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Many, even among those who call themselves Christians, will be shocked on the Last Day to find out that they were practicing idolatry and worshiping and serving a god of their own imagination and making and not the God of the Bible, who created the heavens and the earth.

Right after God said, "I am the LORD thy God ... Thou shalt have no other gods before me" (Exodus 20:2,3), God also said, "Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image, or any likeness of any thing that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth...." (Exodus 20:4).

And, of course, when we read on in Exodus (chapter 32:1ff.), we find that before Moses even made it down from Mt. Sinai with the Ten Commandments inscribed on the two tablets of stone, the people had fallen into idolatry and were worshiping a golden calf and calling it by the name of the LORD (or Jehovah).

We are quick to criticize the ancient Israelites, but so often we are guilty of the same thing. We worship and serve -- with our own worship forms based on our culture and likings -- a god made in our own image.

No, I'm not saying we carve an image out of wood or stone or make it out of molten metals like gold; but we make our god in our own image and likeness by assuming that God thinks as we think, that our opinions and views are those of God, and that our likes in worship forms are what God desires of us (cf. Isaiah 55:8-9).

Think about it. How often don't we hear people say that they don't accept this part or that teaching of the Bible because it is not in agreement with the views of our "modern" culture and society? Even though the Bible clearly teaches that God is righteous and holy and will judge all who break His commandments with eternal death and damnation, we imagine a god who grades on the curve and who will admit into heaven all who at least try to do good. Even though God, in His Word, plainly says we are all guilty and stand condemned under His law and that the only way one can be spared in God's judgment and receive instead of death and damnation His mercy and pardon and eternal life in heaven is by clinging in faith to Jesus Christ and His holy life and innocent sufferings and death in our stead, people imagine a god who accepts all regardless of whether they repent and trust in Jesus.

Even though the God who says, "I am the LORD, I change not" (Malachi 3:6), judged the world in the great flood (Genesis 6-8), rained down fire and brimstone upon Sodom and Gomorrah (Genesis 19), and decreed the death and utter destruction of the Canaanites (Leviticus 18), people imagine a god who will tolerate every form of evil and sexual perversion and who will not judge our own land and people for their abortions and evil.

When people gather in their churches on Sundays and preach only love and tolerance for what the Bible calls sin and wickedness or when they preach that people can be saved if they are good and show love toward others, how is this any different than the Israelites in the wilderness calling a feast to the LORD when, in fact, they were gathering to worship a god of their own making?

So, what's my point? Why do I point out the idolatry of "Christians" and "churches" today? I point it out in the hope that we all examine ourselves and our churches and preachers with the Word of God and determine if we are worshiping and serving the true God or a god of our own imagination and making. I'd rather you be spared the shock of learning the truth on the day of Christ's return when He will say to so many who claimed to have worshiped and served Him, "I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity" (Matthew 7:23).

God has not changed! His commandments have not changed! He still is a God who punishes sin and wickedness! He has never judged based on a curve and He never will! Trying your best at being a good person won't cut it. "All have sinned, and come short of the glory of God" (Romans 3:23); and "the wages of sin is death" -- spiritual, physical and eternal -- (Romans 6:23)!

There is only one way to be spared in God's judgment, and that is to cling in faith to Christ Jesus and His cross (cf. John 8:24; 14:6; Rom. 3:24-26)! "Jesus Christ the righteous ... is the propitiation for our sins: and not for ours only, but also for the sins of the whole world" (1 John 2:1,2). He took the punishment and paid the price for all and rose again on the third day in order that we might repent of our sinful ways and look to Him in faith for pardon, forgiveness and eternal salvation.

Instead of deceiving ourselves and making a god after our own image, let's accept what God says of Himself in the Bible and worship and serve the true God by repenting of our evil ways and clinging to Christ and His cross for God's pardon and eternal peace!

Randy Moll is the editor of the Westside Eagle Observer and also a pastor at Good Shepherd Evangelical Lutheran Church in Rogers. He may be contacted by email at Opinions expressed are those of the author.

Religion on 09/04/2019

Print Headline: Many 'Christians' and 'churches' practice idolatry

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