18For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who by their unrighteousness suppress the truth. 19For what can be known about God is plain to them, because God has shown it to them. 20For his invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made. So they are without excuse. 21For although they knew God, they did not honor him as God or give thanks to him, but they became futile in their thinking, and their foolish hearts were darkened. 22Claiming to be wise, they became fools, 23and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images resembling mortal man and birds and animals and reptiles. 24Therefore God gave them up in the lusts of their hearts to impurity, to the dishonoring of their bodies among themselves, 25because they exchanged the truth about God for a lie and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever! Amen.
v.21, 22-23, &24-25 These three sets of verses all follow the same progression of events which Paul repeats three times in three different ways to nail this truth into our hearts and minds. First, knowledge of God, that has been made plain to them, is exchanged for a lie that God is like a created thing. This leads to an inherent failure to glorify God whom then gives them over to their sinful lusts. Idolatry is generally associated to the worship of images resembling birds and animals and reptiles; however, the first idol listed in verse 23 is one in an image resembling mortal man. While individuals do worship money and status, among other things, the most rampant form of idolatry involves worshiping a god that resembles mortal man.
The there are two specific idols I want to address the ecumenical/postmodern idol and the idol which has resulted through embracing the American dream. Sadly, the worship of these idols runs rampant in the “church.” Proponents of ecumenism have created a god who resembles mortal man in his tolerance and acceptance of sin. They say things like, “my Jesus would not send people to hell.” Your Jesus? As if, you can just create your own. God is not ecumenical (Isaiah 42:8, Luke 12:49-53). God does not tolerate or accept sin (Romans 2:5, Romans 8:8, 35-37). Salvation is found in Christ alone (John 14:6, Acts 4:12).
The result of the American dream is an idol whose main concern is the safety and comfort of man. Through embracing the American dream, the church has not only become idolatrous; but also created a god who is idolatrous as well, a god who worships man by placing a higher value on the safety, or comfort, of his creations rather than the advancement of his kingdom and his glory. God does not exist to make you safe (Matthew 10:37-39, John 21:19, Hebrews 11, 13:12-14). God created you for His glory (Isaiah 43:7). His purpose in your life is that you would glorify Him and teach others to glorify Him. God does not exist to make you healthy, wealthy, and prosperous. The idolatrous god of the American dream is a farce. God killed His Son in order to advance His Kingdom and Glorify His name. Why would He treat you any differently?
It is time to stop reinventing Christ and return to the Biblical Jesus, Biblical Christianity, and the Biblical purpose of the Church. Anything less is idolatrous.
i know that i personally do not comment on your blog because, to be quite honest, you are too smart for me. Period.
i think you are right on in this post. i see students all the time who think that their own personal opinions of Scripture, God, and their purpose in life matter. they believe that their opinion on Scripture is all that matters, regardless of whether or not their personal opinion of a passage matches the authorial intent of the writer. They believe that whatever they think about God is true, simply becasue it is their opinion. They believe that just because they might not match their Christian beliefs with the way they act does not make them a ‘bad Christian.’ Their social life is their social life and their church life is their church life and the two do not coexist. it scares me to think that this is the next generation, and humbles me to no end to know that God has called me to, through His wisdom and grace, work to turn that tide. As A.W. Tozer says in his book The Knowledge of the Holy, “What comes into our minds when we think about God is the most important thing about us.” May our thoughts of God be right and pure.