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. 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. 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. I do it all for the sake of the gospel, that I may share with them in its blessings.1 Corinthians 9: 20-23
Saving for retirement. Paying off debt. Losing weight. What are you willing to do to accomplish your goals?
If you asked Paul, he would reply that he was willing to do what it takes – within reason. When he says that he became a Jew to reach the Jews or a Greek to reach the Greeks or to “become all things to all people, that by all means, I might save some” he is speaking of his effort to find common ground with the people around him.
It’s important to note that Paul is not advocating that it is necessary to observe Jewish law to reach the Jew. The Greek culture was foreign to Paul, but he invested his life in people like Corinth.
Paul followed the example of Jesus, who never compromised his beliefs. Christ was a “friend of sinners,” yet He never sinned. Likewise, Paul was willing to become all things to all people while never compromising the Gospel in any way.
If he lived today, Paul would have eagerly reached out to our world, but he would not have adopted the practices of those outside of the faith in order to reach them.
He would not engage in immorality, yet he would have reached out to the sexually immoral.
He would not have actually practiced the faith of a Muslim in order to reach one.
He would engage the atheist without becoming an atheist.
Nearly every week I encounter people of other faiths and some who have no faith at all. Think of the opportunities that present themselves to you. What if each of us was willing to make the effort to find common ground for the sake of the Gospel?