14 not giving heed to Jewish fables and commandments of men who turn from the truth.
14 not giving heed to Jewish fables [myths]
The negative counterpart to a healthy faith (v. 13) was to submit to Jewish fables and human viewpoint. To be sound in faith demanded that Cretan believers give up two belief systems: (1) Jewish fables and (2) commandments of men.
A fable is a myth. It is a legend contrary to truth. False teachers tell concocted stories designed to mislead. Use of the term “giving heed” indicates that some Cretan believers devoted themselves to Jewish fables. Dan Brown’s DaVinci Code is a good example of a fanciful story spun out of distortion of facts.
2 Pe 1: 16 For we did not follow cunningly devised fables when we made known to you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but were eyewitnesses of His majesty.
1 Ti 1: 4 nor give heed to fables and endless genealogies, which cause disputes rather than godly edification which is in faith.
1 Ti 4: 7 But reject profane and old wives’ fables, and exercise yourself toward godliness.
and commandments of men
The “commandments of men” refers to human viewpoint rather than divine viewpoint. The Cretan doctrine was from humans and not God. The next phrase says that they “turn from the truth.” That is, they put their own truth in the place of God’s truth.
Co 2: 22 which all concern things which perish with the using—according to the commandments and doctrines of men?
Paul referred to the ascetic practice in Colosse using a similar term (Co 2:22). Adherence to regulations is an indication of spirituality to the legalist, but to the person of grace it is a different story. In grace, God is the doer and provider. In legalism, the human being is the doer and provider.
who turn from the truth.
The idea of turning from the truth was to reject God’s truth. These people evidently had exposure to the truth but they turned from it. “Truth” here is the entire body of Christian belief found in the Word of God. These false teachers strayed far from the doctrine of grace.
2 Ti 4: 4 and they will turn their ears away from the truth, and be turned aside to fables.
We cannot reconcile legalism with grace.
False teachers invent their own theories of Christianity. Usually it is some form of legalistic regulations. They will do anything except to turn to Christ and what He offers.
Man’s system is to pull himself up by the bootstraps, to rely on what he can do for himself. God’s system rests on what God does and what He provides. Religion and grace are polar opposites. Religion is what man does for God; Christianity is what God does for man. The system of religion and morality greatly attracts people because it depends on what they can do. It strokes the ego. Christianity offers something free, something that comes out of the generous heart of God. Both salvation and the Christian life revolve around grace.