Images of Christ – Are They Sinful?

This is a question which has faced many parents with young children, especially when at school.

They may have been asked to draw a picture of some incident in the life of the Lord Jesus Christ, or to take part in a Nativity play.

What answer do we give to our children and also to those [deceived men and women] who see no wrong in this?

The deep reservations about pictures of the Lord Jesus can be viewed from three aspects.

Firstly, in Exodus 20:4-5, the second commandment forbids the making of anything which would detract men from the spiritual worship of the one true God. A picture very soon becomes the object of worship rather than the One portrayed.

This is one reason why God forbad the making of graven images. That is why the wearing of crosses and crucifixes, contravene this divine principle. Some people wear them almost as a charm against evil, just like the pagan world does.

The golden ephod, which Gideon had made and even the brazen serpent, became a snare to Israel, distracting them from the worship of their God, as they, “…changed the truth of God into a lie, and worshipped and served the creature more than the Creator, who is blessed forever. Amen.” (Romans 1:25)

Secondly, although the Son of God appeared as a real Man in every aspect, His body and nature is intrinsically holy and for sinners to try and depict the perfect and Holy Son of God is not only impossible, but also detracts from the glory which is rightly His.

“…thou thoughtest that I was altogether such an one as thyself…” was a complaint that God had against the Old Testament church and many today are in danger of the same reproof, if they try to depict God’s pure and holy Son in the flesh.

Thirdly, the Lord Jesus Christ, when speaking to the woman at the well of Samaria, taught that, “God is a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth” (John 4:24).

To seek to depict the Son of God in His human form is a carnal way of presenting the truth. The Lord Jesus could have revealed Himself to the two disciples on the Emmaus road immediately, but he chose to show Himself through His Word first. This is where He is to be seen, for there the Holy Spirit has drawn His portrait.

Further, the Lord Jesus is “the express image of His person (i.e the Father).” (Hebrews 1:3), and thus is the revelation of Almighty God of Himself, and should be treated with the same reverance.

“That all men should honour the Son, even as they honour the Father. He that honoureth not the Son honoureth not the Father which hath sent Him.”
(John 5:23)

The same arguments apply to the taking part in Nativity plays and anything which seeks, in any way, to portray that which is Divine.

The increase of these things in our day, is a sure sign that the Church of Rome’s influence is being increasingly felt and should graciously, yet firmly, be resisted.

By G.D. Buss

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