Useful Bible Studies > 1 Corinthians Commentary > chapter 9

How Paul dealt with peopleís weakness

1 Corinthians 9:22-23

When people receive a message from God, they should obey it at once. The person who brings that message may belong to their nation, or not. He may follow their laws and customs, or not. These things should not matter to the people; they must obey God. However, the reality is that people do care about these things, because of their weakness.

People also do many other foolish and wrong things because of weakness. Like Cain, they are jealous of the person whom God approves of (Genesis 4:4-5). Like Josephís brothers, they hate the person who receives Godís message (Genesis 37:5-8). Like Jonah, they dislike the message that God has given (Jonah chapter 4).

We even see this weakness in peopleís attitude towards Godís law. They may obey the law although they are unwilling to serve God (Luke 11:39-52). But Godís law has no purpose when people refuse to serve God.

Paul understood this human weakness. He knew that it comes from a personís desire to please himself. It becomes very clear when a person allows his emotions to control his decisions, attitudes or behaviour.

Of course Paul was not doing that. Instead, he recognised peopleís weaknesses. He could help those people, because he too had felt such feelings. In fact, for many years, he had behaved like that (Galatians 1:13-14). But now he wanted to save people from it.

So Paul declared Godís message to everyone. He lived humbly among them. He served them in every kind of way. He did not consider himself greater than them. He urged them to trust God as he himself had done. And the result would be that, together, he and they would share Godís goodness.

Next part: Why Christians should not follow their feelings (1 Corinthians 9:24-27)

 

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© 2014, Keith Simons.