For I am not ashamed of the gospel
Romans 1:16 (ESV) 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. 17 For in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith for faith, as it is written, “The righteous shall live by faith.”
Paul sets his stall out clear, “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.” what a statement to make! I LOVE IT! (Yes I am shouting!) This is what I want for my life. To be so immersed in the gospel that it oozes out of my very pores, that people will come to me to find out what is different, to have my light shine so brightly in this dark world that I am like a lighthouse shining and guiding people to the safety of heaven.
Now that I have shone light on my failings let us begin to examine this statement. For Paul to state that he is not ashamed of a gospel that could very well end his life in a clear and present way is to me phenomenal. Paul was in danger from the Romans who believed that this fledgling religion based on a Jewish messiah was dangerous to the rule of Rome, he faced opposition in both Jewish camps, and both the Sadducees and the Pharisees for differing reasons did not want the spread of the gospel of Jesus Christ and would want Paul to “go away”. In their minds, Paul was a deserter from the Jewish faith and this new doctrine was heresy.
This is Paul “nailing his colors to the mast” and standing up for the truth of the gospel. This is important based on his readership; his readership is in one of the most cosmopolitan, worldly, polytheistic cities in that time in the world. The Romans believed they were the pinnacle of mankind. That every good thing came through the Roman Empire. If these converts were Roman citizens, don’t you think they would feel ashamed of embracing this Hebrew/Jewish messiah who was sentenced to death by the very same Roman Empire? Would there be conflicting views of the heart on possible disloyalty to the empire?
Paul encourages the recipients that regardless of any other allegiances they might have their first allegiance is to Christ. This is awesome coming from Paul as when he was Saul and persecuting other Christians he was so zealous about keeping the letter of the law, doing all the good works, following all of the 613 rules and squashing any other religions that came up against Judaism.
Paul later in this letter tells us in the 3rd and the 5th chapter.
Romans 3:21 (ESV) …But now the righteousness of God has been manifested apart from the law, although the Law and the Prophets bear witness to it— 22 the righteousness of God through faith in Jesus Christ for all who believe. For there is no distinction: 23 for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, 24 and are justified by his grace as a gift, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus…
Romans 5:12 (ESV) …Therefore, just as sin came into the world through one man, and death through sin, and so death spread to all men because all sinned—13 for sin indeed was in the world before the law was given, but sin is not counted where there is no law. 14 Yet death reigned from Adam to Moses, even over those whose sinning was not like the transgression of Adam, who was a type of the one who was to come. 15 But the free gift is not like the trespass. For if many died through one man’s trespass, much more have the grace of God and the free gift by the grace of that one man Jesus Christ abounded for many…
Paul is keen to talk about God’s grace and what a difference between this and the works based faith that was his life previously under the Law. It is as he states “the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes” Paul states also that this is for both the Jew and the Greek (or Gentile) it is freely available to everyone, regardless of sins committed, regardless of previous faith, regardless of social status, regardless of where they were born, it has the power to transform lives dynamically.
When we are saved we are bought with a price, free from sin, free from Satan’s hold on us and free from things that take us from God. We don’t always exercise our free will correctly and slip into sin, we know that we can always repent and are free from the wrath of God who will punish sin. Paul tells us this is available to “EVERYONE WHO BELIEVES”
We have to live righteously, it is not just enough to believe and just flat line, we have to grow in faith, we have to “live by faith”. Believing is step one, that is the first step on a journey, and then we have to grow. By believing in Jesus Christ it is a freedom from the death sentence of sin. Once we make that decision to live for Christ, we then should want to in our spirit grow in God and seek after the things of God, which is not to say that our flesh wills otherwise.
We have support in that we have his spirit (Holy Spirit) in us to help and guide us and we have the power of prayer, we have the best therapist, the best shrink, the best counsellor ion the world, there is no waiting time and no expensive copays. Jesus paid it all! How exciting is that!
I saw yesterday on Facebook a graphic that gave a rather challenging message “You can’t walk with Jesus and hold hands with the devil” and many of us do that, there is that one thing (big or small) that you just have not surrendered to the LORD. It may be a public thing, most often it is a private thing.
I really struggle with money; I have a hard time when there is no plan. I probably am missing out on blessings because I haven’t surrendered that part of my life. Could also be why in my driest times financially it becomes “desert like” in my opinion that is a shortfall in myself and it is an area where I need to let go and trust the God who provided “daily bread” for the children of Israel in the desert.
We have to fully let go, live by faith. I don’t advocate giving up your job or abandoning any responsibilities but we have to be 100% sold out (I have some way to go) get ourselves to the place where God can use us effectively, get rid of our “golden calves” and actually do what God has planned for us and “not be ashamed” that way we can change and positively impact the area God has placed us in. (Or if we are living in an area because of our flesh, move to where God has called you) Let NOTHING hold you back.
If you hadn’t guessed these two verses get me pumped up! I hope that my excitement did not spoil your enjoyment of the article and I hope the points that God put on my heart to share came through.
God bless you one and all and TGBTG