Thursday, May 2, 2013


Galatians 1:10:  "For am I persuading people?  Or God?  Or am I seeking to please people?  If I were still pleasing people, I would not be Christ's bondslave!"

Paul asks 3 questions in Galatians 1:10 (at least as I have punctuated it).  The answer to the first is obviously yes, as we can see in his remarks to the Corinthians and the references in Acts.  Though he uses many other words (reason, dialogue, etc.), it seems clear that his goal was to persuade.

2 Corinthians 5:11:  "Since then we know the fear of the Lord, we persuade people, but we are open before God, and I hope also to be open in your consciences."

Acts 18:4:  "And he was reasoning in the synagogue every Sabbath and he was persuading both Jews and Greeks."

Acts 19:8:  "And entering into the synagogue he was speaking boldly for three months, reasoning and persuading the things concerning the Kingdom of God."

Acts 26:28:  ”And Agrippa said to Paul, 'In a little bit you're persuading me to be a Christian.'"

Acts 28:23:  " ... he expounded to them, solemnly testifying to them the Kingdom of God, persuading them concerning Jesus from the Law of Moses and the prophets from morning until evening."

Of what was Paul trying to persuade people?  I believe Agrippa understood.  He was persuading them to become Christians, to become believers in and followers of Jesus Christ and citizens of the Kingdom of God.

His methods of persuasion may have differed, as we read in the Book of Acts and in his epistles.  When he dealt with Jews -- those who had the Bible -- he used the Bible to persuade; when he dealt with gentiles -- those who did not have the Bible -- he used whatever means and arguments were available, natural revelation, or even their own religious beliefs.  Though he denied  trying to "please men" he did all that he could to remove barriers.  He "became all things to all that he might save some" (1 Corinthians 9:21).

Shouldn't this be our goal?  Shouldn't we also, by our words and actions be doing all that we can to persuade people to come to Christ?  I pray that this may always be my goal in all conversation, even though it may not be verbal.  And in this blog I pray that though it may not always be the main goal of a particular post it may lie beneath the surface in all that I write.  And I especially pray that nothing I say would persuade others otherwise.  If so, I hope my readers will correct me.

I'm afraid and saddened however, that some Christians and many preachers do not have this as their goal, but see themselves less as trying to be like Paul and his great example Jesus and more as emulating the prophets of the Old Covenant, ranting against the sins of the world.

They forget (or never realized) that the prophets' burden was to bring God's Old Testament people in line, while the New Testament witness is to bring people to faith in Christ.

And I find myself being criticized for not being like them, for allegedly "calling evil good and vice versa."  I don't believe I have done any such thing.

While I hope that I won't hesitate to repent and apologize when I err (which I do frequently) and am corrected, I make no apologies for not conforming to others' criteria.  I pray that in my case the answer to Paul's second question will be no, and to the third will also be no.

1 comment:

Religious Chic said...

Thank you for this. You have brought great verses into remembrance. When we witness we need to do it to please Christ and not fear men.

Evangelism should always be verbal though. We witness with out words. Faith comes by hearing and hearing the word of God.

Always in order for those to come to faith in Christ they must hear about sin. If they do not understand sin they will not understand the gospel.

In Christ :)