We find a very serious theme throughout the Bible, and that is how man can embrace religion and yet lack a relationship with Jesus Christ. In Mark 7:1-3, we see some of the religious community of the day confronting the Lord Jesus and accusing some of His disciples of not following the traditions of the elders. Paul himself, before he was saved, was very zealous of religious traditions. Now, this was not just a prevalent problem in Bible times, but is contemporary in numerous churches throughout the world today, so it bears closer scrutiny.
For one thing, Biblical traditions are quite different from man-made traditions. Biblical tradition, even Biblical religion, is the fruit of regeneration. However, man-made traditions are attempts to work or earn salvation upon the merits of our conduct. You cannot put new wine (the Gospel) into an old wineskin (man-made tradition). The religion generated by man’s efforts may indeed appear to be very sacrificial. Man-made religion can put on a good display, and even talk a good talk. However, religion based on man’s efforts and self-righteousness is vain.
In contrast, the effect of the new birth is more than just talk. Jesus called the Pharisees hypocrites, actors! True Christianity is not an act. It’s not even religion in the truest sense. It is a relationship with the true and living God. It is a heart that is devoted to Jesus Christ. The emphasis in religion is on the external while the gospel emphasizes following Jesus.
You may need to ask yourself if your traditions frustrate the grace of God. Do you realize that if you could be good enough to earn salvation, then the promise of eternal life through Jesus Christ is void? Is your faith based upon Scripture or man-made traditions? Do you love Jesus Christ? If not, you have no hope.
Rebirth gives you a personal relationship with Jesus. Don’t settle for an artificial substitute – embrace Jesus!