Idolatry seems to be the least of our concerns in modern time. Idolatry is something weird guys did back in Bible times, sticking idols under menstruating women’s saddles et al. Weird stuff like that.
We don’t have idols and the closest your pastor gets to talking about idols is mentioning your television viewing habits. However, a proper definition of idolatry will bring this sin into perspective.
Idolatry is imagining things about God and acting as if they were true. It’s inventing a god that suits your understanding, inclinations, and doesn’t bug your happy thoughts. In other words: idolatry is making a God just like you, or at least what you think you are just like.
Idolatry is believing things about God that are not biblical, things that are not consistent with God’s revelation of Himself. Every verse in the Bible that you ignore, explain away, find loopholes for because they just don’t feel right, if left undealt with will lead to idolatry.
People don’t like the God that makes hell–welcome an idol.
People don’t like a God that destroys cities–welcome an idol.
People don’t like a God that lets injustice exist–welcome an idol.
People don’t like a God that condemns their favorite fleshly activity–welcome an idol.
People don’t like a God that lets sinners get away with sin for a season– welcome an idol.
Anything you believe about God that is not consistent with who He says He is, brings on idolatry. Many believe in God; few believe in the God of the Bible. Idols are all over our churches. You may not see them, you may not think you are praying to them, but they are there and the God of the Bible is not too thrilled about this.
These things hast thou done, and I kept silence; thou thoughtest that I was altogether such an one as thyself: but I will reprove thee, and set them in order before thine eyes.
Abraham had a babe for a wife, he knew it and so did his wife. Their knowledge was not a secret either, seemingly every king they ran into thought Sarah was a total babe, even at 99 years of age!
Abraham was not an entirely chivalrous man, he made up the half-truth that Sarah was his sister not his wife and King Abimelech took Sarah.
God decided to stop Abimelech, did not allow him to touch her. God stops a king from taking another man’s wife.
Then we have King David seeing and wanting Bathsheba. David, a king, went and took her and God did absolutely nothing to stop him. Why did God stop one king from taking a wife and not another king?
Furthermore, it’s the opposite, he stops a Gentile king and lets the Jewish king steal a wife. Shouldn’t it be the other way around?
I have an answer, wondering what yours would be?
It’s a tendency for a teacher to feel proud. When you write something good or have a nice sermon, man it feels good. God is pretty lucky to have us and our wit on His side, amen.
The Bible is a wonderful tool at undermining pride. Pride is the central human failure that gets us all the time. God rails against it. I imagine there are some things in Scripture that would eliminate pride in teachers of the Bible. Ah yes.
1) Balaam’s dear donkey. Yup, gotta start here. If a donkey can do your job, you shouldn’t be proud.
2) Fish-gut smelling Jonah. Jonah wanted nothing to do with his mission and demonstrated it with a horrible attitude, his message was seven short words. And he converted an entire city.
3) Idiot Judas Iscariot. Judas was with the disciples, took part in all their missions, presumably even did miracles, the disciples had no idea who the betrayer would be, making you think there was no difference. Yet look at the outcome.
I’ll stop there. I think that’s plenty. I’m sure you can think of more. If God does indeed work through anything that we do or say it is vital to remember that it is indeed His work. We plant and water, He grants the increase. Relax, do your job and let God do His.
“The age of grace” has been used to label the current age. The main reason for this title is that God does not appear to be judging sin. The ground hasn’t opened up and swallowed people, fiery serpents are hibernating, multitudes of frogs have not shown up on heathen lands, nor have there been any world-wide floods.
We take this to mean that God isn’t bugged by sin as much anymore. Things changed after the cross. “Before the cross sin was punished; after the cross God doesn’t punish sin because Christ took the punishment,” so goes the argument. So we have the notion that we’re “getting away with sin” due to Christ’s intercession. Thus, we are in “the age of grace.”
Allow me to present an argument against this label.
Continue reading “The Age of Grace?”
Frequently I hear people say that the major, serious commands in the Bible are directed at higher Christians, people who are disciples. They have made an extra commitment and have put off Clark Kent faith and are now in Superman faith.
This is a handy excuse for the “nominal” or “carnal” Christian who is looking for a loophole out of doing anything. “Oh, I don’t have to study (pray, love, give money, etc), that’s for disciples, I’m just a believer.”
What is immensely ironic is that the NT uses the term disciple several times to refer to people who are unbelievers (John 6:66; Matthew 10:1-4 for example). Being a disciple does not imply salvation. A disciple is a learner and some learners quit learning and leave.
This is especially juicy when you consider Matthew 28:19, the Great Commission. The KJV says we are to “teach all nations.” Teach has the root word disciple in it in Greek. Which is why the NAS says “make disciples of all nations.”
Oh the juiciness! Seems to me the idea would be this: teach people to learn. Many interpret the Great Commission as a command to save people. However, we all know salvation is from the Lord, it’s His deal. We plant and water, God gives the increase.
We teach, that’s our job. What do we teach? The Word, which is able to make thee wise unto salvation. Our job is to teach, not to get people to believe or be saved. We love to see that outcome, but we cannot manufacture it. Be ready to teach, in season and out.
I have detected a way to quickly identify what Christian books are written in an argumentative manner. Whatever the argumentative topic may be (Arminianism/Calvinism, dispensational/covenant, etc) arguers from both sides will say something like this in their introduction:
“Sincere readers of the Bible will know what I am about to tell you.” Or, “It is obvious to those who have diligently studied God’s Word.. . .”
This sort of phrase cracks me up. Basically, the author is saying, “If you’re not a complete idiot you will agree with me.”
Now, I get why they say it, and in some cases it may even be true. But it’s the tone, the implication, the underlying snippiness that ruins credibility.
If you see a line like this in your theological book, just know that you are getting a one-sided view written from someone who is arguing.
Sincere readers of my blog know this already, you other idiots don’t.