Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Be Not Ashamed - Be Confident

15 So, for my part, I am eager to preach the gospel to you also who are in Rome. 16 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. 17 For in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith to faith; as it is written, “But the righteous man shall live by faith.”
Romans 1:15–17 (NASB95)

 We've heard "For I am not ashamed of the gospel" quoted from the pulpit and may even have used it ourselves ... but what does it really mean?  What idea was Paul trying to communicate here?

First, what it does not mean.  This is not about a parent telling a child, "I'm so ashamed of what you did (or did not) do."  God is not saying He is ashamed of you for not witnessing.  To use this passage to make that point is a total misuse of scripture.  This is actually an affirming scripture, not one that condemns!

Rather, Paul is expressing his confidence in the Gospel - that it will not let him down.  What is the Gospel?  It's the message about Jesus, perfect Son of God who died for our sins that we may have forgiveness and restoration.  Paul is also saying that the message is universal - Jew to Greek - and consistent in that it takes "faith" and that faith is consistent over time - "faith to faith".  There is only one object of true faith - God - progressively revealed from the Jewish "faithfulness" (there's no word in Hebrew for "faith")  starting with Abraham to completion in Jesus and the Gospel of the New Testament.

So, this is really about the fact that we can and should be Confident that the Gospel message is True.  But, how does this confidence arise and grow?  Stay tuned for my next post.

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