Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Idolatry Part 2: Glory to Another

Though I wrote a couple of weeks ago about discovering that jealousy is idolatry, God has continued to drive that theme home in many ways since then, so that I understand it more now than I did when I posted on it. He gives me bite-sized chunks, from several different sources, as if to say, "Hey, I have a specific point I'm trying to get across--are you paying attention? Is it sinking in yet?"

One of those sources is a series of messages by Mark Lauterbach called "Gospel Centrality: So What?" Fantastic. I cannot recommend them enough. You can download them for FREE here--please go over there right now and get started. Burn them onto CDs, or your iPod; listen in the car or while you run or while you do dishes. It will revolutionize your understanding of the gospel. Go. I'll still be here when you get back.

Okay. Now that you've done that, let me try to flesh out the whole jealousy-is-idolatry thing a little more, in this post and the next. The foundation is that God is the only one who deserves glory. What is glory? In the Old Testament, it's a Hebrew word that carries the sense of "weight" or "heaviness." Eric Schumacher explains, "To speak of someone’s glory is to speak of their worth, it is to declare what is excellent about them. ...When we speak of God’s glory, we speak of his greatness, his beauty, his worth or his excellence. Everything about God is excellent and weighty and beautiful. God’s glory is the display of his excellencies."

Schumacher goes on to say:
"Sin is giving to someone or something else the glory that God alone deserves. ...Sin is exchanging the glory of God for the worship of something lesser. Sin is taking God’s glory for oneself. The wages [of] sin is death. Those who refuse to glorify the great King are guilty of high treason and must be executed to uphold the worth of the king’s name. To allow the dishonoring of God’s name to go unpunished would be to say that God’s name is not worth much. It would be to say that dishonoring God’s name is no big deal, because God is 'no big deal.' That would be a travesty of justice."

When I am jealous of someone or something, I am giving that person/thing more "weight" than God. I am saying all He is for me in Jesus is not enough--this other thing is worth more, is more excellent. I am giving created things the glory instead of giving glory to the One who alone deserves all glory.

Of course, the good news is that although I deserve death because of my refusal to glorify God's name--because of my persistence in giving glory to other people, or attempting to claim it for myself--Christ already bore the curse for my treason. He was executed so that I could be justified--so that I could be delivered from the power of sin and glorify God for all eternity!

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