CLXXXIX. Men Pleasing.

GAL. i. 10. “For do I
now persuade men, or God? or do I seek to please men? for
if I yet pleased men, I should not be the servant of Christ.”

THE only way in which we can persuade God is by taking
His way as ours, not by hoping to get Him to take our
way as His. Paul had been delivering a very harsh judg-
ment; and it might be said that this attitude was wrong
in a minister of the religion of love. But he says the
question is not one of gaining over men, but of standing
right with God. But it might be objected, “Is it im-
possible to conciliate men and God at the same time?” He
replies: “I can no longer please men as once I did, be-
cause I am become the servant of Christ.” The doctrine
of Paul was not lawless licence, but the service of Christ,
the one true and sure way of deliverance from the service
of man.
I. Deliverance from the fear of man and the necessity to
please him may be taken as a general description of the
liberty of Christians; while the necessity to please man
represents in a very typical manner the non-freedom of a
a natural unredeemed man.
All social relations involve an endeavour and a desire to
please. But what is good and necessary for a social life
must not be changed into a fatal bondage.
This bondage is part of the bondage of sin. It is
exemplified in customs of hospitality; in men-pleasing
extravagance in matters of outward show; in doubtful
conversation; in undue conduct on the Lord’s-day. We
must ask, not, “How can I best please my neighbour?”
but, “How can I best glorify God?”
II. How are we to be set free from this yoke of time-
servers?
1. We must be in a personal relation by faith to Christ
as our Saviour. A life to and for God is only possible in
Christ.
2. We must always look to Christ not only as Saviour
but as Lord and King. A bare abstract sense of duty will
not deliver us from this bondage. Let us ask ourselves
whether we are so serving Christ as to be set free from
serving man.
W. Robertson Smith, M.A.

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