“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, visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children to the third and the fourth generation of those who hate me, but showing steadfast love to thousands of those who love me and keep my commandments.” ~ God, in Exodus 20:4-6
“Man’s nature, so to speak, is a perpetual factory of idols.” ~ John Calvin
We are all born loving idolatry. We have the remarkable ability (and desire) to exalt pretty much anything beside God above God as the driving focus of our lives and the primary object of our affections. Power, money, and sex – all things that are inherently neutral and only as good, bad, beautiful or ugly as the motives to which they are attached (to glorify God or to glorify self) – these are a few of the more visible and popular idols of the day, but charity, church, career, ministry, family, country, and even one’s spouse can ever so easily be made into an idol. Anything that displaces God as the clear center of our lives and constant object of our affection is, in fact, an idol.
That said, whenever we choose to idolize anything and give it the attention or priority (which equates to worship) that is due God alone, we are idolizing ourselves by imagining ourselves to be autonomous, independent decision makers. We imagine ourselves to be god, as we must, in order to then choose other things that are due the attention and worship that is actually owed to God alone.
SELF AS GOD AND GODMAKER
“Every idol comes down to a love of self.” ~ Dr. Albert Mohler, Jr.
With the exclusivity, necessity, and centrality of the one true God dismissed through our proud rejection of the first of His Ten Commandments, the idol factories that churn in the hearts of all fallen men are given the green light to roar into production. And they happily oblige.
The progressive movement in America – both its “liberal” and “conservative” wings – is committed to dismissing the lordship of Christ in all aspects of public (and eventually private) life. In its disdain for the one true God and exaltation of all “other gods” as viable, we have seen the production and promotion of infinite idolatry. Every man and woman and boy and girl is their own god. They are “free to choose” what is right for themselves. What’s right and what is wrong is “up to them”. That’s the American way.
Or so we have been programmed to believe.
THE INFINITE IDOLOTRY OF GOD-LESS PROGRESS
Every way of a man is right in his own eyes, but the LORD weighs the heart. ~ Proverbs 21:2
“Do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the Law.” ~ Aleister Crowley’s Book of the Law
When we take a straight, honest look and acknowledge the painful but obvious truth of our proud American culture’s embrace of this “man is on the throne” worldview, we then not only better understand our present state of affairs, but we have taken an important early step toward dealing with the root problem of our idolatry.
By first acknowledging the idolatrous nature of presuming that man inherently knows best and is capable of using his “common sense” to “do the right thing”, we move toward a biblical understanding of the true nature of all men and we begin to grasp the black backdrop against which the beauty of the true Gospel shines.
By clinging to that Gospel and bringing Christ’s perfect light to a world at war with Him, we have supernatural hope in a sovereign God who, while mocked, is unmoved, unshakable, and perfect in every way.
Are we responsible for how we condone or confront idolatry?
We will not answer for the obedience of any other. We will answer for our obedience to God, or lack thereof, and the manner in which we confront or condone idolatry is no exception to this. The very nature and character of God is challenged with every idolatrous thought and action pursued in rebellion against Him, and a culture defined by such rebellion is a culture doomed to destruction, so we have to take this question seriously.
When we shirk our responsibility to stand for and defend truth because it will cost us something – status, comfort, or temporal peace – we make those things our guiding, ruling idols in practice. They are, practically speaking, our gods.
A follow-up question worthy of consideration here is: If we are responsible for our approach to idolatry, then to whom are we responsible? As Christians, we have been graced to understand God as the One to whom we are responsible.
With those first important questions answered rightly, we might then, by the grace of God, finally have the desire and ability to test our most cherished idols; idols like tradition, patriotism, and America itself. Each of these things can become just as corrupt and evil as any other when not centered on Christ, and that seems to be what has happened here in the “land of the free” and the home of the NSA. The wicked leadership, plagues, droughts, and bloodthirsty enemies raised up against us are clear judgments of God upon our proud rebellion.
I wanted to offer up these thoughts as reminders (both to readers and myself) so that we might be moved to seek out, identify, and confront our personal idols in the perfect, purifying light of Scripture. I do this in light of our increasingly precarious possition at this moment in America and in accordance with the spirit of two posts along thse lines from last week: Judgment begins with the Church…not the Democrats, and The Obacalypse continues…but are we any closer to repentance?
The one thing that is being made crystal clear right here and now in America – whether we like it or not or admit it or not – is that man-centered, man-made “solutions” not only cannot truly solve any real problem in God’s creation…they can only lead further and further into darkness.
Economics, politics, education, art…these are all His property. They are defined by His nature. They can only thrive and produce good things insofar as they conform to His nature as revealed in His Word.
That is why Fox News, MSNBC, the Republican party, the Democrat party, Rush Limbaugh, and Sean Hannity cannot save us.
Only the supernatural Gospel and Great Commission of Christ the King can save us by transforming us into disciples who will strive, by His grace, to do all that He commands (see: Matthew 28).
And this all begins with us…His people…the Church.
So let’s get to it…by His grace and for His glory.
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© 2014 Scott Alan Buss – All Rights Reserved.