I have become all things to all people so that by all possible means I might save some. (1 Corinthians 9:22)
If we do not understand the biblical truth of what Paul said in the words “all things to all people,” we may find ourselves becoming absolutely nothing to anyone. At that level of living, we have not only watered down our witness for Christ, we have likely lost it altogether.
So what is the great apostle Paul telling us in this verse?
First, Paul is speaking about those areas in life that come under the heading of “indifferent”—they are neither commanded nor forbidden by Scripture. In these areas we have been given liberty to choose. Paul was in no way considering actions that were contrary to the moral law of God in order to become “all things to all people.” He would not water down his witness. He would not compromise his faith. He would not preach a false gospel . . . all with the hopes of winning some to Christ. Why? Because Paul knew the biblical truth that what you win people through, you also win people to. If you win them through the truth, you win them to the truth.
Because Paul’s identity was in Christ, in those areas that mattered not, he did not care what others might think of him in order to reach the lost for Christ. His identity was firmly fixed in Christ and it could not be shaken by the opinions of others. He ministered not for the applause of man, but rather for the approval of God. Paul knew he had been given great freedom in the Gospel, but he refused to use his freedom for any reason whatsoever that might negatively impact the faith of a brother or sister whose faith was not as strong as Paul’s.
As the former “Pharisee of Pharisees,” Paul knew the ceremonial law of God inside and out. And he knew that this yoke of the law had been removed by the blood of the Lamb of God. Paul knew that his faithfulness to Christ meant freedom from the ceremonial law. Yet, if by submitting to it in any way, a weaker brother might be brought to faith in Christ, Paul would give up his freedom and bear the yoke of the law. He could do this because He knew what God had done for him during his Damascus Road experience: Saul, the one who had been the violent persecutor of the church had been transformed into Paul, the church’s primary preacher and pastor and the man would pen much of the New Testament.
Sadly, many in the church today misunderstand what Paul was saying in his epistle to the Corinthians, and they have become a veritable “spiritual smorgasbord” . . . for them, everything is up for grabs. They are blown to and fro by every imaginable wind of doctrine in their misguided attempts to be all things to all people. The truth is shrouded, the Gospel is watered down, and the whole counsel of God is obscured—if not distorted.
We must remember that we are merely instruments of salvation in the hands of the Almighty. God saves; we simply share the truth of the good news of the Gospel and leave the results up to Him. We don’t need to change the message to meet the felt needs of lost people in the hope that some might be saved. Our God needs no spiritual smorgasbord to assist in the process of salvation; He needs and wants sold-out saints who will tell others the truth about the Savior.
This is the Gospel. This is grace for your race. NEVER FORGET THAT . . . AMEN!