A Short Study of 1st John 5:21
“Keep yourself from idols.”
(1st John 5:21)
Idolatry is ever the tendency of depraved men. Many, while they would never dream of worshipping another god, are yet guilty of gross idolatry. They seek to worship the true God by some visible, tangible form, using pictures, crosses, crucifixes, and images as representations of God. This is in direct disobedience to the law of God (Exodus 20:4-6). The stern commandment of God has never been altered or repealed. The tendency of the human heart to idolatry comes of evil and leads to evil. “God is a Spirit” (John 4:24). Therefore no image of Him can be made. All images and pictures of the Divine Being (Father, Son, or Spirit) are idolatrous; and all physical reminders and helps in worship are equally idolatrous. They are not helps, but hindrances, to spiritual worship. ANYTHING THAT CAN BE SEEN OR TOUCHED IS TO BE KEPT OUT OF OUR WORSHIP OF THE INVISIBLE GOD. There is nothing to which we can liken God; and the very attempt to make any likeness of Him is profanity.
I know that men commonly excuse their idolatry, by saying, “We do not worship these images. Our images (pictures, crosses, stained glass, statues, etc.) simply remind us of God, put us in a worshipful frame of mind, help us to reverence God, and enable us to have a greater awareness of his presence.” This is exactly what the second commandment forbids! Physical OBJECTS CAN NEVER HELP SPIRITUAL WORSHIP. They are snares of Satan which lead men’s hearts away from God. My blood boils with indignation when I see in what are supposed to be Protestant and Baptist churches altars, crosses, pictures to represent Jesus, and doves to represent the Holy Spirit. Such things are not only remnants of papacy, they are a reversion to heathen paganism! They are not to be tolerated. Smash them to pieces! Burn them at once! Rid both the house of God and your own houses of idolatry! I do not care what form your image may take, whether cross, crucifix, picture, or statue, if it is something that can be seen or handled, it is absolutely forbidden in the worship of God. “What agreement hath the temple of God with idols?”