The Apostle Paul might take issue with that statement. His extraordinary ability to adapt without marginalizing his faith or mission can be found in 1 Corinthians 9:19-23. As if sewing a design in a motif of life, to win people to Christ becomes a recurring pattern at least five times in these verses and is the growing focus of his life in response to his call. He writes to have freely chosen to enslave himself to all people and that means to accommodate all people just as they are and where he finds them. In Paul’s day there were those who lived under the law and Paul became one of them but did not consider himself as living under the law. To those outside the law he became one of them, not free of God’s law but under Christ’s law. Paul continues on to write I became to the weak as a weak person, so that I might win the weak. Some commentaries say the meaning here refers to Paul’s calling to win them to Christ. Paul strove to find common ground with the believers in Corinth and did not conform to their beliefs to gain acceptance. He preached a gospel of transforming power. He recognized that there were those in all these diverse groups that do not have the knowledge that idols have no real permanence and there is only one true God. Because of his claim to Apostleship he believes people will recognize that it makes him even more determined and strengthens his call to bring all people to Christ. They must hear the good news! If no one shares the good news, how will they ever know? There is much the church this day can learn from this man humbled by God, raised up by Christ to serve and his indomitable spirit fortified by the Holy Spirit. Paul was a free man. Paul (Saul) was both a Jew and a citizen of Rome. We, the church today, are struggling to remain true to the good news and find ways to reach those “under the law, living outside the law as well as those weak and burdened by life’s demands to the point they have forgotten or never heard of Christ and the forgiveness that is theirs. There are also those who miss-construe the scripture so as to fall prey to the sins of this day.”
We have embraced words such as tolerance, inclusiveness and need to reach out, to open our doors, our minds and our hearts, to cite just a few. All have value and worth and are introduced with the best of intentions. Paul in these verses introduces us to a new word and a new way…….Accommodation…. Paul’s ministry can teach us the value of accommodating other people. Being kind, helpful, obliging, or just being considerate of all people and their place in life at the moment you meet them or in Paul’s case, go among them. All of this hangs on understanding Paul’s conception of being accommodating to people. As Christians we have free will but we are also slaves to God, he who has renewed our minds body and souls. What does this mean? We have the freedom to chose not to do those things that are a hindrance to the gospel, or harm anyone whom Christ died for. At this point you might want to ask who did Christ die for? If you answered for everyone, for all sinners, you are halfway there. If you are wondering what the other half is, well you have to live and treat others like you believe that. So, let’s wrap this up. Paul was able to adapt and accommodate because he believed that the gospel, the power of God always encounters and engages people where they are, where they live and within their social and cultural environments. The gospel has the power to move them and change them wherever they are and at whatever point they are in their lives. Preach the gospel without condemnation and let God do the rest.
Life is Good
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