When Compromise Becomes a Sin

Christians Should Not Live Double Lives

The Bible the Word
Biblically, the word 'sin' essentially means to miss the mark. Imagine a target for archery or shooting. The center circle is called the bull's eye. For the purpose of this illustration, only hitting the center is doing the perfect will of God and anywhere else on the target is sin. It could be very close, but it is not exact.

This may seem discouraging for some, thinking that it is impossible to please God. Not so. God took care of the sin problem in Jesus Christ. The sacrifice on the cross paid the price for sin for all time. A Christian who has received remission of sins still needs forgiveness from time to time, perhaps more often in the first stages of their walk with the Lord. However, the good news is that to live a righteous life and significantly decrease error is available. When does compromise become a sin?

Compromise generally suggests meeting someone halfway, giving way and cooperating in order to reach an agreement. It can also reek of danger, as when one partners with another not trustworthy. There was a time when Jehoshaphat, a godly king of Judah allied himself with Ahab, a wicked king of Israel. (1 Kings 22 and 2 Chronicles 18) Jehoshaphat believed in the true God, and walked according to the commandments of God's Word. Ahab, with his wife, Jezebel, worshipped Baal.

Ahab invited Jehoshaphat to partner with him in an attack on a Syrian city. Four hundred false prophets all agreed that together, the armies of Israel and Judah would prevail, but one lone prophet of God, at Jehoshaphat's request, was summoned. The prophet, Micaiah, spoke the truth, that the Syrians would enjoy the victory. Micaiah's words were ignored, and he was escorted to a prison cell. According to the word of the Lord spoken by Micaiah, the battle was Ahab's last and almost ended the life of Jehoshaphat. God spared him, and when Jehoshaphat returned to Jerusalem, the prophet, Jehu, confronted the king. “should you help the wicked and love those who hate the Lord?” (2 Chronicles 19:2) Compromise in that situation was almost fatal.

“Should you help the wicked and love those who hate the Lord?” Here is a piercing, reproving rhetorical question. Some Christians today would do well to consider this question, in light of foolish attempts to blend in with worldly trends, diluting or deleting parts of God's Word to bring in new members, tolerating sinful behavior rather than confronting it so as not to offend someone.

The teaching of God's Word in the church should never be adulterated, and God's people should want their leadership to have integrity and teach the Bible truthfully and fearlessly. “But we have renounced the hidden things of shame, not walking in craftiness nor handling the word of God deceitfully, but by manifestation of the truth commending ourselves to every man's conscience in the sight of God.” (2 Corinthians 4:2)

Similar to the previous rhetorical question are the following command and questions to the people of God. “Do not be unequally yoked together with unbelievers. For what fellowship has righteousness with lawlessness? And what communion has light with darkness? And what accord has Christ with Belial? Or what part has a believer with an unbeliever? And what agreement has the temple of God with idols?” (2 Corinthians 6:14-16)

The answer should be clear. There is no unity with unbelievers. Ephesians teaches “have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather expose them.” (Ephesians 5:11) This should not be interpreted as a reason to stop reaching out to people who need Jesus Christ, because everybody does. For the Christian it means not participating in the same sinful practices as if grace would allow it to be overlooked. It means not starting business enterprises together with unbelievers. Believers and unbelievers partnered together should not be an option when considering marriages, confidants, business relationships, even potential roommates. Spending time with people in counseling or comforting, teaching and discipling is part of Christian love and duty, but there is no place for compromise in the sense of trying to lead a double life.

Being a Christian is a full-time job. “Do not be deceived: Evil company corrupts good habits. Awake to righteousness, and do not sin; for some do not have the knowledge of God.” (1 Corinthians 15:33, 34) If God's Word says sin, then to live without sin must be available. James 4:4 says, “Do you not know that friendship with the world is enmity with God? Whoever therefore wants to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God.”

Compromise as it is used in this sense invariably leads to sin, which is missing the mark, failing to be accurate in the heart of God's will. 1 Timothy 5:22 teaches that one should not share in the sins of others, but rather remain pure or uncontaminated. This is a lifestyle of faith that is well-pleasing to God.

Written by: Pete Miller