Change is often hard. The church began in Jerusalem where most people were devout Jews. All of Jesus’ original followers were Jews as well. In the Old Testament, the nation of Israel was referred to as God’s chosen people. If a person wanted to have a relationship with God, they needed to worship the God of Israel. In effect, they had to convert to the Jewish religion. So now there are Jewish Christians who have been raised in that tradition who can’t understand how a person can have a relationship with God without first embracing the Jewish religion. With many non-Jews, or Gentiles, coming to Christ, a dispute arises. Undeniable stories of Gentiles coming to Jesus and showing evidence of their faith are used to prove that Jesus can save anyone - Jew or Gentile.
Most Christians today are not of Jewish descent, so we can be glad for the outcome of this dispute. However, today we can be guilty of adding requirements for coming to Jesus based on tradition. We fall so in love with a particular style of music, dress, ceremony or lifestyle we begin to insist that the person must adopt our way of life before trusting Jesus. Nothing could be further from the truth. People’s lifestyles should change after coming to Christ as they grow in their relationship with God, but those changes are not based on tradition and preferences; they are based on how God would have them live.