Read ROMANS 1:14–17
14 I am obligated both to Greeks and non-Greeks, both to the wise and the foolish. 15 That is why I am so eager to preach the gospel also to you who are in Rome.
16 For I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God that brings salvation to everyone who believes: first to the Jew, then to the Gentile. 17 For in the gospel the righteousness of God is revealed—a righteousness that is by faith from first to last, just as it is written: “The righteous will live by faith.”
New International Version (NIV)
Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
The human proclivity is to sometimes be embarrassed or to deny what we know to be true. God is not ashamed of us, and we must never be ashamed of the Gospel.
How should a missionary describe the people he is going to evangelize? Paul here uses terms that resonate with his Roman audience, who viewed Spain as part of the “barbarian” world lacking Roman sophistication or Greek wisdom. Paul believes he has a God-given obligation to bring the Gospel to this part of the world. The conventional division of the world into races is to be broken down as the Gospel brings people from every background into one community of faith.
Will the Gospel appeal to the “barbarians,” because it is itself shameful? Shame is a controlling idea in much of the world. From childhood, people are taught what actions bring shame on themselves and their community—these are the things to avoid. We see the dark consequences of such a belief in honor killings and more subtly when someone is patronized because they didn’t go to the right school! Crucifixion was a shameful thing. To publicize that the Son of God suffered such a death and that this brings salvation and a new relationship with God turns these values upside down. Paul declares that he is not ashamed of being a proclaimer of this Gospel. He knows that the power of God is released through bringing the reality of salvation. This salvation breaks down another cultural
barrier—that between the Jews and the Greeks.
In the Gospel, it is revealed that something the world regards as shameful is, in reality, God putting right the evil of the world. As Habakkuk testified (Hab. 3:17,18) in the midst of God’s judgment on Judah, there is a call to faith and faithfulness for God’s people, knowing that God’s righteous purposes and the salvation of his people are being worked out to his glory. This is how God rebuilds the universe shattered by sin, as he establishes new communities centered on the crucified Messiah, based on Gospel values.
Do you think you appear as someone who is not ashamed of the Gospel? Why, or why not?