– 1 -
"We know that the Son of God has come, and has given us an understanding so that we may know Him Who is true [viz. God the Father]; and we [Christians] are…in His Son Jesus [viz. the Spirit-anointed] Christ. This is the true God — and everlasting life! Little children, guard yourselves from the idols!" First John 5:20-21.
It should carefully be noted that the above passage clearly presupposes the Triune God is the only True Deity. He alone may be worshipped in terms of the First Commandment (in Exodus 20:1-3a). That states: "God Triune (’Eloohiym) spoke all these words, saying: ‘I am the Lord your Triune God (Jehoovaah ’Elooheychaa) Who has brought you out…of bondage (so that} you shall have no other gods!’"
It should very carefully be noted that the above passage also clearly presupposes that even the one true Triune God must be honoured and worshipped precisely in terms of the Second Commandment (in Exodus 20:4-5a). That states: "You shall not make for yourself any engraved image or any likeness of anything that is in heaven above or in the earth beneath or in the waters beneath the earth….
"‘You shall not bow down to them [viz. to such images]. Nor serve them [viz. reverence any man-made depictions of anything in heaven such as God the Father or Jesus or the Holy Spirit or even of blessed God-fearing creatures like the unfallen angels or Mary or Joseph or whomsoever or whatsoever]!"
For the Second Commandment requires that even the one true Triune God alone is to be worshipped — only in a Spirit-ual way. Viz., He is to be worshipped only in Spirit, and not even reverently to be represented in an imag-inary way through images made purportedly even of any of the three Persons of the Triune God. For "God is Spirit, and they that worship Him, must worship Him in Spirit and in truth" alone! John 4:24 cf. First John 5:20-21.
This means no Romish statues imag-inarily imag-ing the so-called "Holy Family." It further means no allegedly-transubstantiationistic Masses etc. And it also certainly means no Eastern-"Orthodox" iconic pictures — or even Quasi-"Protestant" stained-glass church windows or children’s picture-books with a long-haired hippie imag-inarily (mis)representing Jesus.
Especially Calvin comments:3657 "It is said [in First John 5:20] that Christ ‘hath given us an understanding’…. He shows us in the teaching of the Gospel of what kind is the true God — and also enlightens us by His Spirit….
"‘This is the true God.’ Although the [unitarian] Arians have tried to get round this passage…, we have here a remarkable title to the divinity of Christ…. The Father is the origin of life — but the fountain from which we must draw it, is [the Son] Christ [the Spirit-anointed One]." Viz. the three divine Persons of the One True Triune God.
"‘Guard yourselves from idols!’ [First John 5:21]…. The Apostle not only condemns idolatry — but commands us to beware of all images [also of a Person of the Triune God]….
– 2 –
"By this, he signifies that the worship of God cannot be kept sound and pure when men begin to desire images…. The Apostle is speaking not only of statues but also of altars — and comprehends all the instruments of superstitions…. We should be so careful to remain in the spiritual worship of God, as to banish far from us everything that may turn us aside to gross and carnal superstitions!" Anglicans and Evanjellyfish — both, note well!
Calvin adds in his Institutes:3658 "It was a Father (Epiphanius in his Epistle to Jerome) who said, ‘It is a horrid abomination to see in Christian temples a painted image…of Christ or of any saint!’ Nor was this pronounced by the voice of [just] a single individual. But an Ecclesiastical Council [the 305 A.D Seventh Council of Elvira at its canon 36] also decreed, ‘Let nought that is worshipped, be depicted on walls!’