I Am Not Ashamed of the Gospel
“For I am not ashamed of the Gospel,” writes the apostle Paul as he strives to make the Christians at Rome feel how great within his soul is that drive to preach the message, how import is the call to share the Gospel, and how life and death hang in the balance. It is a moving statement, popular in modern preaching, and likely to be heard even before one comes to Christ. The words, as recorded in Romans 1:16, are filled with hope, promise, and a sense of certainty. For through them, the Holy Spirit awakens pride and confidence within each and every Christian. But it is not pride in self or self-works, nor is it confidence in physical, mental, or emotional resources. Rather is a pride that is based in a sense of belonging to something that can shatter the boundaries of worldly reason and understanding.
Yet I now ask that you examine your Christian pride. For it seems to me that we fail to notice how these words that define a “power of God unto salvation,” precede a long discourse concerning God’s wrath against sin. We seem to ignore the list of mortal sin examples included within Romans Chapter one. Yet those examples of mortal sin touch upon the very fabric of why a mature Christian cannot sin without facing feelings of shame and remorse.
Do Christians Sin?
To believe the Gospel is to accept the reality of sin. It is in us, around us, and often a part of us. Just as “I am not ashamed of the gospel of Jesus Christ” is a motto of the Christian faith, the certainty that we will, at times, shame that gospel cannot be avoided. Now I do not herein include sins that are based upon religiosity or denominational regulations. We are told to work out our own salvation (Do Christians Sin – Phil. 2:12). Furthermore, we are given liberties before God (Do Christians Sin – Romans 14:22,23). But some sins are clearly defined in Scripture, and are just as clearly committed by even the most devout believers. For example:
- Our efforts at perfect love are sometimes thwarted by a single moment of selfishness
- Our justice is more often the justice of wrath than of reason
- Submission to all authority tends to become submission to “acceptable” authority
- Forgiveness is often shackled to the possibility of future hurt
- Self-control vanishes in the steam of harsh words that leak from lips of pure goodness
- Joy is defined by possessions and personal satisfaction with current circumstances
- Cursings and Blessings spring forth from the same mouth
- Gentleness is spooked by a demand for respect
- Meekness depends upon how great the anger
- Patience or the lack thereof is clearly manifested day in and day out in each of us
- AND faith, real faith, faith that is confident that God will deal with our enemies is as elusive to the church and the body of Christ as is smoke in mountain fog.
With the above comments, I but touch the surface of a bottomless pool of daily sins that Christians commit. So! Do Christians sin? Sometimes it seems even more so than what is spoken of unbelievers.
When I was lost and without the Lord, the gospel of Jesus Christ was of no concern to the spirit within me, and the sin that dominated my mind had no shame. But now that I am not ashamed of the gospel, I cannot sin without feeling the shame of that sin. I don’t strive to evoke such feelings. If truth be told I wish they would go away. But this is the Christian battle. The world knows it not. And the blood of Christ does not redeem those who profess Christianity but do not experience the spiritual consequences of sin (1). For they lie and believe not the truth.
They are ashamed of the true Gospel of Jesus Christ. They pervert the understanding, and they speak it not in fullness. The Holy Spirit divides the Christian from the world, and He does so by pricking the spirit of the believer. The law was once dead to our flesh but it is now alive within our spirit. The things that we have once done without remorse, can no longer reign within our heart. Christians do sin, but now we are without excuse, and we know that when we are naked.
I am not ashamed of the gospel, but I know that those examples of mortal sins as listed throughout the Scripture reside within by flesh. I may not live above sin, but until that day when the Lord calls me home, I shall ever battle for daily victory. The following passage was not written by a man who had won this battle, but rather by a man in the heat of the battle, a man who has learned to press ever forward (Phil. 3:12):
“Was then that which is good made death unto me? God forbid. But sin, that it might appear sin, working death in me by that which is good; that sin by the commandment might become exceeding sinful. For we know that the law is spiritual: but I am carnal, sold under sin. For that which I do I allow not: for what I would, that do I not; but what I hate, that do I. If then I do that which I would not, I consent unto the law that it is good. Now then it is no more I that do it, but sin that dwelleth in me. For I know that in me (that is, in my flesh,) dwelleth no good thing: for to will is present with me; but how to perform that which is good I find not. For the good that I would I do not: but the evil which I would not, that I do. Now if I do that I would not, it is no more I that do it, but sin that dwelleth in me. I find then a law, that, when I would do good, evil is present with me. For I delight in the law of God after the inward man: But I see another law in my members, warring against the law of my mind, and bringing me into captivity to the law of sin which is in my members. O wretched man that I am! who shall deliver me from the body of this death? I thank God through Jesus Christ our Lord. So then with the mind I myself serve the law of God; but with the flesh the law of sin,” (Romans 713:25).
If the gospel is real to you, you can sin without shame and remorse. Quench the Spirit long enough, and conviction will shift into chastisement. The choice is yours.
1) Open Bible Info on Redemption.