ashamed? (the unbelieveable gospel)

“For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek. For in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith to faith; as it is written, ‘BUT THE RIGHTEOUS man SHALL LIVE BY FAITH.'” — Apostle Paul, Romans 1.16-17

So as we dive into the meat of Romans, we see Paul declaring emphatically that he isn’t ashamed of the gospel. Why would Paul have to start with that particular statement? A quick look at the book of the Acts of the Apostles gives a great background on Paul’s announcement that he is “unashamed”.

First and foremost, Paul is unashamed of the gospel because it is “the power of God.” As another biblical writer so aptly put it,

“Salvation belongs to our God”

The gospel intrinsically deals with the Sovereign of the Universe, and in no way should any man be ashamed to speak those truths that most directly pertain to God Himself. But in reality Paul had good reasons to be ashamed.

First, Paul’s day was one of absolute moral degeneracy, the hideous days of Nero. Rome had become a moral sewer, a cesspool of inconceivable wickedness. This environment stood in direct opposition to the moral righteousness at the core of the gospel.

Further, Paul was a Jew by nationality, a member of a race that was thought by many of that day, and our own, to be despicable and sub-human. They were believed to only be worthy to be cursed, enslaved, and ill-treated. Naturally, Paul would be apprehensive while among non-Jews, and in his flesh would have desired greatly to shy away from them.

Beyond even that, the gospel that Paul preached was, and still is, nearly unbelievable. A male member of the despicable Jewish race is said to be the Savior of the world, and not only was He said to be a Jew, he was said to be a mere man like all other men, while also being God clothed in the flesh. Moreover, his death was said to be different from the death of all other men, and to top it all off, He was said to have risen from the dead. According to the gospel Paul preached, this resurrection was said to be proof of His divinity. Claims that are that unbelievable made the gospel a contemptible thing in the minds of many. A “sane” man would shrink away from making such claims!

Furthermore, let’s not forget that the gospel got Paul into some serious trouble with no small number of people on a fairly regular basis. The authorities threw him into jail in Phillippi (Acts 16.19-23), the religionists ran him out of town in Thessolonica and threatened his life in Berea (Acts 17.5-15), and the intellectuals laughed him out of Athens (Acts 17.32). The preaching of Christ, and Him crucified, was considered foolish by the Gentiles, and was a stumbling block to his own people, the Jews.

Despite all of that, Paul doesn’t go and hide in some other part of the earth and start over. Here he is, literally in the midst of it, writing to the church at Rome…

So how about us? Are we ashamed of the gospel? Do we really believe that it is the power of God unto salvation? If so, what are we doing about it?


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