Shame is an interesting emotion. Sometimes
shame and embarrassment are terms that are
used synonymously. What causes this
emotion? Perhaps if I’ve done something that
I should not have done. Or perhaps when
others make fun of me. Or perhaps when I
feel self-conscious about something from my
past or an uneasiness about a current
situation. There are, obviously, myriads of
things that can lead us to feel ashamed.

That makes Paul’s affirmation in Romans
1:16 all the more intriguing. Here was the one
“who formerly persecuted” Christians now
preaching “the faith which he once tried to
destroy” (Gal. 1:23). He wrote in Romans
1 that he was both “a debtor” to get the saving
message to the lost and he was “ready” to do
so (1:14-15). Then, in the familiar text
of Romans 1:16, Paul gave the reason that he
was a ready debtor to preach the gospel.

Beginning verse 16 with the word of
explanation, Paul wrote, “For I am not
ashamed of the gospel of Christ.” Paul was
ashamed of his past, but he was not ashamed
of his present. Paul was ashamed of what he
had done to the saved, but he was not
ashamed of what he was doing to the
lost. Paul loved the gospel and loved
preaching it to others. Paul embraced the
gospel, believed the gospel, proclaimed the
gospel, defended the gospel and ultimately
died for the gospel. He was not embarrassed

by it or by what it called him to do. He was
not embarrassed to tell it to others.

Are we ever ashamed to preach the gospel? I
think the answer to that is that we are (at least
occasionally). Why? Are we ashamed of God
and His power? Are we ashamed of Jesus and
His salvation? What is it that causes us to be
embarrassed to open up and say something?
“Well, it’s not popular. It’s not what people
want to hear. People may have unpleasant
thoughts toward me. People may have
adverse reactions toward me. People may ask,
say or do things that make me
uncomfortable.” Whatever answer that we
can come up with will never be a satisfactory
answer. And…we know it.

Brethren, please let me encourage all of us to
follow in the footsteps of Paul and to not be
ashamed of the gospel, to not be ashamed of
sharing it with others, to not be ashamed of
whatever may happen when we do share it
with others. We have the greatest blessing on
earth—salvation. We have the greatest
message on earth—salvation. We have the
greatest gift to offer on earth—salvation. Why
are we ashamed of that? Mark 8:38 is a
verse that comes to mind as we close, but I’ll
let you consider that one on your own.


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