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. ESV
For I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God that brings salvation to everyone who believes: first to the Jew, then to the Gentile. NIV
Have you ever been afraid to share the Gospel? Maybe there’s a friend you grew up with who doesn’t know Jesus. Maybe you have a co-worker whose life is dominated by sinful habits. Or maybe you just want to be a better evangelist. All of us have had moments when we’ve wanted to share the Gospel but remained silent because of fear. The truth is that often it can be intimidating to share the Gospel. Perhaps you can relate to one of these examples:
Afraid To Share
Maybe you know someone in class; throughout the semester, you’ve talked about homework, the weather, and summer plans. You know they’re not a Christian but are afraid to bring us a spiritual conversation.
Maybe a family member or long-time friend knows that you follow Jesus but has told you that they don’t understand your beliefs. You want to help them understand but don’t want to make the relationship awkward.
Sometimes the thought of sharing the Gospel is scary. The fear of ruining a friendship or not having the answer to a hard question keeps us from proclaiming the Gospel boldly to those around us. In my own life, I can think of moments when I should have spoken up and shared the Gospel but remained silent instead. In Romans chapter one, though, we get a picture of what bold Gospel proclamation looks like. Paul writes in vs. 15, “So I am eager to preach the Gospel to you also who are in Rome.”
Eager to Share
When the Apostle Paul looks at the cultural landscape of Rome he says, “I’m eager to go there.” And in vs. 16, we see why — we see why Paul is so eager to share the Gospel. He says this:
“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” (Romans 1:16).
Paul was eager to share the Gospel in Rome because he knew what you and I often forget that the Gospel is the power of God.
The Power of God
There are many things in creation that show us the power of God. We see God’s power in the ocean when we watch waves crash against the shore. We see God’s power in the storm when we watch the lightning flash across the sky. We see God’s power when we observe the stars in the sky — He holds the universe together with his power and knows each star by name. And when you watch a volcano erupt, it is yet another picture of God’s power.
Milton Vincent points out in his book A Gospel Primer that two times the Bible describes the Gospel as the power of God (Romans 1:16, 1 Corinthians 1:18). Nothing else in the Bible is described this way (except Jesus).
The Gospel is described as the power of God because the Gospel is where God most clearly shows his power over sin, death, and Hell. Through the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus, God shows his power in absolute clarity.
He shows His power over sin by breaking the chains that hold you and me captive. He shows His power over death by raising Jesus victoriously from the grave. And with his last words (i.e., It is finished.), He shows that he has power over Hell. Satan doesn't have the final word; Jesus does.
The Gospel is the power of God, and where the Gospel goes, lives are changed. Where the Gospel goes, orphans are made sons and daughters. Where the Gospel goes, those with addiction find freedom. Where the Gospel goes, those who are broken find healing.
That is why the message of Christianity is unlike any other message. The message of Jesus offers what nothing else can:
- A meaning in life that suffering can’t take away.
- A satisfaction not based on circumstances.
- A freedom that doesn’t turn community and love relationships into thin transactions.
- An identity that is not fragile, not based on performance or exclusion.
- A way to deal with guilt and to forgive without residual bitterness or shame
- A basis for seeking justice that doesn’t turn you into an oppressor yourself.
- And a way to face not only the future but death itself with poise and peace.
Therefore, the most loving thing that you and I can do is to take the powerful message of the Gospel — that offers freedom and forgiveness from sin — to every person you know. My hope is that you would join the mission of Jesus and proclaim the Gospel to those who have never heard.