Tradition, Religion or Faith? What's the difference? | The Savings Wife

Monday, September 23, 2013

Tradition, Religion or Faith? What's the difference?

Many people confuse and even assume the concepts of tradition, religion and faith are the same?  Are they? Are you a christian or just following a religion?  If your parents are siblings or the people you hang out with are Christians doesn't' that make you one too?  Let's look at each one and discuss them in a little more depth.


A tradition is a belief or behavior passed down within a group or society with symbolic meaning or special significance with origins in the past. Common examples include holidays or impractical but socially meaningful clothes (like lawyer wigs or military officer spurs), but the idea has also been applied to social norms such as greetings. Traditions can persist and evolve for thousands of years—the word "tradition" itself derives from the Latin tradere or traderer literally meaning to transmit, to hand over, to give for safekeeping. While it is commonly assumed that traditions have ancient history, many traditions have been invented on purpose, whether that be political or cultural, over short periods of time.
You may say we go to church each Sunday because that is what we have always done. We put up a christmas tree, hunt easter eggs, pray to St. Andrew or St. Christopher, etc....

How does the bible reference traditions?

Mark 7:13: Thus you nullify the word of God by your tradition that you have handed down. And you do many things like that."
The disciples were eating with hands that have not been washed according to the tradition of the elders. So the Pharisee's were giving them a lot of grief. So Jesus responds:
6-7: He replied, "Isaiah was right when he prophesied about you hypocrites; as it is written: "'These people honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me. They worship me in vain; their teachings are merely human rules.' You have let go of the commands of God and are holding on to human traditions."
What God's word says:  
13: Nothing outside a person can defile them by going into them. Rather, it is what comes out of a person that defiles them."
A modern example: There a lot of traditions in church services today. One being that women cannot serve communion. There is nothing scriptural to support this. Another being that the King James Bible is the only Bible. Traditions are man made rules with no biblical backing. Another type of tradition is that my parents are a christian I must be one too. Sorry you cannot pass on salvation, salvation is personal between you and God. The Bible says that certain steps must be followed to obtain salvation. The bible is the only place to look for these steps everything else is merely tradition.


A Religion is an organized collection of beliefs,cultural systems, and world views that relate humanity to the supernatural, and to spirituality. Many religions have narratives, symbols, and sacred histories that are intended to explain the meaning of life and/or to explain the origin of life or the Universe. From their beliefs about the cosmos and human nature, people derive morality, ethics, religious laws or a preferred lifestyle. According to some estimates, there are roughly 4,200 religions in the world.

Christianity can be a religion but a religion will not grant you salvation.  Most people believe that Christians are people who do the same thing they do but go to church on Sunday and who judge people by standards they themselves do not keep.

What the bible says about Religion?

James 1:25-27: But one who looks intently at the perfect law, the law of liberty, and abides by it, not having become a forgetful hearer but an effectual doer, this man will be blessed in what he does. If anyone thinks himself to be religious, and yet does not bridle his tongue but deceives his own heart, this man's religion is worthless. Pure and undefiled religion in the sight of our God and Father is this: to visit orphans and widows in their distress, and to keep oneself unstained by the world.
Did you catch that?  Religion should be your practice of obedience to God's word.  It's your works. However, if your works have no faith behind it, it is just good deeds which God see's as Lawlessness.
Matthew 7:22-23: "Many will say to Me on that day, 'Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in Your name, and in Your name cast out demons, and in Your name perform many miracles?' "And then I will declare to them, 'I never knew you; DEPART FROM ME, YOU WHO PRACTICE LAWLESSNESS.'

So what is faith?

Romans 10:17: Consequently, faith comes from hearing the message, and the message is heard through the word about Christ.

What is the message of Christ?  

Hebrews 11:6 And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him.
How do you earnestly seek him?  Read his word, spend time with him in prayer.  Learn everything you can about him.  Obey him and follow the Bible's Plan of Salvation.

A saving faith trusts and obeys God.   Don't trust God? Learn about him and ask him to help him to help you to learn to trust him.

Don't be caught up in the practice of traditions or religions.  On a lighter note I do make my kids wash their hands before dinner.

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