by Jeremiah Johnson
We live in a day of compromise. In fact, I believe that from the time we begin our life in the world, we pretty well learn the art of compromise. All the way along our life, we go the line of least resistance. We hold a conviction until it gets in the way of our comfort or our ease. We have a standard as long as it doesn’t violate something we wish to do.
Those words come from “An Uncompromising Life,” a sermon John MacArthur delivered in 1979. In the decades since, the world and the church have only grown more accustomed to compromise.
We see the evidence all around us. There is no standard the world won’t bend, no rule it won’t break. A pragmatic spirit reigns, as people do what is right in their own eyes in order to fulfill their purposes and desires. People seldom even feign integrity any more, and a rigid adherence to the rules is seen as weakness.
Tragically, the church has followed the world’s example. We’ve failed to keep a clear separation from the corrupting influence of the world’s system. The modern church is virtually indistinguishable from the world, following every materialistic, self-indulgent trend and copying its tastes and style in every imaginable way.
In fact, we have compromised with the world for so long that we’ve effectively brainwashed ourselves. We’ve accepted the world’s mindset, values, attitudes—even its skewed morality. We’ve let society become the final arbiter of truth, and forced God’s Word to bow to an immoral, ungodly mob mentality.
“An Uncompromising Life” is a call for the church to break its long pattern of capitulation and compromise, and submit to the authority of God’s Word. In it, John explains how a life of compromise cripples the believer’s ability to worship and serve the Lord, and that failing to separate from the world has devastating effects on the most fundamental areas of the Christian life. The sermon echoes the warning the apostle James delivered to his readers: “You adulteresses, do you not know that friendship with the world is hostility toward God? Therefore whoever wishes to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God” (James 4:4).
John MacArthur’s powerful condemnation of spiritual compromise is delivered against the backdrop of the prophet Daniel’s life. He recounts the imprisonment and indignities Daniel was forced to endure at the hands of the Babylonians, and how even as a young teenager, Daniel’s conscience was bound to God’s Word. In fact, John explains how Daniel shrewdly chose his battles without compromising the standard of God’s Law.
In a world that’s gone gray with compromise, believers must be able to faithfully delineate the light from the darkness. God’s people must submit to His Word as their final authority, and be willing to suffer the consequences of their unflinching commitment to His truth.
Here’s what one of our staff members said about “An Uncompromising Life”:
I have listened to this message many times since I came to know the Lord and every time I am struck with the timelessness of God’s Word. There is something amazing about listening to a message that was preached almost 40 years ago about a man who lived thousands of years ago but was faced with many of the same temptations to give in to the culture that we are faced with today (or will be faced with in our lifetime). Obviously, the consequences for Daniel and his friends were far more severe than what we face today. But as we see our society declining at an ever-increasing rate, the likelihood of future persecution makes it so important to be obedient to God and His Word and not allow compromise to creep into our thinking. –Kristi G.
Click here to listen to “An Uncompromising Life.”
(John’s message is the first in a sermon series by the same name. You can find the entire series here.)