MAKING AN IDOL OUT OF JESUS
One of the things that characterized pagan religions throughout history is the worship of idols which were carved from wood, chiseled from stone or cast from some precious metal. These idols were formed by the hands of the worshipers and were the product of their own imaginations. The futility of such worship is pointed out in Isaiah 44:16-20, Half of the wood he burns in the fire; over it he prepares his meal, he roasts his meat and eats his fill. He also warms himself and says, “Ah! I am warm; I see the fire.” From the rest he makes a god, his idol; he bows down to it and worships. He prays to it and says, “Save me; you are my god.” They know nothing, they understand nothing; their eyes are plastered over so they cannot see, and their minds closed so they cannot understand. No one stops to think, no one has the knowledge or understanding to say, “Half of it I used for fuel; I even baked bread over its coals, I roasted meat and I ate. Shall I make a detestable thing from what is left? Shall I bow down to a block of wood?” He feeds on ashes, a deluded heart misleads him; he cannot save himself, or say, “Is not this thing in my right hand a lie?”
Today, in our society, the worship of carved and graven images is not nearly as prevalent, yet a more subtle and deceitful form of idolatry has arisen and become common in the Christian religion. This form of idolatry is the false portrayal of Jesus Christ. Many in the Christian religion would have us believe that Jesus Christ is not concerned with doctrine, but accepts men regardless of what they believe and teach. Many would have us believe that Jesus Christ is not concerned with a person’s moral conduct but accepts men even though they continue in their evil behavior. Many would even have us believe that Jesus Christ will save unbelievers and those in pagan religions, who have never heard the gospel message or confessed the name of Jesus. Those who teach such things are using lies to carve out an idol. They call the image “Jesus”, but it is not the Jesus of the Bible. The worship of such an image is no more valid than the worship of the graven images of pagan religions in the days of Isaiah.
Those who teach that Jesus is not concerned with doctrine should consider the words of Jesus in Matthew 15:7-9, You hypocrites! Isaiah was right when he prophesied about you: “These people honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me. They worship me in vain; their teachings are but rules taught by men.”
Those who teach that Jesus is not concerned with our moral conduct should consider Mark 9:43-48, If your hand causes you to sin, cut it off. It is better for you to enter life maimed than with two hands to go into hell, where the fire never goes out. And if your foot causes you to sin, cut it off. It is better for you to enter life crippled than to have two feet and be thrown into hell. And if your eye causes you to sin, pluck it out. It is better for you to enter the kingdom of God with one eye than to have two eyes and be thrown into hell, where “their worm does not die, and the fire is not quenched.”
Those who teach that Jesus will save unbelievers should consider the words of Jesus in John 8:24, I told you that you would die in your sins; if you do not believe that I am the one I claim to be, you will indeed die in your sins.
And those who teach that Jesus will save people of other religions should consider the words of Jesus in John 14:6, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.”
To portray Jesus Christ in a way that is false is to create an idol as surely as one who carves an image of wood or stone, and to worship a false portrayal of Christ is as futile as the pagan worship of idols. Let’s be sure that we are teaching, preaching and worshiping the true Jesus Christ of the New Testament. –Wendell Ingram
Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to men by which we must be saved. Acts 4:12