To the Jews I became like a Jew, to win the Jews. To those under the law I became like one under the law…so as to win those under the law. To those not having the law I became like one not having the law…so as to win those not having the law. To the weak I became weak, to win the weak. I have become all things to all men so that by all possible means I might save some. 1 Corinthians 9:20-22 (NIV)
This is Paul’s principle of world mission! If we aren’t willing to do this, we will limit our ministry to the narrow band of those who share our treasured distinctives.
It is easy to see how this can happen in the church today. Every group has its distinctives, and we thank God for them. But it is easy for any church to become more about these distinctives than about the gospel. And when that happens, gradually and often imperceptibly, the church becomes a club for people like us, and we are no longer able to reach the world.
Thank God that Paul stood up to Peter when Peter caved in to the pressure group. If Paul had not done that, the gospel would never have reached us today. And if we do not stand up and defend the gospel, it will not reach others. It will remain within a narrow band of people like us. The gospel is worth defending.
How could you become “all things to all people” for the sake of someone who is different from you?