Jesus explained that God does, indeed, desire our worship—but it must be “in spirit and in truth” (John:4:23-24). Affectations and embellishments, whether in physical adornments, props, or ceremonies, appeal to the flesh and, far from enhancing worship, deny both the truth and the Spirit by which it alone can be offered to the God who created and redeemed us. Sacramentalism—the belief that liturgy’s form and formulas transmit spiritual power and that salvation comes through the sacraments—too readily creeps into even Protestant thinking. In fact, some still believe that baptism saves and that taking the bread and cup brings or sustains life.
Alas, we are all Eve’s children by nature and still prone to follow the ways of Cain and the tower of Babel. Every place of worship that has been adorned for the purpose of hallowing it or gaining God’s favor or making worship more acceptable violates Exodus:20:24-26 as well as the rest of Scripture. All such “sanctuaries” are monuments to man’s rebellion and his proud and perverted religion of self-effort.
Unfortunately, it is all too easy to fall into the error of imagining that belonging to a church and periodically “worshiping” in its “sanctuary” makes one a Christian and compensates for one’s lack of consistent, personal holiness.
Of course, no one in today’s world is under the illusion that one can climb a physical tower to heaven. Yet the folly of today’s religions is every bit as monumental, and the anarchy against God that motivates those beliefs is just as evil as was the Tower of Babel. Billions continue, in the spirit of Babel, to pursue equally futile self-oriented religious programs to earn their way to heaven. In the process, truth and doctrine are relegated to a secondary role, or none.