As mentioned in our introductory post, I was sent to studying the New Testament by a dear brother years back to understand the believers relationship to the Ten Commandments.
This post will begin with
Commandment #1 – No Idolatry
Exodus 20:2 – 6
I am the LORD your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of slavery.
You shall have no other gods before me.
You shall not make for yourself a carved image, or any likeness of anything that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth.
You shall not bow down to them or serve them, for I the LORD your God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children to the third and the fourth generation of those who hate me,
but showing steadfast love to thousands of those who love me and keep my commandments.
Lets remember the key questions we are looking to resolve as we go through each of the commandments.
- Is each commandment included in Jesus or the Apostles teaching?
- If so, was there anything different about the command as expressed by Jesus or the Apostles?
And he said to him, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.
The NO IDOLS command is included in Jesus and the apostles teaching, but primarily from the positive perspective, from the love angle, not the rule angle.
There is a difference.
Please don’t miss the command to love here. By the way, when was the last time that worked. To command to love is not to love. That implies the loss of free will, does it not? And love requires the exercise of free will. So is Jesus commanding to love?
Maybe He stating a fact, that is, after realizing what love God has for you, you shall love Him. You will naturally respond to love by loving that one who initiated the love.
1Corinthians 6:9 – 10
Or do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: neither the sexually immoral, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor men who practice homosexuality,
nor thieves, nor the greedy, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God.
Paul supplies a warning in the above verses, and it is interesting that he is speaking of the unrighteous, those folk within the church group who have not conformed to the Spirit of life which is the character of God.
Paul is seeking to communicate that self deception is deadly, (ie the lie that my character does not have to reflect the character of God, for God to accept me) That non conformity to the character of God is a signal that all is not well.
Don’t hear me say that sinless perfection is required. Our acceptance is in the Beloved, in the Messiah. Not possible in this life, if I understand 1 John 1:9 correctly.
But our acceptance in the Beloved means we have the Spirit of God, and that the fruit of the Spirit, the love joy peace will be evident in our lives. It is the desire and growth of the believer into the character of Jesus that is the issue. For all who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God. The Spirit of God does not lead me into adultery, theft or idolatry. That, my friends is the flesh!
1 Corinthians 10:14
Therefore, my beloved, flee from idolatry.
1 John 5:21
Little children, keep yourselves from idols.
Both John and Paul relate to their audience, their brothers and sisters in the Lord, by framing this command in love. Being beloved, I am more apt to listen to my brother’s warning.
Telling me to NOT have idols, tends to make me want an idol.
Wow Carl, are you saying the ten commandments were supplied only to stir up sin? Did God provide the decalogue to create sin in us?
Lets consider some of what the Bible teaches about the law.
For the law brings wrath, but where there is no law there is no transgression.
Now the law came in to increase the trespass, but where sin increased, grace abounded all the more,
For while we were living in the flesh, our sinful passions, aroused by the law, were at work in our members to bear fruit for death.
Let’s get it right.
The law brought wrath, not sin. The sin was in us all along. The law revealed it to those who were sensitive to the Spirit of God.
By the way, are you recognizing sin in your walk with Him? The Christian life is a life of repentance. And Christians are to flee idolatry.
This may be the western churches greatest challenge, given the tremendous wealth we enjoy.
Please feel free to comment. I look forward to discussions, in order to learn from you.
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