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 is a man who gave up everything for Christ.  And in his day, he was probably one of the least expected to do so.  He was a zealous Jew, who knew all the law and the components that came with it in regard to strict adherence to it.  Before he committed himself to the work of Christ, his name was Saul from the city of Tarsus.  Paul was a disciple of Gamaliel, a Jewish rabbi in the first century and a leader in the Jewish Sanhedrin, of which Paul would eventually become a member.  Gamaliel was well respected, being a grandson of the famous Rabbi Hillel who wrote a commentary on the Torah; the first five books of the Hebrew Bible/Old Testament.  This relationship with Gamaliel no doubt provided Saul much solid teaching of Jewish law and beliefs.  We see Him first at the stoning of Stephen for his supposed heretical belief in Jesus as the promised Messiah, where he held the robes of those throwing the stones and thereby approving of Stephen’s execution.  He was on his way to arrest many more Christians in order to rid the world of this cult when Christ made Himself visible to Saul who then realized all he had done was wrong and offered himself totally to the work of Christ.

Because of this Saul, who I will now refer to as Paul, was cast aside by the Jews as an apostate.  And by the wise of the Gentiles, “when we are slandered, we try to conciliate; we have become as the scum of the world, the dregs of all things, even until now.” 1 Corinthians 4:13.  However, even though he was considered worthless to the Gentile leadership and the Jewish nation, where before he was regarded with much applause by both, he was not ashamed.  “According to my earnest expectation and hope, that I will not be put to shame in anything, but that with all boldness, Christ will even now, as always, be exalted in my body, whether by life or by death.” Philippians 1:20. Hope in this context refers to that which is expected with assurance and conviction.  It is not something wished for.  What Paul is saying is that no matter what befalls him, he will, with boldness and a steadfast strength, not in any way deny the truth of the gospel or water it down, even before emperors or kings, Jewish or Gentile leadership.  He will never compromise even in the least.  Christ will be magnified and declared the only way of salvation.  What drives him forward in this boldness?  The fact that the gospel is the power of God for the salvation to everyone who believes, both to the Jews and the Gentiles.

This should be what drives us as well.  The truth of the gospel is the most important message ever given to mankind.  It shows the only way of salvation.  It is absolute truth, and we should not be ashamed of this message but should be ready and anxious to declare it to a lost world.  Just as Paul lived a life totally contrary to this truth prior to his conversion, we also lived a life contrary to the truth prior to our conversion.  And the life we live now is infinitely greater than before.  We should never be ashamed of the gospel.  The word “ashamed” has the idea of, in the past tense, embarrassed or guilty of one’s actions, characteristics, or associations.  And in the present tense, reluctant to do something through fear of embarrassment or humiliation.  Are we reluctant to share the truth in certain situations?  Have we been ridiculed and become ashamed of a time where we shared the truth?  We all need to examine ourselves and see where we are regarding this.  To share God’s truth with boldness should be seen as a great privilege because this is our calling from the infinite God who exists and is there with us.

In closing, let us remember the words of Peter, where he wrote, “Beloved, do not be surprised at the fiery ordeal among you, which comes upon you for your testing, as though some strange thing were happening to you; but to the degree that you share the sufferings of Christ, keep on rejoicing, so that also at the revelation of His glory you may rejoice with exultation.  If you are reviled for the name of Christ, you are blessed, because the Spirit of glory and of God rests on you.  Make sure that none of you suffers as a murderer, or thief, or evildoer, or a troublesome meddler; but if anyone suffers as a Christian, he is not to be ashamed, but is to glorify God in this name.” 1 Peter 4:12-16.  Whatever we suffer in this life for the cause of Christ will glorify God and will be a source of rejoicing when He returns.  We must not focus on its effect on us, but how it glorifies God and how we will rejoice in the end.

However, I cannot end without these words of Jesus, “For whoever is ashamed of Me and My words in this adulterous and sinful generation, the Son of Man will also be ashamed of him when He comes in the glory of His Father with the holy angels.” Mark 8:38. No need to comment on this one, it pretty much speaks for itself.

William Funkhouser MDiv, ThD, Founder and President of True Devotion Ministries, Inc.

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