Grapes on the Vine, God's Abundant Provision for His People

A daily devotion for February 14th

Not Ashamed

For I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God that brings salvation to everyone who believes: first to the Jew, then to the Gentile.

Romans 1:16

Paul is not ashamed of the gospel. He has reached the intelligent conclusion that the gospel has no rivals, that it can do what nothing else can do, and therefore there is no need to be ashamed because it is pure, undiluted, undiminished power! And not merely power, but God's power, resurrection power, a unique kind of power which nothing in the world can rival. This is the missing note, above all else, that we lack in our present life in the world today. Christians have forgotten that the gospel is absolutely unique. It does not borrow anything from any human source — it does not borrow from psychology, from history, from philosophy, from science, or from anything. It is an absolutely unique force. That is why Paul is not ashamed of it.

If anything could make him ashamed, it would be the city of Rome. Rome sneered at the Christian story. These proud Roman citizens laughed at this fantastic tale of a man named Jesus who lived in an obscure Roman province, and who was supposedly raised from the dead after the procurator Pontius Pilate had put him to death. It was absurd to these practical, hard-headed Romans. Rome ruled in haughty power as mistress of the earth. Rome was proud of its roads which ran throughout the whole empire and made trade and commerce possible everywhere. Rome was proud of its culture, with its beautiful cities and its wonderful statues and art and music. Rome was proud of its conquests, of the fact that its armies were unbeatable. For over 1,000 years, a kind of uneasy peace lay over the world called Pax Romana, the Roman Peace, because of the power and might of Rome's invincible armies.

But with all this display of power, there were many things Rome could not do. Rome was powerless when it came to freeing the slaves that abounded in the Empire. Romans were seemingly powerless to curb their own lusts. The seeds of disintegration were already manifest in Roman society, which would ultimately bring the whole thing crashing down around their ears. Romans were absolutely helpless when it came to vanquishing their fears. They lived in terror of the barbarian hordes that were around the borders of the empire. They were engrossed in rank superstition because of their fears. They were powerless to cure or heal the inner agonies of their spirits. You only need to read the literature of that day to know their poignant cry for help against the meaninglessness of life. They were unable to awaken hope, and on tombstone after tombstone you find written in Latin, No Hope.

But the gospel meets all these needs. That is the uniqueness of it. Here is our world today, like Rome, powerless amid its display of power. It can do so many things of a technological nature, but one thing it cannot do: It cannot heal a human heart, it cannot awaken hope, and it cannot unite that which is fragmented and divided. It has no power in this realm. But when you have been used as an instrument of that kind of power, beside that the exercise of earthly power is dull and drab indeed.

Lord, strengthen me with a deeper understanding of the power of the Gospel so that I will not be ashamed of it.

Life Application

Do you fully understand the power of the Gospel so that you need not be ashamed of being a follower of Jesus?

This Daily Devotion was Inspired by one of Ray's Messages

The Man God Uses

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