Wednesday, April 27, 2005this is critical...
In my post What Is Truth?, I concluded that the Bible was the determining factor, the one thing that separates the true saint from the unbelievers and the false professors. It only follows then, that the main teaching of God's Word should have the same effect. And , IT TOTALLY DOES! The main teaching I'm referring to? FAITH.
Faith: Confident belief in the truth, value, or trustworthiness of a person, idea, or thing. Belief that does not rest on logical proof or material evidence.
Biblical Christianity is based completely on faith in the unseen; and that not only in the belief of it's God, but also in the practice of it's worship. The Bible is quite clear:
"God is a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth." (John 4:24)
"But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him." (Hebrews 11:6)
True Christians, unlike idolators, worship God in spirit. No pictures, no statues, no jewelry. None.
Only two "exceptions" can be found in Scripture, and I put the quotation marks there because these exceptions were NOT to be worshiped, rather they were symbols of God's character and/or doings. The first is God's Tabernacle/Temple and their contents; and since neither exist anymore, it is no longer applicable. The second is the Lord's Table. Yes, the Lord's Table. Christians are to observe the Lord's Table, with the cup and the bread, as a remembrance of the work of the Cross. This still applies today, and I repeat, is the ONLY permissible worship-object in the church. Again the Bible is clear, and I want you to notice the one thing that is used here to separate the true Christian from the idolator:
"Wherefore, my dearly beloved, flee from idolatry. I speak as to wise men; judge ye what I say. The cup of blessing which we bless, is it not the communion of the blood of Christ? The bread which we break, is it not the communion of the body of Christ? For we being many are one bread, and one body: for we are all partakers of that one bread. Behold Israel after the flesh: are not they which eat of the sacrifices partakers of the altar? What say I then? that the idol is any thing, or that which is offered in sacrifice to idols is any thing?" (1 Corinthians 10:14-19)
Now, I repeat, the Lord's Table is NOT to be an object of worship (if it were John 4:24 would be of none effect), it is an object of REMEMBRANCE.
Should we accept the Romanist's argument that their pictures, statues, and jewelry are the same thing, just objects the help them remember? No. Again, the Scriptures are far to clear:
"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: Thou shalt not bow down thyself to them, nor serve them: for I the LORD thy God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children unto the third and fourth generation of them that hate me; And shewing mercy unto thousands of them that love me, and keep my commandments." (Exodus 20:4-6)
God, through His Bible, has given us everything we need for "life and godliness" (2 Peter 1:3). And in this Book, how many pages are used to physical descriptions of God or God's servants? ZERO. How many verses are there that clearly sets an "exception clause" to the Second Commandment to allow for statues of Jesus/Mary? ZERO.
Christians are to worship God "in spirit and in truth"; spiritual worship means no physical objects required. Muslim, repent, there is no peace with God through the "Black Stone". Romanist, repent, there is no fellowship between your idols and the Living God. All you other idolators (whether it be Hinduism, or other types of spiritism), repent, the Living God's anger rests on those who worship stone and wood.
"Their (the heathens) idols are silver and gold, the work of men's hands. They have mouths, but they speak not: eyes have they, but they see not: They have ears, but they hear not: noses have they, but they smell not: They have hands, but they handle not: feet have they, but they walk not: neither speak they through their throat. They that make them are like unto them; so is every one that trusteth in them." (Psalm 115:4-8)
They that make a graven image are all of them vanity; and their delectable things shall not profit; and they are their own witnesses; they see not, nor know; that they may be ashamed. Who hath formed a god, or molten a graven image that is profitable for nothing? Behold, all his fellows shall be ashamed: and the workmen, they are of men: let them all be gathered together, let them stand up; yet they shall fear, and they shall be ashamed together. (Isaiah 44:9-11)
"For the customs of the people are vain: for one cutteth a tree out of the forest, the work of the hands of the workman, with the axe. They deck it with silver and with gold; they fasten it with nails and with hammers, that it move not. They are upright as the palm tree, but speak not: they must needs be borne, because they cannot go." (Jeremiah 10:3-5a)
UPDATE: My pastor has preached a sermon on this matter that is truly informative; it deals with a great number of Bible passages. You can hear it HERE.