Romans chapter 1 talked about unrighteous people willfully denying God and turning to idolatry. It made these points:
1. God’s glory is all too obvious looking at the universe.
2. Absolutely no excuse for not knowing God’s glory.
3. Unrighteous people lie and deny their knowledge of God.
4. Instead of glorifying God the creator, they glorified image of the created.
(Romans 1:18–25 NKJV) “For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who suppress the truth in unrighteousness, because what may be known of God is manifest in them, for God has shown it to them. For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even His eternal power and Godhead, so that they are without excuse, because, although they knew God, they did not glorify Him as God, nor were thankful, but became futile in their thoughts, and their foolish hearts were darkened. Professing to be wise, they became fools, and changed the glory of the incorruptible God into an image made like corruptible man—and birds and four-footed animals and creeping things.
Therefore God also gave them up to uncleanness, in the lusts of their hearts, to dishonor their bodies among themselves, who exchanged the truth of God for the lie, and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever. Amen.”
Point number one to three applies to many people today. What about point 4, do we have idolatry today? Answer is no, at least not in the form familiar to Apostle Paul in the ancient world. Does the essence of idolatry carry on today? We will have to dissect what idolatry is.
In Awe and Wonder for the Created
In the ancient world, idolatry and pagan worship was common. In today’s world, idolatry is relatively rare. In the ancient world, people look at wonders of the universe and conclude there is god out there. In our scientific world, by using logic, we can figure out how the universe works. We then are in awe of the beauty of the universe. We credit all that to a non-existing entity we sometimes call mother-nature. With science, we are of studying the created and not the creator.
We then are in awe and wonder for the created rather than the creator. So who do we give glory to? We do not admit God created even though we know fully well he is the creator. Rather, we rather say nature somehow came about on its own. Our hope and faith is science someday will prove how nature came about all on its own. That statement is by faith in science and nature. We are in awe of nature.
We in a way are doing what Paul in Romans said; we glorify the created rather than the creator. We use science to exclude God and our idolatry is giving glory to science which is the created and not the creator who is blessed forever. Amen.
What is Idolatry?
Who do you give credit to? If your answer is anything other than God, then you are worshiping an idol. The idol can be a false god, an object, theory of evolution, mother nature, science or anything you give credit to for existence of the universe.
Why do we want to give false gods credit for
creation? It comes down to refusal to obey God.
Broadly defined, refusal to obey God is analogous to adultery per Colossians:
Colossians 3:5 “Therefore consider the members of your earthly body as dead to immorality, impurity, passion, evil desire, and greed, which amounts to idolatry.”
Man Refuse God, God Refuse Man
(Romans 1:26–32 NKJV)
“For this reason God gave them up to vile passions. For even their women exchanged the natural use for what is against nature. Likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust for one another, men with men committing what is shameful, and receiving in themselves the penalty of their error which was due.
And even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a debased mind, to do those things which are not fitting; being filled with all unrighteousness, sexual immorality, wickedness, covetousness, maliciousness; full of envy, murder, strife, deceit, evil-mindedness; they are whisperers, backbiters, haters of God, violent, proud, boasters, inventors of evil things, disobedient to parents, undiscerning, untrustworthy, unloving, unforgiving, unmerciful; who, knowing the righteous judgment of God, that those who practice such things are deserving of death, not only do the same but also approve of those who practice them.”
There is a parallel between man’s response to God and God’s response back to man. Man refuses to give God glory; therefore, God takes away man’s dignity. God made man in his image to be holy and pure. God keeps us upright. That is man’s dignity. When he takes away his protection, we are left to defile ourselves in debase and shameful acts.
“Therefore consider the members of your earthly body as dead to immorality, impurity, passion, evil desire, and greed, which amounts to idolatry.”
The Values Comes In As a Set
Galatian 5:19-23 made a long list on the deeds of the flesh which includes immorality, envy, idolatry, strife etc. On the other side, fruit of the Spirit is love, joy peace patience kindness, goodness etc.
If you go to Las Vegas, you will see the deeds of the flesh somehow goes together. On one show even a policemen commented how he observed all these undesirable things happens all together. Where there is gambling, there will be immorality, drugs, drunkenness carousing parties.
Romans said if God is not in you, you are slave to sin. If you are not focused on God, you have no one else except to focus on yourself. Your actions are self serving. God is love, so if God is not in you, you have no love.
Corruption of Sexuality
Therefore God gave them over in the lust of their hearts to impurity, so that their bodies would be dishonored among them…
For this reason, God gave them over to degrading passions; for their women exchanged the natural function for that which is unnatural, and in the same way also men abandon the natural function of the woman and burned in their desire towards one another.
We are made in God’s image. Each one of us is a glorious and magnificent being. An analogy is we are all royalties of heavenly order. 1Peter 2:9 said “we are a royal priesthood, a holy nation.” There is glory in the way we look, in our shape and in our thoughts. As a royalty, we need to act like royalties. Royalties in countries that still have kings and queens go thru training on royal protocol. They learn how to hold a cup, how to smile, how to walk, how to talk among many things. They hold themselves up high. So as an image of God, we have a responsibility to follow God’s protocol. We are above all creatures. We are an example of perfection in God’s image. So how should we act?
When we refuse to acknowledge God as the creator, we also refuse to acknowledge ourselves as an image of God. We disowned God, and rejected our “royalty status”. He then no longer enforces his royal protocol on us thru conviction of the Holy Spirit. Any lifestyle in our mind becomes a normal way of life because God withdrew his spiritual conviction.
We are more than an image of God, we are the temple of the Holy Spirit. 1Corinthians 6:18 said all other sins are outside the body. Sexual sin are done to the body. Any sexual sin defiles the body, and it dishonors us as an image of God.
Is it fair some people have a harder time not sinning than others? In short, we don’t know the answer, and we don’t pretend to know how God works. God in short said is none of your business, so stand down. We only know what God told us to do at this very moment in time, so our job is to do it. Peter asked Jesus should the other disciples follow Him as well? Jesus said “If I want him to remain until I come, what is that to you? You follow Me!” That is a clear none of your business statement. When God convicts you, you are accountable for it. God’s conviction is all you know, and that is all you need to know.
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