16For I am not ashamed of the good news, for it is God’s power for salvation to everyone who believes, Jew first and also Greek. 17For in it God’s rightness is revealed from faith leading to faith, just as it has been written: The one who is made right by faith will live [Hab. 2:4]. — Romans 1:16-17
I love this verse. I love it so much that I used part of it in a book title. But I wonder if we really get the impact of this.
Am I ashamed of the gospel? Am I ever ashamed of the gospel? How would I know? How would you know?
I think most of us frequently show some shame in the gospel. This is natural. The gospel goes against all our pride as human beings. It says essentially that we cannot depend on anything we have done, will do, or can do for our eternal salvation or even for spiritual wholeness in this life. We are dependent on God’s grace. If we’re dependent on God’s grace we are beggars. We can’t go to God and demand anything as wages. We have only what he has given us. Period.
But how do we show shame in the gospel? Let me list just a few ways:
- By declaring ourselves unworthy of God’s gifts and refusing them.
Too frequently we refuse to receive from God because we feel unworthy. Well duh! We are unworthyâ€”in ourselves. But Jesus has made us worthy. When we continue to say â€œnoâ€ to God’s gifts because of unworthiness, we are showing shame in the gospel. We’re saying that God’s gift of salvation in Jesus isn’t good enough.
- By pretending that we did it anyhow.
I think we do this quite regularly whenever we show contempt for God’s children who are in some way less well-off physically or spiritually than we are. When we see an addict, if we look down on him we are showing shame in the gospel. Why? Because he gets to God and God’s grace in precisely the same way we do. One beggar can’t claim superiority over another based on what he got for nothing!
- By denying the power.
God gives grace, but the good news is also God’s power (v. 17) to work salvation (spiritual healing as well as eternal life) in us. But if we accept the gift and then refuse to let it work, we show our shame in the gospel. We tell God that we’d rather be what we were before than have him work his will in our lives.
Are you proud of the good news? Have you said it in you life and words today?