“So, as much as in me is, I am ready to preach the gospel to you that are in Rome also. 16 For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ; for it is the power of God unto salvation to everyone 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 1:15-17 (KJV)
Not ashamed of the gospel?
Why not? After all, the gospel flies in the face of all those notions about God and ourselves and gets things backward to human thinking.... The gospel could be the first among the things of which we could be ashamed....
....human thinking (the world / the Law) says “Do!” (....we humans all love to be proud of our accomplishments) while the gospel says “Done” (human accomplishments are set aside, pride is banished: God’s grace has been accomplished / finished in Christ’s work of salvation);
....the gospel reveals that while God is tough on sin (witness the cross of Jesus), he is soft on sinners (“....while we were yet sinners Christ died of the ungodly” - Romans 5:8) Human thinking (the world / the Law) asks who likes that notion? We want God also to be tough on sinners and believe that will solve the human problems we face in our world;
....the gospel points us to Jesus the Christ as the center of everything good. Human thinking (the world / the Law) wants the good news to point to me as the center of everything good (we even may admit a certain level of guilt and wrong-doing and say that while I may be bad, I’m not as bad as say, Hitler or my stupid next-door neighbor....whom we may put in the same category);
In Greek the word ashamed (this has to do with shame.....we most commonly use the word today when people talk about “body shaming”....) is “e-pis-chu’-no-mai” ε-πισ-χυ’-νο-μαι. It’s related to the Hebrew word “bosh” which means to blush (or to turn pale). St. Paul is saying here that he does not blush (or turn pale) at the thought of being a proclaimer of the gospel.
Why not blush at something so contradictory to the way human beings (the Old Person in us) want to think about things? What the gospel can do? Why not be ashamed?
Paul writes that he is totally committed to preach the gospel in Rome. He writes that with the gospel (good news) that humans are saved / have access to salvation by faith (cf. v. 17 above). Instead of doing something with the gospel we are called to trust someone. The content of that gospel message is unique among all the religions of the world. In all other religions of all types in the world, the bottom line has the word “do” / the Law. In Christian faith the bottom line is “done” in Jesus.
Perhaps as we come away from the gospel of the Season of Lent and celebrate the gospel of the Season of Easter we may ask ourselves about our “shame” quotient (or lack of the same) where the gospel is concerned? Has this gospel that so contradicts our human way of looking at things become a cause / reason / occasion for blushing (or turning pale) or a cause to “thank, praise, serve, and obey the God who has so graciously provided us sinners with a way of escape from the law and our own sinfulness? Can the Holy Spirit guide us to think and live the gospel way?
God bless us all to that end,