John closed his first epistle with this warning: “guard yourselves from idols.” Idols are false gods, objects of faith that cannot be trusted for the final destination of the soul. Only faith in Jesus ends in eternal life (1John 5:13).
Unwittingly, many believers in Jesus fail to guard themselves from idols by trusting in worldly objects in matters of the soul. Some tenaciously cling to a denominational tradition as the only proper understanding of God's will as revealed in Scripture. Others surrender their wills and capacity to understand Scripture to an ecclesiastical hierarchy, which tells them what to believe and how to live. Others effectively abandon Scripture altogether to follow self-proclaimed modern-day “prophets” of God. All these make the common mistake of putting faith in that that is incapable of delivering eternal life—they trust false gods.
Scripture addresses every reader to heed its words (Matthew 7:24-27; John 12:44-50; 20:30-31; 1John 5:13; 2Timothy 3:16-17; etc.). Nothing or no one must intercede between Scripture and the reader to assure eternal life. If such is allowed to happen, faith can be misdirected toward idols that fall far short of being “the true God and eternal life” (1 John 5:20-21).