One of the Apostle Paul’s most quoted phrases may be, “For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ.” Lyrics of more than one Christian song have been written based upon that theme, which is the first part of Romans 1:16.
For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek.
As I read Romans 1 last week, the context in which Paul must have penned those words struck me for the first time. After all, Paul was writing to citizens of Rome, where lived some of the most powerful and prestigious people of the time. Among the Romans were philosophers, scholars, politicians, physicians, lawyers, military leaders, and world-class athletes – the upper crust of the civilized world at the time.
But many Romans were also steeped in idolatry. They not only worshipped many gods, but Caesar as well.
No wonder Paul went to such great lengths in the early chapters of his epistle to the Romans to break down the doctrine of salvation!
And no wonder he boldly told these upper-class people, who perhaps looked down on the rest of the world, “I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ.”
A commentary I read pointed out that the idea of a religion based upon faith in a poor Jewish carpenter may have seemed ridiculous to the sophisticated Romans. But Paul didn’t seem to be bothered in the least by that. He proclaimed the gospel, as well as his own testimony, to Jews and Gentiles, rich and poor, sophisticated and simple.
Acts 26 shows a specific example of this, in which Paul witnessed to King Agrippa.
Then Agrippa said unto Paul, Almost thou persuadest me to be a Christian. – Acts 26:28
I have to admit, I was convicted by this. Paul didn’t rein in his message based upon his audience, but I’m sure I have. It’s a whole lot more comfortable to present the gospel to little ones in my junior church class, than it would be to witness to my doctor or editor at the magazine for which I write. But I shouldn’t be intimidated by status or wealth. As did Jesus, I need to see people as souls beloved of God, eternal beings who need him.
Have you ever held back from sharing the gospel because you were intimidated by someone? I welcome your comments.