Unashamed of the Gospel
“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” (v. 16).- Romans 1:16–17
An overview of Paul’s life, ministry, and thought has been our goal in the daily studies this year. With our study of Paul’s final epistle (2 Timothy) concluded, so too is our look at the apostle. From his earliest letter (Galatians), to his latest epistles (the Pastorals — 1 and 2 Timothy and Titus), the apostle has shown us what it means never to be ashamed of the gospel of Jesus Christ.
Paul’s epistle to the Galatians reveals what it means not to be ashamed of the simplicity of the gospel. We can forget the apostolic doctrine of justification by faith alone and try to add good works to faith in order to make ourselves right with God (chap. 1–2). Yet it has been taught from the beginning that our Father would declare us righteous in His sight by faith in His promises through Jesus (chap. 3–4), so we should not be ashamed of this doctrine and make Christianity a works-based system like other religions. Instead, let us keep the law of Christ — love for God and neighbor — in gratitude for a salvation freely given, not as a way to earn our own righteousness (chap. 5–6).
First Timothy and Titus show us that we are ashamed of the gospel if we conform ourselves to the culture or to heresy (1 Tim. 1; Titus 1) instead of Christ by the power of the Holy Spirit, who lives in every believer. Being unashamed of the gospel here requires us to be the church as God has said, ordaining elders and deacons to guard against erroneous doctrines and the world (1 Tim. 2–6; Titus 2–3). This will lead the world to mock us, but if we are not embarrassed by the gospel, we will do all things according to the apostolic word.
Second Timothy reminds us that fear of suffering for the Lord’s sake can make us ashamed of the gospel (2 Tim. 1). The solution is to remember Jesus, who endured great shame for a great reward and to exercise consistently our ministries in order that we might be assured we belong to Christ (chap. 2). Committed to the inspired Word of God (chap. 3), being unashamed of the gospel means serving the Lord faithfully even if it means death (chap. 4).
Armed with this knowledge, let us go forth and unashamedly preach the gospel. Let us leave behind a legacy of faithfulness just as Paul did.
Take some time today to reflect on the life and ministry of the apostle Paul. Consider meditating on a short passage from one of the letters that we have studied this year. What does it teach you about being unashamed of the gospel? Thank the Lord for giving us His Word through Paul and for freeing us from our sins through the power of His Spirit and the death and resurrection of His Son. Ask Him to help you proclaim this gospel to others.
Passages for Further Study
1 Timothy 3:1–7
1 Timothy 5:17–25
2 Timothy 3:10–17
2 Timothy 4:1–8