically go through the motions of Christianity with an empty heart. The commandments of men crumble under the test of afflictions and persecution, and as a bucket with holes in it, they are useless, because they hold neither sand nor water. When we find ourselves living on a lackadaisical plain, this is time to beware, we may be adapting to the commandments of men and applying them to our lives instead of the right and the true. Indifference to the great things of God is a sure sign that the state we are in is not where our God would have us to be, it usually results from following the commandments of men, and not those of God.

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