I think we all know that, as believers in the 21st century, there are a lot of pressures to compromise. Our world is more aggressively against the basic standards of morality in Scripture than in any time of the existence of the United States. Basic assumptions about human life, about sexuality, about the goodness of following God are all no longer understood truth. Yes, I know that the world has always been bad in this way or that, and I know that many generations have said that things are worse than ever, but in the measure I am presenting, we are living in a unique age for the US.
As the world and its understanding of morality moves away from the basic Judeo-Christian ethic that was ingrained in the founding fathers of our country, even those who were by no means Christian, the church has a new type of obstacle to face. For centuries, we could survive, even be respected in the culture, while holding to our values. Even those who disagreed with or simply refused to live by Christian ethics did not, for the most part, condemn the church for her ethics. But that is changing.
The big question is: how will we live in this era? How will we function? Will we hold to the word of God? Will we fold under pressure?
Genesis 12:10-13 – 10 Now there was a famine in the land. So Abram went down to Egypt to sojourn there, for the famine was severe in the land. 11 When he was about to enter Egypt, he said to Sarai his wife, “I know that you are a woman beautiful in appearance, 12 and when the Egyptians see you, they will say, ‘This is his wife.’ Then they will kill me, but they will let you live. 13 Say you are my sister, that it may go well with me because of you, and that my life may be spared for your sake.”
Just after God promised Abram that he and his family would be the chosen people of God, a famine hit that sent Abram to Egypt. On the way, Abram realized that he was in danger in Egypt. His commitment to his marriage put him at risk. Abram feared that the men of Egypt would kill him in order to take his wife from him.
This put Abram into a crisis point. Should he be faithful to the morality of marriage? That would put him in danger. Or, might he compromise on this particular moral issue in order to survive?
We all see what Abram did. In an immoral move, a cowardly move, an abusive move, Abram commanded his wife to lie about their marriage. Abram stepped away from the standards of God in order to try to win for himself safety in a hostile land. And the word of God is clear as the story continues that this was wrong, faithless, and dishonoring to the Lord.
Do you see the parallel? We sit in a land that demands that we let go of the standards of God. This could be in the area of marriage and sexuality. It could be in the area of elicit drug use. It might be in the area of other forms of basic morality. But our world tells us that the morals of society are changing and that we must adapt, even approve of what the Bible forbids, in order for us to be safe and accepted. What will we do? Will we compromise?
Every time a church steps away from the word of God in order to please the culture, we are like Abram saying, “No, she is my sister.” Every time we pretend that it is OK to do that which God forbids, we dishonor the Lord. Every time we hide the word of God in order to gain the favor of the town we live in, we fold under pressure.
Friends, may we never be like Abram here. We will be tempted. The pressures will come to bear. What will we do? May we cling to the promise of God, the word of God, and the standards of God. May we rather be ridiculed, ostracized, or even persecuted than to fold under the pressure of the world to turn from the way of God for a supposed safety.