“At thy right hand there are pleasures for evermore” (Ps. 16: 11)
The Basket Case Chronicles #101
“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 Cor. 9:22).
We see here Paul’s driving zeal for evangelism. He has just finished saying that he was willing to be a Jew for the sake of the Jews, and play the part of someone “without law” to those who were outside the law. He did this, not as a lawless one, but as one under the law of Christ. Here he applies the same principle to another category—to those who are weak. He doesn’t specify what sort of weakness, but the range of the word includes feebleness, sickness, or impotence. Whatever it is, it would not be the sort of thing that someone of Paul’s caliber would usually aspire to. He was willing to become “as weak” in order to gain the weak.
This is an extreme application of the principle, and Paul makes it clear that it is, evangelistically speaking, a principle of broad application. He is willing, he says, to be made all things to all men so that by all means he might save some. This is quite striking—all, all, all, some. All things to all men so that by all means he might save some. He is not an each and every universalist. He know that some will be saved, and some will not be. But if some are not saved, it will not be because of a refusal on Paul’s part to identify with them—whether Jew or Gentile, or weak or not.
One other note. His motivation here is a zeal for the gospel, and not a pathetic yearning in his own ego to be with all the rich and swanky people, or the cool kids with the skateboards. He wants to win the people he identifies with to Christ. He is not looking for a group of people who are cool enough to win him away from Christ.