We continue with our discussion through Paul’s Letter to the Romans, verse by verse. Today we reach one of the most famous portions of the letter. In Romans 1:16,17 Paul writes,
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. 17For 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.”
We are going to camp right here for a few days if you don’t mind because there is a lot I do not want to miss.
If you have missed any of our previous discussions they can be found on THE ROAD THROUGH ROMANS PAGE.
Paul has already discussed that he is obligated to bring the gospel to the Greeks and the barbarians because of a debt he owes them which is actually a debt he owes to God the Son, Jesus. That said he takes things a step further when he says, “I am not ashamed” of the gospel.
We have all been obligated to do things we would rather not do, things that we are forced by some higher power to do that make us almost ashamed, things like: taking your little brother to the movie with your friends because mom says so, dancing the Polka with your little sister in front of the relatives because Gramma thinks you are as good as the dancers on Lawrence Welk or taking your third cousin to the prom because your Dad owes Uncle Innunzio money.
I bet you’re getting the picture here. There is a world of difference between being obligated to do a thing and being unashamed to do it. Paul is letting his readers know that not only is he obligated to do this thing called preaching the gospel he is unashamed to do it. He is glad to do it no matter the consequences. He would choose it even if he was not obliged because he loves God and because whatever anyone else may think Paul is genuinely sold on the concept that the gospel works. Paul is not some used car salesmen playing a numbers game to please the boss man. Paul is a true believer.
I’m a New Englander. I really get the concept of obligation. Duty is practically my nick name. I cut my teeth on the Protestant work ethic and I come from a long line of work-a-holics. I can put in more than an honest day’s labor. But that alone doesn’t cut it for God. It’s the attitude that is the key. You see, no amount of work can make up for doubting “your product” and to be honest sometimes it is doubt that fuels my work. I wonder sometimes if Jesus is really going to show up and so I work extra hard at being a back up savior in case the REAL ONE doesn’t come through. Can anybody out there relate?
This is a problem that I have had to work through for many years. I am getting better at remembering I am not the Savior nor am I responsible to prove that Jesus is. My only job is to proclaim that He is Savior and Jesus takes it from there. Anything else is just me being ashamed and doubtful that the gospel will really work.
I suppose being ashamed of the gospel can come out in a lot of ways. Have you ever struggled with it? IF so what did that struggle look like?