Saturday, August 07, 2010

Turn or Burn

1 Thessalonians 1:9 For they themselves report concerning us the kind of reception we had among you, and how you turned to God from idols to serve the living and true God,

9 αὐτοὶ γὰρ περὶ ἡμῶν ἀπαγγέλλουσιν ὁποίαν εἴσοδον ἔσχομεν πρὸς ὑμᾶς, καὶ πῶς ἐπεστρέψατε πρὸς τὸν θεὸν ἀπὸ τῶν εἰδώλων δουλεύειν θεῷ ζῶντι καὶ ἀληθινῷ

I've always wanted to say that, but I haven't been in a church setting quite country enough for it.  Yet that is basically what Paul is getting at here.  He's still greeting the Thessalonians and his greetings are usually pretty upbeat.  Here he tells of how the Thessalonians became Christians.  They ἐπεστρέψατε πρὸς τὸν θεὸν ἀπὸ τῶν εἰδώλων.  The word ἐπεστρέψατε is 2nd person plural aorist active indicative.  I don't want to make too big of a deal about the aorist tense, but basically it means that there was some time in the past where they were serving idols, but they turned from them δουλεύειν θεῷ ζῶντι καὶ ἀληθινῷ.

We can find a myriad of applications to this and I write from experience.  I can remember my idolatry to sexual sin when I was enslaved to pornography and self-gratification.  I remember my idolatry to food and ease when I was mired in gluttony and laziness.  There were dead idols.

This is not to imply that I have no idols.  I am continually reminded of how I can make an idol out of my schoolwork.  I still have leanings toward making sex into an idol.  The heart is a factory for idols.

The good news is that there is a living and true God out there.  Serving Him is always better than serving idols.  Before we can do that we need to turn from our idols.  Another word for that is to repent.  It has to be a 180 degree turn.  You can't turn 179 degrees.  Basically, there are 359 degrees of idolatry and 1 degree that points to God.  Any sailor can tell you that a minor course deviation makes a huge difference over a long voyage.

I pray that we all run straight to God.  Why serve idols when we can serve the living and true God?

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