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August 31 – Still sacred

“Little children, keep yourselves from idols.” – 1 John 5:21 

Scripture reading: Jude 17-25

What a strange ending to a letter? After the stirring climax of the previous verses, shouldn’t there have been a doxology of praise from John like we appreciate in Handel’s “Messiah,” and with which many of the other New Testament letters end? But, this? Yes, this! For what is happening here is a logical progression from the previous verses, tying it all up. The Son of God will keep His own, but that doesn’t take away from the responsibility we have.

There was a very real danger. That’s been clear as we’ve gone through 1st John. But as to what is exactly meant by “idols” we don’t know. It seems the apostle had a particular danger in mind, perhaps it was the pagan idolatries that flooded Ephesus. But it could also be false pictures in their minds planted by false teachers. That’s a stumbling block which would continue to plague the early church.

But the Lord speaks. “Little children” John writes, and he hasn’t used this expression for nearly two chapters. However, in ending his letter, he does it with the Lord’s tenderness and affection. Just as a mother tells her child to be careful, the Lord tells His children to watch for danger. He doesn’t want us to be hurt. How much isn’t this message for us also? What are those idols keeping you from truly worshipping and serving?

Suggestions for prayer

Thank the Lord for His promise to keep and bless us; ask Him to defeat what blocks us from His blessing.

Rev. Sjirk Bajema currently serves the RCNZ Oamaru, in Oamaru, New Zealand. Get this devotional delivered directly to your phone each day via our RP App. It is also available in print, for purchase, at  

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