Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Christian Freedom part VII

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.  – 1 Corinthians 9:19-23
The idea of Christian Freedom has caused a lot of division and hurt within the church.  Therefore, I would really love to tackle this issue so that we may be united in the cause of Christ.

To reflect, I have covered what we are free from, what our responsibility is for the freedom we have, and why it is important not to abuse that freedom.  Today, I will begin to cover the purpose of our freedom.

In the beginning of 1 Corinthians chapter 9, Paul outlines his rights as an apostle.  Those rights include the right to eat, the right to marry a believing wife, and the right to earn money from preaching and teaching.  But Paul then explains that he chose not to partake in these rights rather than put an obstacle in the way of his mission.

Paul did not want to become a burden on those he was sharing the Gospel of Christ with, so rather than ask for their support, he worked for his living (2 Thessalonians 3:7-9).  Paul was free to do all of these things, but he chose not to.

Rather than flaunt around his freedom, Paul chose to become a servant.  Why?  So that he could win more people over to Christ.  Paul’s focus was clear.  He was all about winning over people to Christ.

If Paul was ministering to Jews especially the Jews adhering to the law, I can guarantee that he would not have eaten a double bacon cheeseburger (though he was free to).  Paul would not have worked overtime on Friday nights.  Though Paul knew that he was not bound to the Jewish laws, but he would rather live as if he was to save those bound under the law. 

To those who were outside the law, Paul would have eaten things that they would have eaten.  Paul would have dressed in a similar fashion and learned their lingo and their customs.  But Paul would not have compromised his faith to win people over.  Paul bound himself to Jesus and no other.

To win over the weak, Paul became like the weak.  Paul would not have had a glass of wine to those who were alcoholics.  Rather shame someone for their weakness, Paul would have showed compassion and understanding, empathizing with their pain.

Paul did whatever it took (without compromising his faith in Christ) to win people over to Christ.  It didn’t matter if it meant that Paul had to sacrifice certain freedoms that he could otherwise enjoy, Paul was going to win people over to Jesus.
Everything that Paul did, he did it with the purpose of spreading the Gospel, so that he might share in their blessings as those Paul ministered developed in their own walk with Christ.

The purpose of our freedom is not to live however we want to.  The purpose of our freedom is to share the Gospel of Jesus and share in the blessings of those we minister.

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