Accommodation or compromise.
American believers are the masters of accommodation. We can re-arrange our lives and adjust our personal priorities and commitments with efficiency and skill. It's perhaps the reason we're so indistinguishable in the traffic of these times. Being part of the blur fits the mobility and anonymity so characteristic of life in Manic Heights. Avoiding notice here is certainly more comfortable than letting our lights shine.
How can this happen, accommodation to such a world? Well, I suppose that's as good a starting place as any, the choice of the word "accommodation". We've learned to soften our rhetoric about Manic Heights so that our residence there isn't so alarming of offensive. Be honest with me for a second! "Compromise" would be a more fitting descriptive term for finding our happy place in Manic Heights. We can only live there comfortably if we compromise the basics tenets of our professed faith. So, what is the deal with this matter of compromise? How about an example or two?
1. The citizenship compromise.
Scripture isn't the Constitution of the United States. Dual citizenship isn't a biblical right or privilege. We're either citizens of his Kingdom or of the world. The Apostle Paul explained citizenship to his readers in Ephesus and Philippi---
So then you are no longer strangers and aliens, but you are fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God, built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Christ Jesus himself being the cornerstone, in whom the whole structure, being joined together, grows into a holy temple in the Lord.
Ephesians 2:19-21, ESV
But our citizenship is in heaven, and from it we await a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ, who will transform our lowly body to be like his glorious body, by the power that enables him even to subject all things to himself.
Philippians 3:20, ESV
James added a strong note about our relationship with the world.
You adulterous people! Do you not know that friendship with the world is enmity with God? Therefore whoever wishes to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God.
James 4:4, ESV
It's obvious that we've played footsie with the biblical standard of our citizenship.
2. The grace compromise.
Yes, truly, we are saved by grace through faith (see Ephesians 2:8). Today there seems to be a resurgence of the antinomian controversy that has lowered the moral standard of many believers throughout church history. In short, it is the belief that since we are redeemed through faith alone (sola fide in the Reformation period) there is no moral law that should govern our lives. As a result, we are free to live life according to our own standards of behavior. Please forgive the simplism. It is certainly more complicated than that. But, this kind of twisted theology helps many of us to live comfortably in Manic Heights. Again, the Apostle Paul wrote about this departure from biblical faith---
What shall we say then? Are we to continue in sin that grace may abound? By no means! How can we who died to sin still live in it?
Romans 6:1-2, ESV
Do we then overthrow the law by this faith? By no means! On the contrary, we uphold the law.
Romans 3:31, ESV
All things are lawful for me,” but not all things are helpful. “All things are lawful for me,” but I will not be dominated by anything. “Food is meant for the stomach and the stomach for food”—and God will destroy both one and the other. The body is not meant for sexual immorality, but for the Lord, and the Lord for the body.
1 Corinthians 6:1-13, ESV
Yes, our God is a gracious God. But, there are moral expectations of those who are part of his eternal kingdom.
3. The accountability compromise.
God gathers the people of his kingdom in the ekklesia, Christ's church. Fifty-nine or more New Testament passages clarify the "one another" relationships that exist in this body, Christ's church. Several of them affirm the accountability of these "one another" relationships---
Therefore, having put away falsehood, let each one of you speak the truth with his neighbor, for we are members one of another.
Ephesians 4:25, ESV
...submitting to one another out of reverence for Christ.
Ephesians 5:21, ESV
Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom.
Colossians 3:16, ESV
But exhort one another every day, as long as it is called “today,” that none of you may be hardened by the deceitfulness of sin.
Hebrews 3:13, ESV
And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works.
Hebrews 10:24, ESV
And, there are many others that do not employ the "one another" formula for restoring, rebuking, and confronting each other in the precious relationships in Christ's church. The people in Manic Heights view these discipline responsibilities as judgmental and heavy handed. As a result, we've eased off on the spiritual accountability so we can live happily ever after in a tolerant Manic Heights community.
While Manic Heights residents are largely anxious, hurried, worried, hopeless, and all of the other markings of a world on the make, believers should let their light shine with faith, grace, peace, hope, joy, love, mission, fellowship, holiness, service and many others as our influence on the Manic Heights world.
It's Manic Heights. We shouldn't be so comfortable in it.
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