1 Corinthians 9:19-23 For though I am free from all men, I have made myself a slave to all, so that I may win more. To the Jews I became as a Jew, so that I might win Jews; to those who are under the Law, as under the Law though not being myself under the Law, so that I might win those who are under the Law; to those who are without law, as without law, though not being without the law of God but under the law of Christ, so that I might win those who are without law. To the weak I became weak, that I might win the weak; I have become all things to all men, so that I may by all means save some. I do all things for the sake of the gospel, so that I may become a fellow partaker of it. NKJV
Paul, as we declared in the last study, was a missionary and evangelist sent out into the world by our Lord Jesus Christ to confront all men with the truth of the gospel of grace and in being obedient to his commission from our Lord it required that Paul would undergo much physical, emotional, and spiritual sufferings among sinful men for Christ sake. Paul goes on to write to these Corinthian believers how he so submitted himself under the Lordship of Jesus Christ that he saw every man in every part of the world he would travel as a potential brother in Christ. It did not matter what beliefs these men held because Paul in recounting his own personal false beliefs knew that our Lord Jesus Christ is able or of power, might, and strength to reach into the hearts of the most pagan belief systems known to man and by His Grace shatter, explode, and totally destroy their unbelief. Therefore, Paul writes, “For though I am free from all men, I have made myself a slave to all, so that I may win more” (1 Corinthians 9:19).
Paul declares to these Corinthians that this is the way he saw them when he entered their city. He disregarded all of the sexually explicit practices he would witness. The majority being done in the name of worship to some pagan god, yet Paul though he came to them with the gospel of Christ “in much fear and trembling”, the fear and trembling was not on account of him fearing flesh and blood, but rather it was the fear of not presenting simply Christ death, burial, and resurrection from the dead in all of its splendor, majesty, and glory and this is why he wrote this earlier on in this letter, “And when I came to you, brethren, I did not come with superiority of speech or of wisdom, proclaiming to you the testimony of God” (1 Corinthians 2:1). Paul although he wanted to be a slave to all men, yet he did not want to ever water down the gospel of grace or minimize their sin when he presented the gospel to them or to use very lofty speech that would be words from a human origin and would only produce converts to the convincing oratory or speech of a highly intelligent man (Paul was very intelligent, had the equivalence of many PhD’s) and so Paul went on to write this to them earlier in this letter, “And my message and my preaching were not in persuasive words of wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power, so that your faith would not rest on the wisdom of men, but on the power of God” (1 Corinthians 2:4-5).
Paul being a Jew who had risen to the highest level in their religion of that day being an active serving member of the Sanhedrin did not forget all of the customs, rituals, feast days, Sabbaths, ceremonial rites, etc. that those Jews who had not yet “come to Christ” continued to practice and observe and hold sacred. Paul was accused by those Jews of teaching other Jews to no longer obey the “law of Moses” and Paul as he understood his “freedom in Christ” on one occasion when he arrived back in Jerusalem went in to the Apostle James who suggested that Paul squash some of this miss-conception of his teachings by going into the temple with some other Jews who had become believers in our Lord Jesus Christ and partake in the ritual purification as recorded for us in this manner by Dr. Luke, “Then Paul took the men, and the next day, purifying himself along with them, went into the temple giving notice of the completion of the days of purification, until the sacrifice was offered for each one of them” (Acts 21:26). We know from the rest of this chapter in the Book of Acts that Paul was still seized by those unbelieving Jews and beaten severely, but after he was rescued from the mob of Jews by a Roman soldier Paul even used this opportunity to speak to the very men who had tried to kill him recounting to them his testimony of how our Lord Jesus Christ so gloriously appeared to him and saved him from his sin (Acts 22:1-21).
Paul recounts how in every place of the Gentiles (even in Corinth) he purposed that he would function or live among them as though he were no longer a Jew not concerning himself with eating only kosher foods or not disturbed by the fact that he was among those who practiced pagan rites and rituals, but Paul never compromised the “law of God” because it was written upon his heart as declared by the Prophet Jeremiah in this manner and also quoted again by the writer of Hebrews, Jeremiah said, “But this is the covenant which I will make with the house of Israel after those days, declares the LORD, I will put My law within them and on their heart I will write it; and I will be their God, and they shall be My people” (Jeremiah 31:33). This is what Paul meant when he wrote these words to them, “To those who are without law, as without law, though not being without the law of God but under the law of Christ, so that I might win those who are without law” (1 Corinthians 9:21). Paul made himself conscience of the weaknesses of all men and at all times being mindful of his own weaknesses and simply, plainly, and purely presented Jesus Christ Crucified for all men’s sin knowing that it was our Lord Jesus through His Spirit working in him to will and to do according to His good pleasure and also knowing that it was only by God’s Spirit that lost sinful men responded to the gospel and never was it because of Paul or his powers of persuasion over any man. Everything Paul did in the midst of sinful men was for the sake of the gospel of Christ that some might have ears to hear and become new creations by virtue of the Power of God’s Spirit.
“The great principle incumbent on all Christians, with a view to the salvation of others, is to go as far as one can without untruthfulness in the direction of finding points of resemblance and contact with those to whom we would commend the Gospel. There is a base counterfeit of this apostolic example, which slurs over distinctive beliefs, and weakly tries to please everybody by differing from nobody. That trimming to catch all winds never gains any. Mr. Facing-both-ways is not a powerful evangelist. The motive of becoming all things to all men must be plainly disinterested, and the assimilation must have love for the souls concerned and eagerness to bring the truth to them, and them to the truth, legibly stamped upon it, or it will be regarded, and rightly so, as mere cowardice or dishonesty. And there must be no stretching the assimilation to the length of either concealing truth or fraternizing in evil. Love to my neighbor can never lead to my joining him in wrongdoing.” Alexander MacLaren
“The gospel of grace never needs any human massage, any human manipulation, or any human motivational kick, but it only needs to be presented in its entirety to all lost sinful men and God will do the resurrecting of souls from the dead as our Lord Jesus declared of Himself, ‘I am the Resurrection and the Life’ (John 11:25).” Clifford D. Tate, Sr.
If you do not know the Lord Jesus Christ and His amazing healing power, pray this from your heart to the Lord Jesus Christ (you speaking directly to Him), Dear Lord Jesus, I confess to You that I am a sinner and I need Your forgiveness. I believe You shed Your Blood and died for my sins. I believe that You rose from the dead proving that You alone are God. I repent of my sins. I want to turn from my sins. I ask You Dear Lord Jesus to come into my heart and take control of my life. I want You to be my Lord, Savior, and my God. Amen...
Sincerely in Christ,
Clifford D. Tate, Sr.
Author of “Silent Assassins of the Soul - Are you Broken by Pornography and Masturbation? You can be Restored by the Lord Jesus Christ and brought into Deliverance, Freedom, and Victory! A Guide for Men and Women in the Enemy’s Crosshairs” e-book available now @ Amazon Kindle, @ Apple I Bookstore for IPod, Barnes and Noble for Nook, Reader Store for Sony Reade, Kobo, Copia, Gardners, Baker and Taylor, and eBookPie…