Not Ashamed – Rom 1:16-17
16 I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God for the salvation of everyone who believes: first for the Jew, then for the Gentile. 17 For in the gospel a righteousness from God is revealed, a righteousness that is by faith from first to last, just as it is written: “The righteous will live by faith.”
Paul an apostle of Jesus Christ is the author of this jam packed letter to the Romans. This guy began as the elite of the elite of Jews – like a pro surfer he knew when to take a wave, when to do awesome things in the water. This man knew the law and the OT back to front, if anyone deserved to go to heaven more than he did or get high five from God he was the one to get it. Paul’s intro:
Paul, a servant of Christ Jesus, called to be an apostle and set apart for the gospel of God— 2 the gospel he promised beforehand through his prophets in the Holy Scriptures 3 regarding his Son, who as to his human nature was a descendant of David, 4 and who through the Spirit of holiness was declared with power to be the Son of God by his resurrection from the dead: Jesus Christ our Lord.
Confidence in the Gospel (Rom. 1:16–17)
What a testimony: “I am debtor! I am eager! I am not ashamed!” Why would Paul even be tempted to be ashamed of the Gospel as he planned his trip to Rome? For one thing, the Gospel was identified with a poor Jewish carpenter who was crucified. The Romans had no special appreciation for the Jews, and crucifixion was the lowest form of execution given a criminal. Why put your faith in a Jew who was crucified?
Rome was a proud city, and the Gospel came from Jerusalem, the capital city of one of the little nations that Rome had conquered. The Christians in that day were not among the elite of society; they were common people and even slaves. Rome had known many great philosophers and philosophies; why pay any attention to a story about a Jew who arose from the dead?
1 Cor 1:18-25
18 For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God. 19 For it is written:
“I will destroy the wisdom of the wise;
the intelligence of the intelligent I will frustrate.”a
20 Where is the wise man? Where is the scholar? Where is the philosopher of this age? Has not God made foolish the wisdom of the world? 21 For since in the wisdom of God the world through its wisdom did not know him, God was pleased through the foolishness of what was preached to save those who believe. 22 Jews demand miraculous signs and Greeks look for wisdom, 23 but we preach Christ crucified: a stumbling block to Jews and foolishness to Gentiles, 24 but to those whom God has called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God. 25 For the foolishness of God is wiser than man’s wisdom, and the weakness of God is stronger than man’s strength.
Christians looked on each other as brothers and sisters, all one in Christ, which went against the grain of Roman pride and dignity. To think of a little Jewish tentmaker, going to Rome to preach such a message, is almost a joke.
But Paul was not ashamed of the Gospel. He had confidence in his message, and he gave us several reasons that explain why he was not ashamed.
The origin of the Gospel: it is the Gospel of Christ (v. 16a).
Any message that was handed down from Caesar would immediately get the attention of the Romans. But the message of the Gospel is from and about the very Son of God! In his opening sentence, Paul called this message “the Gospel of God” (Rom. 1:1). How could Paul be ashamed of such a message, when it came from God and centered in His Son, Jesus Christ?
Imagine being the school captain or a prefect and you were told to pass on messages from the Principal now it would have an awesome feeling to be to speak at assembly or walk into a classroom even while class was on and deliver an important message especially when everyone knew where the message was coming from.
The operation of the Gospel: it is the power of God (v. 16b).
Why be ashamed of power? Power is the one thing that Rome boasted of the most. Greece might have its philosophy, but Rome had its power. The fear of Rome hovered over the empire like a cloud. Were they not the conquerors? Were not the Roman legions stationed all over the known world? But with all of her military power, Rome was still a weak nation. The philosopher Seneca called the city of Rome “a cesspool of iniquity”; and the writer Juvenal called it a “filthy sewer into which the dregs of the empire flood.”
No wonder Paul was not ashamed: he was taking to sinful Rome the one message that had the power to change people’s lives! He had seen the Gospel work in other wicked cities such as Corinth and Ephesus; and he was confident that it would work in Rome. It had transformed his own life, and he knew it could transform the lives of others.
The outcome of the Gospel: it is the power of God for salvation (v. 16c).
That word “salvation” carried tremendous meaning in Paul’s day. Its basic meaning is “deliverance,” and it was applied to personal and national deliverance. The emperor was looked on as a savior, as was the doctor who healed you of illness. The Gospel delivers sinners from the penalty and power of sin. “Salvation” is a major theme in this letter; salvation is the great need of the human race
8 The wrath of God is being revealed from heaven against all the godlessness and wickedness of men who suppress the truth by their wickedness, 19 since what may be known about God is plain to them, because God has made it plain to them. 20 For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that men are without excuse.
21 For although they knew God, they neither glorified him as God nor gave thanks to him, but their thinking became futile and their foolish hearts were darkened. 22 Although they claimed to be wise, they became fools 23 and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images made to look like mortal man and birds and animals and reptiles.
24 Therefore God gave them over in the sinful desires of their hearts to sexual impurity for the degrading of their bodies with one another. 25 They exchanged the truth of God for a lie, and worshiped and served created things rather than the Creator—who is forever praised. Amen.
If men and women are to be saved, it must be through faith in Jesus Christ as proclaimed in the Gospel.
The outreach of the Gospel: “to everyone that believes” (vv. 16d-17).
This was not an exclusive message for either the Jew or the Gentile; it was for all people, because all men and woman need to be saved.
The great commission given by Christ before his ascension in Mat 28
“18 Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. 19 Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”
How awesome is it to have a message that is powerful that can be shared with anyone – your neighbor, your friend, a family member, someone you meet at the movies, for a coffee, or at the beach whilst surfing or even roller skating. The opportunities are limitless.
God does not ask people to behave in order to be saved, but to believe. It is faith in Christ that saves the sinner. Eternal life in Christ is one gift that is suitable for all people, no matter what their need may be or what their station in life. We can’t do anything to get eternal life– walk an old lady across the street, give to the poor, and listen to your parents, not any religion.
I’ll repeat this awesome news:
God does not ask people to behave in order to be saved, but to believe. It is faith in Christ that saves the sinner.
Imagine getting caught in a rip and you are dragged out to sea, you may be eaten by sharks or drowning is possible. Your muscles get weak and you almost give up! A life saver comes to your rescue; your one chance is to accept with faith that he is going to save your life. Willing to take the chance?
When you sum it all up, the Book of Romans is saying to us—“Be right!” Be right with God, with yourself, and with others! The righteousness of God received by faith makes it possible for us to live right lives. Rome needed this message, and we need it today: Be right! And need not to be ashamed of this good news that is for everybody..
Gospel is the ‘means’ to life that is eternal life in God’s coming age. When God accepts us it means that one day we are also accepted into his kingdom forever. It doesn’t mean that once you’re accepted you can go back to your old way of life.
No it means that you need to live a real life of faith in Jesus – not a fake life and lie about being a Christian but not living as one. Don’t feel embarrassed or intimidated about being Christian because you know a powerful message that can change lives. So tell people about Jesus because you know the good news.