A Snapshot from My Study: In a book I read recently, the author wrote the following:
“The nation that turns from God will always turn to other gods. Even if it never utters their names or erects their idols, even if it turns to atheism or a form of secularism, it will always be led to the worship and serving of other gods. The dynamic can be seen in Communism, Nazism, Fascism, and any other ism that seeks to drive out God. Other things will take on the aura and authority of godhood and seek to reign in His place.”
This is precisely the Bible’s teaching concerning false worship or what Scripture calls idolatry.
Paul’s reasoning in Romans 1 is clear as crystal:
For although they knew God, they did not honor him as God or give thanks to him, but they became futile in their thinking, and their foolish hearts were darkened. Claiming to be wise, they became fools, and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images resembling mortal man and birds and animals and creeping things. (Romans 1:21-23, ESV)
The Exchange: It is interesting, is it not, that the opening quote focuses on how man will worship. We will give ourselves to reverence. We revere someone or something(s). The question, however, remains: Are we revering the truth or the lie? Will we believe God as revealed in His Word or will we believe the lie of Satan in his many guises, whether they be serpents, bulls, Hollyweird, self, etc? If and when we worship anyone or anything but the truth, i.e., the Lord God, we exchange the truth for a lie.
God’s Diagnosis: God does not hide His diagnosis of man’s root problem. We chose folly; we chose to believe the father of lies, Satan. And we thereby demonstrated our folly. Claiming to be wise, we became fools. How? Through the exchange.
Pilate as an Everyman (a Fool): You remember the scene of Jesus before Pontius Pilate, don’t you? It’s where Pilate played the fool, the postmodern, relativistic, secular man of the hour. He played the ultimate fool:
So Pilate entered his headquarters again and called Jesus and said to him, “Are you the King of the Jews?” Jesus answered, “Do you say this of your own accord, or did others say it to you about me?” Pilate answered, “Am I a Jew? Your own nation and the chief priests have delivered you over to me. What have you done?” Jesus answered, “My kingdom is not of this world. If my kingdom were of this world, my servants would have been fighting, that I might not be delivered over to the Jews. But my kingdom is not from the world.” Then Pilate said to him, “So you are a king?” Jesus answered, “You say that I am a king. For this purpose I was born and for this purpose I have come into the world—to bear witness to the truth. Everyone who is of the truth listens to my voice.” Pilate said to him, “What is truth?”
After he had said this, he went back outside to the Jews and told them, “I find no guilt in him. But you have a custom that I should release one man for you at the Passover. So do you want me to release to you the King of the Jews?” They cried out again, “Not this man, but Barabbas!” Now Barabbas was a robber. (John 18:33-40, ESV)
Postscript: Notice any patterns? Here is a sampling:
- Worship is inevitable; we all have a “God of the system.” The question is, Is it the one true and living God?
- Rejection of truth debases man. We become like what we worship. I’ll leave it to you to decide if you think most folks are becoming more like Christ or more like Baal.
- Truth is always the target of Satan’s kingdom of darkness.
- There is no lack of Pilates in the world system.
- You don’t have to be a Pilate.
- The light of the world has overcome the darkness (John 1:5). And He has a name (John 8:12).