One of my favorite Bible verses has always been Romans 1:16 which says,
“For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek.”
As is true with so many other Scripture passages, the reading of this verse should not stop here, but continue on to verse seventeen which says,
“For therein is the righteousness of God revealed from faith to faith: as it is written, The just shall live by faith.”
In verse sixteen we see the power of God bring two groups of people together to form a third; i.e. the Church (Christians, the bride of Christ). This third group of people on earth is formed via the acceptance of the Gospel of Christ by those who put their faith in Jesus and are saved by the grace of God.
Before Abraham there was one group of people on earth, the Gentiles (Greeks). Then God chose Abraham to form a second group of earthly people called the Jew (Israel). Then Jesus came and called to Him a people for His name, the Christians, the third group.
Any person can be a part of this third group of people, but only if they come through Jesus.
“Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.” (John 14:6)
No person who is so honored to be called a Christian should ever be ashamed of the Gospel of Christ. Why? The answer is in verse seventeen which tells us this Gospel contains the righteousness of God and it is revealed to us from the moment we are saved to the time we leave this earth.
What is the Gospel in a nutshell? It is “Jesus.” He is the Gospel, and it is in Him we are saved by faith and we live day to day by faith. How could we ever be ashamed of the One who took our penalty upon Himself and saved us from eternal damnation?
Powerful words are spoken by the Apostle Paul in his last letter, just before his death, to his young protégé Timothy.
“So do not be ashamed of the testimony about our Lord or of me his prisoner. Rather, join with me in suffering for the gospel, by the power of God.
He has saved us and called us to a holy life—not because of anything we have done but because of his own purpose and grace. This grace was given us in Christ Jesus before the beginning of time, but it has now been revealed through the appearing of our Savior, Christ Jesus, who has destroyed death and has brought life and immortality to light through the gospel.
And of this gospel I was appointed a herald and an apostle and a teacher.
That is why I am suffering as I am. Yet this is no cause for shame, because I know whom I have believed, and am convinced that he is able to guard what I have entrusted to him until that day.” (2 Timothy 1:8-12)
Notice that he tells Timothy to not be ashamed of the Gospel (“the testimony about our Lord”) and to not be ashamed of him, the Lord’s prisoner.
Paul continues by saying that we are called to live a holy life because of God’s purpose for us and His grace provided us. Paul always proclaimed the Gospel of Christ and this is why he was suffering. “Yet this is no cause for shame.” Why is that? Because he knows Jesus, and he knows that everything Jesus has promised is as good as “already in the bank.” He knows his Lord will welcome him home with honor.
Why is it that so many Christians in America do not share the Gospel with others?
Are we ashamed? How can a true Christian be ashamed to talk about Jesus? That just does not make any sense.
Are we insecure? Are we afraid we may “mess up?” Listen carefully. We are told to share the Gospel. That is all. Now why is that? It is because only God can save anyone. The Holy Spirit will take our bumbling efforts and use them for the glory of Christ. We cannot convince someone to come to Christ. Only the Spirit of God can draw someone to Christ. So we need to be doing two things:
1. Share the Gospel.
2. Let God do the rest.
Are we concerned that someone may laugh at us, or make fun of us? They may think less of us? We may lose a friend? What is so bad about any of that?
Jesus was laughed at. They made fun of Him. They thought less of Him. He lost many “friends.” He was beaten then crucified naked upon a Roman cross for all to gaze upon. He wasn’t ashamed of us. How can we ever be ashamed of Him, when He went through so much for us? How can we ever be ashamed of Him, when He forgave us all our sins and gave us so much of Himself and all that is His?
Christians, let us mark this day with a rallying cry to never be ashamed of the One Who was never ashamed of us. Let us encourage each other as we see the day approaching of His return.
“Yet if any man suffer as a Christian, let him not be ashamed; but let him glorify God on this behalf.” (1 Peter 4:16)
“And now, little children, abide in him; that, when he shall appear, we may have confidence, and not be ashamed before him at his coming.” (1 John 2:28)
Pre-Rapture Commentary: http://grant-phillips.blogspot.com
Rapture Ready: http://www.raptureready.com/featured/phillips/phillips.html