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In the Gates

No Compromise with Paganism

The Second Commandment

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 2.1 Worship God’s way

The worship of God is not to be conducted using pagan forms or practices. All elements of pagan worship are to be excluded from the worship of God, Who is holy and pure, and Who shows us how to worship Him as we ought.

Exodus 23.23-25, 32, 33

When my angel goes before you and brings you to the Amorites and the Hittites and the Perizzites and the Canaanites, the Hivites and the Jebusites, and I blot them out, you shall not bow down to their gods nor serve them, nor do as they do, but you shall utterly overthrow them and break their pillars in pieces. You shall serve the LORD your God, and he will bless your bread and your water, and I will take sickness away from among you… You shall make no covenant with them and their gods…They shall not dwell in your land, lest they make you sin against me; for if you serve their gods, it will surely be a snare to you.”

2 Corinthians 10.3-5; Numbers 33.50-52

Israel’s mission in the land of Canaan was one of renewal and restoration. The land had been in pagan hands since the days of Joseph, and their stewardship had not honored God, although they had enjoyed the blessings He bestowed upon them, and which He was storing up for His own people.

Thus, God intended to uproot and remove all the Canaanite peoples from the land, so that His own people, equipped with His Law and promises, might make of the land a showcase of divine blessing and goodness, to astonish the nations and point their attention to Him (Deut. 4.1-8).

Any compromise with paganism would be detrimental to the Lord’s plan to make known His glory among His people, in the land, and before the nations. His people must not think that they can accommodate any aspect of pagan worship in their worship and service of God. Why should we think the Lord has changed His mind on this in our own day?

This series of In the Gates we present a detailed explanation of the Law of God, beginning with the Ten Commandments, and working through the statutes and rules that accompany each commandment. For a practical guide to the role of God’s Law in the practice of ethics, get The Ground for Christian Ethics by going to and click on our Book Store.

T.M. Moore

T. M. Moore is principal of The Fellowship of Ailbe, a spiritual fellowship in the Celtic Christian tradition. He and his wife, Susie, make their home in the Champlain Valley of Vermont.
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