Nicolas Poussin, The Adoration of the Golden Calf
Today we look at Paragraph 15 of "Our World Belongs to God: A Contemporary Testimony.” Yesterday’s topic was given to us as the effects of the fall on humanity; today, paragraph 15 looks at the effects of the defacing of God’s image.
We know that anyone born of God does not continue to sin; the One who was born of God keeps them safe, and the evil one cannot harm them. We know that we are children of God, and that the whole world is under the control of the evil one. We know also that the Son of God has come and has given us under-standing, so that we may know him who is true. And we are in him who is true by being in his Son Jesus Christ. He is the true God and eternal life. Dear children, keep yourselves from idols (I John 5:18-21).
[On the defacing of God’s image, see Romans 1:21-23; for the restoration of the image in Christ, see Romans 8:29, 2 Corinthians 3:18, Ephesians 4:22-24, and Colossians 3:10.]
The Heidelberg Catechism defines idolatry as “having or inventing something in which one trusts
in place of or alongside of the only true God” (Q&A95).
The Contemporary Testimony takes this further, examining the consequences of that idolatry–broken relationships with God and all that he has made, including with ourselves. Just as the idols are also all around us, the effects of our idolatry are all around us.
These effects are clearly so severe. So then why do we, children of God that we are, persist in following idols? It’s that word “trust” in the Catechism—we prefer to put our faith, hope and security in what we can see. The reasons for our golden calves are not much different from those of the ancient Israelites.
Christ offers us a “new self,” a restored God-image, after the likeness of the One-who-is-God. Trouble is, we’ve known the false self—the idol of clay—so long, that we’ve come to be quite cozy with it. So we, at great effort, continue to prop it up, even as it keeps us (as all idols keep us) enslaved.
This is a very important lesson for our time. COVID-19 is shaking the very foundations of where we stand and live. Where will be put our trust? If God wants to bring down some of our largest and most cherished idols, will we quarrel with him? Or will we relinquish our idols in favour of knowing the One who is “the true God and eternal life?” It is only as we relinquish our idols that we can “put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge in the image of its Creator.”
Have you allowed a false image to stand in your life? Where in your life can you, today, say “no” to an idol and “yes” to Jesus?
Our song today is “O, For A Closer Walk with God,” by Keith and Kristyn Getty.
Pray with me: "Dear Lord, We live among many idols that keep us from worshipping you. I dearly want to put on the new self in Jesus, but these false images keep getting in the way. We sing with all of our beings, Lord, 'the dearest idol I have known, whate'er that idol be, help me to tear it from Thy throne and worship only Thee!'"
Our Father in heaven,
hallowed be Your name.
Your kingdom come,
Your will be done
On earth as it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread.
Forgive us our debts,
As we also have forgiven our debtors.
And lead us not into temptation,
but deliver us from the evil one.
For Yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever. Amen.
Go with this blessing:
May the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you all.
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