Scripture: 1 Corinthians 9:19 For though I am free with respect to all, I have made myself a slave to all, so 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 I myself am not under the law) so that I might win those under the law. 21 To those outside the law I became as one outside the law (though I am not free from God’s law but am under Christ’s law) so that I might win those outside the law. 22 To the weak I became weak, so that I might win the weak. I have become all things to all people, that I might by all means save some. 23 I do it all for the sake of the gospel, so that I may share in its blessings.
Observation: Paul was a Jew, but his calling from God was to preach the gospel to Gentiles (non-Jews). Here’s a note I wrote in my bible a few years ago, “Paul clearly indicated how he had contextualized the gospel in the culture of the people he was trying to reach – so that as many as possible might be saved from sin and death into life in Christ. This is not hard to understand, but many in our church are reluctant to do this.”
Application: I’m going to ask a question that will make me seem old (I’m 50 years old), but here goes. What is the deal with tattoos? Years ago the only persons who got tattoos were military people, bikers, and prisoners. Very few others. Now there are tattoos everywhere, especially among younger people. I walked by a young man the other day who literally had every inch of exposed skin (except his face) covered in tattoos.
Culture is changing. Rapidly.
I was present at a regional gathering of the Lutheran church (synod assembly) last weekend. And as I heard reports from people near and far on the state of the church, I kept thinking of this passage from 1 Corinthians. In many ways the church still functions as it did 50 years ago – which is a problem. We have been slow to embrace cultural change.
“I have become all things to all people…” I wonder what it would look like for the church to embrace this way of thinking in a serious way? I’m guessing it would be the end of the church as we know it, but it would also be the beginning of the church of the future.
Prayer: Lord Jesus, help us Christians get out of our own way so that your timeless gospel may be proclaimed in a timely and culturally relevant fashion. Reveal to me the places where I too need to be transformed. Amen.