Verse of the Day Devotion: Romans 1:16
“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.” – Romans 1:16
Paul claims here that he is not ashamed of the gospel. Why does he think he needs to say this? He declares in his first letter to the church in Corinth the following. “For indeed Jews ask for signs and Greeks search for wisdom; but we preach Christ crucified, to Jews a stumbling block and to Gentiles foolishness,” 1 Corinthians 1:22-23.
Regarding the Jews, Adam Clarke writes in his commentary on 1 Corinthians the following, “There never was a people in the universe more difficult to be persuaded of the truth than the Jews: and had not their religion been incontestably proved by the most striking and indubitable miracles, they never would have received it.” In essence, if the Jews had not seen the miracles, they would never had received the message God gave them. Remember the parting of the Red Sea. “As Pharaoh drew near, the sons of Israel looked, and behold, the Egyptians were marching after them, and they became very frightened; so the sons of Israel cried out to the LORD. Then they said to Moses, “Is it because there were no graves in Egypt that you have taken us away to die in the wilderness? Why have you dealt with us in this way, bringing us out of Egypt? Is this not the word that we spoke to you in Egypt, saying, ‘Leave us alone that we may serve the Egyptians’? For it would have been better for us to serve the Egyptians than to die in the wilderness.” Exodus 14:10-12. They would not believe what God had told them because they saw the Egyptians and they feared. Then, God parts the Red Sea. We see this pattern throughout the Old Testament. And this does not just refer to the Jews in the Old Testament. “Then some of the scribes and Pharisees said to Him, “Teacher, we want to see a sign from You. But He answered and said to them, “An evil and adulterous generation craves for a sign; and yet no sign will be given to it but the sign of Jonah the prophet;” Matthew 12:38-39.
As for the Greeks, the best example was Paul’s visit to the Areopagus. They were more interested in wisdom than truth. Paul gave a compelling argument regarding God, Him being the creator, that He is not in need of us but desires for us to seek after Him. However, when he brought up the resurrection, we read, “Now when they heard of the resurrection of the dead, some began to sneer, but others said, “We shall hear you again concerning this.” Acts 17:32.
As we can see, the Jews required a sign, and the Greeks were seeking wisdom. Paul was ridiculed by the leadership of both, essentially saying that he could not prove to them what he was saying. They found his declaration ridiculous. However, he continued preaching the gospel. He did not stop because they laughed at him or called him silly. The Jews did not see a viable sign that Jesus, a meek, lowly and impoverished man would save the world, and the Greeks saw no wisdom in his words. Do we not see the same thing today? Are we strong enough not to be ashamed of the gospel of Christ, or do we hide our belief from those who may ridicule or despise us because of the gospel? It is important that we show there is no cost we will not pay to share the truth with anyone, and to share it with boldness and surety. God is real, Christ is real, and the gospel is real. Let’s show it by our not being ashamed of declaring the reality of it and not backing down.
William Funkhouser MDiv, ThD, Founder and President of True Devotion Ministries.