We posed some questions to the Melbourne Seventh Day Baptist congregation:
- What is the identity of Seventh Day Baptists?
- What is our missiological purpose?
- What do we have in common with Christians everywhere?
- How do we differ from other Christian traditions?
- What is unique about following our Lord Jesus Christ as a Seventh Day Baptist?
- Why do we worship in the Melbourne Seventh Day Baptist congregation?
What follows represents multiple people's personal responses to these questions. Each heading introduces a different speaker.
Who we are in the Lord Jesus Christ
The day humanity sinned, we died. The inner man, spiritually alive in God, died. We were cast out of God’s presence, for, being dead to Him, we could not bear His presence.
Yet God entered this world in the person of Jesus, intent on reconciling us with Him (Romans 5:11).
Jesus taught us how to live, clarified God’s will for our lives, showed us what was important, before He became a victim of the world’s hatred for God’s way of life.
In Jesus’ death on the cross, He became the representative of all humanity. The sins of all were laid on Him. His resurrection demonstrated Jesus’ vindication, the acceptance of His sacrifice, the reconciliation of humanity with God, and the restoration of the Father’s glory to the the Lord Jesus Christ that He had before the world began.
God is now reconciled to humanity through Jesus Christ. And Jesus Christ is the source of life, faith, truth, spirit and power to all who would believe in Him. Jesus has given us the ministry of reconciliation — proclaiming the good news of Jesus’ victory over sin, suffering and death; proclaiming the good news of Jesus’ victory over the heavenly powers that stand against Him; proclaiming the good news of Jesus’ victory over manipulative force, hatred and control; proclaiming the good news of the Lord Jesus Christ’s inauguration and reign in the midst of His enemies; proclaiming of the good news of eternal life in our Lord Jesus Christ.
Walk in a manner worthy of the calling to which you have been called, with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love, eager to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. There is one body and one Spirit—just as you were called to the one hope that belongs to your call— one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all” (Ephesians 4:1–6)
This heritage we have in common with Christians true and faithful everywhere.
I am the product of a choice
Growing up as a kid, one thing I seem to recall is that there would be various verses or biblical texts in plaques or in posters, either in the kitchen, the living room or even in the corridor.
I was forever encountering one or the other around the house. One of them stood out to me. Before I tell you what that verse is, I want to reflect on today’s theme. I want to go beyond our identity as Seventh Day Baptists, because I want to go to the root of our faith: the source of our knowledge in Him, that is, His word.
I recall that in high school, it was very late in high school, probably year 10 or 11, that one of my favourite topics became history and it still is, I love it. My teacher said, "You can't know your future without knowing your past." Before I identified myself as a Seventh Day Baptist, I was already part of God's family and before that I was in the world. These are steps that I took in the past, which lead me to where I am now. And they have helped shaped where I want to be in the future.
What's fundamental about each of those phases in my life is the one thing that unites us today. It defines us as Christians and that is that each of us, each and every one of us, at one point or another in our life, has had to make a choice.
The choices we make communicate things to others on lots of different levels. It communicates that who you are as a person today started out by choosing a path that perhaps may have never thought of taking. And as you start to slowly put distance between the old past and taking a step closer to the new future that involves God in your life, it all stems from the choice that you made at one point in your life. Going back to what my History teacher said: you can't know your future without knowing your past.
It's precisely because I know what my past was like that I know long for the future. Which is why this verse is so important to me. We still have this verse hanging in our home. I have wanted this verse to be displayed in our home so that not only we see it, but everyone who visits us, because it informs everyone who we are and where we are going.
This verse is found in Joshua.
“And if it seem evil unto you to serve the Lord, choose you this day whom ye will serve; whether the gods which your fathers served that were on the other side of the flood, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land ye dwell: but as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord” (Joshua 24:15).
In answering today’s theme, I guess that I can only summarise it by saying, “I am the product of a choice.”
Hearing the word of God
Today’s theme asks us why we worship here. I think Luke recounts a story of Jesus that answers that question very well.
“Then his mother and his brothers came to [Jesus], but they could not reach him because of the crowd. And he was told, ‘Your mother and your brothers are standing outside, desiring to see you.’ But he answered them, ‘My mother and my brothers are those who hear the word of God and do it’” (Luke 8:19).
I believe that in worshiping here, I am in the presence of people who are truly trying to hear the word of God. That’s one of the main reasons why I’m here.
The little flock
Today’s theme asks us a very deep question. As simple as it may seem, it is a very deep question. Why are we here? and Why do we worship here?
My answer flows from my past. You see, I belonged to a different denomination. And then I gained some knowledge that I was not comfortable with. In my discomfort, I needed to make a choice. And it was from my heart that I started to question myself. What did I want for myself in my spiritual life?
It took many years for my answer to gel. From a human point of view, you expect that when you go into a church, you’re meant to see a certain amount of people. But when I came to the Seventh Day Baptist church, it was much smaller than I expected. I don't know if it was my Maker, or what it was, but I felt comfortable in a small church, because I wanted to be counted.
I wanted to go to a place that would help me grow at my pace. At the time, I was in a hurry to learn. But I know now that that hurry tired me out. I learned too much too quickly and I was not able to digest it all. The more I learned the more I thought, “I can not waste time and learn more because I wasted too many years.” From my human vantage point, I was doing something that was taking me quite a long time to understand.
I was running a race, I was fighting a battle that ... I had a meaning, but I could not see it. I could feel it, but I wasn't getting anywhere. I stopped in my tracks. I felt that this verse is important:
“Fear not, little flock, for it is your Father's good pleasure to give you the kingdom” (Luke 12:32).
You see, it says, “little flock.” That to me is a treasure. I don't expect to go to any Seventh Day Baptist where there are big numbers of people, because I will question it.
I am extremely comfortable and very blessed to be able to be part of a small family. In actual fact though, it is not small, it's very big, because of what I'm here for. What I’m here for is much more powerful. Because I’m here for one thing: the word of God.
I know that when I’m in a Seventh Day Baptist congregation, that no other books, no other doctrines, no congregational behaviour, is permitted that is not based on the word of God.
There's one verse that I took from people who were very early in the Seventh Day Baptist church.
“The Lord will fight for you and you only have to be silent” (Exodus 14:14).
This verse taught me that no matter how much I rush, no matter how much I do this, no matter how quickly I want to learn—that I should stay in a place where I learn to listen—that God that I believed in, that Jesus and Saviour who gave his life for me, is there for me to fight all my battles. He’s there for me to run the race with me in this church. He’s here with me in this family that extends to many other places in the world. He’s here for me, in whichever Seventh Day Baptist congregation I am worshiping in.
I’m not worshiping here for what I can get from people. I’m here for what I can give as a service to the Lord in this small family. It means a lot to be able to worship in congregation that is simultaneously small, and strong in its reach, and powerful in the word of God.
Faithful keepers of the truth
We used to sing in Spanish a song that says,
I was born to praise the lamb,
I was born to praise the lamb,
I was born to praise the lamb,
here and for eternity.
And I think that that's our main purpose in life.
I know that my life has a purpose, has a reason, that my life will not end when I give my last breath. My life will continue because I have the promise of eternal life. In the meantime, as I am here in this world, I know that my life belongs to the one who cleans away my sins: my Lord, my Saviour. The Lord is our Saviour, and that he chose us to be his. He’s the head of the church, the founder of the church, because he purchased the church with his own precious blood.
I’m very grateful in this moment to the Lord because since my birth I had the privilege of being born in a Christian home. I came to a point in my life that I had to make my own decision about God. I decided that the Lord will be my Saviour, my shield, my fortress. Now, why do I come to this church? I come because I have a need to be here. I cannot live without breathing air—I wouldn't live if I don't come to the church to seek, to feel, the presence of the Lord. I do not think that I will be anywhere else—just in his presence, in the Lord’s place. So, I wouldn’t spend a Sabbath somewhere else. I choose to spend Sabbath in his house, in his houses, of prayer.
Many times it happened to me and it’s a little bit funny. When we leave the church and we go out and we see people going to sports, going shopping. I see them, and think, “Why are these people not going to the house of the Lord?” And then I remember, “Well, they have something in common—they don't know the Lord! They don't know that there is a sacred, special day.” So, I’m grateful to the Lord, because the day that he saved me, the day that he became my Saviour, my lord, I am so grateful for that.
Why I am a Seventh Day Baptist? I spent my childhood in a very large Baptist church. At church I was faithful and reading the Bible and searching the Bible and the scripture was very important. But it came to a point were the the Lord revealed something else, something that was here, but we didn't know, to know more about his commandments, to know more about his Sabbath.
And I come to this church because I find sons and daughters of God who are worshiping the Lord on his holy day. While worshiping the Lord, they are struggling, fighting, like me to see the face of the Lord one day. I come because I found a special place where the word of God is loved, is cherished, is respected. In the searching of scripture where opinions are respected. Even if we are defective in our opinions, every one’s opinion is respected. Where brothers and sisters have the same value and importance and the same opportunity. Where the Lord Jesus is exalted.
This is not a perfect denomination. It is not the only one, no—Jesus is the one who is perfect—but my prayer is that the next generation will continue the work with the same purpose, the same aims.
One of my favourite verses is found in Isaiah.
“Open the gates that the righteous nation may enter. The one that remains faithful” (Isaiah 26:2).
I like the version in Spanish that says,
“Open the gates that the righteous people may enter. The one that are keepers of the truth” (Isaiah 26:2, translation from Spanish).
And I think that both versions are equally important.
To be faithful, the nation who is faithful and the nation who are keepers of the truth. Jesus is the truth, He’s the only one and if we follow him, we follow the truth. And my prayer is that, as we heard before, we are called “The Chosen People” because we have chosen to follow the Lord, chosen that he is our Lord, our Saviour.
We have chosen to walk in his race. I think that for the church, whether we are many, or whether we are few, the important thing is to follow the Lord, to follow his word, to follow him, to be keepers of the truth, faithful people. This is what the Lord really wants. May the Lord bless us.
The corruption of Christianity
Followers of Jesus became members of the Way of the Nazarene. They were few in number, but alive in the Spirit. They were persecuted, but reassured that they belonged to the family of God. Never were they perfect, but they placed their faith and trust in the Lord who had called them. They strove for the Spirit of God to work in them and through them for His good purposes. The committed to each other to not sin, to not dishonour their Lord, to support each other as a family in times of need, they shared blessings, they shared time, they shared wealth. They saw themselves as the continuation of the long story of God’s interaction with humans on this planet. The inheritor of the promises made to Adam, Noah, Abram, Isaac, Jacob and David. They alive to the Spirit’s workings, studying scripture daily in order to discover God’s purposes behind the mystery of His new work in and through them.
As we today, survey the last 2,000 years of history—as we survey the history of the people who claim to be the people of God—we must examine this history in humility, and on our knees before the Almighty God.
For the history of Christianity—while it contains much good, noble, and uplifting—also contains much that is corrupt, defiled, and antithetical to God’s way of working. When we survey the history of the church, we see not only moral failures of individuals, but wholesale corruption of the institution that calls herself “the church.”
The life and death struggle she entered into in the second century, in her combat of Marcion, caused her to turn away from the Spirit’s leading, and to distance herself from the history of God’s people.
In the fourth century, her apparent victory over paganism turned pyrrhic, as the mystery religions of the empire were folded into her observances. As their philosophy became her philosophy. As their festivals became her festivals. As their idols became her idols.
Once, candidates for baptism needed to resign from their employment as soldiers or gladiators, for these occupations were antithetical to the peace of Jesus. But now, the entire army, idolatrous standards in hand, were marched through a river and “baptised.” Systemic violence, so antithetical to the way of Christ, was brought into the heart of the body that claimed the name “the Church.”
And no Protestant tradition escapes clean either. For Luther was no respecter of conscience, and maintained that you could be a Christian in church, but a soldier of the State. And Calvin in Geneva executed Michael Servetus for differing in his view of God, while the Dutch Calvinists persecuted those holding Arminian beliefs. The Anabaptists were social revolutionaries who led their followers into armed rebellion, false prophecies, and polygamy in the failed revolution of Münster, which was the Waco of the sixteenth century.
Christians, supposedly following the Christ who said, “turn the other cheek,” and learning from Paul who said, “live, if at all possible, at peace with all” have waged war over the definition of God, have waged war over the definition of salvation, have killed for the right to baptise.
False doctrine has led people to idolatry, to atheism, to suicide. False prophets have led people to isolation, to despair, to mass suicide.
As we stand in a Christian church before God, we should tremble at the history we have inherited. We should tremble in fear we too propagate the evil that corrupted this tradition. We should tremble in God’s presence. We should tremble.
A desire to be in the house of God
The question is why am I here? I found a verse that sums up the reason I'm here. I hope that we all have the same feeling. It's a verse that we all know. It's from Psalm 122. It reads,
“I was glad when they said to me, ‘Let us go to the house of the Lord.’” (Psalm 122:1).
It is a Psalm of David. David had a longing, a desire to be in the house of God.
Why am I here? Well, I grew up as my brothers did, in the Seventh Day Baptist church. It's what I know—not saying I haven't been to other churches, which I have—but I'm here because of God. I'm here because He loves me, He cares for me and He saves me. I'm here because his truth is spoken, and because I can learn and grow.
And I know that in this place no other book replaces the Bible. There is no other Prophet or Prophetess acknowledged in this place. I'm here because of God, and as David said, it brings gladness to my heart. I'm hoping that it brings gladness to you, to be in the house of God.
I'm not just talking about the Seventh Day Baptists coming to the house of God to worship Him. I hope that every Sabbath we can have gladness in our hearts to come to the house of God. I hope that every Sabbath we have a longing to be here. A longing to worship God. I hope our hearts can be filled as David's heart was—with gladness and joy in our hearts.
A precious sacrifice
There's a story in Mark’s account of the gospel, just before Jesus died.
“And being in Bethany in the house of Simon the leper, as he sat at meat, there came a woman having an alabaster box or ointment of spikenard very precious; and she broke the box and poured it on his head” (Mark 14:3).
As we know from the story, John says that this is Mary, the sister of Martha and the sister of Lazarus who was resurrected. The story tells us that some people were upset with what Mary did, how Mary was willing to sacrifice quite a very precious, expensive offering to Jesus.
John says that Judas, the one that betrayed Jesus, was among these people who were questioning what she did. One of the things that Jesus said was,
"Let her alone, why trouble you her? She has wrought a good work on me” (Mark 14:6).
I see that what Mary did, can be applied to us.
I see us as a church that has been willing to sacrifice a lot to give to Jesus what we truly believe he deserves: to be obedient to his will. For example, we give up a lot by coming to together on the Sabbath day on Saturday to worship. We pretty much dedicate the entire day to God because we believe that this day is special, this day is holy, and it deserves the reverence that God truly intends for this day to have.
I want to re-read the verse that we all are quite familiar with. It's the Ten Commandments, which includes the commandment to keep the Sabbath day, and the rationale for why this day is holy.
“Remember the Sabbath day to keep it holy. Six days shall you labor and do all of your work, but the seventh day is the Sabbath of YHWH, your God, in it you shall not do any work. You, nor your son, nor your daughter, nor you manservant, nor you maidservant, nor your cattle, nor your stranger that is within your gates. For in six days YHWH made heaven and earth, the sea and all that in them is and rested on the seventh day. Wherefore YHWH blessed the Sabbath day and hallowed it.” (Exodus 20:8–11).
We see that the Sabbath day, its holiness, it comes from a commemoration of creation. It’s a remembrance of what God has done, of how God created the heavens and the earth, and we remember how the creator God rested on the seventh day after he created everything.
That's why this day is special. It's a tribute to the creator God that he is the God who created everything and that's why he is God, that's why he deserves our praise and worship because he made us and we are indebted to him. Why do we bother going out there living, making money, trying to rich and famous and going on pursuing the greatness of this world, what is the meaning of it all?, what is the purpose of life?, why do we even exist?, what are we here to do?
Do we just get rich, get a house, get a car, get a family, get old, die. Is that what we are here on this earth to do? Is that the meaning of life? As a child when I was reflecting on these questions, it always seemed a bit vain, a bit pointless, a bit futile. I came from Singapore, and it’s a very driven country, quite a materialistic country. In Singapore, we talk about having the five C’s: having a car, a condominium, a credit card, etc.
Singaporean culture is driven by the ambition to succeed, to be wealthy. I think that the spirit—and this isn't just in Singapore, this extends to a lot of wealthy countries—about beating your neighbour, being better than the average Joe. When as a child I was asked to study hard, to work hard to achieve all these things, I just wondered why? What is the point? We already have a house, we already have a car, we are already living in a very wealthy country.
We had everything, what was the point of it all? Why do we need to be richer? Why do we need to be more successful? It just seemed pointless. To cut a long story short, my dad passed away and a family friend came to look after us and she was the one who taught us about God.
We were Buddhist before, but she taught us about the creator God who created everything and that we are actually obligated to serve this God, but that we have all failed to serve this God. And when she taught this to me and also how she taught me about Jesus and how this creator God sent his son to die for our sins. Because of our disobedience, we deserved punishment, but this creator God loved us so much that he was willing to sacrifice his son to save us so that we may live with him and have eternal life.
It occurred to me that this was the very purpose of life—to serve this God who created all of us—and it was the very answer to the questions I was just asking. Then I had an epiphany. I saw a star. And this epiphany was confirmation to me that what I was hearing was the truth, and that's when I accepted that the message the Jesus truly is God and Saviour. And that day, I committed my life to Jesus, to God.
I just wanted to come back to this, we see in the Sabbath day a commandment to remember our creator, God our Father, who has given us life and who has consecrated this day and made it holy and I see it as a very simple thing that we require to do. It's not to hard really if you think about it, it's just a day, God has given us six days to work and he just wants us to rest.
One day of the week, come together, worship him. Theoretically it's not too difficult actually. It's just, God is trying to tell us what not to do, but because of the pressures of this world, because of the ambitions of man, it has become a very difficult thing to put aside your job to try to rest. Outside, in the world, every one is trying to work to make a living as Saturday is one of the busiest days in the world. It’s very difficult to tell your employer, “Hey, this is a special day for me, I have to worship God, I want to worship God, I really want to not work on this day.”
It's very difficult to do that and people who don't believe in the commandments of God, who don't believe in Christianity and Jesus, they wonder why do we do such a silly thing! Why do we sacrifice business to dedicate this day to God? Why would you do such a silly thing? It seems to be a bit of a waste, very similar to what Mary did when she was willing to sacrifice a very precious, very expensive offering to Jesus.
People question, why was this waste made? Jesus would say, “Let them alone, why trouble you them? They have wrought a good work for me.” I think Jesus would say that for us.
Christianity as a political tool
I think it is a fair interpretation of history that Constantine adopted Christianity as a means to control His empire. In his hands, Christianity became a political tool, a tool to control people.
That’s why he insisted that the bishops all agree on the doctrine of God—because he couldn’t have people realising that there were varying opinions, and thus realising they needed to make up their own minds. No, he ensured that all competing views were anathematised in order to insist that people fall into line with whatever the Church was teaching.
Ever since then, the hierarchies of bishops and the will of kings have competed in their efforts to capture the Church and subvert it to their will in an effort to bolster their own power.
English Kings declared that their right to rule descended from God Himself. Romish Popes declared that salvation stemmed from the Church’s own will. Kings and Popes competed in their allegiance to control people, and the intelligent (albeit ungodly) kings controlled people through the church. For example, you’ve heard of the King James Bible; but have you heard how its translation was ordered by the King to support hierarchy, rule and political control over and against voluntary congregationalism?
The Church has wreaked havoc on believers and unbelievers alike throughout its history.
You’ve heard of the Inquisition, which started in twelfth century France and lasted for over 700 years, and was responsible for the persecution of millions of Christians, and the deaths of tens of thousands.
You may have heard of Foxe’s Book of Martyrs, which chronicles the stories of those who died under Queen Mary I. But you may not have heard of all the Roman Catholic martyrs who died under King Henry VIII.
When we look around us today, and see Roman Catholics, Mormons, Jehovah’s Witnesses and Seventh-day Adventists pushing systems of belief that all declare their own adherents to be special, to have the truth, to be the remnant church, to be the enlightened few—and yet their adherents’ allegiance is far more to the institution than to God’s revealed will in scripture. When we see this, we realise that religion as a tool of political manipulation, of control of people, is alive and well today.
When we, who stand in this Church today, reflect on the evil wreaked on the world in the Name of Christ, we might learn to tremble to call ourselves Christian.
A faithful church
I just want to follow on again on what was said. I'll just read a few verses about a church that I truly feel and think represents a faithful church. I understand the many faults of the church can be a massive put off to a lot of people. I think a lot of people are very afraid of being associated with Christianity because a lot of the disgrace and shame from the works of Christians in the past.
I think though, that a lot of the faults that people can pick at Christianity, should be put to perspective and compared to many of the other religions, including Atheism. For example communism, the social implementation of Atheism is guilty of millions of deaths. Many times more than Christianity, even if you include the crusades. If you were to look at Mao Za Dong, Stalin, Pol Pot, the magnitude of deaths and cruelty was far greater than those caused by Christianity. I think we have to keep that in perspective.
However, I think the faults of the church have to be addressed, and I believe that God in his time is trying to restore his church to what it was—to the glory that he intended the church to be.
When we read the book of Acts, we see what a church should be—full of the glory and power of the living God. We see a people who are willing to sacrifice all for the sake of God and for the sake of each other. These were the people who were willing to sell all of their belongings and put their wealth and share it with the community of believers.
I do think it's very hard to implement such a system here today, but I do want to stress that that is the standard of Christianity. And when we look at the faults of Christianity we should also compare that to the very highest standards and ideals of what Christianity ought to be. We need to remember what God has given us and shown us to be the way that we truly are meant to be when we talk about what it means to be a follower of God, what it means to be a follower of Christ, that is, a Christian.
I just want to read from Revelation. In Revelation, it talks about the faithful church of Philadelphia, and I believe this is a description that can be applied to all churches who are faithful.
“And to the angel of the church in Philadelphia write; These things saith he that is holy, he that is true, he that hath the key of David, he that opens, and no man shuts; and shuts, and no man opens; I know your works: behold, I have set before you an open door, and no man can shut it: for you have a little strength, and have kept my word, and have not denied my name.
“Behold, I will make them of the synagogue of Satan, which say they are Jews, and are not, but do lie; behold, I will make them to come and worship before your feet, and to know that I have loved you. Because you have kept the word of my patience, I also will keep you from the hour of temptation, which shall come upon all the world, to try them that dwell upon the earth. Behold, I come quickly: hold that fast which you have, that no man take your crown.
“Him that overcomes will I make a pillar in the temple of my God, and he shall go no more out: and I will write upon him the name of my God, and the name of the city of my God, which is new Jerusalem, which comes down out of heaven from my God: and I will write upon him my new name. He that has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches” (Revelation 3:7–13).
I believe that this is a church that has tried truly to keep God’s word and not deny God’s name. A church who has tried to keep the word of God’s patience. I believe that God will keep his promise to spare us from any of the trials and temptations which will come upon this world and will bless us for being faithful.
I want to turn all the way back to Leviticus 23, where it talks about the holy days of God and as we know the festival of Rosh Hashanah, this is one of the holy days of God, this is … in Hebrew Rosh Hashanah, which translates basically to ‘The High Year.’
This is one of the new years of the Jewish calendar and it's a holy day, one of the holy days of God and when we try to study this holy day of God, I believe it points to a prophecy, pointing to the second coming of Jesus.
I believe that when we celebrate the Feast of Trumpets [Rosh Hashanah] this coming Sunday evening—we will encounter a lot of the prophecies that we find in the New Testaments being symbolised in this festival. And this is the same for a lot of God’s festivals: Passover, Feast of Tabernacles, Day of Atonement.
I like how this church celebrates these festivals, and that one of the reasons why I'm here. We’re free to talk about the meaning of these festivals and realise that they still have a very real significance for us, as Christians, today. I think that's one of the very good reasons for me to be here: to worship with this congregation and I believe that observing and keeping these festivals is very much a part of keeping God’s word and holding fast to what God has given us, as we found when we read about the church of Philadelphia.
Freedom and liberty in Jesus
We don’t belong to a hierarchical system of imposed control. We believe in the freedom to express our understanding of God on a local scale, within a set of relationships of people we can see. Not a faceless religious bureaucracy that can be and historically has been captured by the control of external forces.
We believe that we stand before God alone, but are called to actively engage in a community of believers to encourage, to exhort, to uplift each other.
We are here today to celebrate freedom in Jesus. For Jesus declared that, “If the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed” (John 8:36). It is for freedom and liberty in Jesus Christ that we are called.
Jesus calls us to freedom. Not to man-made rules, traditions or creeds. We are called to a confidence that comes from a life growing in Jesus.
Life means growth. And a life in Jesus means a growth of love, joy and peace. A growth in patience, kindness and goodness. In justice, mercy and humility.
Jesus is the Word of God. He taught us how to live. Then commanded we obey Him, and teach others to do the same. That's why we seek to faithfully observe everything He taught us. For that is the way of freedom in the Lord Jesus Christ.