Friday, November 6, 2009

Heart Idolatry

Barry Webb, professor at Moore College in Sydney Australia, writes; “Idolatry is the worst sin of all, because it moves God to the periphery of our lives and puts something else in his place. It gives to something else the glory that should be God’s alone. Chameleon-like, it constantly disguises itself so that we are scarcely aware of its presence, even when we are most in the grip of it. Greed, Paul tells us, is idolatry, because it turns us away from God towards things, and makes the pursuit of them the passion of our lives. The modern world is no less given over to idolatry than the ancient one; it is just that its cruder forms were more prevalent then”
The Message of Isaiah, pg 180, (Downers Grove, IVP, 1996).

Webb is right. Paul David Tripp gives us an even more insightful definition. “An idol of the heart is anything that rules me other than God. As worshiping beings, human beings always worship someone or something. This is not a situation where some people worship and some don’t. If God isn’t ruling my heart, someone or something else will. It is the way we were made”
Instruments In the Redeemers Hands, pg 66 (Phillipsburg, P&R, 2002).

What rules you...fear for your children, lust for acceptance, selfish ambition? Instead, lets obey Paul's clear command, "Flee from idolatry" (1 Cor 10:14).


  1. Thank you for the reminder. I have been gripped by the penchant for modern idolatry ever since studying Galatians in 1999, seeing its camouflaged activity in my heart for the first time. Calvin is right, our hearts are idol factories. Praise God who sanctifies us and shows us the surpassing joy in Christ which idols cannot supply.

  2. I look forward to reading more on your blog =)

  3. Thank you for an edifying talk this morning. I believe the phrase you were looking for was "simul justus et peccator".
    I found a good website reflecting on this...

    I love his quote about the example of David, where grace shines as a jewel on the dark tapestry of David's sins.

  4. Thank you Bill. I will never forget (hopefully) the sermon you gave a few years ago entitiled "All Coveteousness is Idolatry". It gripped my heart and the Lord revealed and is still revealing my many idols. Thank you Bill. I look forward to reading more on your blog!