CREATURES OF RELIGIOUS HABITS
It is only natural for people to establish religion upon their religious traditions since people are beings of tradition. We are creatures of culture, and culture is a systematic obedience to behavioral characteristics by which individuals live in harmony in any society. We thus seek to mold our religious behavior around the traditions of the fathers in order to live in harmony with one another. However, the problem is that the traditions become the final authority of our traditional religion, and thus, the religious traditions of the fathers lead the children away from God. The traditions institutionalize the religion by becoming the identity of the adherents who seek to self-sanctify themselves by adherence to their religious traditions.
Traditional religion in Israel was at its peak when Jesus came into the world. This was the system of religious thought and behavior that Jesus confronted throughout His ministry. This was the religious behavior that Jesus stirred up in order to take Himself to the cross (Jn 10:17,18). It is imperative, therefore, that every Bible student understand the nature of the traditional religion that was maintained by the Jews of the first century in order to understand the same conflict between the gospel and religion in this age.
The majority of the early disciples were Jews. Therefore, some of these Jewish converts brought into the church the legalistic system of religious behavior that defines Judaism for several centuries. The greatest threat against the church in its early beginnings was the legalistic system of Judaism that was characteristic with the religious world of the first century.