Romans 1:16-17 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. 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.”
What great encouragement there is for us today in this part of God’s infallible Word.
Firstly, we are reminded that our salvation rests secure because it is based entirely on what God has ALREADY DONE for us, and not on what we might manage to do for him. All we need to do is RECEIVE Christ’s finished work on the cross BY GRACE through FAITH alone (Ephesians 2:8-10).
Secondly, we are reminded that, although Jesus came to the JEWS as their Promised Messiah/Saviour, his saving work is extended to encompass ALL who put their trust in him – Jews and non-Jews (Gentiles) alike. The Apostle John provides us with a picture of what this looks like: “Then I saw a Lamb, looking as if it had been slain, standing in the centre of the throne, encircled by the four living creatures and the elders. … … And they sang a new song: ‘You are worthy to take the scroll and to open its seals, because you were slain, and with your blood you purchased men for God from every tribe and language and people and nation. You have made them to be a kingdom and priests to serve our God, and they will reign on the earth” (Revelation 5:6a, 9-10).
Thirdly, we are reminded that, although our society is becoming more and more OPPOSED to the truth and authority of his Written Word, the Gospel our God has entrusted us to proclaim to it is still POWERFUL to save. So even when we are so strongly and publicly criticised for affirming the unpopular TRUTH of what follows these verses, Romans 1:18-31, we need not, we MUST not, be ashamed of doing so. The Holy Spirit of our Sovereign God is still working throughout our society, in fact throughout our whole world, to bring people out of darkness into his wonderful light (1 Peter 2:9). “For God, who said, ‘Let light shine out of darkness,’ made his light shine in our hearts to give us the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Christ. But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us.” (2 Corinthians 4:6-7).
I will try to remember these three things next time I am tempted to allow myself to be ‘conformed to the pattern of this world’ (Romans 12:2) by being ‘ASHAMED’ of the Gospel.