ASHAMED OF THE GOSPEL?
ROMANS 1:16-18 PRINCETON CHRISTIAN CHURCH 15 AUGUST 2021
Today we are continuing in the letter Paul wrote to the church in Rome. We will be looking primarily at Chapter 1, verses 16-18.
We want to examine today that the only way to confront sin is to view it as God views It and to lay hold of the only means of escape our God has provided, through His Son Jesus Christ, who is our Savior.
When we read Paul’s letter to the Roman church we can see that he introduces himself and begins to take up his theme, developing it and adding harmony and beauty to it, somewhat like a composer as he was composing a major piece of music.
Paul begins by boldly saying he is not ashamed of the Gospel. He is eager to preach the Gospel in Rome. And why is he not ashamed of the Gospel? Why is he eager to preach that Gospel in Rome? Simply because the Gospel is the Power of God!
Paul did not have a new philosophy he wanted to share with the Roman Christians. He didn’t make up a message to bring to them. The message he wanted to share with them is one that came directly from God. The message is one which was for all people – to everyone who would believe, to the Jew first, and also to the Greek. It is God’s message. It is the way to salvation, and it is a specific way.
Paul begins to answer the question as to why is this salvation so essential? The answer is found in verse 18: “For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who suppress the truth in unrighteousness.”
The Gospel is called the power of God for salvation because it contains the provision which He has ordained for this end, which, if we accept, will make it happen.
Salvation, as seen by Paul, is an end and is difficult to reach. So much so that God’s power is required to accomplish it. The Gospel is that power.
And, it is God’s only power for salvation. So, he who is not saved by the Gospel will never be saved at all. For whoever rejects the Gospel there is no hope. They will be lost, without hope.
Three great powers oppose salvation – the world, the flesh, and Satan. These powers must be overcome. Only God’s power can overcome them. The Gospel, which contains hope, does this. This is why the gospel can be called God’s power for salvation. It is the power because it proceeds from Him. It is for salvation because God ordained that it could be, and will be.
The one great truth of the Gospel is that Jesus Christ is the Son of God. That is what is to be believed and what is necessary for salvation.
The facts which support the fundamental truth of who Jesus Christ is and upon which it rests are the death, burial, and resurrection of Christ. No one can reject these truths and expect to be saved.
The Gospel holds some conditions concerning salvation. It saves only those who believe it and obey it. To those who do not believe it, it is condemnation as Mark says in his writing in Chapter 16, verse 16: “He who has believed and has been baptized shall be saved, but he who has disbelieved shall be condemned.”
Another condition is that obedience must be added to belief. Obedience is the natural and logical outgrowth of our initial belief. Obedience springs out of belief. Many people believe, but neglect to obey the Gospel. They have separated obedience from belief, depending upon their belief. There is unity in the Gospel. To omit either belief or obedience is to dissolve that unity.
We are to be holy because sin is an offense against God. He would not be God if He did not abhor all evil. Habakkuk 1:13 says that God cannot look on iniquity. John says (1 John 1:5): “God is light, and in Him is no darkness at all.”
The truth is that all too often God is forgotten: yes, by the unsaved, but, sadly, all too often by those who have taken Christ as Lord. Often he is referred to as “our Daddy”, or “the man upstairs.” We forget that He is more than a Daddy; He is closer than that man upstairs. At least, He can be if we allow Him to reign over our lives. Failing to recognize that God holds all the power in the universe causes us to believe He is flesh like us, so He can just be another of our buddies. Sometimes God is seen that way because we are afraid to fully engage in God's power He possesses. Summing that up really means that we are ashamed, among our peers, to openly speak of our relationship with God or share Him and His gift of a savior for the lost.
Let’s look again at Romans 1:16: “For I am not ashamed of the gospel for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek.”
To be ashamed of the gospel is to be ashamed of Jesus. If we are ashamed of Jesus the result is that He will be ashamed of us as well. Jesus makes that clear as He speaks in Luke 9:26: “For whoever is ashamed of Me and My words, the Son of Man will be ashamed of him when He comes in His glory, and the glory of the Father, and the holy angels.”
The Gospel is the only thing in this world that will save our souls. It is Good News. It is above and beyond – superior to – anything ever offered to mankind. It is God’s achievement and His revelation. It is not man’s invention or design to change or try to improve upon.
The Gospel is not simply good advice that we can take it or leave it. The world is full of choices and advice – good and bad. Also, the Gospel is not a summary of lessons to be learned from the life of Christ. Far deeper than that, it is God’s method of providing life to a dead world, through the death of His Son.
If anyone thinks he can live without God, God says in effect, “Okay, see what you can make of it. “ This is the wrath of God manifested. He has given them over to a reprobate mind that he might be crushed and made aware of his foolishness, and so to be humbled. This is man’s condition, and this is Paul’s argument.
Also, the Gospel is not bad news to be feared. But, it is good news offered to all of mankind. Our acceptance of the Good News or the rejection of the Good News determines if it will be feared or welcomed.
It is God’s power unto salvation. Everyone is lost “…..for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God…” And, if that were all there was, everyone would be going to Hell. But, because of God’s grace and His love for His creation, He prepared a way of escape from Hell. That way of escape is through the blood, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ.
We are never to be ashamed of that which has the power to save us.