Rom 1:16-17 For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to 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.
Life is the result of receiving the Gospel, and God’s righteousness is revealed to those who have life through faith; continually from faith to faith.
We’ve all heard that taught from the pulpit and the lectern as the Holy Spirit has revealed that truth to us through the Word of God. But do we really understand how important this teaching was to Paul, and how important it should be to us? For him, faith is the great principle underlying life from beginning to end. Paul taught everywhere he went that we are “justified” by faith, we are “sanctified” by faith, and we “live” by faith every day of our life. As the bride of Christ, our faith is in Jesus and the promise He has made to us.
Paul quoted Habakkuk when he wrote that The just shall live by faith (Hab 2:4). That verse is used three times in the New Testament, and each time it is emphasizing something different. Here in verse 17 it highlights the difference between righteousness and unrighteousness; it is only revealed by faith. In Gal 2:11 Paul compares faith with “works,” and in Heb 10:38 faith is revealed as the power of true “life.” These three verses underline the power of faith… “the righteous” “by faith” “shall live.” These are the three key truths that Paul has presented to us in his Letter to the Romans. They are the key to being unashamed of the Gospel.
His opening statement in verse 16 should be our watchword… For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ. And why was he not ashamed? For it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth. Paul understood that he carried the power of God for eternal life in his heart (the Gospel) and that the only way to reveal it was from faith to faith.
But as we study Paul’s life, there were many times that he was faced with the opportunity to be “ashamed” of the Gospel. Time and time again he faced opposition from the Jews, Greek culture, and the fact that his Lord and Master had been crucified for all to witness. Well, Paul was and is not alone. We are tempted by the enemy in any number of ways to be “ashamed” of the Gospel. Sometimes it comes in outright antagonism and unbelief, at other times it’s an intellectual challenge. One of the strongest challenges occurs in the social realm. You can mention any name you want in social gathering (Buddha, Mohammed, Krishna, etc.) and you will offend no one, but mention the name of Jesus and see how quickly the subject of the conversation changes. You can wear any emblem on your lapel you want and not offend anyone but let it be a “fish” or the name of “Jesus” and you will never be asked what it is.
Years ago I found a solution from Pastor Archie Parish for that problem, and I have shared it on our website in the Come And Believe section; it has become the logo for Walk With God Ministries. I have discovered two very powerful things about the solution: 1) I have never used it without being asked by someone what it is, and 2) It never comes without an opportunity to share the Gospel. For me the challenge is to use the solution or not, to choose to be ashamed of the Gospel or not. Over the years it has been a constant reminder to me of not only the power of the Gospel but of the requirement for me to live from faith to faith because the just shall live by faith.
Mark 8:38 Whosoever therefore shall be ashamed of me and of my words in this adulterous and sinful generation; of him also shall the Son of man be ashamed, when he cometh in the glory of his Father with the holy angels.
Our challenge is that our testimony may often lead us to persecution, which for us most often occurs in the social realm. Our answer is to be unashamed and share the Gospel message for therein is the righteousness of God revealed. And it is only revealed by us from faith to faith. And it is only by that faith that we, like Paul, can say that I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation.
2 Tim 1:12 For the which cause I also suffer these things: nevertheless I am not ashamed: for I know whom I have believed, and am persuaded that he is able to keep that which I have committed unto him against that day.
When I wear the symbol I am always asked by someone, What does that mean? And when I answer that it is the Ancient Chinese Secret to Eternal Life, they always want me to tell them what it is. I encourage you to visit Come And Believe. It is just one way of opening the door to the Gospel and I am confident that the Holy Spirit will show you how to not be ashamed of the Gospel and how to share it from your heart in your own way… from faith to faith. He knows you better than you do.