Wednesday June 23, 2021
Heavenly Father – help me start today with a clear heart and a clear mind ready to receive your word in a brand new way today. Amen.
I am obligated both to Greeks and non-Greeks, both to the wise and the foolish. That is why I am so eager to preach the gospel also to you who are in Rome. 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. For in the gospel the righteousness of God is revealed—a righteousness that is by faith from first to last, just as it is written: “The righteous will live by faith.”
“For I am not ashamed of the gospel….” What would drive the Apostle Paul to make such a statement? It’s hard for us to imagine, especially in a society that is primarily dominated by an assumed cultural Christianity, but Paul preached a new, unpopular, and scandalous message. It threatened the status quo and was considered treasonous and seditious. Jesus, in part, was executed because of his claim to be God, and Paul called people to follow this crucified Christ—the true King of kings and Lord of lords. Paul had good reason to be afraid and reluctant. But rather than cower, he writes to a faith community within the oppositional epicenter and proclaims that he will not only continue to preach this controversial “good news,” but he’s eager to do it.
How was Paul able to do this? It’s simple. Paul had confidence. Confidence is the byproduct of knowledge, and it is only as effective as its object. Here’s what I mean. When I sit in a chair, I do so pretty confidently because of my experience with chairs. Unless they are broken, they tend to work the same. My confidence isn’t in my ability to sit; it’s in the chair’s ability to stand. My experience of sitting in a chair is only as effective as the chair’s capacity to support me without collapsing. Paul’s confidence wasn’t in himself. Paul’s confidence was in Christ, and Paul’s confidence is firmly rooted in what he knows—God’s kingdom is here and on its way. He lived as if the kingdom had come, and he wanted the world to know God reigns. For that reason, he had no reason to be ashamed of or afraid to proclaim the good news. God reigns, and in God’s kingdom, we live transformed lives.
How might we learn from Paul’s faith and confidence? Today, how can we live and lead as if we were truly unashamed of the Gospel? What does it mean to you that God reigns and how is that affecting your life?
Lord, these are your words. This is our story. Help me live in a way that honors you today and everyday. Amen.
The First 15
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