“I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for the salvation to everyone who believes.”
Abba, Father, and God of my salvation, Paul was not ashamed of the gospel. He knew it was powerful, and when ignited by your Spirit, it would bring total, transforming change to those who received it. He knew that the gospel is the message that brings people out of the kingdom of darkness and into the kingdom of light, delivers people from death to life, and transforms them from condemned enemies to beloved sons and daughters.
Your gospel is the message of your grace to sinners, telling people like me that, in the life, death and resurrection of Jesus, you have done for me what I could not do for myself. Jesus has fulfilled the law in my place. He has endured the judgement that I deserved. He has given me life that I did not earn. He came to serve me and to save me, opening the door for me to enjoy you as you intended from the beginning. All to magnify your glory as a God of grace. What a glorious gospel!
On one hand I am sure that Paul shared the gospel because he had been commissioned. You called him to be an apostle— one who is sent with a message. And yet a motive deeper than mere obligation compelled him to share the gospel so freely, and often, under very difficult circumstances, having been persecuted severely, and ultimately losing his physical life for not being ashamed of the gospel.
In Second Corinthians 5, Paul says that it was the love of Jesus that compelled him. Even though knew he possessed a message of spiritual dynamite that needed to be released, I think it was the powerful effect that the gospel had had on him that drove him to testify, even as a martyr, to your glory in the gospel. He had been saved by the same Jesus whom he proclaimed. As some have said, there is a propulsion to grace—those who receive grace begin to extend it to others.
If that is true, and if I claim to have experienced the saving power of the gospel in my own life, then why do I appear to be ashamed of it? Why am I so slow to speak of the gospel? And when I do, why am I sharing from the intellectual surface of my heart instead of the emotional depths? Why am I more impassioned to speak about my favorite sports team, a current event or even my computer’s new operating system than I am to speak about the grace of Jesus?
Father, I confess that I have felt ashamed, and I am so sorry. But I don’t want to be ashamed. I want to have the passion of the apostle, who knew himself to be the worst of sinners and an example to others concerning what it meant for God to justify the ungodly, people like him and me who turn to anything and everything apart from Jesus to save us.
What I need is not more commitment. In order not to be ashamed of the gospel and to share it freely and with passion, I need to personally re-experience your grace at a deep level—at a level that will ignite my soul with a desire for others to experience your grace, so that you will become the object of their joy.
Gracious Father, will you enable me this day to be so filled with your love that I overflow with a desire to share it? Then you will be glorified by one who is compelled by your love to extend your love.