Vol.XIII No.XII Pg.3
January 1977

Situation Slaves

Dan S. Shipley

Pilate knew that Jesus was innocent. Three times he tells the Jews, I find no crime in him (Jn. 18:38; 19:4,6). Still, he delivered him unto them to be crucified (Jn. 19:16). Why? Because he succumbed to the pressures of the moment. He allowed himself to be influenced more by prevailing circumstances than by what he knew to be right. Pilate was a slave to the situation.

Like Pilate, many others have allowed themselves to be dominated by situation pressure to their own detriment. Among such are the rulers who came to believe on Jesus, but because of the Pharisees they did not confess it, lest they should be put out of the synagogue (Jn. 12:42). With them, acceptance and approval of men (avoiding mans disapproval) took precedence over pleasing God (v.43). They, too, became situation slaves.

Peter was another who relented to such people - pressure. Shortly before Jesus betrayal he had said, Even if I must die with thee, yet will I not deny thee (Matt. 26:35). Yet, just a short time later Peter finds himself in a different situation — and here, while warming himself by the enemies campfire, he denies Jesus three times. He proved a slave to the situation. But this wasnt the only time. Peter repeated his mistake at Antioch by refusing to eat with the Gentiles in the presence of certain Jews, fearing them that were of the circumcision (Gal. 2:12). Worse, others were influenced by his example. And the rest of the Jews dissembled likewise with him.. . (v.13). Situation slaves seldom serve alone.

The situation pressures to which Peter and Pilate and others have succumbed continue to enslave. As it respects youth, we have called it peer pressure. God calls it conforming to the world (Rom. 12:2). Whatever it may be called, it means subordinating my character and convictions to the tastes of present company. It means being more influenced by what they are than what I am! And, like those who feared being cast out of the synagogue, it shows a preference for the glory that is of men above that which comes from God (Jn. 12:43). If what Pilate and Peter did seems bad, think of the Christian who actually prefers and courts the favor of the ungodly, worldly-minded sinner above God — and yet, this very thing often happens under the pressures of certain situations. Surely we dont have to hear the rooster crow to know that such conduct denies Christ as effectively as Peter ever did!

May God grant us the foresight to avoid deliberately placing ourselves in compromising and tempting circumstances. This will mean avoiding such places and people (1 Cor. 15:33) that we know will generate conforming pressures. The broad way is filled with former Christians who thought they could run with the world and walk with Christ at the same time. We must be careful not to let our associates determine what we will be like. However, when it is not possible to isolate, we must insulate. That means developing the kind of character that repels every appearance of evil; the kind that yields only to God and His will and motto transitory temptation.