D.A. Carson writes,
…I fear that the cross, without ever being disowned, is constantly in danger of being dismissed from the central place it must enjoy by relatively peripheral insights that take on far too much weight. Whenever the periphery is in danger of displacing the center, we are not far removed from idolatry. (The Cross and Christian Ministry, 26.)
Idolatry occurs when you make the gospel the casual assumption of the Christian faith instead of the great news of the Christian faith.
The life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ in the place of sinners is not meant to be assumed, but trusted, believed, loved, cherished, treasured, and rejoiced in.
When something or someone else—whether sacred or secular, religious or irreligious, Christian or non-Christian—takes the central place of God’s Gospel in your thoughts and affections you are an idolater.
But there is good news for idolaters. To paraphrase Romans 5:6: “For while we were still weak, at the right time, Jesus died for idol-worshippers.”