"For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek. For therein is the righteousness of God revealed from faith to faith: as it is written, the just shall live by faith."
After carefully pondering on this portion of scripture one can not help but to ask. What is it about the gospel that made the Apostle Paul so unashamed and to what manner or extent did it affect his life?
What is the gospel
Def: Gospel (Greek:euaggelion) - Good tidings or Good news
How good is this good news?
1) The angel of the Lord speaking the shepherds declared this good news saying "behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people" after this a multitude of heavenly hosts praised God saying "Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, and good will toward men". The Gospel is for all People. Luke 2:10-14
2) King Solomon put it ever so beautifully saying "as cold water to a thirty soul, so is good news from a far country". The gospel is Refreshing. Proverbs 25:25
3) Paul wrote that the "goodness of God leadeth thee unto repentance". The gospel has eternal purpose attached to it. Romans 2:4
The Affects of the Gospel
What could make a man endure persecution, heartache, pain, abandonment, beatings, imprisonment, trials, and ultimately beheading. What could make a person so bold? Apostle Paul endured all these thing and more and he revealed to us how he did it, he wrote it is "the Power of God".
Paul's character was that of a pharisee, these people were leaders in the Jewish synagogues. They were the traditional teachers of jewish law. They also held to deeply rooted traditions passed down through "oral law". Jesus Christ would reprove them for esteeming this oral law as much as the commandments of God, at times they would even go as far as neglecting the commandments of God for the traditions of men (Mark 7:1-13). Before his conversion, Paul was more zealous then the rest of the pharisees, the scriptures show that he fervently persecuted the church thinking that it was the will of God. One day he had an encounter with Jesus (Acts 9:4) and three days later he was converted (Acts 22:16).
"Are they ministers of Christ? (I speak as a fool) I am more; in labours more abundant, in stripes above measure, in prisons more frequent, in deaths oft. Of the Jews five times received I forty stripes save one. Thrice was I beaten with rods, once was I stoned, thrice I suffered shipwreck, a night and a day I have been in the deep; In journeyings often, in perils of waters, in perils of robbers, in perils by mine own countrymen, in perils by the heathen, in perils in the city, in perils in the wilderness, in perils in the sea, in perils among false brethren; In weariness and painfulness, in watchings often, in hunger and thirst, in fastings often, in cold and nakedness". 2 Corinthians 11:23-27
Could you imagine this happening to you today? Being stoned almost unto death? (Acts 14:19-20)
In spite of these things Paul boldly declared, "none of these things moved me" Acts 20:24 How did he endure it? It was the Power of the Gospel! This word power literally means strength or might. It is the strength that propels one unto salvation. It is a literal force, who's author is Jesus Christ. What he did for us is life changing if you apply the gospel to your own life. Paul had a real encounter with the Savior and his gospel and he used his faith to apply it.
Application of the Gospel
A vehicle frame is useless without an engine, and an engine is useless without a vehicle frame. Alone they serve no real purpose, but when you install the engine into the vehicle it can accomplish its intended purpose. The Gospel works in the same manner with humanity. It must be applied to our life in order to be effective because the gospel was accomplished by Jesus for humanity.
The Gospel (good news) is the publishing of what Jesus did to redeem us. It is the Death, Burial, and Resurrection of Jesus Christ. We apply the same principle through the plan of salvation. We Die to self (Repentance), get Baptized by immersion in the name of Jesus Christ (Burial), and we rise in the newness of life by the power of the Holy Ghost (Resurrection) (Romans 6:3-5). Peter made it plain, giving instruction on how to be saved he said to "Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost". Acts 2:38
Paul experienced this same plan of salvation and preached it as well (Acts 9:17 18) and (Acts 22:16). Every New Testament church had the gospel applied (Repentance, Water Baptism, and Holy Ghost), thus qualifying them to be called saints (Romans 1:7), brethren (Colossians 1:2) and churches (Galatians 1:2).
After our Christian conversion the principles of what Jesus did for us are also vital aspects to holiness living. The love that Jesus displayed for us in his death is so tremendous and life changing, how could we overlook it and not love our neighbors? The forgiveness he showed toward the very people that were crucifying him is the model for us today, we should not even hesitate to forgive others and love our enemies.
Gospel Power Houses
Truly the gospel is the "Strength of God" unto salvation. Like Paul, it will literally transform your life, making you into a gospel Power House. The power of God will flow through you and it will touch others; its contagious, its electrifying! This Gospel has an eternal purpose attacked to it, it is not temporal nor will it leave you weary in well doing but it will position and project you into salvation and an eternal inheritance with Jesus Christ. Although we endure various trial and tribulations, the strength of God will leave us also with the very same testimony as the Apostle Paul, "None of these things move me" Acts 20:24
Min. John W Jenkins