“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 for faith, as it is written, ‘The righteous shall live by faith.'” Romans 1:16,17
Paul has expressed his love and concern for the believers in Rome. He has adamantly made known his desire to be with them. This great desire is driven by one purpose; he wants to share the gospel there! What has given Paul this great passion for the gospel? He understands the great price Jesus paid for him, and now, he sees himself in debt to all who have not heard the message of the cross. It is his privilege… and duty to introduce Jesus to everyone God places within his reach. (Romans 1:5-15)
In these verses (16-17), we are given access to some important truths about Paul’s perspective of the gospel that he has surrendered his life to. First, these often quoted verses are should be read in the context of verse fifteen. We should hear Paul saying, “I am eager to preach the gospel, because I am not ashamed of the gospel!” By not lifting the verse from its context, we are forced to ask an inquiring and probing question.
What message should I be receiving from the Holy Spirit if I am not actively involved in ensuring the gospel is preached in my home, in my community, and in my world? What if Paul had been like many believers today?
What if Paul’s schedule had been too busy? What if he had looked at the cost of getting this message to Rome, and decided the finances wouldn’t allow it at this time? What if Paul had taken into consideration that in Rome, he would be imprisoned and martyred for preaching the gospel?
Would Paul have equated a lack of eagerness on his part – – with shame for the gospel of Jesus Christ? Would he have anticipated hearing the words, “For whoever is ashamed of Me and of My words… of him will the Son of Man also be ashamed…” Mark 8:38
A very wise man once shared with me, “We should examine our priorities. We should examine them by our actions, and not so much by our words. Where we spend our time and where we spend our money is a direct reflection of where our priorities lie. Examined in this manner, our priorities may betray our professions.” And that betrayal, may unfortunately, paint a portrait of shame.
Paul declared that he was not ashamed! And for very good reason. The gospel of Jesus Christ is powerful! As a matter of fact, it is the only power God uses to save sinners. It is sufficient for salvation. The gospel meets the demands and requirements of a holy God.
That’s because the gospel can be defined by one word, one name… Jesus!
[Part 1 of a series on Romans 1: 16, 17]