Why is Idolatry a serious sin? Why is it that worshipping statues and carved images an abomination to the Lord?
Idolatry is one of the greatest sins a man could commit. In fact, it was said in the Bible that no idolater will enter the kingdom of God.
Galatians 5:19-21 (NKJV)
Now the works of the flesh are evident, which are: adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lewdness, idolatry, sorcery, hatred, contentions, jealousies, outbursts of wrath, selfish ambitions, dissensions, heresies, envy, murders, drunkenness, revelries, and the like; of which I tell you beforehand, just as I also told you in time past, that those who practice such things will not inherit the kingdom of God.
Now, why is idolatry a serious sin? Why it is an abomination to the Lord? There are many reasons why. First, it is a clear transgression or disobedience of the following commandments of God.
Deuteronomy 5:8 (NKJV)
‘You shall not make for yourself a carved image—any likeness of anything that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth;
Deuteronomy 4:15-18 (NKJV)
“Take careful heed to yourselves, for you saw no form when the LORD spoke to you at Horeb out of the midst of the fire, lest you act corruptly and make for yourselves a carved image in the form of any figure: the likeness of male or female, the likeness of any animal that is on the earth or the likeness of any winged bird that flies in the air, the likeness of anything that creeps on the ground or the likeness of any fish that is in the water beneath the earth.
Exodus 20:4 (NKJV)
“You shall not make for yourself a carved image—any likeness of anything that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth;
Leviticus 26:1 (NKJV)
‘You shall not make idols for yourselves;
neither a carved image nor a sacred pillar shall you rear up for yourselves;
nor shall you set up an engraved stone in your land, to bow down to it;
for I am the LORD your God.
1 Corinthians 10:14 (NKJV)
Therefore, my beloved, flee from idolatry.
Second, it is a work of the flesh rather that of the spirit. In other words it is the work of unspiritual and earthly persons.
Galatians 5:19-21 (NKJV)
Now the works of the flesh are evident, which are: adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lewdness, idolatry, sorcery, hatred, contentions, jealousies, outbursts of wrath, selfish ambitions, dissensions, heresies,
Colossians 3:5 (NIV)
Put to death, therefore, whatever belongs to your earthly nature: sexual immorality, impurity, lust, evil desires and greed, which is idolatry.
Third, God is a spirit, and we must worship Him in spirit and in truth.
John 4:24 (NIV)
God is spirit, and his worshipers must worship in spirit and in truth.”
Fourth, we must not worship God in Earthly things which are lowly in forms, wears and tears, and perishes in time. Isn’t representing God (who is a spirit, Holy, Almighty and everlasting), with a wood, metal or stone (which are lifeless and perishes in time), a dishonor to Him?
Deuteronomy 27:15 (NKJV)
‘Cursed is the one who makes a carved or molded image, an abomination to the LORD, the work of the hands
of the craftsman, and sets it up in secret.’
“And all the people shall answer and say, ‘Amen!’
Isaiah 44:9 (NKJV)
Those who make an image, all of them are useless,
And their precious things shall not profit;
They are their own witnesses;
They neither see nor know, that they may be ashamed.
Jeremiah 10:14 (NKJV)
Everyone is dull-hearted, without knowledge;
Every metalsmith is put to shame by an image;
For his molded image is falsehood,
And there is no breath in them.
Habakkuk 2:18 (NKJV)
“ What profit is the image, that its maker should carve it,
The molded image, a teacher of lies,
That the maker of its mold should trust in it,
To make mute idols?
Isaiah 44:16-17 (NKJV)
He burns half of it in the fire;
With this half he eats meat;
He roasts a roast, and is satisfied.
He even warms himself and says,
“ Ah! I am warm,
I have seen the fire.”
And the rest of it he makes into a god,
His carved image.
He falls down before it and worships it,
Prays to it and says,
“ Deliver me, for you are my god!”
Jeremiah 10:1-5 (NKJV)
Hear the word which the LORD speaks to you, O house of Israel.
Thus says the LORD:
“ Do not learn the way of the Gentiles;
Do not be dismayed at the signs of heaven,
For the Gentiles are dismayed at them.
For the customs of the peoples are futile;
For one cuts a tree from the forest,
The work of the hands of the workman, with the ax.
They decorate it with silver and gold;
They fasten it with nails and hammers
So that it will not topple.
They are upright, like a palm tree,
And they cannot speak;
They must be carried,
Because they cannot go by themselves.
Do not be afraid of them,
For they cannot do evil,
Nor can they do any good.”
Fifth, we must not also think that God is like an image formed by human’s art and invention.
Acts 17:29 (NKJV)
Therefore, since we are the offspring of God, we ought not to think that the Divine Nature is like gold or silver or stone, something shaped by art and man’s devising.
Sixth, God does not dwell in man-made temples.
Acts 17:24 (NKJV)
God, who made the world and everything in it, since He is Lord of heaven and earth, does not dwell in temples made with hands.
Seventh, the last but not the least, God does not give His honor or praise to carved images.
Isaiah 42:8 (NKJV)
I am the LORD, that is My name;
And My glory I will not give to another,
Nor My praise to carved images.