May 2, 2022
“For I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is God’s power for salvation to everyone who believes, first to the Jew, and also to the Greek (Gentile).”
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“For I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is God’s power for salvation to everyone who believes, first to the Jew, and also to the Greek (Gentile). For in it God’s righteousness is revealed from faith to faith, just as it is written: The righteous will live by faith.” Romans 1:16-17
A friend told me of the graduate-level negotiating class he took in college. On the first day, the professor handed everyone in the class a list containing contact information for 200 businesses and organizations. The assignment was to call these companies and renegotiate everything from their cable bills to personal credit card percentage rates. The professor said, “The assignment is over when you get turned down 20 times.” My friend was amazed to find the semester ended without filling the “20 rejections” quota.
The point of the professor’s assignment was to condition these young negotiators not to be afraid to ask. My friend renegotiated all sorts of things he felt were “set in stone” by powerful institutions. He overcame his fear of asking, and he is a wealthy man today.
When we share the gospel, we are asking people to reconsider their opinions of God, Jesus, the Holy Spirit, and the Church. In essence, we are helping them “renegotiate” their spiritual lives.
If anyone knew the consequences of evangelism, it was Paul. Before he believed in Jesus, Paul persecuted Christians. After he came to faith, Paul himself was persecuted, shipwrecked, stoned, and left for dead. But Paul had an intimate knowledge of God’s faithfulness. Paul knew God’s heart towards sinners who repented.
Paul also loved people for who they could be in Messiah, rather than how they treated him at the moment. He loved them enough to expose the sins that kept them from a right relationship with God. To Paul, the persecution he suffered was worth it if he could convince men that salvation is by God’s grace through faith in Jesus.
Paul was a very successful evangelist. This was not because of his intellect or personal power of persuasion. Paul’s effectiveness came solely from the Holy Spirit…as does yours.
As Jesus faithfully suffered for our sin and was resurrected, Paul also believed God by faith. When Paul believed by faith, the Lord faithfully gave him the Spirit, as He promises all believers. Additionally, as Paul faithfully believed the testimony of the Holy Spirit as it revealed God’s Word to Paul, people’s lives were drastically and eternally changed. And so it went, “from faith to faith.” In short, Paul was not ashamed to negotiate by faith, and neither should we.
Paul’s message to us: Do not be ashamed! Keep faithfully listening to the Spirit, and He will faithfully guide and empower you to accomplish God’s purposes for His glory.