April 11, 2016
(All scripture is from the New King James Version unless otherwise indicated.)
Notice – for the first time I have not capitalized a word in the title of a blog. That’s because it is actually a play on words – from a phrase used in James 3:9 (the 1965 Bible is Basic English). Actually, this is the only version that I found this exact phrase in – the only one of the 17 translations of the Bible I have in my e-Sword program I purchased and loaded into my computer. By the way, I have found e-Sword to be one of the best Bible study programs around! There is a free download available, but it is pretty basic. I sent in a donation and received a CD which gives me greater resources at my disposal.
But back to James 3:9. Speaking of the tongue, James writes, “With it we give praise to our Lord and Father; and with it we put a curse on men who are made in God’s image.” For the blog title, I changed in God’s image to In gods’ Image! Why? Because of what is written in Psalm 135:15 through 18:
The idols of the nations [the heathen in KJV] are silver and gold, the work
of men’s hands. They have mouths, but they do not speak; eyes they have,
but they do not see; they have ears, but they do not hear; nor is there any
breath in their mouths. Those who make them are like them; so is every-
one who trusts in them.
I remember a TV movie years ago about a man who is shown the afterlife. What he sees is not heaven, nor is it hell. It is a place where people become what they have pursued in their earthly existence. In one scene, a woman made of fragile glass is carried in on a chair. Why fragile glass? Her focus in on earth was diamonds! Another man is made of paper, for as a mortal he sought the almighty dollar! The theme of that movie was that you become what you worship!
In 1846 James Barr Walker authored a book entitled The Philosophy of the Plan of Salvation, by an American Citizen. On page 17 he writes:
Two facts, then, are philosophically and historically true: First, Man is a
religious animal, and will worship something, as a superior being. Second,
By worshipping he becomes assimilated to the moral character of the object
which he worships.
The psalmist says the same thing! (See also Psalm 115:4-8). We become like the gods we worship! This is why I did not capitalize the second word in the title – gods’. As Paul tells us in I Corinthians 8:5, “…there are many gods and many lords….” There are physical idols of wood, stone and metal who are called gods. There are habits and practices that can become like gods in our lives. There are unseen spirits who are called gods. Even Satan is called “…the god of this age…” in II Corinthians 4:4, because the devil has dominion and authority over the societies of this world! (See Luke 4:6-7).
The problem is, as the psalmist says and James Barr Walker writes, we become like that which we worship! God designed us that way! Paul continues in I Corinthians 8 after his statement that “…there are many gods and many lords….” In verse 6 he says, “…yet for us there is only one God the Father, of whom are all things, and we for Him; and one Lord Jesus Christ, through whom are all things, and through whom we live.” He is telling us to focus only on God through Jesus Christ, because we are to be like Him! The following scriptures lay out this plan of God in more detail:
• Romans 8:29 – “For whom He [God] foreknew, He also predestinated to be conformed to the image of His Son [Jesus Christ], that He might be the firstborn among many brethren.” God predestinates His children to be like Christ!
• Being Conformed to His image is a process – shown in II Corinthians 3:18: “But we all, with unveiled face, beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as by the Spirit of the Lord.” The transformation happens by degrees (a process) and these degrees of the process are referred to as glory in the above Scripture. The apostle might have written “…from glory to glory to glory to glory…” – referring to the day-by-day process of our transformation as the Holy Spirit works in us to make us more and more like Jesus! (See also I Corinthians 15:49, 50).
• This transformation is completed, according to I John 3:2, when we see our Lord Jesus face to face – “…when He is revealed, we shall be like Him, for we shall see Him as He is.”
Since we are designed that way by our Creator, if we focus on a false god or gods, we will become more and more like them! As it says in Psalm 135:18, “Those who make them are like them; so is everyone who trusts in them.” The problem, as the psalmist points out in verses 16 and 17, is that false gods are lifeless – “They have mouths, but they do not speak; eyes they have, but they do not see; they have ears, but they do not hear; nor is there any breath in their mouths.” Compare this to Jesus who is “…the way, the truth, and the life.” (John 14:6). And He is the One who came so we “…may have life, and that…[we] may have it more abundantly.” (John 10:10).
The point is this: Be careful what you make as your gods! For you will end up like them! I choose Jesus!