Rom. 1:16

"I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the
power of God for the salvation of everyone who believes."

Did you ever wonder why Paul found it necessary to make this statement?  After all, who in their right mind would be ashamed of the gospel?   Hmmm . . .

According to the Merriam-Webster Dictionary shame is either 1. A painful emotion caused by consciousness of guilt, shortcoming, or impropriety; or 2. A condition of humiliating disgrace or disrepute.  It is hard to see the good news about Jesus as the SOURCE of one's guilt or the REVEALER of one's shortcomings or inappropriate behavior.  The gospel, in fact, is all about God's SOLUTION for our guilt and shortcomings.  That is what makes it GOOD news.  Because of what Jesus has done for us, none of the things we used to be ashamed of are counted against us; our guilt has been swallowed up in God's grace.  

Maybe Paul is thinking of the second definition of shame.  The truth is that in a fallen world where many do not honor the name of Christ, being labeled as a follower of Christ probably won't make you popular or build your reputation.  Believing the "good news" may even make you a fool in the eyes of some.  So if your objective is to make yourself acceptable to the worldly wise, it might be best not to mention the cross of Christ.  The gospel didn't make Paul popular either; he was beaten and imprisoned and came close to being stoned to death because of his testimony about Jesus. 

Ah, but all that took place at the same time that Paul and his friends were watching the glorious gospel of God turn the world right-side up again.  Paul clearly wasn't afraid.  And Paul had good reason NOT to be ashamed of the gospel; he knew firsthand how it could convert the heart and renew the mind.  He was convinced that the works of Jesus ARE the power of God and their purpose is the redemption, the justification, the sanctification and the glorification of all who hear and respond in faith.   As Paul persevered in his calling to proclaim the good news the church grew and prospered and the lives of people were changed.  Their bondage and hopelessness become freedom, faith, and the assurance of life everlasting. 

Friends, in the same way that Paul was not ashamed of gospel, we must not be ashamed of the gospel.  You can be assured that the power of it has not diminished with the passage of time.  It is still the power of God!  And when it is proclaimed with boldness and without apology the church still grows and prospers and the lives of people are still changed.  

Pastor Keith Andrews