Saturday, October 02, 2010

A Great Command

1 John 5:21 Little children, keep yourselves from idols.

21 Τεκνία, φυλάξατε ἑαυτὰ ἀπὸ τῶν εἰδώλων.

This verse seems sort of tacked-on to the end of 1 John.  John has spent five chapters talking about what it means to be a Christian.  Basically, if we know Christ we will obey Him.  If we don't then we won't.  Or perhaps it is better to say if we won't then we don't.  Either way, John spends a lot of time talking about how the Christian life should look.  But then he ends with this verse.

I think that this verse sums up the whole book.  The word φυλάξατε is an imperative.  You could also think of it as a command to guard yourself from idols.  But why make this point about idols?  We aren't making golden calves, are we?

No, we aren't putting our jewelry into a fire and making a calf.  But we are making idols out of everything.  I went to a university where 100,000 people make an idol out of watching 22 men fight over some pigskin filled with air.  We live in a country where millions do that on Sundays instead of Saturdays.  We live in a country where we have elevated the dollar to god status.  Not to mention the way we look for the praise of men.

We have no shortage of idols.  John Calvin said that "The human heart is a factory of idols."  If we are honest with ourselves we will agree with this statement.  That is why John ends this book with what appears to be a disconnected verse.  If we do this then we can obey the rest of the commands in the book.

So how are you doing with this?  Are you guarding your heart from idols?

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