Let’s Talk Compromise

(Philippians 1:21-30)

Compromise, in modern society, is a virtue, a quality that defines good leadership and reflects successful relationships. Solutions aren’t found through collaboration (finding the best solution from constants in economics, foreign affairs, relationship building and the like), but from compromise, in which both sides give and take and, therefore, settle for what the group determines is best, which is too often the worst of outcomes. In truth, compromise means that both sides lose because principles and truth are sacrificed for hopefully less division. Compromise is the necessary progression or consequence of relativity (the absence of any absolutes or universal truths), and the divisiveness that relativity creates in a society or relationship. The real consequence of a compromise is that both sides lose or one side loses more than the other; in other words, the division remains politically, socially and theologically. The question to answer is: Does the truth need to compromise? or Should the truth be compromised? If the source of all truth is a divine sovereign and creator, the answer is a categorical, “No!”

I want to share a story about Carl Lentz, a Hillsong Megachurch pastor from New York City, who appeared on the secular and left leading program, “The View.” Here is a brief exchange between Joy Behar and the pastor:

“Some people would say” abortion is a sin, the Hillsong pastor said in response to host Joy Behar’s question about his church’s beliefs, according to Life News. “That’s the kind of conversation we would have: finding out your story, where you’re from, what you believe. … I mean, God’s the judge. People have to live to their own convictions. That’s such a broad question, to me, I’m going higher.”[1]

While in prison for remaining true to the Gospel of Jesus Christ, the Apostle Paul took a few minutes to consider whether or not it was more important for him to remain alive to minister to others or to die at the hands of the Romans, which he saw as a better benefit to him, because he would be with Christ, but not a benefit for those who required more instruction on how to live for Christ more fully.

For me, to live is Christ, and to die is gain (Phil. 1:21).

Paul chose to serve others rather than serve himself (Phil. 1:22-26); his desire was to teach others what it means to live, not just in Christ, but as Christ. “For me to live is Christ.” Believers are to be individual examples of Christ’s life, reflecting, as much as is humanly possible, his character, his opinions or views, his thoughts, his very mind on all matters divine.

Only conduct yourselves in a manner worthy of the Gospel of Christ, so that whether I come to see you or remain absent, I may hear of you, that you are standing firm in one spirit, with one mind striving together for the faith of the gospel (Phil. 1:27).

Children of God are not ambassadors of the world but to the world. We carry a message that is unique in all the world; the message is not of human construction. It does not promote tolerance, multicultural equality, diversity, relativism, sexual freedom, multi-genderism, social justice or religious dogma that embraces human sensuality in any form. Our message is one of confidence in the truth of God’s Word as lived and displayed in the life of Christ. Believers do not compromise the divine truth of the Gospel, which is the Life, Death, Burial, and Resurrection of Jesus Christ. The believer’s ability to faithfully live by and reflect the Gospel is a sign of the believers’ salvation and a sign of destruction for those who reject the Gospel, that is, Lord Christ. Living for Christ is reflecting Christ (truth), as perfectly as is humanly possible, for the sake of the righteous and the unrighteous. Salvation and judgment both revolve around the Person of Christ; therefore, reflecting Him accurately is a life and death matter. Compromise is NOT an option.

Single-minded, devoted and loving Christians

are not alarmed by their opponents—which is a sign of destruction for them, but of salvation for you, and that too, from God (Phil. 1:28).

Living without compromise (i.e., faithfully living as Christ) in an anti-Christian environment often comes with certain undesirable consequences. When a believer sincerely lives like Christ in the world, negatives repercussions (persecution) from those who reject the Gospel (i.e., reject Him) increase. This is where compromise becomes so tempting.

“I can live for Christ without being offensive. People will come to Christ more readily if we are not offensive or intolerant. They have their personal convictions; there is no need to confront personal issues like abortion, sexuality, and the like. We need to sympathize with their struggles, know their stories and have compassion. After all, I am not their judge, God is.”

My point is this: the believer does not have the right to alter the life of Christ to make Him more palatable or acceptable to the world. To live is Christ, not Christ and a little bit of me mixed in to make Christ (the Gospel) more acceptable. The Lord never sacrificed the truth about God the Father in order to earn respect from the ruling class or the peasants that often sought Him out for selfish reasons. He reflected the will and work of His Father, the Lord God Almighty without apology, without compromise and to His own detriment. How can those who call Him Lord do anything less than He?

For to you, it has been granted for Christ’s sake, not only to believe in Him, but also to suffer for His sake, experiencing the same conflict, which you saw in me, and now hear to be in me (Phil. 1:29-30).

Paul was honored to suffer the same suffering that Christ did to preserve the truth of God in this world. Christ lived and suffered so that salvation would come to those whom He would adopt as His own. Paul kept the Gospel true at the cost of His own life so that others would come to salvation in Christ throughout the ensuing ages to this day. How could you and I do anything that would compromise the truth that is Christ? If I am to claim “Christ in me,” how do I pervert that name and life in anyway? Eternal life and death are at stake for every soul.

Abortion is the killing of human life. The more science learns about the development of a baby in the womb, the more it conforms to the biblical view of life. Take some time to read Psalm 139:13-16; Jeremiah 1:5, and then spend some time thinking about the development of Christ in the womb. The Son of God was a zygote in the womb of Mary. The zygote is the “cell formed by the union of a male sex cell (a sperm) and a female sex cell (an ovum). The zygote develops into the embryo following the instruction encoded in its genetic material, the DNA.”[2] Jesus developed from this tiny cell into an embryo and into a fetus just like you, to become not just your Savior, but the Savior for all those who believe and trust in Him. Jesus was “viable” in the womb for the simple reason that He was a person, an eternal being or soul when he was a microscopic zygote. Basically, His physical body was forming around His true self, His being. In the womb, the immortal being was being clothed in mortality. Not compromising on abortion gives us the ability to teach the value of life and it eternal nature; we also have the authority to teach about both the pleasure of sexuality and the responsibility that comes with it, i.e., parenting!

For me to live is Christ, not a watered down “acceptable” version of Him, which is NOT Him in the least, but a faithful portrayal of the Son of God. Life is not about me, my value, or about my story; life is His story; the only story that matters and has eternal ramifications. Compromise is not a Christian trait; faithfulness is!

 

Based on the Hillsong pastor’s use of the word judge, “God’s the Judge,” I think we need to have a talk about judging in the near future.

[1] Grace Carr, Megachurch Pastor Refuse to Condemn Abortion, The Daily Caller, November 6, 2017.

[2]https://www.medicinenet.com/script/main/art.asp?articlekey=6074.

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I am a published author, co-author and editor of 13 books, written numerous articles, taught online at Liberty University and Grace College (Indiana), and appeared on numerous radio and TV programs. I am a theologian, bioethicist and retired veteran.

One thought on “Let’s Talk Compromise

  1. The Holy Spirit has never needed our input to make the gospel more palatable. It is insulting to a Holy, sovereign God to attempt to water it down I hopes of gaining acceptance for a sinful mankind. May we be awakened to faithfulness and a dependence on Him in cooperation with the work He is performing and responsible for in the hearts is His people.

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