"For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes."
Have we become ashamed of the Gospel? In an age of pluralism, we are increasingly told that there are multiple ways and paths to God, and all religions point us to God. In this world, the Gospel becomes confrontational, for at the heart of the Gospel is the teaching that Christ alone is the way to salvation. Christ affirms, "I am the way the truth and the life, no one comes to the Father except through me" (John 14:6). The reason is that Christ alone provided the means for our salvation by satisfying the justice of God. He "is the propitiation for our sins" (1 John 2:2). That is, he is the one who became our substitutionary sacrifice. In his death, he paid the penalty for our sin. To obtain salvation, we must no longer trust ourselves and our ability to do what is right to earn our way to heaven. Instead, we must come to the point we realize that we can only trust in Christ. It is not the act of faith or belief that saves us (for we can have faith in many things that prove faulty). Salvation is grounded in the object of our faith and trust. Christ points this out in John 3 when he states, Whoever believes in Him (Christ) is not condemned, but whoever does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only Son of God" (verse 18). This message becomes offensive to a world that is bent on doing its own thing. They do not care if we believe in the Bible, but you dare not tell them that they are going to Hell because they do not.
The reason Paul is not ashamed of the Gospel is that it is the means of salvation. The harsh reality is that sin has gripped people's lives and thoughts to the point that they have abandoned God in pursuit of their pleasures. In 1:18-3:19, Paul gives a depressing and stark description of the plight of humanity. He concludes, "none is righteous, no not one" (3:10). However, just as he brings us to the brink of complete hopelessness, he points us to the Gospel. The Gospel message is that even though we have all sinned and come short of the glory of God and thus are worthy of judgment and death (3:23), God provided a gracious escape through the work of Christ. As a result, we can now escape our deserved judgment by accepting Christ's redemptive work. To accept the Gospel is to "be justified by his grace as a gift through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus" (3:24).
The reason Paul is not ashamed of the Gospel is that it is the hope of all humanity. The word ashamed refers to that which causes a person shame or embarrassment. We only become embarrassed when something we have done or promoted proves to be false when we have wrongly misled others. Paul was not ashamed or embarrassed by the Gospel because it was true. It is the "power of God for salvation." The Gospel is more than a static message; it is inherently empowered by an omnipotent God working to bring salvation to those who accept it. It is proven right when all else is proven false.
While people may reject our message and even ridicule us for it, we should never be ashamed of it by remaining silent. It is the hope of humanity and a message that we must share if we genuinely care about people. To remain silent is not only implying that we are ashamed of it, but that we also do not love others and care about their eternal plight.