What feelings come to mind when you hear the word ‘compromise?’ Perhaps you think of dishonest politicians, back room deals, or caving in to peer pressure. Of course, there is a healthy side of compromise. We see this when two parties meet each other halfway or come to a workable consensus. Spiritually speaking, what does it really mean to compromise? I’m talking about the kind of compromise backs away from moral principles and easily surrenders truth to a lie. Such was the case with the church at Pergamum. Pergamum was the church that had compromised with the world.
The city of Pergamum had the first temple dedicated to Caesar and was a promoter of the imperial cult, which explains the reference to ‘Satan’s throne’ in verse 13. The city also had an acropolis that was crowned with a forty foot tall altar to Zeus, which made it the most visible part of the city. Even in such a place, for the most part the church had held fast to His name. They didn’t deny the faith. But He does have a few things against them, not the least of which are some in their ranks who compromised the truth. They needed to get back on track, or else Jesus would come and fight against them with the sword of His mouth.
Like erosion, worldly compromise can slowly, silently, and subtly eat away at the truth. It begins as we turn a deaf ear to God’s Word and a blind eye to the corruption and falsehood around us. Eventually, we not only put up with these sins but also become used to seeing them all around us. Even worse, we come to expect and accept them. Vance Havner called it “getting used to the dark.” From there, it isn’t long before we embrace them in our own lives.
Jesus takes the preaching/teaching ministry of the local church very seriously. It doesn’t matter how many good things we have going on—if we forfeit truth, we’re in trouble. Revival means that we love what Jesus loves. He is the way, the truth, and the life!
For more, read Revelation 2:12-17