Question: "What does the Bible say about compromise?"
Answer: To compromise is to make concessions or accommodations for someone who does not agree with a prevalent set of standards or rules. The Bible makes it clear that God does not condone compromising His standards: “Joyful are people of integrity, who follow the instructions of the LORD. Joyful are those who obey His laws and search for Him with all their hearts. They do not compromise with evil, and they walk only in His paths. You have charged us to keep Your commandments carefully” (Psalm 119:1-4, NLT). The word joyful or blessed describes people of righteousness, those who are totally subservient to God’s will and wholeheartedly devoted in their relationship to Him. We do not compromise or deviate from His standards but “walk only in His path.” We hear only God’s voice (1 Kings 18:21; John 8:47; John 10:27), and we do not yield to or permit any deviation from His Word (Deuteronomy 4:2; Psalm 119:128; Revelation 22:18-19). Not compromising requires our unswerving submission to Him and to Him only, regardless of the world’s concession to godlessness (Joshua 24:15; Psalm 119:10; Psalm 119:15).
As believers, we must “see to it that no one takes you captive through hollow and deceptive philosophy, which depends on human tradition and the basic principles of this world rather than on Christ” (Colossians 2:8; see also Hebrews 3:12). We are also commanded to be “prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you …” (1 Peter 3:15). In other words, we are commanded not only to remain faithful to the Word but to defend it and correct those who are in opposition to it (2 Timothy 2:24-25). God is serious about our not compromising His Word with the values of the world—the reason being that those outside of Christ may then “come to their senses and escape the snare of the devil …” (2 Timothy 2:26).
Then there are those who profess to being Christians, yet live lives not in keeping with the precepts of the Scripture, i.e., compromising their biblical beliefs by living like the world. For them, the things of the world and its sensual allurements take precedence over the Word of God (Acts 20:30; 1 John 2:16-19). Jesus referred to these people as “those who hear the word, but the cares of the world and the deceitfulness of riches and the desires for other things enter in and choke the word, and it proves unfruitful” (Mark 4:18-19). These are the ones who, though professing to follow Christ, compromise their faith by craving worldly success and accolades from their fellow man. Jesus chastised such people who rationalized their questionable behavior: “How can you believe, when you receive glory from one another and do not seek the glory that comes from the only God?” (John 5:41-44). In other words, to compromise in one’s total allegiance and devotion to God is to allow the allurements of this world, with its accompanying worries, to take precedence over Christ (Matthew 6:24).
How do we compromise the Word of God?
• When we fail to accept the Word: “For the time is coming when people will not endure sound teaching, but having itching ears they will accumulate for themselves teachers to suit their own passions, and will turn away from listening to the truth and wander off into myths” (2 Timothy 4:3-4).
• When we place our desires, and that of others, ahead of the Word of God: “While it remained unsold, did it not remain your own? And after it was sold, was it not at your disposal? Why is it that you have contrived this deed in your heart? You have not lied to men but to God” (Acts 5:4).
As true believers in Christ, we must accept God’s Word as absolute, inerrant truth (2 Timothy 3:16). We must be fully obedient to His Word (John 14:15; 1 John 5:3; 2 John 1:6). And we must recognize that His Word is not to be compromised for any reason or for anyone (Deuteronomy 17:11; Proverbs 24:7; Revelation 3:15).