Idolaters All

As humans, made in the imago dei, we were all created to worship, and that is what we all do. We all seek something greater than ourselves to pay homage to, and there are no exceptions. Some worship celebrity, some worship comfort, some worship an idealized version of themselves, some worship a carved image kept in a prominent place in the home. The options are as varied as the number of humans ever to have existed.

It’s all the same sin of idolatry. All of it. As image bearers created to worship God, we can refuse to fulfill our chief end. But we cannot get around the ingrained need to worship. And whatever you worship will be something that you regard as something higher than you. Nobody will live for something that they see as beneath them! You will live for something greater than yourself. What you worship must be something you perceive to be greater than what you are. The scope of it will reveal the depth of your understanding of anthropology, the study of mankind in relation to God.

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As Christians, we point people away from the vain things they have been seeking blessings from and point toward the one from whom all blessings flow. We worship the highest being, one so great that any attempt to explain Him will fall short of the glory of God. Our sharing Him with others is not sinful, though, for we have a high priest who is both merciful and faithful and who can understand our weakness. (Hebrews 2:17)

Even as those redeemed by the blood of Jesus, we are prone to stumble. The human heart is an idol factory, and the factory is not abandoned just because one turns to Jesus. We plod through this life, tempted as we go toward idolatry. Whenever we are ashamed of who God is and what He has said in His word, we are wishing to remake Him in our image. It is the faithless Christian who chooses a “winsome” response when confronted by the unbeliever over the commanded destruction of the residents of Canaan. Or the suggestion that a Christian ought not wear garments with mixed fibers, or whatever the current challenge might be.

They are trying to push you into a state of idolatry by denying the word of God, and thus redefining God into an image that you and they can agree upon. A loving God would never destroy a city for the high crime of homosexuality! What about all of the innocents in the flood? Who is Jesus to claim to be the exclusive way to salvation? We are far more advanced now, and women ought to be leading our churches! The argument is the same for all of these and more. They want to reject the clear teaching of scripture so they can replace the clear image of God with their own version. A softer version. One every bit as caring and nurturing as they are.

Can you sense the blasphemy here? Idolatry must presuppose some inadequacy upon God, requiring an alternative. This is true if one is worshiping a carved image, seeking peace through Yoga, or merely trying to sand off the rough edges of God as He is presented in the Bible to salve our guilt over our pasts or the actions of our offspring. In the book of Romans we are told that we all fall short of the glory of God. In the idol factories of our hearts, we are told that God has fallen short of our standard and must be replaced with some form of improvement.

Total Depravity teaches that we are all affected by our inheritance from our first father, Adam, and all of us will seek to replace God to one degree or another. It is the Christian who will struggle against this tendency and who will respond with repentance when they identify this in their own lives. (Ezekiel 36:27) That same Christian can be reminded of his or her baptism as a way of drawing back to the one to whom they belong. This is grace. That same Christian can be spiritually nurtured by approaching the Lord’s Supper, surrounded by a body of believers, all struggling with one sin or another and all needing a similar spiritual strengthening.

If you are on the outside of grace looking in, I beg you to turn to Jesus. He will not turn you away and neither will His church! If you are among those who have been redeemed, and are even now grieving over your sin, take heart! Only those who are indwelt with the Spirit will sustain a struggle against their sin. Plead the blood of Jesus, wash your face, and live!

Isaiah 55:6-7
 “Seek the Lord while he may be found;
    call upon him while he is near;
 let the wicked forsake his way,
    and the unrighteous man his thoughts;
let him return to the Lord, that he may have compassion on him,
    and to our God, for he will abundantly pardon.
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