In each generation, the truth of Jesus and His word will be used to define, and in some cases, redefine the Church. This defining/redefining comes from reengaging historic biblical truth, not our opinions, interpretations, or preferences. When this happens a faith without the boundaries and distinctions of the word will not endure. It will merge into the world system and abandon its assignment to be a witness. Truth spoken in love creates these conflicts. They are unavoidable when the truth is allowed to have its way.
Paul told the church in Rome “Do all that you can to live in peace with everyone” (Romans 12:18). The “Do all that you can” part is where some of our greatest challenges exist. We are called to do all we can to live in peace without compromising truth, but at some point, we can no longer allow our faith to venture into deception without anchoring our faith in God’s word. When that moment arrives, we have a decision to make. Will we stand for truth or submit to the spirit of the age? That stance will create conflict in a world system that seeks a false peace where compromised truth is the currency of its relationships. A faith without this conflict is an illusion.
Jesus said some strong things to His first disciples about how their faith would be seen on the stage of culture.
“If the world hates you, remember that it hated me first. The world would love you as one of its own if you belonged to it, but you are no longer part of the world. I chose you to come out of the world, so it hates you” (John 15: 18-19).
“And all nations will hate you because you are my followers” (Matthew 10:22).
“Then they will deliver you to tribulation, and will kill you, and you will be hated by all nations because of My name” (Matthew 24:9).
Our sequence of allegiance is first to the Lord and His word, then to our fellow believers, and finally to the world. The reversal of that sequence is where comprise enters diluting our faith and causing Jesus Christ and His Church to look and sound like just another option offered on the religious mantle of culture.
Jesus also said, “The truth will set you free” (John 8:32). That freedom only comes when truth unshackles us from the illusions and deceptions of a compromised faith. That freedom never arrives without conflict.