We Can’t Make Up Our Own god

Summary Acts 17:16-28

The Apostle Paul was in Athens. His spirit was provoked within him as he saw that the city was full of idols. So he reasoned in the synagogue with the Jews and the devout persons, and in the marketplace every day with those who happened to be there. Some of the Epicurean and Stoic philosophers also conversed with him, and they wanted to know what Paul was teaching.

So, Paul talked with them about their objects of worship which he had observed, which included an altar with this inscription: “To the unknown god.” So, Paul said to them, “What therefore you worship as unknown, this I proclaim to you.” And then he went on to tell them about God, our creator, who does not live in temples made by man, and who made us, and who is sovereign over our lives, even with regard to where we would live.

And in God’s sovereignty over our lives, it was his will and purpose that all people should seek God, and perhaps would find him, but not all do seek him. And then Paul went on to explain that, since we are God’s creation, we are his offspring in the sense of God being the one who gave us the breath of life, and so he is not far from us, although he is not dwelling in all of us, but only in those who have been born spiritually of the Spirit of God.

Acts 17:29-31 ESV

“Being then God’s offspring, we ought not to think that the divine being is like gold or silver or stone, an image formed by the art and imagination of man. The times of ignorance God overlooked, but now he commands all people everywhere to repent, because he has fixed a day on which he will judge the world in righteousness by a man whom he has appointed; and of this he has given assurance to all by raising him from the dead.”

Created by God

All of us who are born into this world as human beings were created by God. We were created in the image of God, but we are born into this world in the image of Adam, the first human being God created. And that means we are born into sin, because of Adam’s sin in the Garden of Eden. Therefore, we are separate from God, and we are not able to be approved by God nor can we share in his righteousness in our own flesh, but only in the power of God.

[Rom 3:23; Rom 5:12-19; 1 Co 15:21-22,42-49]

Since we are all God’s creation, and he has revealed himself to all humans via his created works (see Romans 1), we ought not to think of God with earthly minds, thinking, and reasoning. We ought not to make up our own god in our own minds who fits with how we think or with how we live or with how we want to live. We can’t make up our own god to fit our own lifestyles, in other words. God is who he is, and we are to be conformed to his likeness. We are not to try to conform him to our human natures.

But many people are doing this, making God in their likeness, including many who profess faith in Jesus Christ. They are creating a god in their own minds which fits with what they are willing to believe and with how they want to live, and that is idolatry, just the same as if they made statues out of gold, silver, and stone, and they bowed down and prayed to them. It is no different! But it is much worse when they know better and do it anyway.

And since Jesus Christ is God, the Son of God, the second person of our triune God – Father, Son, and Holy Spirit – they are also creating Jesus in their own image, which is the image of Adam, and they are trying to make him altogether like them, and therefore they are also altering his gospel message to be in the likeness of man instead of in the likeness of God, and again it is so that they can live how they want without guilt.

True Faith in Jesus Christ

The God, the only true God, who made the universe and everything in it, is holy, righteous, sinless, pure, honest, faithful, and trustworthy. And this is Jesus Christ. So, when he died on that cross he put our sin to death with him that we might die with him to sin and live to him and to his righteousness. He put our old nature to death so that we would no longer be enslaved to sin, but so we would be slaves of God and of his righteousness.

And our faith comes from him, it is authored by Jesus, it is perfected by Jesus, it is gifted to us by God, and we can’t even come to faith unless God the Father first draws us to Christ. So our faith is not of ourselves, of our own will and purpose and desire, so we don’t get to choose what faith is. We can’t define it ourselves to fit our own lifestyles. Since our faith is of God it will also be faithful, honest, morally pure, upright and godly, etc.

And this means that we also can’t build our doctrine of salvation based on our own flesh, either, which means we can’t just pick and choose Bible verses taken out of context and twisted to say what we want them to say. If we want to know what the Scriptures teach about salvation and eternal life with God and our walks of faith, we need to read all of the New Testament, and there is much the same taught in the Old Testament, too.

So, what this means is that we can’t just decide that all God requires is some undefined “faith” experience one time in our lives which then guarantees us heaven when we die, regardless of how we live our lives on this earth. We have to know what the Scriptures teach, and they don’t teach “once saved always saved.” They teach progressive salvation which is progressive sanctification which will not be completed until Jesus Christ returns and he takes his faithful ones to be with him for eternity.

And this progressive salvation/sanctification involves walking in obedience to our Lord, dying to sin daily (daily by the Spirit putting the misdeeds of the body to death), daily denying self, loving God and others, and honoring Jesus Christ as Lord (Owner-Master) of our lives. It involves following our Lord in his steps, going where he leads us, and doing and saying what he commands us to do and to say, even if we are hated in return.

But if we choose to create our own god who does not judge us for our sins, who just looks the other way if we continue in deliberate and habitual sin, and who says nothing to us if we choose to live in disobedience to him and to not honor him as Lord, then this is letting us know that God indeed is going to judge us all by our works. And if we continue to walk in sin and not in obedience to our Lord, we will die in our sins. We will not inherit eternal life with God no matter what we have professed with our lips.

[Jn 8:31-32,51; Jn 14:15-24; Jn 15:1-12; Rom 2:6-8; Gal 6:7-8; Rom 6:1-23; Rom 8:1-14,24; Rom 11:17-24; Rom 13:11; 1 Co 1:18; 1 Co 15:1-2; Col 1:21-23; 2 Tim 2:10-13; Heb 3:6,14-15; Heb 5:9; Heb 9:28; 1 Pet 1:1-5; 2 Pet 1:5-11; 2 Pet 2:20-22; 2 Tim 1:8-9; Matt 7:21-23; 1 Jn 2:3-6,15-17,24-25; 1 Jn 3:4-10,24; 1 Jn 5:2-3; 2 Jn 1:6; Jas 1:21-25; Eph 4:17-24]

Revelation Song

Songwriter: Jennie Lee Riddle

Worthy is the Lamb who was slain, holy, holy is He
Sing a new song to Him who sits on heaven’s mercy seat
Worthy is the Lamb who was slain, holy, holy is He
Sing a new song to Him who sits on heaven’s mercy seat

Filled with wonder, awestruck wonder
At the mention of Your name
Jesus, Your name is power, breath and living water
Such a marvelous mystery, yeah

Holy, holy, holy is the Lord, God Almighty
Who was and is and is to come
With all creation I sing praise to the King of Kings
You are my everything and I will adore You, I will adore You

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