INTERNET BIBLE STUDIES
Christian Basic Training by Charles Buntin
Lesson 1c Definition of Paganism Part 2
The Only True God
Introductory Thoughts from Last Study
* A lot of people these days seem to think that the subtitle for this chapter: "There Is Only One True God," is a narrow-minded and bigoted statement.
* Many people love the idea that all "gods" really represent the "real" God, whoever he (or she) may be, and that everyone with any hint of a religious belief is really "heading the same way, but on a different path."
* People who have absolute beliefs are seen by many others as bad, bigoted, mean, etc.
* The modern spirit of the age says that all religions are equally valid, that all "gods" are really the same, and that the only really wrong faith is absolute faith.
* I personally believe this Zeitgeist, this spirit, is a literal spirit, and he is an evil one--"the prince of the power of the air." Why do I think this? Because this belief that any 'god' is OK, and that anything goes in religion is a false teaching from the pits of Hell itself--if the "spirit of the age" is right, then Jehovah God is a liar, and Jesus is a charlatan.--but the zeitgeist of our day is wrong. If the Bible teaches anything, it teaches that there is only One True God, and He is Lord of the universe.
False Gods cannot save -- Is 45:20--Even ignoring the fact of the immobility of the false 'gods', these deities cannot save. Even if a particular false deity has some measure of power and movement because of demonic influence and manifestation, the false 'god' simply cannot do anything to help the eternal destiny of anyone. If you examine the teachings of the world's major religions, only Christianity has a sufficient answer for the question: "How can a good and holy God reconcile with sinful men and women?"
John 14:6 Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.
Acts 4:12 Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.
**The best, the brightest, the nicest--it makes no difference. If anyone follows any other religious faith than Bible Christianity, they are doomed unless they change.
3. The True God punishes the worshippers of False Gods: Rom 1:18-32. God patiently and slowly, but eventually, and very definitely, has punished every idolatrous society. The decline represented in this passage has been repeated in more than one society; it is apparent in our own Western civilization.
[Note--Romans 1 is a pivotal passage in understanding the nature of the spiritual state of mankind. We will examine it in detail in a later lesson, but this mini-exposition applies well to the subject at hand]
a. Rom 1:18 For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who hold the truth in unrighteousness;
God is righteously angry over the sin and rebellion of men who suppress the truth. On this verse, the Greek scholar Kenneth Wuest said:
"The truth here is not the gospel, for all men do not possess a knowledge of it. The truth here is found in the context, the fact of a supreme Being with divine attributes to whom worship and obedience are due, this truth being see by all men through their observation of the created universe, the latter demanding a Creator to answer for its existence. The human race, possessing this truth, yet holds it down in the sense of refusing to acknowledge its moral implications, and goes on in its sin."
b. What truth do they suppress?
Rom 1:19 Because that which may be known of God is manifest in them; for God hath showed it unto them. Rom 1:20 For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse:
The lost and unbelieving people of the world have no excuse. Anyone who is without Christ should see enough of the attributes of God displayed in nature to know that their religion and their 'god' is false. Those who do not know Jesus and have never heard of Him should see enough truth from the witness of creation to know that they need to seek after something they do not have. Are you upset by this concept? Don't be angry with me--as my pastor says, "I am not the author, I am just the newsboy"--this concept is not what I say--it is the plain teaching of the Bible. As the psalmist says:
Psa 19:1 To the chief Musician, A Psalm of David. The heavens declare the glory of God; and the firmament showeth his handiwork.
Psa 19:2 Day unto day uttereth speech, and night unto night showeth knowledge.
Psa 19:3 There is no speech nor language, where their voice is not heard.
c. They Pervert the Truth -- Sinful mankind goes lower than ignoring the truth--they pervert the truth, and debase God by so doing. The lost world incurs the wrath of God to an even greater degree when they go on past the sin of ignoring the witness of His attributes revealed in nature....
Rom 1:21 Because that, when they knew God, they glorified him not as God, neither were thankful; but became vain in their imaginations, and their foolish heart was darkened.
Rom 1:22 Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools,
Rom 1:23 And changed the glory of the uncorruptible God into an image made like to corruptible man, and to birds, and fourfooted beasts, and creeping things.
The further a society goes away from the truth of the invisible, eternal, immutable, holy, righteous, all-powerful, all-knowing God, the more ridiculous their religion becomes. They worship man-like statues, animals, even "creeping things" like snakes and bugs. They even worship creations of their own minds, perverse combinations of man with other animals. They either take the lowest of creatures, or they take some perverted combination never found in nature, and they make a statue to it and say, "this has made me--this is god."
d. What is the result of this foolishness? What is the consequence for ridiculing the Almighty, Eternal God in this way? God punishes this sin by "giving them enough rope." He releases the natural supression and lessening of sin which comes from the in-born conscience of man combined with the convicting and suppressing ministries of the Holy Spirit. (see section 2, chapter 6) With these divine restraints removed, the people and their society become increasingly sinful.
Rom 1:24 Wherefore God also gave them up to uncleanness through the lusts of their own hearts, to dishonour their own bodies between themselves: Rom 1:25 Who changed the truth of God into a lie, and worshipped and served the creature more than the Creator, who is blessed for ever. Amen.
This is the key charge against sinful man--serving the creature rather than the creator. So, whether the false religion is paganism, animism, an eastern religion, Islam, humanistic secularism, communism, or false christianity, the charge and the judgement is the same--truth is exchanged for a lie, the creature is worshipped instead of the creator, and the human body is debased by sin. What form does this debasement take?
e. The first and foremost form is sexual sin and perversion of the sex act.
Rom 1:26 For this cause God gave them up unto vile affections: for even their women did change the natural use into that which is against nature:
Rom 1:27 And likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust one toward another; men with men working that which is unseemly, and receiving in themselves that recompense of their error which was meet.
This is not politically correct, but it is true--homosexuality in all its forms is an abomination in the eyes of God, and its existence and the degree of its prevalence are measures of how far down the tubes a society or a civilization has gone. Why is this? Because God created men and women to live together in man-woman pairs, to propogate the race and enjoy fellowship together. This joining, this holy union, is a mysterious illustration of the relationship of God with His people, Christ with His church. (see section 2, chapter 11, parts 1 and 4). Anything that perverts sexuality is therefore a multiple affront to God--He has made us to live in the way of man-woman pairs, and if we pervert that ordinance of creation, we deny His wisdom. God has given us sexual rules and guidelines that protect our health and well-being, and when we violate them, we corrupt the body He has given us. Finally, God has said that the union between man and woman is a holy mystery that symbolizes the union of Christ and the Church--when we pervert sexuality, we make a mockery of the entire plan of redemption--we spit on and trample the Cross, the Empty Tomb, and the Crown of Christ. .
f. The descent of sinfulness continues on from here to the very depths
Rom 1:28 And even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a reprobate mind, to do those things which are not convenient;
Rom 1:29 Being filled with all unrighteousness, fornication, wickedness, covetousness, maliciousness; full of envy, murder, debate, deceit, malignity; whisperers,
Rom 1:30 Backbiters, haters of God, despiteful, proud, boasters, inventors of evil things, disobedient to parents,
Rom 1:31 Without understanding, covenantbreakers, without natural affection, implacable, unmerciful:
Every species of sin, and every misery of human society is the result of the descent of mankind through the willful ignorance and stubborn disobedience of the human mind and soul, both of which are in total rebellion against the Holy God who made them.
g. What About "Tolerance?" . And, as for those who preach "tolerance" and who label us as 'bigots" who preach and proclaim righteousness and Truth, they are guilty as well, even if they do not practice the evil themselves--Rom 1:32 Who knowing the judgment of God, that they which commit such things are worthy of death, not only do the same, but have pleasure in them that do them.. It is equally damning to be tolerant of evil as it is to perpetrate it.
4. False Gods lead to eternal damnation
As best illustrated by Paul's description of the final decline of the final civilization, the end result of false religion is condemnation and eternal death.
2 Th 2:7 For the mystery of iniquity doth already work: only he who now letteth will let, until he be taken out of the way.
2 Th 2:8 And then shall that Wicked be revealed, whom the Lord shall consume with the spirit of his mouth, and shall destroy with the brightness of his coming:
2 Th 2:9 Even him, whose coming is after the working of Satan with all power and signs and lying wonders,
2 Th 2:10 And with all deceivableness of unrighteousness in them that perish; because they received not the love of the truth, that they might be saved.
2 Th 2:11 And for this cause God shall send them strong delusion, that they should believe a lie:
2 Th 2:12 That they all might be damned who believed not the truth, but had pleasure in unrighteousness.
So, this is why Apostle Paul was "stirred up" over the idolatry of Athens, and when he told the Areopagus the following statement, he was not being complimentary. .... Acts 17:22 Then Paul stood in the midst of Mars' hill, and said, Ye men of Athens, I perceive that in all things ye are too superstitious. These wise men had apparently sensed that they were missing something, so they had made an altar to what they were missing--but they had not sought it, and when Paul presented to them the missing pieces of the puzzle, most of them rejected the truth.
5. The One True God is not like them: Paul's task and message to the great minds of the pagan world was about the God of the Bible, the deity they had seen displayed in nature, the author of whatever conscience the pagan thinkers had left, and the creator they had spurned and denied by their false religions and philosophies. Jehovah God is not like the false 'gods.'
Jer 10: Silver spread into plates is brought from Tarshish, and gold from Uphaz, the work of the workman, and of the hands of the founder: blue and purple is their clothing: they are all the work of cunning men.
Jer 10:10 But the LORD is the true God, he is the living God, and an everlasting king: at his wrath the earth shall tremble, and the nations shall not be able to abide his indignation.
Jer 10:11 Thus shall ye say unto them, The gods that have not made the heavens and the earth, even they shall perish from the earth, and from under these heavens.
Jer 10:12 He hath made the earth by his power, he hath established the world by his wisdom, and hath stretched out the heavens by his discretion.
Jer 10:13 When he uttereth his voice, there is a multitude of waters in the heavens, and he causeth the vapours to ascend from the ends of the earth; he maketh lightnings with rain, and bringeth forth the wind out of his treasures.
Jer 10:14 Every man is brutish in his knowledge: every founder is confounded by the graven image: for his molten image is falsehood, and there is no breath in them.
Jer 10:15 They are vanity, and the work of errors: in the time of their visitation they shall perish.
Jer 10:16 The portion of Jacob is not like them: for he is the former of all things; and Israel is the rod of his inheritance: The LORD of hosts is his name..
And good friends, Jehovah God is not like the false religions and philosophies of our day--and it is He who calls the lost through the Gospel we preach. It is the Holy God of the Bible, the One True God, who calls to you even now. Do not reject Him--repent (turn away) from your sins and turn to God--believe in Christ Jesus for salvation, even now.
Appendix to lesson:
The characteristics of idols:
Psa 115:4 Their idols are silver and gold, the work of men's hands.
Psa 115:5 They have mouths, but they speak not: eyes have they, but they see not:
Psa 115:8 They that make them are like unto them; so is every one that trusteth in them.
Psa 135:15 The idols of the heathen are silver and gold, the work of men's hands.
Psa 135:16 They have mouths, but they speak not; eyes have they, but they see not;
Psa 135:17 They have ears, but they hear not; neither is there any breath in their mouths.
Psa 135:18 They that make them are like unto them: so is every one that trusteth in them.
Isa 2:8 Their land also is full of idols; they worship the work of their own hands, that which their own fingers have made:
Isa 31:7 For in that day every man shall cast away his idols of silver, and his idols of gold, which your own hands have made unto you for a sin.
Isa 37:19 And have cast their gods into the fire: for they were no gods, but the work of men's hands, wood and stone: therefore they have destroyed them.
Isa 40:18 To whom then will ye liken God? or what likeness will ye compare unto him?
Isa 40:19 The workman melteth a graven image, and the goldsmith spreadeth it over with gold, and casteth silver chains.
Isa 40:20 He that is so impoverished that he hath no oblation chooseth a tree that will not rot; he seeketh unto him a cunning workman to prepare a graven image, that shall not be moved.
Isa 40:21 Have ye not known? have ye not heard? hath it not been told you from the beginning? have ye not understood from the foundations of the earth?
Isa 40:25 To whom then will ye liken me, or shall I be equal? saith the Holy One.
Isa 41:29 Behold, they are all vanity; their works are nothing: their molten images are wind and confusion.
Isa 44:11 Behold, all his fellows shall be ashamed: and the workmen, they are of men: let them all be gathered together, let them stand up; yet they shall fear, and they shall be ashamed together.
Isa 44:12 The smith with the tongs both worketh in the coals, and fashioneth it with hammers, and worketh it with the strength of his arms: yea, he is hungry, and his strength faileth: he drinketh no water, and is faint.
Isa 44:13 The carpenter stretcheth out his rule; he marketh it out with a line; he fitteth it with planes, and he marketh it out with the compass, and maketh it after the figure of a man, according to the beauty of a man; that it may remain in the house.
Isa 44:14 He heweth him down cedars, and taketh the cypress and the oak, which he strengtheneth for himself among the trees of the forest: he planteth an ash, and the rain doth nourish it.
Isa 44:15 Then shall it be for a man to burn: for he will take thereof, and warm himself; yea, he kindleth it, and baketh bread; yea, he maketh a god, and worshippeth it; he maketh it a graven image, and falleth down thereto.
Isa 44:16 He burneth part thereof in the fire; with part thereof he eateth flesh; he roasteth roast, and is satisfied: yea, he warmeth himself, and saith, Aha, I am warm, I have seen the fire:
Isa 44:17 And the residue thereof he maketh a god, even his graven image: he falleth down unto it, and worshippeth it, and prayeth unto it, and saith, Deliver me; for thou art my god.
Isa 44:18 They have not known nor understood: for he hath shut their eyes, that they cannot see; and their hearts, that they cannot understand.
Isa 44:19 And none considereth in his heart, neither is there knowledge nor understanding to say, I have burned part of it in the fire; yea, also I have baked bread upon the coals thereof; I have roasted flesh, and eaten it: and shall I make the residue thereof an abomination? shall I fall down to the stock of a tree?
Isa 44:20 He feedeth on ashes: a deceived heart hath turned him aside, that he cannot deliver his soul, nor say, Is there not a lie in my right hand?
Isa 45:16 They shall be ashamed, and also confounded, all of them: they shall go to confusion together that are makers of idols.
Isa 45:20 Assemble yourselves and come; draw near together, ye that are escaped of the nations: they have no knowledge that set up the wood of their graven image, and pray unto a god that cannot save.
Isa 46:6 They lavish gold out of the bag, and weigh silver in the balance, and hire a goldsmith; and he maketh it a god: they fall down, yea, they worship.
Isa 46:7 They bear him upon the shoulder, they carry him, and set him in his place, and he standeth; from his place shall he not remove: yea, one shall cry unto him, yet can he not answer, nor save him out of his trouble.
Isa 57:4 Against whom do ye sport yourselves? against whom make ye a wide mouth, and draw out the tongue? are ye not children of transgression, a seed of falsehood,
Isa 57:5 Enflaming yourselves with idols under every green tree, slaying the children in the valleys under the clifts of the rocks?
Isa 57:6 Among the smooth stones of the stream is thy portion; they, they are thy lot: even to them hast thou poured a drink offering, thou hast offered a meat offering. Should I receive comfort in these?
Isa 57:7 Upon a lofty and high mountain hast thou set thy bed: even thither wentest thou up to offer sacrifice.
Isa 57:8 Behind the doors also and the posts hast thou set up thy remembrance: for thou hast discovered thyself to another than me, and art gone up; thou hast enlarged thy bed, and made thee a covenant with them; thou lovedst their bed where thou sawest it.
Isa 57:9 And thou wentest to the king with ointment, and didst increase thy perfumes, and didst send thy messengers far off, and didst debase thyself even unto hell.
Isa 57:10 Thou art wearied in the greatness of thy way; yet saidst thou not, There is no hope: thou hast found the life of thine hand; therefore thou wast not grieved.
Isa 57:11 And of whom hast thou been afraid or feared, that thou hast lied, and hast not remembered me, nor laid it to thy heart? have not I held my peace even of old, and thou fearest me not?
Isa 57:12 I will declare thy righteousness, and thy works; for they shall not profit thee.
Isa 57:13 When thou criest, let thy companies deliver thee; but the wind shall carry them all away; vanity shall take them: but he that putteth his trust in me shall possess the land, and shall inherit my holy mountain;
Dan 5:23 But hast lifted up thyself against the Lord of heaven; and they have brought the vessels of his house before thee, and thou, and thy lords, thy wives, and thy concubines, have drunk wine in them; and thou hast praised the gods of silver, and gold, of brass, iron, wood, and stone, which see not, nor hear, nor know: and the God in whose hand thy breath is, and whose are all thy ways, hast thou not glorified:
Jonah 2:8 They that observe lying vanities forsake their own mercy.
Micah 5:12 And I will cut off witchcrafts out of thine hand; and thou shalt have no more soothsayers:
Micah 5:13 Thy graven images also will I cut off, and thy standing images out of the midst of thee; and thou shalt no more worship the work of thine hands.
Micah 5:14 And I will pluck up thy groves out of the midst of thee: so will I destroy thy cities.
Hab 1:16 Therefore they sacrifice unto their net, and burn incense unto their drag; because by them their portion is fat, and their meat plenteous.
Hab 2:18 What profiteth the graven image that the maker thereof hath graven it; the molten image, and a teacher of lies, that the maker of his work trusteth therein, to make dumb idols?
Hab 2:19 Woe unto him that saith to the wood, Awake; to the dumb stone, Arise, it shall teach! Behold, it is laid over with gold and silver, and there is no breath at all in the midst of it.
Acts 14:15 And saying, Sirs, why do ye these things? We also are men of like passions with you, and preach unto you that ye should turn from these vanities unto the living God, which made heaven, and earth, and the sea, and all things that are therein:
1 John 5:21 Little children, keep yourselves from idols. Amen.
Rev 9:20 And the rest of the men which were not killed by these plagues yet repented not of the works of their hands, that they should not worship devils, and idols of gold, and silver, and brass, and stone, and of wood: which neither can see, nor hear, nor walk:
Rev 9:21 Neither repented they of their murders, nor of their sorceries, nor of their fornication, nor of their thefts.
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