Question 17: What is Idolatry? | Romans 1:21-25

QUESTION:  What is idolatry?

ANSWER: Idolatry is trusting in created things rather than the Creator for our hope and happiness, significance and security.

What are some common ways we look for meaning and purpose outside of God? What do you tend to replace God with?
  • Basic human brokenness is expressed by exchanging God and his truth for created things and half-truths. 
  • When we stop giving thanks and praise to God we will give thanks and praise to other lesser things. 
  • Idolatry is progressive: it starts small but then grows and grows until it totally replaces God in one’s life.  
  • God’s love is also progressive: it starts with God giving his Son for sinners and then sees it through until one is fully glorified.

Romans 1:21-25
For although they knew God, they did not honor him as God or give thanks to him, but they became futile in their thinking, and their foolish hearts were darkened. Claiming to be wise, they became fools, and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images resembling mortal man and birds and animals and creeping things.

Therefore God gave them up in the lusts of their hearts to impurity, to the dishonoring of their bodies among themselves, because they exchanged the truth about God for a lie and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever! Amen.
  • One of the unique realities of secular life is that religious fervor doesn’t go away; it is just redirected to things/people that aren’t God. What are ways people try to experience transcendence without God today? How well does it work? New Self
  • Even though we exchanged God for lesser things; God actually gave his Son to us so we could receive forgiveness, acceptance, and peace with God. What are ways we can reflect on this gift God has given us?

  • This week ask yourself if any “idolatry” is progressing in your life. What am I looking for to get hope, pleasure, and affirmation? Is there anything in my life that if it keeps growing it will harden my heart towards God? 

Creator God, forgive us for worshiping the things you have made. No person or thing should be our hope or our trust. You alone are self-existent and all sufficient. May you be our all in all. Amen.