Are the people of God ashamed of whom they are? Have we become ashamed of the very message that we have put our hope of eternity in? Have we allowed ourselves to be backed into a corner by those who are ashamed? I’m not talking about the blatant unbeliever. We should expect those folks to attack, even hate the message we have come to love. Jesus said we would be hated by the world because of His name. No big surprises there.
No, I’m talking about the ‘believer’ who is ashamed of the message that supposedly saved them. These are the folks who loudly proclaim we should not offend people with truth. These are the people who say religion is a private thing and has no place in society or government around us. These are the folks who do not believe it is their responsibility to share the good news.
These also seem to be the folks who want to be accepted by and most like the world around them and still be ‘saved’. Could it be they want to be saved but don’t want the transforming power of that salvation?
Paul was not ashamed of the message or the power of it to transform a person.
Romans 1:16 (NASB95) 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.
Here Paul points to the transforming power of the gospel to change a life into something different from it was. Those of us of the Pentecostal/Charismatic persuasion tend to apply this to signs, wonders, miracles and the release of spiritual gifts. And yet, this is not the context of Romans 1. The context is in the life changing power of the gospel to change everyone from sinner to saint. The ability imparted by the power of the Holy Spirit to help us overcome our sin and sinful past.
This could very well be one of the litmus test of genuine salvation. Yes, I said litmus test. I know that is not popular in our day and time to question someone about their salvation. The immediate response is, “Don’t judge me!” and yet Jesus said we would know people by their fruits. One of those fruits is not being ashamed of the gospel, ever. Paul also said we are to examine ourselves and make sure we are in the faith. Why? Because if the fruit is not there, something may very well be amiss.
Paul warns us that we can take on a ‘form’ of godliness but not really be godly.
2 Timothy 3:5 (NASB95) 5 holding to a form of godliness, although they have denied its power; Avoid such men as these.
Again, and purposely belaboring the point, denying the life changing power of the gospel is a denial of the gospel itself. No one can declare themselves a follower of Christ and continue in blatant, rebellious sin with no regard for holiness of life. At the same time the great love of God is shown in His willingness to accept us and change us when we come to Him in genuine faith and sincerity of heart.
Jesus accepts us as we are, but He will not allow us to stay that way. When this life-changing event begins to take place, no genuine believer can be ashamed of the gospel. We know it is the power of God to salvation. The power that makes us something we never were before.