The Idols of Christ and the Cross (Part 2)


This is part 2 of a series.  Read part 1 here:

            The exacting spirit of Molech also insinuates itself into the life of the church.  Molech, it was pointed out, demanded that his worshipers give up their children to appease him.  God gave up His own Son for us (Rom. 8:32).  The contrast couldn’t be more stark.  Anytime we believe God is requiring of us something other than what is provided in Christ we are serving Molech to some degree.  Legalism—believing we are responsible for fulfilling God’s standards instead of trusting Christ to fulfill them—is probably the most pervasive and subtle form of Molech worship today (Matt. 5:17; Rom. 10:4).  Asceticism is a blanket term for the belief that God requires us to purify ourselves through physical discipline, deprivation, or punishment.  Extreme fasting, sleep-deprivation, ritually injuring oneself, and the like are ascetic practices in the spirit of Molech-worship.  Paul grants that ascetic practices “have an appearance of wisdom, with their self-imposed worship, their false humility and their harsh treatment of the body, but they lack any value in restraining sensual indulgence” (Col. 2:21).  Only our participation, by faith, in Christ’s death and resurrection purifies us and satisfies the Lord (Col. 2:20-3:5).  Finally, we can emphasize our fellowship in Christ’s suffering to the exclusion of knowing Him in His resurrection (Php. 3:10).  This mentality may lead us to think we are only godly if we go without, let people walk on us, or give up all our time caring for others and not ourselves.  It is a mindset that stays in the lowest seat even when the Master beckons that we should move up to a better one (Luke 14:10).

Mixing the mind of Molech with Christianity leads to the cross without Christ: sacrifice is required of us without corresponding provision from God.  Micah’s cure for Molech worship was to remind Israel of everything God had given and been to her:

“My people, what have I done to you?  How have I burdened you?  Answer me.  I brought you up out of Egypt and redeemed you from the land of slavery….  Remember your journey from Shittim to Gilgal, that you may know the righteous acts of the LORD” (Micah 6:3-5).

Toward the end of this memorial, Micah asks, “Shall I offer my firstborn for my transgression, the fruit of my body for the sin of my soul?” (Micah 6:7).  In other words, when you look at all the Lord has done for you, Israel, what would ever make you think He was requiring something more, like burning your child in the fire?  Prophetically, Micah urges us to remember all that God has done for us in Christ and to consider: Will the fruit of our flesh compensate for Christ’s inadequacy?  What would ever make us think God was requiring more than His Son?

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