My bible study, AT THE BIG TABLE, begins this week and I am so excited to welcome back over 60 women! Some have studied with us for years and some are new. Some have walked with the Lord longer than I have and some are seeking what this faith is all about. We are many denominations and backgrounds and personalities. But we gather together to love God’s word and love one another!
I did not start this bible study. It’s been going on for almost 50 years. It has a legacy of faithful women eager to learn and live out God’s word in their lives. This year we will be studying Romans. If I had to choose a favorite book of the bible, Romans would be it. What does Romans have to do with the title of this post, I AM NOT ASHAMED? I’m so glad you asked!
The book of Romans was God inspired and written down by Paul. Paul was a Jew born in the days of Jesus. Let’s get a little background into the one who wrote down this book.
Paul was born in Tarsus of Cilicia, a Roman province on the coast of Turkey. He was born a Hebrew of the tribe of Benjamin and he inherited Roman citizenship from His father. His given name was Saul.
Paul did not know Jesus before His Resurrection.
Paul was educated in Jerusalem under on the the best teachers of the day. He himself was a Pharisee, a good God-fearing Jew.
As an adult Paul traveled to Jerusalem where he became zealous in persecuting a new group of Jews called “The Way”. These were the early believers of Jesus the Christ (Christ means Messiah… the awaited Savior) and the new church formed after the ascension of Jesus to heaven. It was on a trip to Damasks to round up some of the new Christians that fled there from persecution that he met the risen Savior Jesus the Christ in person. Jesus appeared to Saul and literally knocked him off his horse. It is there that Saul’s heart was changed forever and Jesus named him Paul.
His conversion to Christianity was astonishing. Paul became a devout follower of Jesus! Fourteen books of the bible are attributed to the hand of Paul.
The book of Romans is really an “epistle” or letter. It’s original name was “the epistle to the Romans” but shortened to Romans. Romans is the treatise of the gospel. It is a long book taking a systematic and comprehensive look at the salvation that is offered to all people by God.
I boldly can claim God’s salvation to all people because I am not ashamed of this great, free and awe inspiring gift God lays out before us in Romans!
Paul says it best…
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.
FOR IN IT IS THE RIGHTEOUSNESS OF GOD IS REVEALED FROM FAITH TO FAITH, AS IT IS WRITTEN, “BUT THE RIGHTEOUS MAN SHALL LIVE BY FAITH. ROMANS 1:16-17
I know, heavy and not easy to understand words!
Let’s break the first part of these verses down and use today’s language to understand the amazing truth Paul was inspired to write…
FOR I AM NOT ASHAMED…
Ashamed meaning just what it says… not embarrassed, dishonored, displaced, misplaced confidence or support, humiliated, wrongly aligned with.
Paul is not ASHAMED OF THE
Literally, “the good news”. The Greek word is euaggelizo (pronounced yoo-ang-ghel-id’-zo). It comes from two Greek words “eu” meaning good or well and “angello meaning “herald or to pronounce a good message”. The gospel means to tell the good and complete message about the Lord Jesus Christ.
So, we see that Paul is not ashamed of proclaiming the good and complete message about Jesus Christ.
FOR IT IS THE POWER OF GOD FOR SALVATION
The gospel, the good and complete news of Jesus Christ (His life, death on the cross, resurrection, and salvation) is the POWER OF GOD…
The word power is is the Greek word “dunamai”. It’s where we get our word dynamite! What an amazing and truthful word picture of the power of the gospel! The gospel has dynamite power! The gospel is entirely able to accomplish …
Salvation is the idea of being in mortal danger and then being complete and wholly delivered into safety.
Mankind is in mortal danger without God. Whether we acknowledge it or not… all humanity is separated from God. And if we die separated from Him we will spend eternity without Him. There is no way that we can mend this separation, because our sin is what separates us from God! And sin is so against God that the payment for sinning is death itself.
Jesus, God’s only son, wiped all of the sins of the world away by dying in our place on the cross. He and only He offers us the FREE gift of taking us from this eternal separation and delivering us into the safety of God’s eternal arms!
TO EVERYONE WHO BELIEVES
The free gift of salvation is offered to everyone… every single person. No matter how good or bad or in between you are. Salvation is offered to EVERYONE!!!!!
We receive this gift by believing. So what exactly IS believing? Knowing what true belief is is really a matter of life and death!
Believing, according to the bible is:
- an accent to a belief. In other words we acknowledge and have a strong intellectual conviction of the good news… we believe that the good news is true. But it can’t stop there. The book of James tells us that even the demon believe in God and shudder. Just saying “I believe in God” is not true belief, but it is the first step!
- a surrender to those beliefs. We must not only acknowledge that Jesus is our Lord… Creator and Owner… but we must bow our knee in submission to Him. What a sweet surrender it is! I can tell you my life is entirely different and superbly better since I have accepted God’s free gift of eternal life through Jesus!
- Now, the third step is done by God… it is a life that reflects that belief. GOD will start changing YOU! You just keep believing and submitting or obeying God and He will change your life! What an amazing change it will be. I am NOT AT ALL the person I was before I believed at the age of 33, and I thank God every day!
(This is such an important, life saving, life changing topic… to know more about what true belief really is see WHAT DOES FAITH MEAN… REAL FAITH)
TO THE JEW FIRST AND ALSO TO THE GREEK
Jesus came to planet earth and died a horrible death on a cross as He bore the sins of the world on Him to offer salvation to the entire word. Every single person. Every person of all ages past, present and future. He died for YOU AND ME!
But the good news, the news that has dynamite power in it to change our lives was first given or told to the Jews. Jesus was born a Jew and Jesus first told the Jews about the salvation He offered.
In Jesus’ day there were two divisions of people… Jews and Greeks. If you were not a Jew you were a Greek. So everyone in the world who was not a Jew was called a Greek.
After the good news of salvation came to the Jews first it spread to the rest of the whole world! Jesus’ last words on earth were to His Jewish disciples…
“GO, THEREFORE AND MAKE DISCIPLES OF ALL NATIONS, BAPTIZING THEM IN THE NAME OF THE FATHER AND THE SON AND THE HOLY SPIRIT, TEACHING THEM TO OBSERVE ALL I COMMAND YOU; AND LO, I AM WITH YOU ALWAYS, EVEN TO THE END OF THE AGE. Matthew 28:19-20.
The good news of the Gospel IS the power of salvation for all people in all times! For me and for you!
This is why I write “Sunday Scripture” every week. This is why I am not ashamed! This is why I am not shaken when I get an ugly email that calls me mean and hateful and say all sorts of unspeakable things for writing Sunday Scriptures. I have peace!
I know that I may not be politically correct (and honestly I could care less about that), and what I say might be uncomfortable to some and convicting to others. But I am compelled as a disciple of Jesus to speak the truth… and speak it in love.
It is God who has blessed me with this platform and not anything I have done.
I can tell you how to set a pretty table… but what is the eternal value of that? I can show you how I decorate my home… but what is more important? Isn’t pointing people to the Lover of their souls of much greater value? Sharing the good news is the matter of eternal life or death!
God is love and His word is a love letter to the world. His salvation is the most perfect single act of love! Why would we ever be ashamed?
Our great honor is sharing the good news of Jesus Christ… God’s job is to do the saving!
Be bold… be loving! We have a great Savior and we need to tell everyone we know!