One of the biggest forms of idolatry today is faith! I bet that caught your attention. Let me explain what I mean by that. If you pay attention during the election season you will have heard the phrase, “He is a man of faith.” In more religious circles you have perhaps heard or said, “I am saved by faith.” In our own Lutheran circles we are known as the Church of the SOLAs and many people can usually tell you what two of the SOLAs are, sola fide (faith alone) and sola scriptura (scripture alone). Yet there is something missing if those are the only two that you know.
When Martin Luther attempted to reform the church one of his big points was that it is through faith or better understood in our present day English, a trust, in God’s divine mercy which was given because of what Christ had accomplished by which people are saved. Faith is not a work that is done on the part of the individual, and grace is not something that was given to empower individuals to work their way to God. It is the trust in God’s divine grace given because of the work of Christ that restores us to God (see Ephesians 2:8-9, Romans 5:1-2, Galatians 2:15-21).
This brings us back to the original point. You are not saved by the act of sincere belief, yet that is what the world tells you. Satan has a long track record of taking what is good and true and slightly twisting it so that it retains much of what it looks like while losing all of its truth. Satan has done that with faith. Today faith has become one of the biggest forms of idolatry in our culture. Just like in the Garden when Satan asked Eve, “Did God actually say You shall not eat of any tree in the garden?” God did not say that! He did say that they should not eat from one of the trees in the Garden, the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. Satan twisted the truth of God and began his deceptive work. The goal of Satan was not for Eve to believe his first lie. She was well aware that she could eat the fruit of the Garden. Satan had accomplished his goal though, because how does Eve respond? She doesn’t say yes God said that. She says, “We may eat of the fruit of the trees in the garden, but God said ‘You shall not eat of the fruit of the tree that is in the midst of the garden, neither shall you touch it, lest you die.” The problem is that God didn’t say that they could not touch it. Satan has presented a lie not so that Eve believes the lie, but so that she no longer believes the truth. Then she begins to question the truth and ends up being deceived completely by another lie.
Today Satan has used lies to take our focus off of the key aspect of faith and that is the object of our faith, JESUS CHRIST!!! If the object of your faith is in anything other than Jesus Christ and what He has accomplished on your behalf you have been deceived and remain dead in your sin. It doesn’t matter if you are a sincere man or woman of faith if that faith is put in yourself, Allah, Baal, or any perversion of the True God (see Mormonism, Jehovah Witnesses, and many church bodies that once actually had biblical truths but have now abandoned them).
Faith does you no good if your faith is in anything other than Jesus Christ. You might say to yourself of course that is what I believe yet our actions don’t always reflect that. We get worn down by the world and the lies of Satan and think well maybe God didn’t really say that the only way to Him is through Jesus Christ. Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me (John 14:6). Do not let faith become an object of worship. Do not let faith become the object of your faith. Let your faith be in Christ and in nothing else.