“I please all men in all things.”—1 Cor. 10:33.
“If I yet pleased men, I should not be the servant of Christ.”—Gal. 1:10.
Though both these kinds of action are expressed by one term, to please, yet they are exceedingly diverse; no less so than a conduct which has the glory of God and the good of mankind for its object, and one that originates and terminates in self. The former of these passages should be read in connexion with what precedes and follows it: ver. 31–33, “Whether, therefore, ye eat or drink, or whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God. Give none offence, neither to the Jews, nor to the Gentiles, nor to the church of God; even as I please all men in all things; not seeking mine own profit, but the profit of many, that they may be saved.” Hence it appears plain that the things in which the apostle pleased all men require to be restricted to such things as tend to their “profit, that they may be saved.” Whereas the things in which, according to the latter passage, he could not please men, and “yet be the servant of Christ,” were of a contrary tendency. Such were the objects pursued by the false teachers whom he opposed, and who desired to make a fair show in the flesh, lest they should suffer persecution for the cross of Christ, chap. 6:12.
The former is that sweet inoffensiveness of spirit which teaches us to lay aside all self-will and self-importance; that charity which “seeketh not her own,” and “is not easily provoked;” it is that spirit, in short, which the same writer elsewhere recommends from the example of Christ himself; “We then, who are strong, ought to bear the infirmities of the weak, and not to please ourselves.—Let every one of us please his neighbour for his good to edification; for even Christ pleased not himself; but as it is written, The reproaches of them that reproached thee fell on me.”
But the latter spirit referred to is that sordid compliance with the corruptions of human nature of which flatterers and deceivers have always availed themselves, not for the glory of God or the good of men, but for the promotion of their own selfish designs.
Excerpt from: Passages Apparently Contradictory.
Fuller, A. G. (1988). The Complete Works of Andrew Fuller: Memoirs, Sermons, Etc. (J. Belcher, Ed.) (Vol. 1, pp. 671–672). Harrisonburg, VA: Sprinkle Publications.