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Posts tagged ‘Lawful authority’

Matthew 15 Calvin’s view

Matthew 15:1. Then scribes and Pharisees. As the fault that is here corrected is not only common but highly dangerous, the passage is particularly worthy of our attention. We see the extraordinary insolence that is displayed by men as to the form and manner of worshipping God; for they are perpetually contriving new modes of worship, and when any one wishes to be thought wiser than others, he displays his ingenuity on this subject. I speak not of foreigners, but of the very domestics of the Church, on whom God has conferred the peculiar honor of declaring with their lips the rule of godliness. God has laid down the manner in which he wishes that we should worship him, and has included in his law the perfection of holiness. Yet a vast number of men, as if it were a light and trivial matter to obey God and to keep what he enjoins, collect for themselves, on every hand, many additions. Those who occupy places of authority bring forward their inventions for this purpose, as if they were in possession of something more perfect than the word of the Lord. This is followed by the slow growth of tyranny; for, when men have once assumed to themselves the right to issue commands, they demand a rigid adherence to their laws, and do not allow the smallest iota to be left out, either through contempt or through forgetfulness.

The world cannot endure lawful authority, and most violently rebels against enduring the Lord’s yoke, and yet easily and willingly becomes entangled in the snares of vain traditions; nay, such bondage appears to be, in the case of many, an object of desire. Meanwhile, the worship of God is corrupted, of which the first and leading principle is obedience. The authority of men is preferred to the command of God. Sternly, and therefore tyrannically, are the common people compelled to give their whole attention to trifles.

This passage teaches us, first, that all modes of worship invented by men are displeasing to God, because he chooses that he alone shall be heard, in order to train and instruct us in true godliness according to his own pleasure; secondly, that those who are not satisfied with the only law of God, and weary themselves by attending to the traditions of men, are uselessly employed; thirdly, that an outrage is committed against God, when the inventions of men are so highly extolled, that the majesty of his law is almost lowered, or at least the reverence for it is abated.

Scribes who had come from Jerusalem. With what design those scribes came to Jesus is not stated; but I think it probable that their attention was excited by his fame, and that they came with the desire of receiving instruction, provided that they should approve of him as a competent teacher; {1 } though it is possible that they were sent to spy. However that may be, as they had brought their haughty disdain along with them, they are easily provoked by the slightest offense to bite or snarl at Christ. Hence we see with what difficulty those who are influenced by ambition and the lust of power are brought to submit to sound doctrine. Those especially whose attachment to ceremonies has been strengthened by long practice cannot endure any novelty, but loudly condemn every thing to which they have not been accustomed. In short, any thing more haughty or more disdainful than this class of men cannot be imagined.

 

Both Evangelists mention that they were scribes and Pharisees; but Matthew puts the scribes first, and Mark puts them second. They convey the same meaning, that the scribes belonged to various sects, but that the Pharisees were the leaders, because they occupied an honorable station, and at that time held the government. That the Pharisees should be the first to take offense at disregard of the laws of which they were authors ought not to excite surprise; for, as we have said, though they boasted that they were expounders of the law, and though their name was derived from that circumstance, {2 } they had corrupted by their inventions the purity of the word of God. All the traditions that then existed among the Jews had come out of their workshop; {3 } and this was the reason why they displayed more than ordinary zeal and bitterness in defending them.

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{1 } “En cas qu’ils l’eussent trouve bon maistre a leur gre”;  — ” provided that they should find him to be a good master to their liking.”

{2 } See Harmony, vol. 1, p. 281 (See CALVIN “Mt 5:20”).

{3 } “Elles avoyent este forgees en leur boutique”;  — ” they had been manufactured in their workshop.”

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Preceding

Matthew 15 An argument with the Scribes – Teachers and traditions

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Additional reading

  1. Priest, scribes and others with authority
  2. Careful not to have God’s wrath poured out upon us taking on the right attitude
  3. What is a Christian?
  4. Responsibility bigger than those who talk about worldly matters
  5. To find ways of Godly understanding

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Related

  1. Isaiah 29:13 Worship By Human Rules
  2. Their Vanities #5
  3. Doctrine Divides #2
  4. Your Right to Eat Meat
  5. Thought for the Day – Superior Theology
  6. Why are we not Integrous? Reason Number 2: Because we do not Submit to the Processes of Teaching through the Experience Lived by which God enables us
  7. Integrity According to the Bible
  8. Basic Training: Being Berean- 8 Steps for Comparing Teaching to Scripture
  9. 1 Timothy 4:6: “…The Sound Doctrine Which You Have Been Following.”
  10. Bringing The Words of God To The Word Of God
  11. Sound Doctrine is Scarce In Churches of Today
  12. Sound Doctrine or Self-Made Religion?
  13. Dost Thou Keep This Commandment?
  14. Christianity and Sound Doctrine
  15. Christian Behavior, Order in the Home

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