Question: What do I do if I’ve compromised in a major way?
Answer: From beginning to end, the Bible declares that every person who has ever lived has fallen short of God’s perfect standard of righteousness – “for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” (Rom 3:23). That “all” includes the saved and the unsaved. The apostle John, writing to the churches in Asia minor, near the end of the 1st century, put it this way in 1 John:
“If we confess our sins He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and cleanse from all unrighteousness.If we say we have not sinned we make Him a liar and His word is not in us” (1Jn 1:9-10)
In this life, you and I and every true follower of Christ, are engaged in a constant battle with our fallenness, the world’s allures and the evil one’s schemes! In our current study of the book of Daniel, Scripture is providing us with a powerful, real-life example of “how to” pursue an uncompromising life. A life that is strikingly different from the culture around it. A life that humbly, faithfully demonstrates the reality of God’s saving grace in Jesus Christ!
However every believer has “compromised” at various times in their life with Christ. Did Daniel ever compromise? Scripture teaches Daniel too was a sinner saved by grace! Really? Yes, let’s take a look at Daniel’s own words in Daniel 9:20. After praying to Lord on behalf of the nation of Israel and confessing their sin in verses 1-19, he now personalizes his confession. “Now as I was speaking and praying,and confessing my sin and the sin of my people Israel.” This uncompromising man of God was confessing his sin to the Lord. We are not told about the type or nature of the sin. (As you read further in chapter 9, God hears his prayer of confession and request to restore his people. And He sends the archangel Gabriel to announce God ‘s forgiveness and affirmation of Daniel’s request!)
The key point here is this we all have compromised (i.e., not done what we should do – sins of omissions – or done things that transgressed God’s Word – sins of commission).
So, what do I do with a significant sin committed in the past? Here’s a few simple things that Scripture teaches us to do:
1. When we hear or read the Word of God it will often remind us of past sins – sins of omission or commission (Heb 4:12-13). God’s provision for us is to apply 1 Jn 1:9-10 as presented above. It is also helpful to follow James 5: 16… “confess your sins to one another and pray for one another”.
The bearing of our struggle with sin is meant to be shared by one another. (It is wise to share with a faithful, trusted brother or sister in the faith – one that has learned the power of bearing one another’s burdens with confidentiality and mutual humble accountability, one who will help you repent or turn away from this issue.)
While we’re “positionally” forgiven of all sin – past, present and future through the cross of Jesus Christ – from a “practical” standpoint, God continually forgives us as we genuinely confess and repent of sin, in real time, based on the finished work of Christ on our behalf (1 Pet 3:18; 2 Cor 5:21). Hallelujah!!
2. Sometimes we see that past sin, depending on the type and duration of the sin, results in various types of “consequences.” If you have not confessed this to the Lord and confided and worked with a trusted believer, that’s the first place to start. Embrace and trust God’s Word in 1 John 1-9-10. Then I would recommend that you seek counsel from a respected and mature believer, ministry leader or pastoral team member to understand how to biblically work through the consequences of that sin of compromise.
Our God is the God of renewal and restoration (Gal 6:1)! He is faithful to bring us back and purify us as we humbly submit, trust and follow His Word! One passage of Scripture which has helped me deeply understand and receive God’s desire to restore His people is presented in the Lord’s post-resurrection appearance to the disciples in John 21. Look especially at Peter’s restoration. Peter had denied Christ three times, even using profanity to emphasize his self-preserving denial of not knowing and following Jesus (Matt 26:34; Jn 18:25-27). Wow! What a major compromise!!!
But Jesus clearly and powerfully restored Peter’s relationship with Him through a series of heart -cleansing questions (read Jn 21:9-17). He focused directly on what Peter needed to hear. He said, ‘Peter, do you love me more than anything else in life? More than your reputation, material things or earthly relationships?’ Jesus loved Peter in spite of his compromise! He was restoring Him, showing Him that he would never leave or forsake Him, even though Peter did that very thing to Christ! He cleansed Peter of that huge sin of compromise.
Jesus was preparing Peter to be a leader among the apostles, one whom He would mightily use to establish His Church (Matt 16).
That’s the God we serve – the God of perfect love, unfailing love, purifying love. So what do we do if we’ve blown it badly? Go to the Lord, follow His plan for restoration laid out in His Word. He will receive you and set you on a firm foundation! And in His time, in His way, He will take your past compromise and use it for your good and His glory (Rom 8:28).