Monday, April 17, 2017

Like Juice for Breakfast, Idols Aren't Just for Pagans!

In his first epistle, the Apostle John makes an interesting remark: "And we know that the Son of God has come and has given us understanding, so that we may know Him who is true; and we are in Him who is true, in His Son Jesus Christ. He is the true God and eternal life. Little children, keep yourselves from idols" (I John 5:20-21). He asserts that spiritual enlightenment is found in Christ. OK, that's a good thing. Then he asserts the true deity of Christ. That's an excellent addition. then he adds, "Keep yourselves from idols."

That warning just seems out of left field!

If a person understands the first two things, that light and life come in the incarnate Son of God, is it not self-evident that he would then stay away from idols?

Of course, the man of God has that statement from the Father: "You shall not make for yourself a carved image, or any likeness of anything that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth. You shall not bow down to them or serve them, for I the Lord your God am a jealous God" (the Second Commandment, Exodus 20:4-5). And we know how well that worked out for Israel (Exodus 32). We know, therefore, that knowing the true God does not shut down the fallen heart, of which John Calvin said, "Man's nature, so to speak, is a perpetual factory of idols."

We must be saddened by the awareness that professing Christians do little better than did the ancient Israelite. Does not Rome produce an army of idols?

Images of Various Saints

This is what John addresses, perverting our faith in the true god, Jesus Christ, by turning our devotion to images, whether we call them saints, gods, or even Jesus. After all, when the Israelites were worshiping the Golden Calf, they called it Jehovah (Exodus 32:5). Therefore, regardless of the claims of Rome, the Second Commandment isn't just about worshiping pagan gods.

No comments: