Marvin L. Weir
The above words steadfastly state the apostle Paul’s courageous conviction regarding the glorious gospel of Christ (Rom. 1:16). A faithful child of God will never be ashamed of or embarrassed by scared matters! Paul did not have some man-made gospel in mind when he uttered the above words. A perverted gospel of carnal reasoning and human wisdom will only lead to division, chaos, and eternal damnation. Paul had no respect or fellowship with purveyors of an adulterated gospel. Neither should Christians today who profess to be faithful extend fellowship and encouragement to those who clearly have no reverence for a “thus saith the Lord.” One should learn from Paul’s words to the Galatian brethren:
I marvel that ye are so quickly removing from him that called you in the grace of Christ unto a different gospel; which is not another gospel only there are some that trouble you, and would pervert the gospel of Christ. But though we, or an angel from heaven, should preach unto you any gospel other than that which we preached unto you, let him be anathema (Gal. 1:6-8).
Coffman gives the following information regarding the city of Rome during Paul’s day:
What Rome meant then is almost beyond our comprehension…He, the itinerant Jewish preacher, is to conquer Rome for Christ. By what means? By the message of a Galilean who was executed as a criminal! Paul’s mention of not being ashamed of the gospel is appropriate, because in the city of Rome were all the trappings of human glory, pride, selfishness, power, and cruelty, also every extravagance of intemperance, vice, and idolatry. Raw, naked force was enthroned there. Those fierce Romans had controlled the world for centuries; and, in their lustful exploitation of power, they had shamelessly held all human honor and virtue expendable. Ruthless, unprincipled, power-politics sat naked and unmasked upon the throne of the Caesars; and, if there had been a place on earth where the gentle teachings of the Son of God were despised, the great harlot on the Tiber was that city.
Paul reveals his tremendous indignation for those who trample underfoot the precious Word of God and preach man-made creeds and wishful thinking which is nothing more than the devil’s lies. Antagonism toward the truth should be alarming to and vigorously opposed by a faithful child of God. To stand boldly for the cause of Christ without fear or favor is in short supply in today’s politically correct climate!
As immoral and depraved as our nation is today, I do not yet believe it has yet reached the depths to which Rome had sunk. We desperately, however, need to learn the great history lessons of the past before it is too late!
In spite of worldly threats and anti-Christian sentiment, the glorious gospel of Christ must be proclaimed and defended. One who will not do so is not worthy of salvation. Jesus warns in saying, “For whosoever shall be ashamed of me and of my words in this adulterous and sinful generation, the Son of man also shall be ashamed of him, when he cometh in the glory of his Father with the holy angels” (Mark 8:38). Let us learn some reasons why we are not to be ashamed of the gospel of Christ.
First, the gospel of Christ is the power of God. The Father’s love, mercy, and righteousness are clearly seen in the gospel. What the Jews called a “stumblingblock” and the Gentiles called “foolishness,” the Bible calls “the power of God” (1 Cor. 1:23-24). The power of God is present in the gospel but absent from the creeds of men. Many claim today to have power from God while they reject the demands of the gospel and follow the writings of men. When one does such, he is ashamed of the glorious gospel.
Second, the gospel is the power of God unto salvation. It requires the same power to save a soul as it does to create man or speak the world into existence. Without the gospel, man is helpless to save his soul, and man surely does not have the power to create something from nothing!
God did not design the gospel for recreation or entertainment. Neither was the gospel designed to meet man’s every social need. When will spineless elders and preachers in the Lord’s church accept this truth? It appears that it will be eternally too late for many to demand that God’s Word must take priority over man’s selfish desires and wishful thinking! The gospel was designed to save man’s soul, and nothing else can do what the gospel was designed to do. When the gospel is sacrificed for man-made whims and worldly innovations, man’s hope to be saved is in vain!
Third, the gospel is the power of God unto salvation to everyone that believeth. The amazing thing is that most people today refuse to see that one who will not obey does not believe. One who believes God will love Him and keep His commandments (John 14:15). During Jesus’ personal ministry His disciples asked a question that many today conveniently ignore. In John 6:28-29 the Bible states, “They said therefore unto him, What must we do, that we may work the works of God? Jesus answered and said unto them, This is the work of God, that ye believe on him whom he hath sent.” One will readily notice that there are works God commands to be done and that belief is indeed a work that man must obey. So much for the quibble about baptism being an unnecessary work! Keeping God’s commanded works includes obeying all that pertains to the plan of salvation, Lord’s Day worship, and living the Christian life.
Many who profess to believe God actually only believe the commands with which they agree. They reject as not being important or necessary those commands with which they disagree. One cannot with God’s approval, however, add to, take from, or substitute for divine mandates (Deut. 4:2; Rev. 22:18-19). Bible belief encompasses everything God has said about a matter.
Let us beware lest our actions demonstrate we are ashamed of the glorious gospel of Christ. May we truly say as did Paul, “For I am not ashamed of the gospel: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek” (Rom. 1:16).