I recently had a conversation with someone who wanted me to compromise some deeply held beliefs. “Why,” she asked, “can’t you compromise? Just don’t emphasize this or that and you will have peace with those around you. What’s the problem? Surely God values peace and love so much that he would never force you to hold beliefs that put you at odds with the world.”
So, here on January 1 seems as good a time as any to explain (not for the first time) why Christians cannot compromise with the world.
Compromise is an amicable agreement between parties in controversy. They agree to settle their differences by mutual concession to something that one or both parties considers harmful or depreciative.
Generally, compromise requires conceding a conviction — a fixed or strong belief — for the purpose of achieving unity – a state of being in harmony so that we can continue forward in singleness of purpose or action..
My friend correctly understands that the United States Constitution is “a bundle of compromises”. On that auspicious foundation, she believes I should compromise my Christian beliefs for the unity of the nation. She holds human society higher than faith and she’s right. Compromise in man’s relationships with each other is a necessary means of living together in an imperfect society. Concessions are made every day by all of us, and we are admonished in the word of God to make them. The Scripture instructs us in Romans 12:18:
“If it be possible, as much as lieth in you, live peaceably with all men.”
That means giving in to get along. So, if we can do that in civil society, why can’t we do that in the churches? While compromise is a necessary evil that we all must live with while we live among people, there is one person in the universe with whom we cannot compromise. God Almighty will not compromise with you or with anyone else. Real compromise is always at the expense of something one desires to do, or what one believes. In the case of Christians, there is the matter of convictions, which are fixed or strong beliefs. We are being asked to give up convictions and to compromise for the sake of unity;
Contrary to popular belief, Jesus was not much into compromise. It pays to look at what He actually said and did rather than base what we believe on wishful thinking. Jesus made some very hard and firm statements. Doctrine divides and it should because Jesus said:
Think not that I am come to send peace on earth: I came not to send peace, but a sword. Matthew 10:34.
This is not an out-of-context comment. Jesus was totally uncompromising with those of His time. It was His way or no way. What a narrow-minded bigot! How could anyone say:
I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me. John 14:6.
Jesus is God. His doctrine is divisive. He was uncompromising and the Jews and Romans crucified Him for it. What He taught was unpopular. Doctrine divides! It did in Jesus’ day and it does now. So should doctrine give way to believers all getting together under the banner of “love” or to get alone with the world? Let’s see what the Scripture says:
“And they were astonished at his doctrine: for his word was with power.” Luke 4:32
Christ’s doctrine astonished those of His day, not only because it was delivered in power, but because it was radically different than the “status quo” of the religious world.
“Jesus answered them, and said, My doctrine is not mine, but his that sent me.” John 7:16
Jesus stated flatly that the doctrine he preached was from above, as in heaven or God. There was no room to compromise in what Jesus says. He was not interested in “getting along” with His religious contemporaries. He was interested only in pleasing his Father.
Till I come, give attendance to reading, to exhortation, to doctrine. 1 Timothy 4:13
Paul’s admonition to Timothy was to give attention to doctrine. Yes, that boring and sometimes divisive item was an absolute essential for Timothy in his ministry.
If any man will do his will, he shall know of the doctrine, whether it be of God, or whether I speak of myself.John 7:17
It is clear that in order to do God’s will, it is essential to learn sound doctrine.
Let the elders that rule well be counted worthy of double honour, especially they who labour in the word and doctrine. 1 Timothy 5:17
These elders were honored because they labored in the Word and doctrine. I am sure they would be labeled Bible-believing independent Baptists today. They refused to compromise in this most important arena and Paul praised them for it.
All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness. 2 Timothy 3:16
One of the purposes of God inspiring the Scriptures was to profit us with His doctrine. It is PROFITABLE!
Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all longsuffering and doctrine. 2 Timothy 4:2
The word of God is to be preached and doctrine is its cornerstone.
For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears. 2 Timothy 4:3
Does that sound familiar to you? We live in that prophesied time. Men will not endure sound doctrine. They collect instructors … self-help gurus, televangelists, philosophers … Dr. Phil … Oprah Winfrey …Joel Osteen …. These teachers frequently instruct their followers to disregard doctrine. They encourage their followers to emphasize the things they have in common.
Holding fast the faithful word as he hath been taught, that he may be able by sound doctrine both to exhort and to convince the gainsayers. Titus 1:9
Sound doctrine is necessary to exhort or teach.
But speak thou the things which become sound doctrine. Titus 2:1
Last, but not least, there should be doctrine, and it should be “sound”. Sound as in: “free from defect, decay or damage; deserving confidence, trustworthy.”
A unity based on compromising strong belief is a shallow, fragile and ungodly unity. Believers (if they are really true believers at all) are selling God out (compromise) for the sake of an unscriptural unity.
Their unscriptural doctrines and false gospel will not bring them safely home to God, but will lead them. Revelation, chapter 17 discloses a city harboring a religious system that deceives the whole world! The apostle Paul says in 2 Corinthians 6:17,18: “Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you, And will be a Father unto you, and ye shall be my sons and daughters, saith the Lord Almighty.” John the human author of the book of Revelation says in Revelation 18:4,5 “And I heard another voice from heaven, saying, Come out of her, my people, that ye be not partakers of her sins, and that ye receive not of her plagues. For her sins have reached unto heaven, and God hath remembered her iniquities.”
“Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you, And will be a Father unto you, and ye shall be my sons and daughters, saith the Lord Almighty.”
John the human author of the book of Revelation says in Revelation 18:4,5 “And I heard another voice from heaven, saying, Come out of her, my people, that ye be not partakers of her sins, and that ye receive not of her plagues. For her sins have reached unto heaven, and God hath remembered her iniquities.”
This present day church is pictured for us in Revelation 3:14:
“And unto the angel of the church of the Laodiceans write; These things saith the Amen, the faithful and true witness, the beginning of the creation of God; I know thy works, that thou art neither cold nor hot: I would thou wert cold or hot. So then because thou art lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spue thee out of my mouth. Because thou sayest, I am rich, and increased with goods, and have need of nothing; and knowest not that thou art wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked: I counsel thee to buy of me gold tried in the fire, that thou mayest be rich; and white raiment, that thou mayest be clothed, and that the shame of thy nakedness do not appear; and anoint thine eyes with eyesalve, that thou mayest see. Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me.”
What is he saying? He is standing at the door of His Church that has become apostate (much like so many churches today) and He’s asking if there is anyone there who desires truth, holiness and godliness. If you will open the door He will come and fellowship with you in spite of the wickedness of the remainder of His saints.
Compromise is the great wickedness of the present day church. It’s not that I’m better than anyone else. All Christians are simply sinners saved by the grace of God, with a great desire to lead God’s people out of the apostasy of today’s wicked times into a sweeter fellowship with Christ, based on obedience to the truths revealed in His Holy Word. As a Christian, I am not called to compromise on God’s truth, even when it is inconvenient. There are other Christians who feel the same way I do, though we would rejoice to have others join us.