September 24, 2023 | 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? I’ve seen situations where people who support a certain worldview, lifestyle, politician, company, or group lie about it or remain silent because they’re afraid of negative consequences. In today’s era of cancel culture and culture wars, of Twitter feuds and doxing, it’s easy to see why.
Even true, Bible-believing, Jesus-professing Christians aren’t immune to this. Often, we’re ashamed and 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 (the word translated as ashamed) 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 to today’s passage, Paul talks about coming to Rome to preach to Greeks and non-Greeks, wise and foolish, and 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. And believe me, Paul stood before a lot of people who considered him their enemy and didn’t agree with him. He was even stoned, imprisoned, and rejected for it, but that didn’t stop him. Why? Because the gospel is the power of God 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).
I pray we would have this heart toward the gospel . . . the same gospel that tells us when we were at our most shameful and lost, Jesus subjected Himself to shame and disgrace in order to shower us with His glorious grace. And having been recipients of this grace and reconciliation, we must be ready and willing to unashamedly share the truth and bring the hope and joy of the good news of Jesus to those around us, regardless of who they are, what they believe, or where they come from.
In the same way the gospel doesn’t discriminate based on a person’s lifestyle, culture, ethnicity, class, or background, and instead calls all to repentance and salvation, we need to be people whose hearts drip with compassion for those who don’t yet know Jesus. We need to be willing to reach across the aisle, cross cultural divides, and extend a hand to those who would otherwise consider us their enemies.
Pause: 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?
Practice: Pray for a holy boldness today, the kind of boldness that unashamedly stands firm upon and proclaims the gospel of Jesus Christ.
Pray: Father, I know and have experienced firsthand the power of the gospel and the salvation and restoration that is found in the finished work of Jesus Christ. And I pray that by Your Holy Spirit, my life would never be one of timidity or shame or hiding as it pertains to the gospel. I ask for renewed boldness to preach the gospel in and out of season. And in that boldness, I also pray for Your compassion and mercy and grace to wash over me in every conversation and interaction. I pray I may never shame someone through the gospel but share the gospel with them unashamedly so You can do what only You can do—save them and take away their sin and shame by the blood of Jesus. Amen.
Danny Saavedra is a licensed minister who has served on staff at Calvary since 2012, managing the Calvary Devotional and digital discipleship resources. He has a Master of Arts in Pastoral Counseling and Master of Divinity in Pastoral Ministry from Liberty Theological Seminary. His wife Stephanie, son Jude, and daughter Zoe share a love of Star Wars, good food, having friends over for dinner, and studying the Word together as a family.