I Am Not Ashamed of the Gospel! . . . Am I?
Inside: Do you get tongue-tied when you try to express your faith? Reasons to not be ashamed of the gospel, because your faith is placed in the right thing!
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Photo by Allen Taylor, christianpics.co
The young man giving me a pedicure had a large tattoo of a beautiful woman on his forearm. I felt prompted to ask him who this lovely lady was, but I was scared! I had seen one of my favorite gals there kneeling in prayer to a statue of Buddha. What if this tattoo was in honor of a Buddhist god? What would I say and how would I say it?
I sat paralyzed, pretending to write in my notebook.
Finally, I asked him, and it turns out the tattoo was of his lovely wife, who was also giving a pedicure! I didn’t really recognize her in the tattoo, but what a compliment for him to permanently mark his love for her!
Two days later, I received a request from a subscriber and friend to write about Romans 1:16, and my throat caught as I remembered my pedicure encounter.
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. (Romans 1:16 ESV)
Had I been ashamed of the gospel?
I so appreciate the challenge to wrestle with this passage! I would like to think that instead of being ashamed, I felt tongue-tied. Ah, maybe that is a rationalization. In any case, I so very much desire to speak with Paul’s courage!
Paul wrote these words as he was longing to travel to Rome, where he knew he would face opposition and criticism for his preaching. The thing is, Paul knew that although he might be shamed, or disgraced, he had nothing to be ashamed of, because the gospel is true, pure, and proven! He had put his confidence in the right thing!
So have we!
God’s Word is true, and its promises extend to us today!
Christ alone is the answer to separation from God, and this is the gospel’s power: that through faith in Jesus as our Savior, we are made right with God, not by the power of anything we do, but by God’s power! Among world religions this is unique, and “it is the power of God for salvation” that Paul talks about.
So although your hands may get clammy and your words garbled when you try to share Jesus’ love, your faith is placed in the right thing, and you can be confident of that!
Shall we be honest and admit that a little undergirding wouldn’t hurt? Let these somewhat random examples bolster your confidence in God’s Word and His plan of salvation:
- We accept Plato’s and Homer’s writings as authentic without any question. But look at this chart of how many manuscripts exist of each work compared to those of the Bible! Hello: Archaeologists and historians have found 5,600 manuscripts of the New Testament from within 100 years of the original compared to 7 manuscripts of Plato’s writings, and those are from 1,200 years after Plato’s original was penned! God left us more than a breadcrumb trail!
Photo taken from a broadcast of James MacDonald, Walk in the Word, TBN, April 10, 2018.
- Jesus fulfilled over 300 predictions concerning the Messiah. In 1957, the odds of one man fulfilling even 8 of those prophecies was estimated to be 1 in 10 to the 17th power. Write a 1 with 17 zeroes after it. The odds of one man fulfilling all 300 to 350 prophecies would be 1 in 10 to the 45th power! Not being a person who understands higher math, I can’t quite get my arms around that number! (See “More Info!” below.)
- You might read Isaiah 11:11-12 and 27:6 and then look up articles and images about the regathering of Israel and its flourishing crops. On the 70th anniversary of Israel’s modern existence, the prophecies in Isaiah are being fulfilled! (See “More Info!” below.)
It is not important to share these facts with your friends. Rather, these facts reinforce that your faith is set on solid ground. You can stand confidently and not ashamed of the gospel!
Paul effectively presented the gospel in Rome, and almost a decade later he found himself again in the metropolis, but this time imprisoned. In his last days in the dark Roman dungeon, knowing he would soon be executed, Paul wrote to Timothy, the young man he had mentored. What would he choose to say with the few words he had left? How would he inspire young, sometimes timid Timothy? You might recognize the first phrase:
8 Therefore do not be ashamed of the testimony about our Lord, nor of me his prisoner, but share in suffering for the gospel by the power of God, 9 who saved us and called us to a holy calling, not because of our works but because of his own purpose and grace, which he gave us in Christ Jesus before the ages began. (2 Timothy 1:8-9 ESV)
Do not be ashamed! Paul lived it without regret, and as he carefully chose his last words for his young protege, he returned to the same theme, encouraging Timothy to live with courage as well.
The words might come out all wrong, but a life lived with Jesus never leads to regret!
Would you join me in living out this faith in Jesus winsomely, unashamedly, so that our friends and family will see that the gospel is the power of God for salvation?
Do You Want to Know Jesus?
If you do not truly know Jesus as your Savior, but you would like to, He is right by your side, there for the taking, ready to walk with you. Consider talking with Him now: Dear Jesus, I don’t know you or understand who you are, but I want to be with you, and I want you to be with me. Please let me sense you in my heart, and help me walk with you. Amen.
Do You Know Jesus but Want to Surrender Anew to Him?
If you know Jesus but want to fully surrender to Him today: Dear Jesus, Thank you for everything you have done for me. You have given me everything I have. I ask you to help me release everything to you–my hopes, my dreams, my desire for control, my past, and my future. Forgive me of all of my sins, and cleanse me from all unrighteousness. I open my hands and my heart to you. In your precious name I pray, Amen.
If you want to dig deeper into God’s Word, work through these questions now or throughout the week:
1. Read 2 Timothy 1:8-14, and note all the reasons Paul advises Timothy to not be ashamed of the gospel.
I want to really encourage you to open your Bible and read this passage. For some reason, I could not figure out what passage we should focus on with today’s devotion. Friday came, and I attended a women’s night of worship. A godly young woman shared with us a list of verses on which to meditate. First on the list was 2 Timothy 1:9. You know how I am always saying read the context? So I scanned around verse 9 and was blown away by what I read: Do not be ashamed of the gospel!
Dear friend, let’s take this to heart and read what God wants us to read! 2 Timothy 1:8-14
2. Ask God to show you where you are ashamed of the gospel: Is there any part of God’s story and plan for salvation that troubles you? Talk with God about it and listen for His answers.
3. Write out what you believe about Jesus in two or three sentences. Take time to deliberately consider what you believe and write it down.
Praise and Worship: Not Ashamed!
Let these songs inspire you to live not ashamed of the gospel! The night of worship is also where I received the ideas for some of the songs below. God’s voice is not accidental! Choose one or two, or listen to a different song each day this week.
So Will I (100 Billion X) (Hillsong United)
Diamonds (Hawk Nelson) Especially listen for the last chorus of “I won’t be afraid to shine!”
Take My Life (And Let It Be) (Chris Tomlin)
For Your Inspiration!
All of these links go directly to Amazon, and you can use Prime if you have it.
(The product that says Genesis 1:27 really is of Romans 1:16. It is an error in the description on Amazon.)
If you are into Bible prophecies and mathematics, you might read this article about Messianic prophecies or this one by Josh McDowell on Jesus fulfilling Old Testament prophecy. The first article explains the original research, and Josh McDowell’s article lists many of the prophecies and addresses skeptics’ arguments.
You can read more about the ongoing fulfillment of prophecies about Israel at this article on Israel in Bible Prophecy.
More Favorite Bible Verses!
This has been one of my favorite series, and almost all of the articles have been based on reader suggestions! Did you miss any? Click on any of these links to find devotions on other favorite Bible verses:
Is It True that I Can Do All Things? (Philippians 4:13)
How to Find Strength When a Sword Pierces Your Soul (Luke 2:35. This one touched many hearts.)
How to Find Hope When You Don’t Have Hope (Lamentations 3:21-24)Print