The apostle Paul said that he was, “not ashamed of the gospel ...” (Romans 1:16) yet there seems to be many Christians who are ashamed of the Gospel.
There are parts of the Gospel message that people genuinely do not like. When they hear these biblical truths, they object to them, or scoff at them. They think the Gospel is ridiculous or offensive. The world’s response to the Gospel can make a Christian embarrassed, ashamed, or reluctant to share the Gospel.
The world generally does not like hearing the following:
- All have sinned and deserve God’s judgment.
- God’s judgment for sin is eternity in Hell.
- God has every right to judge mankind.
- God loves mankind and provided one way for man to be forgiven. There is only one way to Heaven.
- Jesus said that He was, “The way, the truth, and the life, and that no man could come to the Father except through Him” (see John 14:6).
- God put on flesh, walked among us, died on a cross, was raised three days later, and ascended to Heaven.
Theologically and philosophically, there is much that the unbeliever disagrees with and mocks. That kind of opposition can make a Christian ashamed to share the Gospel.
There are other things that can cause a Christian to be reluctant to share the Gospel.
There is much within Christendom and what is wrongly called Christendom that does not represent my heart, and of which I am discouraged by or ashamed of.
- People with signs that say, “God hates gays.”
- Church scandals and high profile pastors who sin and do not repent.
- Churches that beg for money.
- An overemphasis on politics, including mudslinging and name calling done in the “name of Jesus.”
- The fact that much of the church universal is known for what it is against rather than what it is for.
There are many such things within Christendom or Churchdom that do not represent the heart of God, or represent me, and yet I find myself guilty by association in the eyes of many. That can unfortunately cause a Christian to be ashamed to share the Gospel.
Yet the apostle said that he was not ashamed. There was much in his world that might have caused him shame regarding the Gospel, and there is much in our world as well.
How do we “not be ashamed” of the Gospel?
Paul gives us the answer in the same verse.
Regarding the Gospel, Paul says, “For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ, for it is the power of God to salvation for everyone who believes."
Who is not ashamed of the Gospel? The one who believes it, has been changed by its power, and is being changed by its power. That is the one who is not ashamed of the Gospel.
The Gospel may be foolishness or offensive to many, but to me, it is life-giving, powerful, hopeful, encouraging, equipping, providential, and protective. It is real to me and is increasingly real to me with every year that passes. The Gospel has become precious to me. How could I be ashamed of it?
I liken this to my experience with chiropractic. Some say that chiropractors are quacks, that they are not real doctors, that they just keep you coming back, and that nothing ever improves.
But I say, ”I am not ashamed of chiropractic”! Why do I say that? Because I have been going to chiropractors for 30 years and have experienced the benefits of chiropractic care. Are there bad chiropractors out there? Sure there are. Say what you want about chiropractics, I am not ashamed. Chiropractic works, and my life testifies to that.
In an infinitely greater way, “I am not ashamed of the Gospel” in spite of the wrong representations of Jesus; in spite of church failures, in spite of pastoral failures, in spite of name calling and mudslinging; in spite of it all.
Jesus has NEVER done anything that would cause me to be ashamed of Him. The Gospel has saved me, has changed, is changing me, and shall deliver me into glory.
The one who believes and keeps believing the Gospel, experiences the Gospel, and is changed by it, is the one who is not ashamed of the Gospel.
Focus on believing the Gospel, and you won’t be ashamed of it.