I Am Not Ashamed Of The Law
“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.” (Romans 1:16)
Paul’s letter to the Romans is arguably the most masterful piece of writing in the New Testament. Martin Luther even declared that this letter was more important to the Church than the four Gospels. And that’s understandable, considering it was Paul’s words in Romans 1:16-17 that first made the doctrine of justification through faith alone, clear to him.
Paul starts off his correspondence to the Romans by telling them how badly he desires to travel there to encourage and preach the gospel to them (Romans 1:11-15). Yes, Paul honestly thinks preaching the gospel to Christians (people who already believe the gospel) is paramount. He then follows that up with a statement nearly every Christian knows.
“I am not ashamed of the gospel…” (1:16)
The implication of this statement is that some people are in fact—ashamed of the gospel—the message of God becoming flesh, assuming the world’s sin to himself and having that flesh stripped naked and nailed to a cross. It’s all rather scandalous, even shameful.
The idea that you and I have done things, which require such an action, is very jarring. The notion that we cannot add a single thing to that cross other than our sin is an assault on our pride and perceived goodness.
But the easiest way to de-shame the gospel is to tame the law, to make it achievable. Paul studied under the Pharisees and is well acquainted with the skill of relaxing the law. When God’s Law is doable, you aren’t as damnable. Knowing this, Paul makes a dramatic turn after his bold, unashamed affirmation of the gospel.