Not Ashamed of the Good News, Part 1

Daily Reflection / Produced by The High Calling
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For I am not ashamed of this Good News about Christ. It is the power of God at work, saving everyone who believes—the Jew first and also the Gentile.

Romans 1:16

At first it might seem strange to read that Paul is “not ashamed of this Good News about Christ.” You wouldn’t expect someone to speak like this unless there was some risk of feeling ashamed of the Good News. If, for example, I said to you, “I’m not ashamed of my children,” you’d probably wonder what they had done that was potentially shameful.

Why might someone in the Roman world be tempted to feel ashamed of the Good News of Christ? For one thing, this gospel proclaimed Jesus as the Savior of the world, not just one savior among many. This would have seemed arrogant and narrow-minded in a culture that welcomed all gods, but allowed none to be supreme. Even more scandalously, the core of the Good News recounted the crucifixion of the Savior. This manner of death was reserved for the lowest of criminals. It was as far from something one would associate with a god as anything in the world. So, the Good News of a crucified Savior would have seemed both intolerant and absurd. As Paul admitted in 1 Corinthians, the message of the Gospel was foolish in the eyes of the world.

In our time of history, the Good News of Christ is once again being mocked as foolish. Critics mock the Bible and its view of God. They laugh at the idea that Jesus is the Savior of the world. Orthodox Christians are called bigots and fools. Thus we might be tempted to feel ashamed of the Good News we believe and proclaim.

What helped Paul have confidence in this Good News? What will help us have similar assurance? I’ll answer these questions tomorrow. For now, I want to reflect further on my own feelings about the Good News of Christ. Perhaps you will join me.

QUESTIONS FOR REFLECTION: Have you ever felt ashamed of the Good News of Christ? When? Why? Have you ever been embarrassed to admit that you were a Christian? When? Why?

PRAYER: Dear Lord, I must admit that there have been times when I’ve been ashamed of the Good News . . . or at least I’ve acted like it. I’ve been quiet, backing away from a clear statement of my faith in you. I don’t want people to think I’m narrow-minded, old-fashioned, or bigoted. My commitment to you as the only Savior doesn’t go over well in this culture, so I can downplay the very center of my faith, indeed, of my life.

Forgive me, Lord, for being ashamed of the Good News. Forgive me for worrying more about my reputation than your glory. Forgive me for putting my own repute above the desperate need of people to hear the only Good News that will save them.

Dear Lord, give me fresh confidence in the Good News. Help me to share it openly, confidently, and humbly. Keep me from arrogance that turns people off. Rather, may I bear witness to you with my words—and with my life—so that people might be drawn to you. Amen.