Jeremiah 9:24: but let him who boasts boast in this, that he understands and knows me, that I am the LORD who practices steadfast love, justice, and righteousness in the earth. For in these things I delight, declares the LORD.”
God does not want identity misrepresentation, but in the darkened mind of humanity the easiest thing is to do exactly that. When God was coming into a relationship with the nation of Israel, he strictly warned them not to make a physical representation of him, to bow down to, in worship.
But that almost without an exception had been the practice of every religious setting on the earth. Man’s attempts to reach God always come with an attempt to picture him in some form. But that will always fall short of the mark, since God is Spirit. No form is sufficient, but the living form of His Son Jesus Christ (Hebrews 1:1-3). It is on the revelation of Jesus Christ that the church of formed and out of it she functions (Matthew 16:15-18). No image or assemblage of images will do, for whatever reason and under whatever guise.
It is deception to do that. It is not an innocent artistic expression it is not cultural peculiarity, or accepted practise by human consensus, or age-old practice, but the deception of the devil. It fits perfectly into the devil’s plan to lead man astray. Since he does not want you to follow God, he presents alternatives.
Jeroboam did something similar (1Kings 12:26-33). The kingdom was divided, with God giving him 10 tribes, leaving Judah for the house of David; the temple of worship was in Jerusalem, the capital of Judah. But He was afraid that his people will develop loyalty to the king of Judah when they go to worship in Jerusalem. So he set up the image of animals. He proclaimed: these are you gods oh Israel who brought you out of Egypt!
To assure loyalty to himself, and in a reflection of deep-seated insecurity, he gave Israel images to sacrifice to. Since he gave it to them, they are indirectly bowing down to the Jeroboam, and more indirectly to the devil (1Corinthians 10:20).
There is nothing wrong with some artistic decoration, but there is something wrong when you bow down to any. It is insulting on God who made us living and in his image when we demean ourselves to such ignoble low. Because it is made of marble and has rosy cheeks does not qualify it as a thing of worship. But you say, not that represents something higher. The only one they represent ultimately is the devil.
Now you realise that there is a sect of Christians where the images, bowing down to them, venerating the dead, their relics, are central to religious observances. They have elaborate observance of tradition complete with bowing down to images. There is nothing innocent about that. Sincerity of heart will not save, to the neglect of truth. God has said those who worship him will do in spirit and in truth, which means we cannot worship God on our own terms, least of all, based on tradition (John 4:23-24).
Paul told a church: I want to see nothing (I have determined not to regard anything) among you except Christ and he crucified (1Corinthians 2:2). If everything is not about Christ, in the heart knowledge of him, then it is empty religion. It can bring some form of solace to the mind or emotion of man but there is no power of God in it. It is false peace, false contentment. Paul said that such people they have a form of godliness but neglect the power, the real issues (2Timothy 3:5).
The power is the inner spiritual reality of the living God based on faith and unpolluted by the ritualistic forms of the human observance. Paul said in time past we are carried away by these idols, but now we are redeemed (1Corinthians 12:2). Now we should not have such idols in places of collective worship or even in our homes.
When we become children of God through Jesus Christ we are brought into his fold to be able to know him. The things of God, the bible says, are spiritually discerned. Paul said that the carnal man (man of the earth) cannot know the things o God, because they can only be revealed by the Spirit of God, and what the Spirit of God reveals comes in spiritual “bits.” It takes the one who has the Spirit of God to decipher the things of God. But having the Spirit of God means we share the same essence with God because God is Spirit. And we have the Spirit of Christ as Christians (Romans 8:9), the born again type.
That is why those who approach God with their mental powers do not find him, so they conclude there is no God, or more conveniently, they decide to be agnostic, acknowledging that there must be a God somewhere but he is aloof. Some complain of ascribing human attributes to God, e.g. emotion, speech. They disregard the premise of the bible that man was made in the image of God.
Man will be confused about who he is if he does not know who God is, because it is in his light that we see light (Psalm 36:9); it is from his presence that we understand our essence. It is in knowing who he is that we get in touch with who we are.
It was not until Jesus came that through him God fully revealed himself to humanity, calling us into fellowship with him. Without seeing the revelations of God in Jesus we are have not started on the journey into God. But religion has brought alternatives to Jesus Christ, saying there are many ways to God, the “great unknown one” or some other fancy expressions. But Jesus had the audacity to say that if you have seen me, you have seen the divine father (John 14:7, 9).
God has given us eternal life which is in his son (1John 5:11). Proper respect for the Son is equal to proper respect for God the father. It is the Son that is appointed heir of all things. So if you are no associated with the son there is no inheritance for you, there is no life of death for you, it is death after death in what the bible called the second death (Revelation 2:11, 21:8).
Knowing God is not possible but by the blood of Jesus, because without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness of sin. When sin entered the earth that was when “death” entered, as a principle through which the devil exercise dominion on the earth. Because when there is no law there is no sin, by abolishing the law in his body on the cross (Ephesians 2:15-16), Jesus absolved his followers of any sin.
- The Earth Remade and Christian Mission (disciplesforlife.wordpress.com)
- The Third Temptation of Jesus Matthew 4:8-10 (whatshotn.wordpress.com)
- Not to Abolish But to Fulfill Matthew 5:17-20 (whatshotn.wordpress.com)
- Know Your Bible Lesson 13: Warring Kingdoms (Period 5) (924jeremiah.wordpress.com)
- Glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! (didaskologos.com)
- Worship Fuels Following Jesus (bornfun.wordpress.com)