Revelation Day 9 - Compromised Commitment

Revelation 2:12-29 

Marriage remains one of the most important commitments a person can make. Scripture often describes God’s relationship with God’s people as a marriage. Paul the Apostle famously compared marriage in Ephesians 5 to the relationship of husband to wife. Many Old Testament prophets also made this comparison but none did so more graphically than Hosea. Hosea was commanded to marry Gomer, a woman who was (or would be) unfaithful, “for like an adulterous wife this land is guilty of unfaithfulness to the LORD” (Hos. 1:2).

Likewise, several of the seven churches of Revelation were charged with compromised commitment. Some of the seven are guilty, all seven are at risk of this problem. For example, Pergamum and Thyatira were guilty. In some way or another, they joined in pagan worship. It might’ve been worship of the Roman gods or even emperor worship. Some in Pergamum “ate food sacrificed to idols and committed sexual immorality” (Rev. 2:14). Like Hosea, John might be comparing their compromised commitment to sex with someone other than one’s spouse, or their worship rituals might include sex (not uncommon at the time), or both. All are ultimately unfaithful to God.

These seven churches risk idolatry, the Bible’s word for putting something in God’s place. We’re tempted to think, “Well, idolatry isn’t a problem today. We don’t worship Zeus and Aphrodite.” But idolatry isn’t about praying to a statue. It’s about making a good thing into an ultimate thing. Pastor Tim Keller said, “Sin is building your life and meaning on anything, even a very good thing, more than on God.” Maybe our idol is fashion, health, sex, fitness, status, stability, power, or influence. Our sins expose our idols and our idols shape our sins. We hear more about the idols and sins of comprised commitment as we continue through Revelation.

How did these Christians justify worshiping other gods while claiming commitment to Christ? It’s hard to say, but they must have rationalized it somehow. How often do we justify watering down our commitment to Christ?

What might idolatry look like today? What idols tempt you?

Jesus, your words are a sharp, double-edged sword. You cut through lies and expose compromise. Show me if I’ve compromised my commitment to you. Make me more faithful than ever. Amen.
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