Tuesday, April 26, 2011

The Big Summary

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

21 Τεκνία, φυλάξατε ἑαυτὰ ἀπὸ τῶν εἰδώλων.

This is the last verse in 1 John and, frankly, it feels a tad tacked-on. You've read all this amazing stuff about Christ and what it means to live in Christ and then you hit this. Why is this here? John gives the imperative φυλάξατε. He is telling them to guard themselves. "Keep" is a smoother translation, but I think that the force of the word "guard" is better for understanding this.

Why does John add this? I would maintain that idolatry is at the root of all sin. We sin because we have idols apart from God. Let's take an easy one like pornography. This is born out of lust. We have decided that sex is more important than Jesus, so we run to pornography. That's an example of idolatry. Money is another easy example. When we make money more important to us than Jesus we are committing idolatry.

John adds this short verse because this is the key to everything. If we keep ourselves from idols then we will be able to live in such a way as John described throughout the rest of the book. That's sanctification in a nutshell, I think. 

Of course, this is very easy to throw out in a blog post, but impossible to live apart from the Holy Spirit. I know this all too well. My prayer is that we all would keep ourselves from idols and run to Christ.

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