One of the major weaknesses in the Church today is the business of compromise. And I am speaking of compromise on a singular or personal basis. In Paul’s second letter to the church at Corinth he covers several of these:
“Do not be yoked together with unbelievers.”
“What fellowship can light have with darkness?”
“What do righteousness and wickedness have in common?”
“What harmony is there between Christ and Belial?”
“What agreement is there between the temple of God and idols?”
It is sad but true that within most church bodies these compromises DO exist and far too little is being done to correct the situation. In most cases there is no awareness of this condition or, if there is, it is not known what to do about it.
Today, most of the new translations of the Bible are filled with the English word “discipline”. It is an unpopular word, because it calls for change in a person’s life-style. And our life-style is usually set quite heavily along the line of pleasing the flesh, or as some translations put it, living out of our “sinful nature”. Our sinful nature is altogether another kingdom, totally contrary to the Kingdom of God. “The sinful nature desires what is contrary to the Spirit, and the Spirit what is contrary to the sinful nature. They are in conflict with each other!” So says Paul in his letter to the church at Galatia. (Gal. 5: 16 – 17).
And then he gets down to the bare facts of life. He lists a whole string of the carnal, fleshly things that we go after to please ourselves:
- Sexual immorality.
- Impurity; debauchery.
- Idolatry; witchcraft.
- Fits of rage.
- Selfish ambition.
- Factions and envy.
- Et cetera.
Now that’s getting pretty specific, but if you listen to the daily news on TV or read the daily newspaper, you will agree that list looks and sounds like today’s happenings in your state or city. . . and following right on in the next verse, Paul makes this statement: “Those who live like this will not inherit the Kingdom of God.” We still have king “ME” on the throne; “I” am playing God! I have set my own discipline, my own life-style, and everything we see and hear from the world’s vibes tells us “THIS is the way to live.”
In a monarchy the king rules by EDICT. This ruler spells out in a formal notice just how everybody is to live and conduct themselves as members of this particular society. In our day and culture, we have an instrument in our home which pretty much produces the “EDICT FOR LIVING” – our television set. And how subtle that instrument is! Since it sits there in our home like any other piece of furniture, we feel safe and secure around it. It’s like the dinner table or our bath tub. It’s part of the household! It must be OK. If it shows us a little violence, OK, no harm done. Or a constant stream of extra-marital sex, OK. AND all our friends are getting the same message! It must be OK. That’s the way life is!
But in reality, our King, JESUS, spells out a totally contrasting way to live. His Edict says, “The fruit – the results – of the Spirit is Love, Joy, Peace, Patience, Kindness, Goodness, Faithfulness, Gentleness, and Self-control.” And these come about how? By CRUCIFYING the sinful nature.
From Jay Fesperman’s “Letters of Exhortation”, Volume 5, Number 2, March/April 1985.