Jesus Versus Human Tradition

I just finished reading a book about sexual addiction and pornography. The author is decidedly Christian, teaches at a reputable Christian school, and holds to a Christian standard of conduct. I read nothing in the book that I didn’t agree with, but I was disappointed in what was missing, like an adequate answer for overcoming addictive behavior. The description of flesh patterns was insightful, as was the explanation of body chemistry. All of which is true for a natural man. The secular world would agree with most of what was written, except for the moral standard that was presented, and some may even agree with that. If a Christian man struggling with a sexual addiction read the book, he would understand his addiction better, but would probably continue in his sin and feel even worse about himself for being such a failure.

Would it make any difference if the reader was a natural man or a born-again Christian? Does being a new Creation in Christ have any effect on our ability to live a righteous life, as opposed to being dead in our trespasses and sins? No mention was made of the devil’s role of tempting us, or of the Holy Spirit’s role of leading us into all truth, and empowering us to not carry out the desires of the flesh (Gal. 5:16). No mention was made of repentance, or the place that Christ has in our lives. With that in mind, read the Apostle Paul’s words in Col. 2:6-10:

Therefore, as you received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in Him, rooted and built up in Him and established in the faith, just as you were taught, abounding in thanksgiving. See to it that on one takes you captive by philosophy and empty deceit, according to human tradition, according to the elemental spirits of the world, and not according to Christ. For in Him the whole fullness of deity dwells bodily, and you have been filled in Him, who is the head of all rule and authority.

The apostle Paul would be shocked to see how secular psychology has crowded out the centrality of Christ. We cannot live a righteous life without Christ. The law was powerless to give life (Gal. 3:21). The apostle shares his passion in Col. 1:26-29:

To make the word of God fully known, the mystery (something not previously revealed) hidden for ages and generations but now revealed to the saints. To them God chose to make known how great among the Gentiles are the riches of the glory of this mystery, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory. Him we proclaim, warning everyone and teaching everyone with all wisdom, that we may present everyone mature in Christ. For this I toil, struggling with all my energy that he powerfully works within me. He powerfully works within all His children.

Dr. Neil

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