Salvation: A Common Ground

Jan 30, 2024 | Articles

In I Corinthians 9, Paul uses powerful words concerning how he chooses to live his life. He writes several verses explaining that those who preach the Gospel have every right to be paid; in fact, many are being paid. As always, he backs this up scripturally and makes it clear that even though he could demand payment for his work, he feels compelled to preach and does not want money for doing it.

After speaking of material things, Paul moves on to spiritual matters. He tells us in 1 Corinthians 9:19, “Even though I am a free man with no master, I have become a slave to all people to bring many to Christ.” He further describes how he lived when he was with different people. When he was with those who lived under Jewish law, he lived like a Jew. When he was with the weak, he refers to himself as being weak. When he was with the Gentiles, he lived apart from the law because the Gentiles didn’t follow the law. As a side note, however, he claimed he did not ignore the law of God, but that he actually obeyed the law of Christ.

You might ask yourself why did Paul do such things? When trying to reach someone, it is good to establish a common ground with that person. Paul’s mission was to share the gospel and afford an opportunity for salvation. To facilitate that mission, he always would try to establish a common ground.

Does this mean when we’re with a Baptist, we should believe exactly as they do? Or if we are of a different political party, we must become the other? What about being around other ethnic groups or people of different classes? How do we apply what Paul is teaching in 1 Corinthians 9?

Paul would never compromise what he knew to be true about Jesus. In fact, Jesus is the common ground Paul found with others. Even though Paul became all these things to all people, Jesus did even more. He humbled Himself of everything and died for every person in the world.

As followers of Jesus Christ, we are to follow the example of Paul and be obedient to Jesus’s commands to put others first. We are to be so passionate about sharing the Gospel with others that we will actively seek common ground with those unlike ourselves. Establishing that common ground may be the difference in their hearing the gospel we share and then receiving the salvation that God offers.

On the holy mountain stands the city founded by the LORD. He loves the city of Jerusalem more than any other city in Israel. O city of God, what glorious things are said of you! I will count Egypt and Babylon among those who know me— also Philistia and Tyre, and even distant Ethiopia. They have all become citizens of Jerusalem! Regarding Jerusalem it will be said, “Everyone enjoys the rights of citizenship there.” And the Most High will personally bless this city. When the LORD registers the nations, he will say, “They have all become citizens of Jerusalem.” The people will play flutes and sing, “The source of my life springs from Jerusalem!” —Psalm 87 (NLT)

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