Image Is Everything (2 of 3) by Jonathan McLeod

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Image Is Everything (2 of 3)
Series: Keep Yourselves from Idols
Jonathan McLeod
Romans 1:18-25

[They] exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images resembling mortal man and birds and animals and creeping things (Rom. 1:23). Those whom God foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son (Rom. 8:29).

SCRIPTURE READING

The apostle John ends his first epistle with these words: ''Little children, keep yourselves from idols'' (5:21). John's original readers lived in a culture that was filled with pagan idolatry. But there is also idolatry of the heart. Tim Keller defines idolatry as ''the making of good things into ultimate things.'' How can we guard against idolatry in our lives? We must continually remind ourselves of two truths: (1) only God deserves our highest love, not an idol, and (2) only God can truly satisfy us, not an idol.

In Romans 1:18-25, the apostle Paul writes about how the human race fell into idolatry.

[Read Romans 1:18-25.]

A FOOLISH TRADE

Have you ever made a bad trade?

In Romans 1, the apostle Paul declares that those who worship idols have made a foolish trade. He writes that idolaters ''exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images resembling mortal man and birds and animals and creeping things'' (v. 23). Paul also states that idolaters ''ex-changed the truth for a lie and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator'' (v. 25). Idolatry is the worship of a God-substitute. Idolaters exchange the worship of God for the worship of a substitute.

RESEMBLING OUR GOD

How does our worship-either of God or an idol-affect us?

Paul was probably thinking of Psalm 106:19-20 when he wrote verse 23: ''They made a calf in Horeb and worshiped a metal image. They exchanged the glory of God for the image of an ox that eats grass.'' The psalmist is referring to the golden calf incident. After God had delivered the Israelites out of Egypt, they ''made a golden calf'' (Exod. 32:4) and '' ...


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