I Am Not Ashamed
Rom. 1:16 ¶ For I am not ashamed of the gospel; it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who has faith, to the Jew first and also to the Greek.
Going out on a limb as a follower of Jesus Christ has never been easy. Paul went against the religious leaders of the day to put his trust and faith in the gospel of Jesus Christ. What he and the other apostles were proclaiming was something different and to many people it seemed like foolishness. However, he knew that Jesus was the rejected cornerstone and he was putting all of his trust in the gospel, the good news about Jesus. This good news included resurrection power found in the activity of Christ which resulted in power for salvation to all.
While Paul was well educated in the Jewish world, he also responded to the call of God to go and minister to the non-Jews of his day. Again, this could have been viewed as being foolish, but Paul was not ashamed of the calling that he received from God.
As I think about these simple words, “I am not ashamed” I wonder about the places in which I find myself as a follower of Jesus Christ. As Christianity comes more and more under attack it seems that it could become more and more uncomfortable to talk about being a follower of Christ. There are times when people look at you as if you are crazy to be a Christian these days.
A research study was recently done by Pew regarding religious retention rates. Those of us in the holiness tradition didn’t fare all that well with only 32% of those raised in this faith remaining affiliated with it in adulthood. Now, quite honestly there were things that happened in the holiness movement in the mid 20th century with a strong turn toward legalism that left a bad taste in the mouth of many of those who attended and they have not felt comfortable in staying.
However, if the core of the message became legalism and not the freeing message of holiness we have a problem. The incredible message of the transformational power of the Holy Spirit in the lives of God’s children should not be something about which we should be ashamed. Paul was not ashamed of the gospel — the whole gospel! He believed in the power of salvation for everyone and from this we understand justification by faith and God’s working in the lives of his followers. The point is that Paul also believed in the message of holiness, for this was the whole gospel. The calling from God was not just into salvation but into a holy life and for this Paul was not ashamed. This was the salvation that was promised, a salvation that not only set us free from sin, but a salvation which transformed our lives on a daily basis, allowing us to become more and more like Christ.
Are we ashamed of the potential that is available to us in Christ? Why should we be? Could it be because we got hung up on the wrong things and it’s time to focus on the true essence of the gospel? Jesus has provided the power to transform our miserable lives into fulfilling ones caught up in the desire to follow Christ. This is powerful news and Paul knew it. We can know it and should not be ashamed to proclaim it to all those with whom we come into contact. May we not be ashamed of the gospel which we have been blessed to receive!
Lord, may I share your gospel with the world around me today. Amen.