On the sixth day, “God created man in His own image” (Genesis 1:27).
Not long afterward, Adam and Eve marred that holy image by sinning (Genesis 3). Since then, humans have tended to make their own gods in their own image, rather than seeking to be renewed unto His image. Pagan idolatry graphically illustrates this truth:
“Professing to be wise, they became fools, and changed the glory of the incorruptible God into an image made like corruptible man–and birds and four-footed beasts and creeping things” (Romans 1:22-23).
I seriously doubt that any member of this congregation would actually bow down in worship to a carved or molded image. Still, we possess that tendency to modify our concept of God to fit our own wishes and ideas. When we surrender to that temptation, we become guilty of idolatry just as surely as if we carved an image out of a log and bowed before it.
The pagans invented gods and goddesses who acted like sinful people–fighting, murdering each other, lusting after and seducing each other, lying, and being gluttons. Serving such deities required no particular improvement in the worshippers’ behavior. While we might reject these extremes, we share the pagans’ guilt when we modify God’s will as revealed in Scripture so that it aligns with our own pre-conceived ideas.
One says, “I know what the Bible teaches, but I just don’t believe God would send people to eternal Hell”; he has made a god in his own image. Another claims, “God simply doesn’t care about instrumental music!” What he really means is, “I don’t care about it, therefore God must not care about it”; his god must think as he does. Someone else says, “I can’t bring myself to think that God would condemn a person who believes in Jesus simply because he wasn’t baptized.” Again, the unspoken message is, “I wouldn’t do it, therefore God wouldn’t either.” Evidently this person thinks he is more “gracious” than the God of the Bible!
Brethren, any time we start telling God what to think and do, we’re in trouble. “For who has known the mind of the Lord? Or who has become His counselor?” (Romans 11:34). We must remember, “For as the heavens are higher than the earth, So are My ways higher than your ways, And My thoughts than your thoughts” (Isaiah 55:9). By His grace, God has provided a way for a sinner to be “renewed in knowledge according to the image of Him who created him” (Colossians 3:10). Let us follow that wonderful way, rather than making our own god in our own image.