Wrongful Worship

Romans 1:20–32 (ESV)

"20 For his invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made. So they are without excuse. 21 For although they knew God, they did not honor him as God or give thanks to him, but they became futile in their thinking, and their foolish hearts were darkened. 22 Claiming to be wise, they became fools, 23 and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images resembling mortal man and birds and animals and creeping things. 
24 Therefore God gave them up in the lusts of their hearts to impurity, to the dishonoring of their bodies among themselves, 25 because they exchanged the truth about God for a lie and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever! Amen. 
26 For this reason God gave them up to dishonorable passions. For their women exchanged natural relations for those that are contrary to nature; 27 and the men likewise gave up natural relations with women and were consumed with passion for one another, men committing shameless acts with men and receiving in themselves the due penalty for their error. 
28 And since they did not see fit to acknowledge God, God gave them up to a debased mind to do what ought not to be done. 29 They were filled with all manner of unrighteousness, evil, covetousness, malice. They are full of envy, murder, strife, deceit, maliciousness. They are gossips, 30 slanderers, haters of God, insolent, haughty, boastful, inventors of evil, disobedient to parents, 31 foolish, faithless, heartless, ruthless. 32 Though they know God’s righteous decree that those who practice such things deserve to die, they not only do them but give approval to those who practice them."

We have no excuse. Creation itself speaks of God’s eternal power and His divine nature. Not a complete revelation of Him, but a revelation sufficient enough to hold all mankind accountable. In our study verses, Paul indicates man knows, but man suppresses. In an attempt to hide his accountability, man suppresses, or as in many cases today, twists His Word in a futile effort to reckon his sinful ways to a version of truth that fits his lifestyle.

It is our nature to worship. In our rebellion we replace God as the object of our worship, exchanging God’s rightful place on our heart’s throne for a false god, an imitation from the created world that can be a multitude of things or other people. Such idolatry consumes us to where our worship has now moved outside of God’s established parameters (Exodus 20:3-5; Colossians 3:5).

We live a lie; believing we can justify our lifestyle by manipulating Scripture through argument and reasoning, thinking it is either outdated, or only relevant to a select group of people thousands of years ago. We fail to distinguish that which was merely ceremonial from that which God ordained as immutable. And when we can get one or more to agree with us, we feel vindicated that our lie is not a lie after all.

The freewill God has granted each and every one of us becomes a snare. God will give us over to our lusts as Paul describes in Romans 1:24. Soon, an attraction that has enthralled our heart will turn addictive and consume us. Instead of serving God now, we are serving our flesh. God allows our freedom to revel in such lusts, and judgment is soon to follow. For we know we are serving a lie; yet we continue, all the while our consciences are tormented from such acts, until we have convinced ourselves the lie is no longer a lie.

Jesus reminded us of the relationship between what we treasure and its place in our hearts in Matthew 6:21, a warning against the abomination of idolatry. The wrongful worship will draw us closer to becoming the object of our worship rather than experiencing being conformed to the image of Christ (Romans 8:29; 12:2).

Sadly, many will attend church regularly and also be caught up in such wrongful worship. Pleasure is the supreme purpose in life, rather than true worship centered around our Creator.

Examine yourself: are there parts of your life you are struggling to justify as okay before a Holy and Just God? The sin you feel trapped in, do you seek to justify it or do you cry out in anguish over its power in your life?

Seek His power to remove these idols, this wrongful worship, from your life; for without Him, you can do nothing about it (John 15:5).