Sunday, August 28, 2011

Worshipping the Creator, or the creation?

Photo by Graurraz Vanionut. Courtesy of

Welcome to A Good Bible Study! Our topic is A Passionate Love: the relationship between God and you.

If you have been reading the New Testament for a while, you've probably noticed that many of Paul’s letters contained some kind of response to the doctrine of false teachers. It seems there is always some new group passionate about a secret way to attain spiritual heights, but having nothing actually to do with the Spirit of God. Paul particularly criticized the Gnostics, who focused on either exploiting the pleasures of the body, or denying them.

Gnostics taught that "special" knowledge was required to break from the physical realm into the spiritual, thereby negating the power of God or the need for Him. Only through their rituals and recitations could you really become spiritual. Sound familiar? And you thought the New Age was new.

Gnostics had two ways of thinking: Those who worshipped pleasure believed that since the body was not spiritual, you could do what you wanted with it and it wouldn’t affect your spirit or salvation. Yet, those who believed the body was evil, punished their bodies with torture and denial of basic comfort in an effort to earn spirituality. Both views are in direct conflict with Scripture, focusing either on earning salvation, or living both carnally and spiritually at once, which is not possible. 

"No one can serve two masters, for either he will hate the one and love the other; or else he will be devoted to one and despise the other." Matthew 6:24

God loves us and what He created is good. He said so. We are body, spirit, and soul and what we do to one intimately affects the other. We cannot earn, or learn, salvation or spirituality. It is a result of our passionate relationship with God through Jesus Christ.

Romans 1:18-32 describes God’s response to those who claim to be wise and sophisticated, who worship God's creation instead of the Creator.

All of creation is not God, but is evidence of God. Since the earliest of times however, there have been those who turn away from our Father who has all the power to help, as well as the love and desire to do so, and instead worship the proof of a Creator, as if it could do one thing to change our lives.

The wrath of God is revealed from heaven, Paul says, against all unrighteousness and ungodliness of those who have had the truth revealed to them, and yet suppress the truth.

18 But God shows his anger from heaven against all sinful, wicked people who suppress the truth by their wickedness.[i] 19 They know the truth about God because he has made it obvious to them. 20 For ever since the world was created, people have seen the earth and sky. Through everything God made, they can clearly see his invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature. So they have no excuse for not knowing God.
21 Yes, they knew God, but they wouldn’t worship him as God or even give him thanks. And they began to think up foolish ideas of what God was like. As a result, their minds became dark and confused. 22 Claiming to be wise, they instead became utter fools. 23 And instead of worshiping the glorious, ever-living God, they worshiped idols made to look like mere people and birds and animals and reptiles.
24 So God abandoned them to do whatever shameful things their hearts desired. As a result, they did vile and degrading things with each other’s bodies. 25 They traded the truth about God for a lie. So they worshiped and served the things God created instead of the Creator himself, who is worthy of eternal praise! Amen. 26 Romans 1:18-26

Now we might say that we are above worshipping and praying to a statue, or a tree, but are we?

There are those who kill people in protest of others who destroy the habitat of the owl or hunt whale; those who blow up abortion clinics (and the people within) to protest the killing of our unborn children; those who lose their health, livelihood, and families in pursuit of drugs; spend hours each day searching for information about their favorite celebrity online, or playing Internet games from the moment they get home till late into the night while their spouse and children live with a virtual ghost; carry on an addicted affair with pornography; or live every moment for the next financial deal.

Are we too sophisticated for our own good?

“Therefore God gave them up to uncleanness, in the lusts of their hearts, to dishonor their bodies among themselves, who exchanged the truth of God for the lie, and worshipped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever, Amen. For this reason, God gave them up to vile passions.” 

Lord, thank you for giving us signs of who You are everywhere we look. From the glory of your design for everything both alive and inanimate, to the beauty and splendor in each day, your creation sings of Your passion for each of us. Help us to be truly wise, and not just wise in our own eyes! Give us a passion for You! In the name of Jesus, amen

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