Romans 1 pt 3
Not Ashamed Of The Gospel
Pr Edi Giudetti
16For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvationto every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek. 17 For therein is the righteousness of God revealed from faith to faith: as it is written, The just shall live by faith.Romans 1:16-17
There is nothing more precious that the Gospel of Jesus Christ, it is the means and manner and hope for all people, but with it comes the warning to all people.
After Romans 1:17 comes the greatest explanation of the ruin of man found anywhere in the scriptures. It tells of the downward spiral of depravityof man when the truth of God is rejected.
But the two verses before us now give to us, in the most condensed form possible, both;
The Proposition of the Gospel
The Power of the Gospel,
The Purpose of the Gospel, and finally;
The Presence of the Gospel.
The Proposition of the Gospel
16For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to everyone that believeth;
Propositions are put to us every day.It is difficult in-fact to escape any of them, especially if you live in a world where technology has a significant impact on your life. Many things daily are proposed to us, some things beneficial, most things either harmful or having no benefit.
A proposition is simply that which is put forward to you as an offer to accept.
Advertisingis the most obvious form used today, but so too are propositions made in the business world, they are made in meetingsof all kinds, they are made by friends, by family, by Politiciansand scientists, teachers. Believe it or not they are also made by film makers, story tellers and musicians.
My children and even some of my friends often get frustrated with me because I have a tendency to pick out the message movies are telling us that most people miss. They say “Can’t you just sit and enjoy the movie without thinking too much about it”. What people don’t get is that I enjoy it the way the producers intended it. They have said that every movie they make has a message to deliver and are frustrated that many people don’t see it!
Propositions, ideas or items offered to be received!
All of these mediums and more, propose to us on a daily basis something we are to accept as having value or faith in.
In other words, we are preached toby many sources, from many angles, propositions we are encouraged to believe.
As I said, some are good, most are either harmful or have no benefit.
Paul finished his introduction to the Romans in verse 15 saying, “So as much as in me is, I am ready to preach the gospelto you that are at Rome also”
His proposition is The Gospel…not just any gospel, but the Gospel of Christ.
Gospel simply means the Good News, but today it has come also to mean The Truth!The Gospel is a proposition to be presented and commanded to be believed.
Yes, COMMANDED. The Gospel is the ultimate command to be OBEYED.
Romans 10:15-16 says
“…How beautiful are the feet of them that preach the gospel of peace, and bring glad tidings of good things! 16 But they have not all obeyed the gospel…”
Peter asks the question in 1 Peter 4:17
“For the time is come that judgment must begin at the house of God: and if itfirst begin at us, what shall the end be of them that obey not the gospel of God?”
What shall be their end?
Paul gives answer to that specifically in 2 Thess 1:7-9 saying
“…when the Lord Jesus shall be revealed from heaven with his mighty angels, 8 In flaming fire taking vengeance on them that know not God, and that obey not the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ:9 Who shall be punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord…”
The Gospel is the Proposition of all Propositions. For if it is both the good news and the truth, then it is the one proposition of all to be believed by all!
Paul begins verse 16 by saying;
“For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ”
In these days where iniquity abounds and the love of many has waxed cold, MANY are ASHAMED OF the Gospel of Christ.
To preach salvation through the cross of Christ is considered foolishness. The way of truth is not only not known by the world but it is scorned even by those who are called by his name. You would think the Church would be the sure place where the Gospel of Christ is preached faithfully each and every Sunday, yet in this day of apostasywe find that you have more chance of being encouraged and comforted in a life of sinthan you would of salvation from the eternal punishment of sin.
Most pastors today are little more than pillow fluffers to their blissfully ignorant, sleepwalking congregations. Their Sunday program consists of 45 minutes of mind numbing mantra music, followed by a fifteen minute motivational “feel good about who you are as you are”message, until they put them back to sleep with another 15 minutes to half an hour of ‘Back-beats to get a buzz by’.
Congregations are manipulated by the music rather than moved by the message.
Now, having received their musical morphine, the audience leaves these ‘self-glory’sessions more senseless to their true spiritual state than when they came in. Pastors not daring to preach of the damnation of the sinner with his sin, and the way of salvation through believing the Gospel in case they offend someone’s sensibilities.
Anything but “the whole council of God’ is preached because they are ASHAMED OF THE GOSPEL
But we know that this is a typical case of supply and demand; the Bible makes perfectly clear that it is the congregations, who, “after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears; 4 And they shall turn awaytheirears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables.” (2 Tim 4:3-4)
But there is nothing new under the sun, these “carnal Christians” are just like the Israelites of old that Isaiah recalls in Isaiah 30:9-10 saying
“That this is a rebellious people, lying children, children thatwill not hear the law of the LORD:10 Which say to the seers, See not; and to the prophets, Prophesy not unto us right things, speak unto us smooth things, prophesy deceits:”
How was it possible for George Whitefieldto gather tens of thousands of people to hear him preach of the rotten state of each one of those who would hear him. Hell, he came to warn them of, “flee from the wrath to come”was his message, and thousands gathered to hear it. HARDLY A RELATABLE effort!
One must wonder how Spurgeonwas able to effectively preach the Gospel without keyboard accompaniment to manipulate emotions, I wonder how Paul did it, Peter, Phillip, Jesus?
What of Jonathan Edwards?No stage lighting for this man, a single candle provided the lightfor the hand-written sermon he read to his listeners entitled “Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God”.
Congregations were so overcome by the fear of their state, one was reported to have gripped the timber pew in front of him and cry out of fear “What must I do to be saved!”. His sermon was described by another member of the congregation as “White heat”, and yet he was not an Orator, the report on this sermon was that he just read it from the paper, even without passion.
Richard Baxters“A Call to the Unconverted to Turn and Live” stands in stark contrast to Joel Osteens “Your Best Life Now”.
Like Paul, these were men who also were NOT ASHAMED OF THE GOSPEL OF CHRIST.
None of them wealthy, none of them seeking fame or fortune, none desiring popularity, all saying of Christ “He must increase but I must decrease”
I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ, It speaks of salvation through one who was hung on a Cross as a criminal.
It is so simple in its message even a child can understand it and be saved. Hardly complicated enough for the learned and the scholar to accept as having any value without their embellishments.
It is propositioned by people of low degree and generally not the wealthy and well to do, or the noble and well birthed.
It is accepted by sinners; criminals and harlots, drug addicts and all those broken by life.
“For ye see your calling, brethren, how that not many wise men after the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble,are called: 27 But God hath chosen the foolish things of the world to confound the wise; and God hath chosen the weak things of the world to confound the things which are mighty; 28And base things of the world, and things which are despised, hath God chosen,yea, and things which are not, to bring to nought things that are:29 That no flesh should glory in his presence.”
Perhaps that is why many are ashamed of the Gospel, no man can glory in that which has nothing to do with him. Those who boast, can only boast of that which comes from their own ability, their own power. But the gospel is not through the power of men;
The Power of the Gospel,
16For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth;
The gospel is the demonstration of the power of God unto salvation.
- No matter the multitude of rituals, no matter the level of self-flagellation, or self-harm a person might do to punish himself for his sin, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God thereby.
- You can count a billion rosary beads and be no closer to God than when you first began.
- You can swallow a billion wafers spoken to by a priest and you are no more a part of the body of Christ than that dry biscuit is!
- You can pray fifty times a day facing any direction you think is right, and it is still the wrong way to heaven.
- You can give all your goods to feed the poor, start charities, bring entertainers together for some benevolent cause, let a church inherit all your wealthafter you die, knock on a thousand doors every weekend, distribute a hundred pamphlets a daytelling of an Earthly heaven, but none of this will save you.
- As a sinner, you are still damned to an eternal lake of fire when death comes.
It is the Gospel and the Gospel alone that is the Power of God unto salvation.
Salvation is God’s plan, not ours. Not a human on earth could achieve it, or even think of it.
It was Aristotle who was reported to have written to his former teacher Plato saying, “I know it is for God to forgive sin, but I do not see how”.
Aristotle understood that a JUST God cannot permit sin to go unpunished, and he also knew that a merciful God can forgive sin, but what he could not understand is how those two things can be done by the same God against whom the crime of sin is committed.
Enter the Gospel of Jesus Christ;
The predicament of man is that all have sinned and come short of the glory of God, there is none righteous, no not one!(Romans 3).
Like any crime against society, sin against God has a cost and therefore a price to pay.
When a criminal comes before the law to be tried for his/her crimes, Justice is done only when a just conviction of the crime is accomplished and accomplished quickly, (We all see today what happens when a given society does not get justice from a crime, Vigilantes rise up until a form of governance called Anarchy is established.)
But when justice is meted out quickly, Society is satisfied that the cost of the crime against society is being redeemed. When the criminal completes his sentence, a balance is seen to be reached and his crime has been paid for, as far as his debt is concerned, it is paid in full, IT IS FINISHED.
Crime against a temporal state is temporary (unless it is a capital crime, where the life of the guilty would justly be taken away.)
But, sin against an eternal God is eternal in nature.
Sinless Man was created for fellowship with Sinless God, but when man sinned, there was no place for him to be found with God, and death came into the world. At the time of Adam, a physical and spiritual separation from God occurred.
Man was not created to die, he was never made to suffer mortality, that’s why death seems so incredibly surreal when you have lost a loved one. It just does not seem right, it seems not normal, even though death is the norm from Adam till now.
Through life man has opportunity to turn to God, until his death. In other words, mankind has a second chance.
Not so the angels that fell, as non-physical beings they do not die, the devils now only wait for the time they will be cast into hell, man however has been given opportunity to be redeemed, but only during his lifetime.
The power of God unto salvation is through the shed blood of God the Son, who paid the price for the sin of the whole world, why? Because 16 … God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.
Man, born in sin and as a sinner cannot help but sin.
NB: Remember, man is not a sinner because he sins, man sins because he is a sinner!
Man cannot save himself in life, there is nothing he can do to redeem his own life
16For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvationto every one that believeth;
There is also an exclusion respecting the Gospel. Salvation is not available for everyone. I know you might have thought it was, but it’s not.
Salvation is ONLY to everyone that believeth!
The Purpose of the Gospel
17For therein is the righteousness of God revealed from faith to faith:
The purpose of the Gospel reveals the righteousness of God. It is that simple. Nothing else declares his goodness and his love for mankind greater than the Gospel of his son. Nothing reveals the power of God greater than the salvation of mankind through the death and resurrection of Christ.
When we consider the character of any person, we look at what they do, how they act, how they behave in certain situations.
Many years ago I looked to get into business with a certain individual, we were to be partners together. I have known the man for a number of years and the times we have shared together has always been good. As far as I was able to tell he would have been a valuable partner to me. But our relationship was NEVER tested, we never had an argument.
It is only through difficult timesin the lives of people that the true natureof an individual is revealed. So I decided that it would not be wise to go into business with that person at that time.
Today I would think differently about it, I still could not go into business with him because the Bible makes clear of the danger of being yoked to an unbeliever, but in the natural sense his character has been proven to me by his behavior and how he handles difficulties, if he knew the Lord I would certainly consider the union, because his character has been revealed to me by his actions.
God reveals his own righteousness through the giving of his only begotten son as an offering for the sin of the entire world.
God demonstrated his love to the world by giving his son, he demonstrated his righteousness by declaring those who believe the gospel as JUST, never again to be revisited by judgement! (I’ll explain the legal concept of double jeopardy shortly)
When Aristotle stated that he knew it was for God to forgive sin, the answer to how God would do so comes through the knowledge of the righteousness of Godthat was revealed by the Gospel.
Not only is the mercy of God revealed through the gospel of Christ, (that Aristotle did not know), and not only is the JUSTICE of God made evident through the blood of Christ, (that Aristotle also could not know), but also revealed, is the righteousness of God, and that from faith to faith!
Those who have believed in Christ by faith, and are born again by his spirit, know that the righteousness of God has been revealed to them when they were saved from their sin.
Has the righteousness of God been revealed to you through the Gospel?
Have you believed him yet?
Or do you still count God a liar? Do you believe that is the character that has been revealed to you of God?
The Purpose of the Gospel; yes, it is to save mankind, but ultimately it is to reveal the righteousness of Godto all who believe, from faith to faith and that for all eternity.
Ephesians 2:7 give us a further confirmation of this, turn there with me.
Read from verse 4
“4But God, who is rich in mercy, for his great love wherewith he loved us, 5Even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ, (by grace ye are saved;) 6 And hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus: 7 That in the ages to come he might shew the exceeding riches of his grace in his kindness toward us through Christ Jesus.”
The Presence of the Gospel.
17For therein is the righteousness of God revealed from faith to faith: as it is written, The just shall live by faith.Rom 1:17
Many years ago I wrote an essay in response to bad theological book called The New Perspective on Paul. It was a book written by three scholars, E.P Sanders, James Dunn and N.T Wright who wrongly presented the entire nature of justification, that is, how a man is made perfectly justbefore a holy God.
The Title of my essay spoke of a governing principle in Law known as Double Jeopardy. It’s the rule that a man cannot be tried for a crime he has already been punished for.
In a just society, when a man commits a crime and has paid the penalty and been punished for that crime, he can no longer be tried again or convicted for the same event. If he could again be tried for that same crime, the question would arise how that man can ever be made free? Or How can a man be made just in the sight of society?
The Law Preventing Double Jeopardy, provides man the certain hope of freedomonce his crime has been paid for.
The book I wrote an essay on had an unjust understanding of what it is that Jesus Christ did for mankind and how a man is justified before God.
Man, according to these three biblical scholars, who admit they have both a low view of Christology and a low view of scripture, is justified through the death of Christ but needs to remain pure from sin all his days, in the hope that he will be saved in the end. The concept of their idea is called Covenental Nomism;
Stupidly big words: EP Sanders explains it this way;
‘Briefly put, covenantal nomism is the view that one’s place in God’s plan is established on the basis of the covenant and that the covenant requires as the proper response of man his obedience to its commandments, while providing means of atonement for transgression.’(E.P. Sanders, Paul and Palestinian Judaism, p. 75.Cited in The New Perspective on Paul. James Dunn. 2007)
In short, we can still be tried for breaking Gods commandments and condemned for the crime of SIN Jesus already paid the penalty of.
In doing so, man can never being seen as just or justified while he yet lives.
How then can THE JUST live by faithif there is NO-ONE Justified?
Turn to Romans 5:6-10
6For when we were yet without strength, in due time Christ died for the ungodly. 7 For scarcely for a righteous man will one die: yet peradventure for a good man some would even dare to die. 8 But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. 9 Much more then, being now justified by his blood, we shall be saved from wrath through him.10 For if, when we were enemies, we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, being reconciled, we shall be saved by his life.
None of this work is of us, all the just did is believe the Gospel that those who are not ashamed of it preach, because it is not the power of us, but the power of God unto salvation to everyone that beleiveth. And only to those who believe. None can be made justunless they believe Christ died for their sins, that Jesus paid the penalty for their crime and that IT IS A FINISHED WORK.
Rom 5:9 …being now justified by his blood, we shall be saved from wrath through him.10 For if, when we were enemies, we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, being reconciled, we shall be saved by his life.
Go back to the first verse of chapter 5;
1Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ: 2 By whom also we have access by faith into this grace wherein we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God.
Many years ago I preached an entire sermon on the first word of this passage. Having studied Romans for some time I was so struck by the location and the value of the word “Therefore”in this passage.
To me it was like the gateway of eternal life, because all that was before it was the ruin of all mankind, the heathen, the Greek and the Jew; then came the explanation of the Gospel and now this first word, “therefore”, the doorway through which those who have believed and are justified, enter.
1Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ:
Never again can those who believe be tried for the crime of sin. Death has lost its sting, the grave has lost its victory. Being Justified by faith, those who are the just, now live by faith!
This does not give any of us license to sin, be careful if this is the thought that ever comes to your mind.
If you find yourself justifying your sinful behavior, then I fear that the gospel has been preached to you in vain. None who are born again want to sin, all who have the Law now written in their hearts desire to live by faith and walk after the spirit.
The natural tendency of all those who are born again is to flee from sin not indulge it.
Being born again is identified most clearlyby the hatred of sin that still abides with us. The Spirit of God grieving each time we entertain that which we do not want to do.
The phrase, the Just Shall Live By Faith is quoted from the old testament book of Habakkuk 2:4.
It is repeated by Paul three times, once here in Romans, the other in Galatians and the third time in the letter to the Hebrews.
We have a triunity of truthpresented to us in these books, incredibly linking themselves to each other.
The Just no longer live by sight, we are to live by faith!
We trust that God,who began a good work in us, will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ. (Phil 1:6)
“I reckon him a Christian indeed that is neither ashamed of the gospel nor a shame to it.”
Matthew Henry, Matthew Henry’s Commentary on the Whole Bible: Complete and Unabridged in One Volume, (Peabody: Hendrickson, 1994), 2194.