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. 17 For in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith for faith, as it is written, “The righteous shall live by faith.”
Having just spent time in Genesis 3 with the advent of shame, I was struck by Paul’s boldness in proclaiming his lack of shame. The source of his lack of shame is the gospel. We are given two distinct characteristics of the gospel which embolden Paul. It is powerful and it reveals the righteousness of God. The power in the gospel saves all who believe. The salvation is conditional. It does not force people to enter into harmony with God; It allows people to establish a right relationship with God. To move from the depths of a the fallen condition of man to the incomparable nature of prelapsarian mankind requires immense power. We do not comprehend that power if we do not see how desperately depraved our condition truly is. Paul will establish mankind’s nature in the opening chapters of Romans.
The second reason for not being ashamed is the revealed righteousness of God. Is this God’s own righteousness? Is this a righteousness from God? Is it a righteousness done by God? The truth is that we don’t really know. Which one would cause you to be unashamed? Douglas Moo writes that we should look to God’s righteousness in the Old testament to get a clue as to what is going on here. He concludes that for Paul, “the righteousness of God is personal and relational.” We are justified with God because of our personal faith. Have you exercised such faith?
May I be unashamed. May I look for every opportunity given to me by you to speak a righteousness by faith into the lives of anyone who will listen.
- What reasons does Paul give for not being ashamed?
- Who is saved first?
- State in your own words what you believe Paul is saying about faith in this passage?
- How can people see that you are unashamed of the gospel?
- What empowers you to speak the gospel unashamedly?