What We Believe

November 26 Daily Devotional

Do I Seek to Please Only Men?

Dr. John H. Skilton

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. - Galatians 1: 10

Bible Reading

Galatians 1:

1Paul, an apostle, (not of men, neither by man, but by Jesus Christ, and God the Father, who raised him from the dead;)
2And all the brethren which are with me, unto the churches of Galatia:
3Grace be to you and peace from God the Father, and from our Lord Jesus Christ,
4Who gave himself for our sins, that he might deliver us from this present evil world, according to the will of God and our Father:
5To whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen.
6I marvel that ye are so soon removed from him that called you into the grace of Christ unto another gospel:
7Which is not another; but there be some that trouble you, and would pervert the gospel of Christ.
8But though we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel unto you than that which we have preached unto you, let him be accursed.
9As we said before, so say I now again, if any man preach any other gospel unto you than that ye have received, let him be accursed.
10For 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.
11But I certify you, brethren, that the gospel which was preached of me is not after man.
12For I neither received it of man, neither was I taught it, but by the revelation of Jesus Christ.
13For ye have heard of my conversation in time past in the Jews' religion, how that beyond measure I persecuted the church of God, and wasted it:
14And profited in the Jews' religion above many my equals in mine own nation, being more exceedingly zealous of the traditions of my fathers.
15But when it pleased God, who separated me from my mother's womb, and called me by his grace,
16To reveal his Son in me, that I might preach him among the heathen; immediately I conferred not with flesh and blood:
17Neither went I up to Jerusalem to them which were apostles before me; but I went into Arabia, and returned again unto Damascus.
18Then after three years I went up to Jerusalem to see Peter, and abode with him fifteen days.
19But other of the apostles saw I none, save James the Lord's brother.
20Now the things which I write unto you, behold, before God, I lie not.
21Afterwards I came into the regions of Syria and Cilicia;
22And was unknown by face unto the churches of Judaea which were in Christ:
23But they had heard only, That he which persecuted us in times past now preacheth the faith which once he destroyed.
24And they glorified God in me.


A Christian who was visiting a theological institution was shocked at the advice given by one of the professors. The professor was asked by a student what the answer should be to a man who inquired as to whether Jesus had raised Lazarus from the dead or not. The professor advised the student to ask the man what he thought about the matter, then to agree with him and quickly change the subject. If the man said that he believed that a miracle had been performed, the student would say that he held the same opinion. But if the man said that he did not believe that a miracle had been performed, the student would endorse that opinion as well. The Christian later complained about this unprincipled advice to an official of the institution. The official had no comfort to give him. He informed the Christian that the professor's advice simply represented the way to get along with people!

Certainly Paul was not a member of the faculty of that theological institution! He held the unpopular conviction that yes and no meant different things. He had the unusual viewpoint that it is our duty to please God rather than man. He could indeed be concessive and conciliatory to men when no principle was involved, when pleasing men would not be opposed to pleasing God. But where truth and principle were concerned, Paul was inflexible: "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."

For January 1, 2010 through December 31, 2010, we are planning to post Andrew Kuyvenhoven's Daylight, a full-year daily devotional, with each month devoted to a particular theme (January—Your Kingdom Come, February—Living with God, March—Sharing the Suffering of Christ, etc.).

So that we can begin the Kuyvenhoven postings on January 1, we are re-posting until then devotional selections from Think on These Things, a daily devotional prepared by the late Dr. John H. Skilton, an ordained minister in the Orthodox Presbyterian Church and for many years Chairman of the New Testament Department at Westminster Theological Seminary, Philadelphia.

We are indebted to P & R Publishing and Skilton House Ministries for permission to use this copyrighted material on the OPC Web site. (P & R held the copyright from 1975 to 2005, at which time they reassigned the copyright to Skilton House.)



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