Several definitions of the word “idolatry” have been set forth by many dictionaries and Bible scholars, some very precise and others being more broadly defined. Most definitions restrict the meaning of the word to worship of an idol or a god the idol represents. Idolatry is this and much more. Basically idolatry is the worship or devotion of false gods by means of an idol or otherwise and the worship of the one true God by means of images or things invented by the imagination of mankind.
The first and second commandments are violated by idolatrous actions and attachments. Exodus 20:3 states: “Thou shalt have no other gods before me.” God, the Divine Creator, is the only TRUE GOD and He will not tolerate anyone or anything taking His rightful place. He goes on to say in the second commandment that not even an image or likeness of another god will be allowed. “Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image, or any likeness of any thing that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth: Thou shalt not bow down thyself to them, nor serve them: for I the LORD thy God am a jealous God…” (Exodus 20:4 and 5).
In today’s society, or at least in Christian oriented societies such as what we have in America (?) idolatry takes on the worship, or prominent influence of fortune and fame. Jesus warned against excessive attachment to material things when He said in Matthew 6:24 and Luke 16:13; “Ye cannot serve God and mammon.” Mammon means either the false gods of riches and greed or riches regarded as an object of worship (a profound personal devotion to) which results in greedy pursuits thereof.
The Apostle Paul spoke of covetousness as being the same as idolatry. Ephesians 5:5 forewarns of this danger: “For this ye know, that no whoremonger, nor unclean person, nor covetous man, who is an idolater, hath any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and of God.” Again in Colossians 3:5 we see where covetousness is the same as adolatry. “Mortify therefore your members which are upon the earth; fornication, uncleanness, inordinate affection, evil concupiscence, and covetousness, which is idolatry.”
In both of these Scriptures idolatry and covetousness is equated as being the same. Doesn’t covetousness cause an excessive attachment to some material thing? Of course it does and it leads one into other sins such as thefts and murders in order to obtain the object (idol?) of devotion. The idolatry of covetousness is sinful as the New Testament points out and it breaks the tenth commandment, which is found in the Old Testament.
Perhaps the most modern form of idolatry is present day humanism. This ugly doctrine raised its head in 1933 with the adoption of The Humanist Manifesto. Humanism is the elevation of self as being its own god. A great amount of attention is being focused on the individual today more so than at any previous time in human history. Humanism is a philosophical doctrine (which makes it a modern day religion) that makes man his own god and aims to obliterate the One True God from society.
We can see this philosophy being promoted more and more as time goes on. It is at the forefront of our political races and it has come to the place that anyone that does not buckle under this evil philosophy is characterized as haters, bigots, narrow-minded and out-dated. This political correctness phenomenal has ruined our society and all but destroyed good old fashion common sense and sound reasoning among the human race.
The Scripture still says: “Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him” (1 John 2:15). The things of the world destroys the love of God in the heart of a person and causes him to resort to godless humanistic pursuits. In doing so, folks are setting themselves up to deception, which will make them ripe for the Antichrist when he comes on the world scene. The humanism spirit in the world today is leading the way to this spiritual destruction of the soul.
Let us beware that we do not become victims of this satanic idolatrous spirit, which is sweeping the world today. Remember, “that they which do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God” (Gal. 5:21).
Walter Lofton is a local pastor at the Church of God in Seth and can be reached by email at email@example.com