Not Ashamed (Romans 1:16)
Romans 1:16-17, “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. 17 For therein is the righteousness of God revealed from faith to faith: as it is written, The just shall live by faith.”
Paul was not ashamed or embarrassed of the “gospel of Christ.” It is the greatest blessing known to man. Romans 1:16 became key in the life of 27-year-old evangelist George Whitfield. In 1742, Whitfield was invited to preach at the fair at Marylebone Field, west of London with the condition that they would build him a platform. When the evangelist and his wife arrived at the fair-grounds, the sun was already down and the crowds were wild and rowdy. Muscular prizefighters challenged all comers to bare-fisted fights in the boxing ring.
Whitfield seldom displayed fear, but on that night, he was obviously nervous as he mounted the rickety little platform prepared for him. As George raised his powerful voice, people began to gather around him. The crowds at the gambling booths began to thin out toward Whitfield as he preached louder. Shortly into the sermon, George saw a group of bare-chested fighters strutting straight toward him. George's voice began to falter, but he suddenly felt a tug on his trousers. It was his wife Elizabeth who said to him, "George, play the man of God!"
Boldness shot through the veins of God's man as he firmly proclaimed without hesitation, "I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ! It is the power of Christ to everyone that believes!" He threw out his arms in a dramatic gesture and the platform nearly collapsed upon him. The fighters noticed the wobbly platform and tried to bring it down, but a group of Christians huddled around George. He continued to preach like a man trying to stand on the deck of a tossing ship. The people began to throw things at Whitfield. He was hit by a rock, a rotten egg, and manure, yet, he continued to preach on. When the evangelist finished his message, he was escorted to his wagon. A man lunged at George with a sword, but it was deflected by the cane of a friend. In spite of the pressure and harassment, Whitfield was a man of God that was not ashamed of the gospel of Christ. Not to the same degree of harassment as Whitefield endured, but 13 years of street preaching on Beale Street in Memphis, TN came very close. May we learn from his courage and his example to not be ashamed of the Lord and His Word.
While there were some things Paul regretted in life, there was no such shame in Paul concerning the Gospel! Paul had received and proclaimed that which was precious to his heart. Paul's confidence in the power of the Gospel, a massive theme of the book of Romans, is revealed here in two of the most powerful verses in all of the Bible (Romans 1:16-17). There is absolutely no doubt, the Gospel is precious! We must never be ashamed! Especially when we consider the truth that God is not ashamed of us (John 3:16; Romans 5:8; Luke 19:10). No greater treasure do we have than the Gospel of Jesus Christ. I have never experienced anything that compares to the power of the Gospel. God can take a lost sinner, save him by His grace, and create a new creature in him (II Corinthians 5:17). All of the programs man has developed can only offer temporal change to a man's heart, but the Gospel, the power of God, brings eternal change and life! (I Corinthians 1:18). The heart of man's problem is a problem of the heart. Until the heart is changed, there is no genuine change. We cannot receive that in ourselves, but Christ can bring eternal, effective change through the Gospel.
We should never be ashamed of the Gospel, “good news”, that brings the message of hope and life for all people. The message of the Gospel is what God has done and will do for us. He doesn’t say it brings power or has power, but that it actually is power. The Gospel’s power is seen in its ability to completely change minds, hearts, life’s course, our understanding of everything that happens, the way people relate to one another, and so on. Most of all, it is powerful because it does what no other power on earth can do: it can save us, reconcile us to God, and guarantee us eternity with God in Heaven. Too many are ashamed of Jesus and His Gospel. They are embarrassed and uncomfortable being identified and speaking up for Christ. Luke 9:26, “For whosoever shall be ashamed of me and of my words, of him shall the Son of man be ashamed, when he shall come in his own glory, and in his Father's, and of the holy angels.” II Timothy 1:8, “Be not thou therefore ashamed of the testimony of our Lord, nor of me his prisoner: but be thou partaker of the afflictions of the gospel according to the power of God.” Paul stood for Christ with a holy boldness because of his unwavering trust in Him. II Timothy 1:11-12, “Whereunto I am appointed a preacher, and an apostle, and a teacher of the Gentiles. For the which cause I also suffer these things: nevertheless I am not ashamed: for I know whom I have believed, and am persuaded that he is able to keep that which I have committed unto him against that day.” Many are ashamed and deny Christ because of peer pressure and intimidation. They are concerned about what others might say. They speak of sports, politics and world events, but they are silent concerning Christ. God help us to speak up for Christ.
The Bible says we are not to be ashamed of several things.
The Gospel Saves:
· It saves from sin’s penalty (doom) through justification.
· It saves from sin’s power (dominion) through sanctification.
· It saves from sin’s presence (domain) through glorification.
PRAYER: Lord, knowing that only in You is there love, hope, and life; help me to boldly proclaim the gospel of Christ to whomever I encounter. In Jesus name, Amen.
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Dr. Blackman is passionate about helping others grow in the grace of the Lord. His devotions are centered on how to grow closer to the Lord through a personal relationship.