The Anatomy of Contemporary Idolatry [5]

By: Dr. Steven C. Riser

1 Corinthians 10:14 – “My dear friends, flee from idolatry.”

1 John 5:21 – “Dear children, keep yourselves from idols.”

V. What Is The Positive Alternative to The Deadly Sin of Idolatry?

God is so unique, so special, so powerful and so awesome that to think of Him like anything or anyone else is wrong. Any idea we attach to any image of Him we have made in our minds isn’t big enough to describe Him. To think of God in any form is to shortchange Him and is to rob Him of His divine attributes.

Do you have an image of God that you cling to when you think about Him? Is it accurate? There’s a book written by J. B. Phillips called, Your God Is Too Small. It’s a classic. I recommend it because it will help you evaluate your concept of God.

There are many misconceptions of God going around, but there are also many ways to describe His true nature, to be accurate when we talk about Him. God is a jealous God – He desires and deserves your affection and admiration. God is a jealous God and will not share His glory with another – not even you. God desires and deserves to be the sole object of our worship; He won’t tolerate pretenders to His throne in our lives. This is so important that He warns of lasting consequences of infidelity to Him.

Idolatry can ruin generations and fidelity can bring great blessing to future generations (Ex. 20:5-6). “I, am a jealous God, punishing the children for the sin of the fathers to the third and fourth generation of those who hate me, but showing love to a thousand generations of those who love me and keep my commandments.” By far, the best picture of what God is like is found in the person of Jesus Christ. The writer of Hebrews says that “The Son perfectly mirrors God and is stamped with God’s nature” (Heb. 1:2-3, The Message). That means that when we read the Gospel, we learn what God is like by seeing what Jesus is like. When we study the life of Christ we’re seeing no less than the character, the essence, the image of God.

What is the positive alternative to the deadly sin of idolatry? It’s nothing less than: 1) giving our ultimate love and loyalty to the one true God, 2) honoring Him as God, 3) giving Him His rightful place in our lives, 4) worshipping Him is spirit and in truth, loving Him with all our heart, soul, mind and strength. The positive alternative is trusting, loving and serving the Lord. Doing His will, His way for His glory.

The positive alternative is giving God first place in our lives over anything and everything else! The antidote for idolatry is a personal, loving and intimate relationship with the person of Jesus Christ. Only when we learn to love God properly, can we learn to enjoy all His gifts appropriately.


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