December 7 (Daily reading: Romans 1-3) See Romans 1:1-17. Paul made a declaration of his position concerning the gospel: “I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes” (v. 16). Why did Paul speak of “shame?” Some could have contended that Paul’s faith was misguided, considering all that he suffered. He listed in 2 Corinthians 11:22-28 many terrible things that had happened to him in the fulfillment of his ministry. He wrote about his personal suffering, a “thorn in the flesh,” (2 Cor. 12:7). But to counter these things, he had seen in numerous cities and in multiple lives “the power of God for salvation,” so much so that it was said about him and other Christians: they “turned the world upside down” (Ac. 17:6, NKJV).
Paul’s declaration in verse 16 followed some factors in verses 1-15 that should encourage us in our own position concerning the gospel. First, he was “a bond-servant of Christ Jesus, called as an apostle, set apart for the gospel of God” (v. 1). The Lord told Ananias that Paul was “a chosen instrument of Mine, to bear My name before the Gentiles and kings and the sons of Israel” (Ac. 9:15). We have been chosen and set apart for our ministry!
Second, Paul wrote: “So that I may impart to you some spiritual gift to make you strong—that is, that you and I may be mutually encouraged by each other’s faith.” We need each other in our mutual ministry of the gospel! Third, Paul wrote he was “under obligation both to Greeks and to barbarians, both to the wise and to the foolish” (see verses 11-14, NIV). Paul wrote elsewhere, “For the love of Christ compels us” (2 Cor. 5:14, NKJV). Our obligation—our joy—in living and sharing the gospel comes from the love of Christ!
– Al Gary