“For though I be free from all men, yet have I made myself servant unto all, that I might gain the more. And unto the Jews I became as a Jew, that I might gain the Jews; to them that are under the law, as under the law, that I might gain them that are under the law; to them that are without law, as without law, (being not without law to God, but under the law to Christ,) that I might gain them that are without law. To the weak became I as weak, that I might gain the weak: I am made all things to all men, that I might by all means save some.” 1 Corinthians 9:19-22
How do we reach the lost that they might hear the Gospel and come to know and trust in Christ Jesus as their Savior? Look at how the apostle Paul approached that task.
To the Jews he became as a Jew, to those under the law as under the law, to those without the law as without the law but not without law toward God, to the weak he became as weak. And why? That he might “by all means save some.”
In other words, the apostle, even though he was free from the requirements of Old Testament law subjected himself to that law (observing the Sabbath and feast days and submitting to dietary laws) when trying to reach the Jews for Christ. When he was seeking to reach those not under the law, he didn’t burden them by trying to bring them under the law and Paul himself lived among them as without the ceremonial law’s prescriptions. When he sought to reach the weak – those who believed it sinful to eat certain foods and the like – he lived as though he himself were weak that he might preach to them Christ and free their consciences from such weaknesses. The apostle behaved himself in such a way so that he could by any means morally acceptable reach the lost for Christ.
And how does this apply to us today? Should we expect our hearers to become like us and observe our traditions and our customs? Or, should we come to them where they are at – becoming like them in so far as we can without sin – that they might hear us and hear the message of God’s Word calling them to repentance and faith in Christ Jesus?
We need to keep in mind and practice the methodology of St. Paul, who was called of Christ to take the Gospel to the world: “I am made all things to all men, that I might by all means save some.”