Anything that takes the place of God is sin
Published 8:24 am Friday, June 3, 2022
From the writings of the Rev. Billy Graham
Dear Rev. Graham: It is hard to watch the breakdown of our nation and to hear the talking heads pontificate on the changes that have taken place in society, particularly the pride in living without religious trappings. Why do people resent the power of God but devise idols that can only feed their greed for power over others? — I.W.
Dear I.W.: Mankind is innately religious. He must have a god of some kind, and he plays with the gods of his own fashioning. Someone once said, “The power of a nation or a civilization will be weighed not in missiles or divisions, but in faith, whether false or true.” When a nation turns from the true and living God of its Christian heritage, then it substitutes false gods.
There’s a tendency to think of idolatry as something from the Dark Ages or perhaps from cultures far from our North American shores, but idolatry in the West thrives with its “isms” — humanism, materialism, spiritualism, egoism, etc. These are ideologies that have been packaged as modern gods that are sophisticated, cultured, fashionable, and intellectual. Western culture has become a mixture of paganism and Christianity; it’s a blend of both.
We talk of God, but we often act as though we have no knowledge of His sovereignty. We develop a sort of dual personality, a type of schizophrenia. We have “In God We Trust” on our coins, but “Me First” engraved on our hearts. We’ve made unto ourselves graven images and have come to worship them. We have a new kind of polytheism; we attempt to worship both the God of the Bible and the gods of our own making at the same time. Anything that takes the place of God is sin. Where there is truth and error there is always compromise. Remember the first commandment, “You shall have no other gods before Me” (Exodus 20:3).
(This column is based on the words and writings of the late Rev. Billy Graham.)