God’s people have always faced pressures to compromise with the morals of the culture in which they live. Most recently Christians have been asked to compromise their beliefs on human sexuality and the pressure from some places is so great many feel it clearly fits the definition of persecution.
This should not surprise us. In the first century Christians were tempted to compromise their sexual morals as can be seen in Jesus’ messages to the churches in Pergamum and Thyatira. In both cases Jesus threatened punitive action if they did not repent of the compromises they had made. Paul the Apostle had to deal with the same thing in his first letter to the Corinthian church as seen in 1st Corinthians 5 and again in chapter 6:9-20.
The Jewish people time and again felt the pressure to compromise with the pagan nations around them. We see this individually when Potiphar’s wife tried to seduce the righteous Joseph, and as a nation in Numbers 25 when the Israelite men began to engage with sexually immoral behavior with the Moabite women. This was done right in front of Moses, they had no shame. The Bible records that this caused “the Lord’s anger to blaze against his people.” Numbers 25:3 NLT. Though the plague was stopped by the righteous actions of Phinehas son of Eleazar, before it was all over 24,000 people died from the plague the Lord sent. We find similar problems scattered throughout the history of the Jews and of Christians throughout the Church age. In the New Testament Jesus’ words were to repent of such things.
Culture again is calling us to compromise. Indeed, there is often great pressure to do so, such as when Ahab and Jezebel were ruling in the northern tribes of Israel in 1 Kings 17-19. But Elijah who confronted the false prophets of Baal said, “How much longer will you waver, hobbling between two opinions? If the Lord is God, follow him! But if Baal is God, then follow him!” But the people were completely silent.” – 1 Kings 18:21 NLT. Centuries before this Joshua, the leader who followed Moses said, “Now fear the Lord and serve him with all faithfulness. Throw away the gods your ancestors worshiped beyond the Euphrates River and in Egypt, and serve the Lord. 15 But if serving the Lord seems undesirable to you, then choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve, whether the gods your ancestors served beyond the Euphrates, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land you are living. But as for me and my household, we will serve the Lord.” – Joshua 24:14-15.
Will we as Christians in the 21st century waiver between the opinions and values of the world and those of God, or will we stand firm with God? We cannot serve both. Compromise is still a compromise no matter what name, or high-sounding words people put to it. The choice before us is simply this: Choose this day whom you will serve, God the eternal Creator of heaven and earth, or the people and ideas of this world that will pass away.