In order to fulfill the Great Commission, we have to be willing to give up some of our preferences. How far are we willing to go? Is politics on the chopping block?
Paul says that for the sake of the gospel, he became all things to all people, that by all means he might save some.
What does this mean for a church body? It means some of our personal preferences have to die, for the greater good!
How Paul handled controversy in the early church
In Paul’s day there was a huge gap about what was the appropriate way to follow God. The Jews followed the Law of Moses. After Christ’s sacrifice and resurrection, was it still necessary to follow the Law of Moses, or not? What about Gentiles who never followed the Law to begin with–do they now need to follow it?
Paul has strong beliefs about this issue, but he sets them aside and simply works with people where they are.
- To the Jews, he became as a Jew
- To those under the law, he became as one under the law
- To those outside the law, he became as one outside the law
- To the weak, he became weak
- Became all things to all people
- All for the sake of the gospel
“For though I am free from all, I have made myself a servant to all, that I might win more of them. 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.”
—Paul, to the church in Corinth (1 Corinthians 9)
Some of our political preferences need to die in service of the gospel
I wonder if Paul, writing to today’s American audience might say, “to the Democrats I became as a Democrat, in order to win Democrats. To the Republicans, I became as a Republican, in order to win Republicans.”
There are a wide variety of ways to approach modern political issues. Godly, faithful men and women find themselves on different sides of the political spectrum as they emphasize different things.
But we have to realize that at the end of the day, these differences are not as important as the gospel.
Some Christians and churches preach two gospels: they want you to become a follower of Christ, and also a follower of the Republican party (or the Democratic party).
We need to have one gospel, and one goal.
We must allow for political differences inside the church, for the sake of the gospel!