Here is a helpful discussion by Tim Keller (click on name to listen to lecture) regarding the correlation between all idolatry and a lack of the Gospel.
Things that Keller discusses:
· Idol = something that you will die for or without (dying either emotionally, psychologically, or otherwise)
o Ending up angry enough to die! (Jonah 4:3)
§ Because that something was lost.
· Gospel = Christ’s person and work
o May at times prove to be nothing more than a mere abstraction
§ “Yes, I know Jesus died that I might live (Rom.6.8; 2Cor.5.15; Gal.2.19; 2Tim.2.11), but I can’t live with having lost…”
· Sin = Idolatry
o All sin is ultimately rooted in idolatry (1Cor.10.13-14; 12.2; Col.3.5; Jn.5.20-21)
§ Every wrong behavior has an idolatrous motive.
§ Every wrong thought has an idolatrous nature.
o All idolatry is a disbelief in the Gospel
§ Idolatry is our being functionally self-righteous (or seeking to be)
· Idolatry rooted out (expelled) by the Gospel
o Mere behavior modification will never break the bonds of idolatry
§ Unless there is an ‘overmastering passion’ for/in Christ…there will be no ‘dispossessing of passion’ for idolatry
· It is a question of what’s the ‘reigning affection’ of the mind.
o We all were made with the capacity to idolize (Col.3.1-5)
§ Idolatry is the idolizing of anything other than God in Christ
· Having something (besides Christ) as your ‘functional lord’
§ Maintaining Christ as Idol happens in a daily renewal, putting on the mind of Christ (Col.3.10) through the word of Christ (Col.3.16).
“The human heart is a factory of idols…Everyone of us is, from his mother’s womb, expert in
inventing idols.” John Calvin