“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.”
In their culture, just as in ours, there were forces of intimidation against believers, arguments against the Bible, peer pressure against Christians, and more than enough people who disagreed with us, and who were not shy about ridiculing or persecuting. Samwise Gamgee, in The Lord of the Rings, explained why he was doing what he was doing: “There’s some good in the world, Mr. Frodo, and it’s worth fighting for.” We as Christians should not be ashamed, because there is truth in the world, and it’s worth fighting for.
I’ll admit that sometimes I’m ashamed of Christians, sometimes of the church, and sometimes of myself. But I cannot be ashamed of the gospel, even though it’s a stumbling block to people, and even though the positions I take are subject to ridicule. I must hold fast to the truth as it is revealed, and let the gospel be the gospel. After all, it’s not my words, thoughts, or positions. It’s God’s. I’m just one of the many messengers.
The Gospel is power. It can do something. It’s not a mere ornament to our society. It’s neither a nice story nor an interesting system of philosophy. It’s not laws and burdens; not a religious list of do’s and don’t’s. It’s not man-made ideas. It’s not anti-intellectual. It doesn’t make your life smooth, problem free, full of health and wealth, or happy. It’s the power of God for salvation. It frees you from your sin, which, like the Matrix (Warner Bros. Pictures, 1999), is all around you and the very substance of you, even if you’re unaware of it. The Gospel isn’t about being a good person, but about being holy—set apart for a dedicated purpose. Why would I be ashamed of that?
It’s available to everyone. The price has been paid so that everyone is invited to enjoy the party, free of charge. Why would I be ashamed of that? This is a gold-medal headline.