It is amazing how clever Satan is when he wants true Christians to start compromising with any of God’s laws or statutes. He is very astute in facilitating convincing “justifications” in one’s mind. Take for example the doctrinal changes in the Worldwide Church of God, to which many true Christians belonged at one time. Did the new administration, which took over after the former human leader’s death, boldly come out and admit that they wanted to do away with the Sabbath, the Holy Days, tithing, or the distinction between clean and unclean meats? No; rather, they started by “adjusting” what seemed to be unimportant or insignificant teachings to some–for instance, whether or not we are already born again in this life; whether we need to proclaim the gospel of Christ or just about Christ; or whether God is a Family or just has a Family.
In their booklet “God Is,” they gradually abolished the true understanding that the Holy Spirit is not God or a person of the Godhead, but rather the power of God the Father and Jesus Christ, enabling them to create and accomplish things both in the spiritual and physical realm. First, they used the Greek word “hypostasis” for God, saying that God consists of three “hypostases.” The adoption of this philosophical term was just the first step in reaching the point of teaching the wrong orthodox doctrine of the Trinity. “Hypostasis” was not “supposed” to convey the meaning of a Person—just a mode of being—but in the third printing of their booklet, the word “hypostasis” was substituted with the word “person.” Now they had fully embraced the pagan belief of the Trinity—“God being One Person in Three Persons”–something which they had apparently planned to do from the outset.
These changes were introduced subtly. Unfortunately, many were fooled and deceived, and like the proverbial dead fish or the dumb sheep, they were floating along with the changes and followed the false shepherds to the slaughter. Soon, all flood gates were open and now, one would not recognize as biblically correct most, if not all of the teachings of today’s Worldwide Church of God, since their changed beliefs are based on pagan traditions and superstitions, rather than the Bible.
What Satan was looking for was the proverbial chink in the armor–the one weak spot which makes a soldier vulnerable on the battlefield. For instance, the area around the shoulder is such a weak spot. Overlaps in the armor allowed for movements of the arms, but a good archer could successfully shoot an arrow into the unprotected area. The inflicted wounds were usually not fatal, but they rendered a fighting soldier ineffective for battle and if not tended to, he could bleed to death, if the arrow had pierced an artery.
In 2003, while attending the Feast of Tabernacles in England, my wife and I visited Warwick Castle. We noticed an archer on the pathway up to the castle. He was shooting arrows at a stuffed target, which had the form of a man. The target was some sixty to seventy feet away, but the archer shot the arrows with an amazing degree of accuracy. He explained that in the ancient English army bowmen were trained from the age of six or seven years old. By the age of adulthood, they had become very accurate in shooting arrows into the unprotected spots of enemy soldiers. Because of their intensive training, they could cause a lot of injuries in battle, and they could even help the defeat of their enemy in times of war.
Satan is highly skilled in the “art” of warfare. He is a powerful archer, who is able to shoot his arrows precisely into whatever small chink in our armor he might detect. It is very important that we are completely and thoroughly protected by the whole armor of God (compare Ephesians 6:10-17).
Satan is very subtle, as Paul stated in 2 Corinthians 2:10-11: “Now whom you forgive anything, I also forgive. For if indeed I have forgiven anything, I have forgiven that one for your sakes in the presence of Christ, lest Satan should take advantage of us; for we are not ignorant of his devices.”
The church at the time of Paul was aware of Satan’s devices, understanding that one of them was compromise. Compromise usually starts in small areas–with little white lies and with becoming less diligent than one ought to be, for instance in the area of tithing faithfully, promptly and properly, or starting to engage in improper entertainment or do some “chores” on the Sabbath. These might be looked upon as “small” leaks in a dam, but they can cause insurmountable damage and may jeopardize one’s very salvation.
Compromise is like a small spark. Unless it is extinguished right away, it may develop into a roaring and destructive fire, which might soon be burning out of control. The Worldwide Church of God started their doctrinal apostasy with seemingly small insignificant “semantic” changes—but in fact, Satan had begun to shoot his arrows into unprotected areas of many of God’s people. We must never think that something similar could not happen today again.
Unless we repent of any wrong course of action and change our way of thinking, the slippery slope of compromise will ultimately lead to our demise. We must take due diligence to ensure that we are not caught up in compromise and that our spiritual armor has no chinks, so that Satan’s arrows cannot cause us any spiritual injury.