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January 19, 2020 | Doug Sauder
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“For I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God that brings salvation to everyone who believes . . ."—Romans 1:16 (NIV)
Have you ever been ashamed of something? Ashamed to tie your name with a person or group? Ashamed of an entity you at one time were glad to promote? I’ve seen situations where people who support a certain ideal, politician, company, or group lie about their affiliation because they are afraid of negative consequences.
Sadly, it seems more and more Christians are ashamed of the gospel. Often, we’re afraid to share the gospel because the world is increasingly hostile toward believers. We don’t speak up because we don’t want to be seen as intolerant or bigoted; we don’t want to be “on the wrong side of history.” According to HELPS, “Epaisxynomai (dishonor) refers to being disgraced, bringing on ‘fitting’ shame that matches the error of wrongly identifying (aligning) with something.” It speaks of feeling “disgraced, like someone ‘singled out’ because they misplaced their confidence or support (‘believed the big lie’).”
But listen to why Paul says we should NEVER feel shame about the gospel: “Because it is the power of God that brings salvation to everyone who believes.”
We don’t have to worry about being on the wrong side of history when it comes to the gospel of our Savior. We never have to worry about being disgraced by the grace of God. We never have to wonder whether or not we misplaced our confidence because our “hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us” (Romans 5:5 NIV).
In the preceding verses, Paul talks about coming to Rome to preach to Greeks and non-Greeks, to wise and foolish, to anyone he’s given the opportunity to speak to. It didn’t matter who he stood before, he wasn’t ashamed to share the gospel. Paul was stoned, imprisoned, and rejected by many for his boldness. But none of that mattered. Why? Because the gospel of Jesus is the only thing with the power to save and transform, “for in the gospel the righteousness of God is revealed—a righteousness that is by faith from first to last” (Romans 1:17 NIV). And if Paul had the opportunity to reach even one person with the gospel, it was worth it!
I pray we would have this heart toward the gospel . . . the same gospel that tells us that when we were shameful and sinful, God was not ashamed of us. Instead, He subjected Himself to shame and disgrace in order to shower us with His good and glorious grace. Amen?
DIG: Describe a time when you felt ashamed about something you had an affiliation with or supported.
DISCOVER: What are some things that cause Christians to feel shame or fear in regard to sharing the gospel? How would Paul encourage us in these things?
DO: Pray for a holy boldness today, the kind of boldness that unashamedly stands firm upon and proclaims the gospel of Jesus Christ.