Introduction: It’ll never happen here, right? Temples to Satan in America. They’re for ‘religious abortion’. Child sacrifice in the name of Satan. Of course, Scripture records this practice in the ancient Near East. Idolatry is nothing new. It is rather the enduring cosmic battle. Will we creatures worship the One and only triune God of the Bible or will we worship Molech (2 Kings 23:10), a golden calf (Exodus 32:1-24), Chemosh (1 Kings 11:33), bestiality (Leviticus 18:23), altars to Baal (2 Kings 21:3)?
But if there are any skeptics, if there remain some who refuse to see contemporary idolatry, pictured above is the Baphomet in the Satanic Temple in Salem, Massachusetts. And the adoring children looking up in worship, doesn’t that just warm your heart?
Here’s the link to just one example from our times, a temple to Satan:
You can diagnose a lot about a culture when you see how it treats its children. We can bring our children up in the discipline and instruction of the true God (Ephesians 6:4) or we can subject them to chemical hormones, castration, and mastectomies. In short, we can pass them through the fires of abomination (Ezekiel 16:20-22). And we’re witnessing a time when taxpayers are funding child sacrifice.
The Recurring Theme: Idolatry (worship of anyone/anything other than the one true God) is damning, of course. But man is incorrigible, is he not, in his mad pursuit of autonomy and rebellion against what he knows to be true–namely, that God exists and that God is holy, and that we are accountable to Him.
But the reprobate mind says the opposite. And of course Scripture reveals exactly what the reprobate mind is like, what people’s behavior is like, when they have cast off God’s design:
And since they did not see fit to acknowledge God, God gave them up to a debased mind to do what ought not to be done. They were filled with all manner of unrighteousness, evil, covetousness, malice. They are full of envy, murder, strife, deceit, maliciousness. They are gossips, slanderers, haters of God, insolent, haughty, boastful, inventors of evil, disobedient to parents, foolish, faithless, heartless, ruthless. Though they know God’s righteous decree that those who practice such things deserve to die, they not only do them but give approval to those who practice them. (Romans 1:28-32)
In short, this is what degeneracy looks like. It is what happens when man, in love with his sin, in rebellion against his Creator, exchanges the truth and embraces the lie (Romans 1:25). Man becomes like what he worships. And what we are witnessing is man becoming a beast. Temples to Satan in the good ‘ole U.S.A.
Idolatry is the recurring theme. As David wrote in Psalm 14:2–3, “The LORD looks down from heaven on the children of man, to see if there are any who understand, who seek after God. They have all turned aside; together they have become corrupt; there is none who does good, not even one.”
The Alternative to Idolatry: the Gospel
In Christianity alone, there is forgiveess and hope. This is not another Baal, another Molech, another Planned Parenthood. No, not just another idolatrous evil, but redemption and restoration. But it comes at a price. It is called the gospel. It’s the good news that God rescues and redeems a people for Himself through the person and work of the Christ. The price was the life, passion, crucifixion, death, burial, and resurrection of the Christ (1 Corinthians 15).
The New Testament describes it this way: “For our sake he [God the Father] made him [God the Son, Jesus Christ] to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him [God the Son, Jesus Christ] we might become the righteousness of God” (2 Corinthians 5:21).
A Personal Closing Illustration:
It was many years ago now, but I still remember it well. The church my family and I served at and were members of had an evangelist come lead a series of messages. He was not one of those gifted orators who swept you up by way of his rhetorical prowess. He was much more of an academic type. He struck most people as somewhat boring, flat, and, well, kind of nerdy. But on his last night at the church, he taught a message on the exclusivity of Christ. His message was simple and straightforward. It was taken from John 14.
It is one of the most quoted sections of the Bible, and with good reason. But this message was not a sentimental message one might hear at a funeral about rooms prepared in heaven for dead saints. No, this message focused on Thomas’ question to Jesus: “Lord, we do not know where you are going. How can we know the way?” (John 14:5). Remember Jesus’ answer to Thomas? You have probably heard it mistaught many times:
Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. If you had known me, you would have known my Father also. From now on you do know him and have seen him.” (John 14:6-7)
I have heard messages from John 14 for much of my life. I have preached no small number of them, myself. But when I sat in the pew and listened to that man explain the glory, the grace, the beauty, the pride-shattering truth that Jesus Christ came to rescue sinners, that he took on flesh and dwelled among us, that he conquered the grave, that he was seen visibly for weeks after his resurrection, the message was personal. It was not something I could just sit back and neglect, or pretend that I could dismiss in a position of intellectual repose or posturing. No, it was a message for me.
At the end of the man’s message, God had so gripped me that I found myself at the front of the church praying on my knees while hymns were played and the congregation sang. I was the only one, if I remember correctly, who was so moved by that man’s simple but biblical message about the exclusive hope and truth of the gospel of Christ. That, in sum, is the alternative to the idols, dear reader. We will worship the truth or we’ll worship at an idol. We’ll continue to erect temples to Satan or revival will come from God for his people.
There is so much talk of the binary in modern parlance. Well, here’s the ultimate binary: God or Satan; Christ or chaos. Let the reader understand.
3 thoughts on “Idolatry: Ancient, Contemporary, Enduring & Its Opposite: The Gospel of Christ and Redemption”
I am currently reading Volume 2 of the previous unpublished sermons of Jonathan Edwards. The sermon I just finished is “Wicked Men Be Not Apt to Be Sensible”. The premise is that in the “days of their youth”, “their hearts cheer them” and they walk “in the ways of their heart, and in the sight of their eyes. . .” This is why they are not sensible that “darknesses are coming” and “they don’t take care to get secured from it”. This does not describe the Godly man but the ungodly man who will be surprised when he goes to hell. For some reason in my thoughts reading your blog made me think of this surprise many will be facing sooner or later.
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When we fail to fear the Lord, judgment is nigh. Outside of the gospel, there’s no hope. (As you know, Edwards is tops for me in terms of thinkers. Read him, read him, read him.) And thank you, sir, for the truth bomb.
Now if that doesn’t just scare your Sox off! Please pray the “If My People” prayer and take it to heart. I am constantly in prayer for you Jon as you come face to face with this Satanic cult sinfulness. God, please bless our country!
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