Recall where Paul said he was not ashamed of the gospel. He was not ashamed of the way to the gospel (preaching), the truth of the gospel (the death and resurrection of Christ for the forgiveness of sins), or the life from the gospel (we die to self and live for Christ). We discussed the signs of being ashamed of the gospel, ashamed of Jesus Christ. It is when we don’t preach it – sugar coating the offense of the gospel – take off the hard edges and it won’t penetrate the heart. When we don’t believe it, we present the good news as self-improvement rather than self-denying. We change things or add a thing because we don’t believe what God did is enough for today. When we don’t live it – when we aren’t lights in the world, having the dimmer switch on.
Here Paul begins to say why he is not ashamed, and he begins by telling us that the gospel is God’s power revealed for the salvation of men. Now, every one is looking for salvation these days, in whatever way they define it, but Paul said he was not ashamed of the gospel because IT IS the power of God unto salvation to everyone that believes it to be so.
What is salvation? What are we saved from? People define salvation in temporal terms most often, but philosophers and thinkers have realized that we are in no way capable of actually delivering ourselves ultimately. Salvation is justification, sanctification, and glorification (Romans 8:28-30 / 1 Corinthians 1:30). We are saved from God’s wrath, and saved to Jesus Christ. We have been saved from the penalty of sin, and we are saved from the power of sin, and to the degree that we continue to believe it (John 8:31-32 / Mark 4:26-28) we will realize that, and in the eternal state in heaven we will be saved from the presence of sin, amen. What we should pray for now is to be saved from the pleasure of sin (Hebrews 11:25).
God is not mad at you. He is not against you for your sin; He is for you against your sin. He isn’t charging the sin to your account any more if you are a Christian. So then why do bad things happen when you sin? Because sin has its own penalty here on this earth, it has consequences, the death that naturally occurs (Galatians 6:8 / Romans 8:13).
Every one is looking for power – and Paul had seen it at work – if you are carrying the gospel you need not be ashamed at your lesser status, you have the most powerful message in history, and you have what everyone is truly looking for, salvation. The gospel isn’t a way for people to lift themselves up; it lifts them up. It doesn’t bring power; it is power, God’s power. God must do the work. He is the potter and we are the clay. We carry this power as jars of clay. He is the vine and we are the branches. We don’t grow the fruit we only show the fruit of the gospel. Rome had all the power in the world but the people were powerless to make themselves righteous before God. It is the same with the USA today, and all nations and peoples.
Every one is looking for something or someone to believe in – Who would be ashamed of the power of God, except those that don’t know it or believe it as such?