“So as much as is in me, I am ready to preach the gospel to you who are in Rome also. For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ, for it is the power of God to salvation for everyone who believes, for the Jew first and also for the Greek. For in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith to faith; as it is written, “The just shall live by faith” (Romans 1:15-17).
The apostle Paul desired to preach the gospel to the saved in Rome. He had no shame in that gospel message. The gospel reveals the righteousness of God – God’s plan for making man right (Romans 3:21-22). Some are ashamed of the gospel of Christ, or certain aspects of it. But like the apostle, we ought not to be ashamed of the gospel of Christ.
We should not be ashamed of the theme of the gospel of Christ – “Jesus Christ and Him crucified” (1 Corinthians 2:2). According to the wisdom of this world, Jesus Christ and Him crucified is foolishness, but to those who are being saved, the gospel is the power of God. (1 Corinthians 1:18) There is no other name than Jesus Christ by which we can be saved, there is no forgiveness of our sins without the death of Christ, and there is no hope without His resurrection. And so we ought not be ashamed to teach and to preach the message of the cross.
We ought not to be ashamed of the narrowness of the gospel of Christ. Jesus said there is a “broad way that leads to destruction, and there are many who go in by it,” but on the other hand, “narrow is the gate and difficult is the way which leads to life, and there are few who find it” (Matthew 7:13-14). The gospel of Christ declares just ONE way of salvation for every man and woman of every generation in every place (Acts 4:12). The one way excludes all other ways. We live in a time and a place where the catchwords are “inclusiveness” and “diversity,” and that influence is alive and well in religion. And so the exclusiveness of salvation through Christ is not popular. It might be easy to find yourself ashamed of the gospel’s singularity, but this is God’s way, not yours or mine.
We should not be ashamed of the narrowness of the gospel of Christ in regard to its teaching about the one church. Several years ago when I asked a brother why he wanted to leave the Lord, he told me the idea of the one, true church does not ring true to him anymore. He had bought into the lie of the devil, and the price he paid was higher than he knows. The Bible tells us that Jesus said, “I will build My church” (Matthew 16:18). That’s singular, not plural. On the day of Pentecost after His resurrection, His church was built, for “the Lord added to the church daily those who were being saved” (Acts 2:47). The concept of just one church that belongs to Jesus, in a day when there are thousands of “churches” with differing names, organizations, worship, and works, is not popular. But again, we ought not to be ashamed of ONE church.
We should not be ashamed of the gospel’s one way to be saved. The gospel of Christ declares one must hear the gospel of Christ in order to produce faith (Romans 10:17), believe in Jesus as the Christ (John 8:24), repent of his sins (Acts 3:19), confess his faith in Jesus Christ as the Son of God and the Savior of the world (Romans 10:9, 10), and be baptized for the remission of his sins (Acts 2:38). This is not “church of Christ” teaching; this is the teaching of the gospel of Christ in the New Testament. The teaching is narrow, for there is no other way to become a Christian. We ought not to be ashamed of this ONLY WAY to be saved.
Finally, we ought not be ashamed of the gospel’s teaching about living holy before God. The grace of God teaches us, by the gospel, “denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly in the present age, looking for the blessed hope and glorious appearing of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ” (Titus 2:12-13). We must not be ashamed to preach and teach, as well as live, the true meaning of repentance. Becoming a Christian means a commitment to no longer be conformed to this world but to be transformed, presenting ourselves as slaves of righteousness for holiness. I fear many cannot identify godly, holy living from worldliness. We ought not be ashamed of the gospel’s teaching about a transformed life.
gospel’s theme and its narrowness may be despised by the world, but the gospel
of Christ is still the power of God unto salvation today. Let us confidently, boldly, and unashamedly
preach, teach, and live every part of it. -Larry Jones