16 For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ, for it is the power of God to salvation for everyone who believes, for the Jew first and also for the Greek.
Paul placed high value on the gospel message. This was his motivation to share the gospel.
For I am not ashamed
Shame carries lack of confidence in something. It takes courage to share the gospel.
2 Ti 1:8, Therefore do not be ashamed of the testimony of our Lord, nor of me His prisoner, but share with me in the sufferings for the gospel according to the power of God,
of the gospel of Christ,
We are now at the fourth of five times Paul used “gospel” in the first chapter (Ro 1:1,9, 15-17). Here he characterizes the gospel as “the gospel of Christ.” Previously he named the gospel as “the gospel of God.” Christ is its essential subject.
for it is the power of God to salvation
In contrast to shame, the gospel message for Paul was the dynamic that saves souls. The gospel has the power to bring about salvation. It is no mere advice whereby we lift ourselves into proper relation with God. No, the gospel message is what puts us in right relation to Him. There is a dynamic quality to the gospel. God Himself actively works to bring people to Himself.
The power of the gospel directs itself to salvation; it issues in salvation. Biblical faith always directs people to salvation. The gospel comes to individuals by the inherent, omnipotent power of God. The gospel is, therefore, effectual.
Both books of Corinthians emphasize the gospel as a force—it demonstrates its power, not by logic but by a dynamic (note especially 1 Corinthians 1-2). That is why Paul was not ashamed of it.
The scope of salvation is for “everyone.” The gospel carries a universal message.
The word “for” here signifies result. God’s power results in salvation of souls. The Holy Spirit energies the gospel making it powerful in its effects.
The word “believes” in the Greek carries the idea of the continuing orientation to believe. God confines the scope of salvation to belief in its message.
for the Jew first and also for the Greek.
In God’s economy, he places getting the gospel to the Jew as first priority. The Jews were God’s chosen people. The gospel first came to the Jews in the Roman Empire because they had the better understanding of the God of the Bible.
The gospel message is God at work in power.
The gospel is not random power but it has purpose and direction—it serves God’s eternal purpose.
Christians should solidly stand by the message of the gospel. The gospel message is adequate for any generation.
Are we proud of the gospel? We should be ashamed of our shame. Why does cultural viewpoints and convention intimidate us? This is fear of public opinion. This is like running from a scarecrow set up in a field. If we would surrender our fears to the power of the gospel, churches would fill with those embracing the Savior. A tolerant attitude about the exclusiveness of the gospel will blunt the cause of Christ.
Acts 4:12, Nor is there salvation in any other, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved.”