Having explained his choice of self-denial Paul now explains why his ministry’s outreach was so successful. By immersing himself into various branches of society, the apostle would benefit from a wider audience than those in ministry who are less flexible.
“19 For though I am free from all men, I have made myself a servant to all, that I might win the more.” (1 Corinthians 9:19)
Paul, delivered from bondage to the Law declares his life one of service to God through his ministry. In an effort to gain and save souls the apostle would dedicate the rest of his life to advancing the gospel and preaching the word of God to all.
“20 and to the Jews I became as a Jew, that I might win Jews; to those who are under the law, as under the law, that I might win those who are under the law; 21 to those who are without law, as without law (not being without law toward God, but under law toward Christ), that I might win those who are without law; 22 to the weak I became as weak, that I might win the weak. I have become all things to all men, that I might by all means save some.” (1 Corinthians 9:20-22)
Because he was of Jewish origin, Paul possessed knowledge of the Law. Therefore when preaching to the Jews, he acted as a Jew, respecting the Law when in the presence of Jews so not to offend them. Alternatively when Paul was in the presence of Gentiles, he acted as a Gentile thereby abandoning his Jewish customs so to reach out to Gentiles as a Gentile rather than a Jew.
“23 Now this I do for the gospel’s sake, that I may be partaker of it with you.” (1 Corinthians 9:23)
Paul immersed himself among his audiences not to offend God, or the Law, but in harmony with the law of Christ which is based on love and the advancement of the gospel. The apostle goal was clear: He would do what was necessary to spread the good news about Jesus Christ and deliver the word of God.
“24 Do you not know that those who run in a race all run, but one receives the prize? Run in such a way that you may obtain it.” (1 Corinthians 9:24)
Paul makes reference to a race whereas only one participant can win the prize. He calls on believers to run the Christian race as if there were only one prize in spite of the fact there are indeed countless prizes. The knowledge of such fact should not discourage us instead it should inspire us to advance the gospel so to allow those unsaved to join us in winning the prize which is eternal life in heaven.
“25 And everyone who competes for the prize is temperate in all things. Now they do it to obtain a perishable crown, but we for an imperishable crown.” (1 Corinthians 9:25)
To differentiate the prize of an actual race to that of the Christian race Paul compares both crowns, one as perishable, on this world with a finite existence, and the other of the spiritual world with infinite rewards. HOw much more driven then should Christians be to gain such an eternal crown?
“26 Therefore I run thus: not with uncertainty. Thus I fight: not as one who beats the air. 27 But I discipline my body and bring it into subjection, lest, when I have preached to others, I myself should become disqualified.” (1 Corinthians 9:26-27)
With confidence Paul describes his race as one honorable to God, in tune with the very gospel he preaches. Just as Paul, through discipline and devotion, believers run the race empowered by the word of God until we reach the finish line where our crowns await us. Let us pray!
We thank you for your blessings in our lives and for your servant Paul,
We praise you Lord for his wisdom and for his works through this scripture,
We ask you Lord to inspire us to use these verses in our lives
As we grow in you through the teachings of your faithful apostle.
Lord we ask you to strengthen us each day as we endure through battles,
Allow us to praise and love each other through faith in you Jesus,
Shield us from evil through truth, the gospel, salvation and prayer,
Guide us to abide by your word as we spread your gospel to one and all
Becoming examples of faith through our character as we walk the narrow path.
God we pray that you will continue to bless us, to bless our lives and fill us with hope
We ask you Lord to guide our footsteps and lead us to the way everlasting,
Through faith in you Lord we seek salvation and a place with you in heaven
According to your word, your everlasting wisdom and strength.
May your will be done
In our lives, for your life.
We thank you for your love and all you bless us with each day.
This message was written by Daniel St.Pierre