How Could There Be Shame?

Important Words

When writing to the Christians in Rome, Paul the apostle told these Christians about his plans to visit them. The primary force for this visit was what he called his own “obligation” to preach to the Gentile world, whether they would accept his message or not (Rom. 1:14). This was driven by these important words:

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. Rom. 1:16 (NASU)

A Ridiculous Question

The usage of the word “ashamed” in this verse has always been curious. In terms of the overall plan and purpose of God, how could anyone ever be ashamed of the greatest news and power of all time? How could someone be ashamed of salvation through the grace of God found in the sacrifice of Jesus Christ? Unfortunately, when the world is involved, there are a few possible answers. Two fit both the time of Paul and today (cf. 1 Cor. 1:22ff):

The “wrong” religious ideas

The de facto “religious” people of Paul’s day (who at least nominally followed God) were the Jews. Many of these Jews embraced the Gospel when it was preached, including all of the first converts to Christianity (Acts 2ff). However, there were even more Jews who rejected the Gospel of Christ for varied reasons, a major one being that Jesus and His message did not fit with their ideas of what God taught and desired. Today, there are those who reject the plain message of the Gospel and the New Testament because of their own ideas of what God teaches and desires. Sadly, for many, the simple, powerful message of the Gospel is “shameful”.

The “wise” of the world””

In the rest of the world outside of Judaism, there were many different schools of thought. One such prevailing school had its origin in many years of Greek philosophy. These “wizened” men had reasoned much about the nature of the world, having answered life’s hard questions with their own answers. Unfortunately for many, the simple, powerful message of the Gospel did not fit with that they believed the truth about the world to be. They were blinded by their own so-called wisdom, and rejected the Gospel before giving it real consideration. Today, many reject the Gospel because it does not fit with “what they were taught” or something similar. Sadly, for many, the simple, powerful message of the Gospel is “shameful”.

The Truth About “Shame”

The truth is such “shame” is foolishness. There is nothing to be “ashamed” about concerning the Gospel; actually it is the exact opposite! The only “shame” that should exist is among those who reject God and His Word for their own foolish reasons.

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