1 Corinthians 9:22. I have become all things to all people, that by all means I might save some.
The big question that every Christian must ask every day is “what will I do with my freedom in Christ?”
Yes, in Christ you are completely free. Because our salvation is accomplished by Christ alone, and we have been brought out from under the law’s demands and sin’s condemnation, we are free to do what we want with our lives.
But this freedom from the indwelling life of Christ gives us a brand new “want.” And that new want, that new desire, is love. God’s love is being poured into our hearts, changing our desires day by day. And so in Galatians Paul will show us that our freedom is to be bounded by this same love.
Galatians 5:13. For you were called to freedom, brothers. Only do not use your freedom as an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another.
The Corinthians Christians had the same problem that most of us have today- rather than use our freedom for love, we want to use our freedom for power. We want to have things our own way. We want to control others, gain status, and be considered more spiritual than everyone else. We want freedom, but not the freedom that Christ offers. We want to use our freedom as an opportunity for the flesh (Gal. 5:13), rather than as an opportunity to love and serve one another.
But Paul shows us a better way – I have become all things to all people, that by all means I might save some.
Paul has chosen to use his freedom to give up his freedom. It is for freedom that he was set free (Gal. 5:1). Rather than hold on to his own comforts and culture, Paul gives it all up for the sake of others. He chooses to become like the people he ministering to in order to build trust and share the good news.
1 Corinthians 9:19-23. 19 For though I am free from all, I have made myself a servant to all, that I might win more of them. 20 To the Jews I became as a Jew, in order to win Jews. To those under the law I became as one under the law (though not being myself under the law) that I might win those under the law. 21 To those outside the law I became as one outside the law (not being outside the law of God but under the law of Christ) that I might win those outside the law. 22 To the weak I became weak, that I might win the weak. I have become all things to all people, that by all means I might save some. 23 I do it all for the sake of the gospel, that I may share with them in its blessings.
How do you relate to those who are different from you? Can you say that you become all things to all people? or do you find it very difficult to relate to anyone that is different from you? Can you relate to the married people and the singles in your church? Can you empathize with the elderly and the young parents? Are you entering into the pain your black brothers and sisters? Is your rhetoric so far to the right or left that you are alienating a whole segment of the human population? Are you easily offended? Do you easily offend? Are you free enough in Christ to enter into the journey of others, walking beside them, guiding them to the grace and holiness of God?
How is this possible?
When Christ became your new identity, you were set free from all other lesser identities that you may be protecting. You’re not white or black, you’re in Christ. You’re not liberal or conservative, you’re in Christ. You’re not American, or any other nationality, you’re in Christ. You’re not rich or poor, you’re in Christ. You’re not heterosexual or homosexual, you’re in Christ. When no other identity controls you, you are truly free to love anyone.
Paul says, “I can live like a slave, free, Jew, Gentile, under the law, out from under the law. How? Because ultimately I am in Christ.”
“To live is Christ” offers us the freedom needed to serve others in order to reveal Christ. A freedom empowered by an eternal destiny and an eternal identity. I can lose my comfort, power, and status now in order to share in the blessing of the gospel with you forever.
Are you willing to relate to all kinds of other people in order to journey with them towards Christ?
You in Christ
How does having Christ as your identity offer you the freedom to give up your freedom for the sake of the gospel?
Christ in you
How might you specifically become all things to all people today?