Q. In Romans 15:1-3, Paul tells us to please others, preferably our neighbor, for their own good. He then goes on to say that Jesus Christ did not come on this earth to please himself at all. However, in Galatians 1:10, Paul said that if were to please men, he would not be a servant of God. When comparing these two verses together, what do they mean? Are we to please God or please others?
A. These two verses cannot be compared because they are speaking about two different issues. In Romans 15:1-2 Paul was talking about stronger believers bearing with the failings of those who are weaker, helping to build them up. It’s a summary of all the things he spoke of in Romans 14. In Romans 15:3 Paul was agreeing with what Jesus said in John 6:38 about not coming to Earth to do His own will but the will of the Father who sent Him.
In Galatians 1:10 the subject is whether we should do what’s popular (pleasing men) or what’s right (pleasing God). The popular thing would have been to go along with those who were trying to combine the Law and grace, but the right thing was to speak against doing so.