Romans 1:16 (For) I am Not Ashamed of the Gospel

The word “for” at the beginning connects this verse to the previous.  The previous verse was a mind blower because Paul confesses He has radically changed from a proud, radical, racist to loving everyone.  See the blog post.

Now Paul adds the words “I am not ashamed of the Gospel“. Interesting words to quote before the purpose and power are described. Why would the word ashamed even be mentioned?


In my study I found some interesting responses.  The most compelling was the conflict of the Gospel to our own righteousness.  In Paul’s case there would have been a huge issue with the gospel as he was before his meeting with Christ.  Paul’s intelligence and religious actions were everything.  It gave him status, self righteousness,  reason to judge others.  The gospel message of faith in Christ is the only way of salvation and hope would have sent Paul in a rage of religious responses.  But the new Paul,  the one who is eager to share the message of the Gospel is not ashamed of it’s message.

Timothy Keller writes the following:

In every age, it is possible to be “ashamed of the gospel” (Romans 1: 16), instead of eager to share it. The word translated “ashamed” also means “offended.” How is the gospel offensive?

The gospel, by telling us that our salvation is free and undeserved, is really insulting! It tells us that we are such spiritual failures that the only way to gain salvation is for it to be a complete gift. This offends moral and religious people who think their decency gives them an advantage over less moral people.

The gospel is also really insulting by telling us that Jesus died for us. It tells us that we are so wicked that only the death of the Son of God could save us. This offends the modern cult of self-expression and the popular belief in the innate goodness of humanity.

The gospel, by telling us that trying to be good and spiritual isn’t enough, thereby insists that no “good” person will be saved, but only those who come to God through Jesus. This offends the modern notion that any nice person anywhere can find God “in his own way.” We don’t like losing our autonomy.

The gospel tells us that our salvation was accomplished by Jesus’ suffering and serving (not conquering and destroying), and that following him means to suffer and serve with him. This offends people who want salvation to be an easy life; it also offends people who want their lives to be safe and comfortable.


I also am not ashamed of the gospel.  I hope you are not ashamed as well and that the gospel has placed a lightnside your life.


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