Christianity has often borne the brunt of the world’s sarcasm and ridicule. But why is our faith so often the object of the world’s scorn?
The Gospel of God
One of the chief reasons is that the gospel is confrontative. The gospel says every man and woman is a fallen sinner living under the looming wrath of God. Unless the grace of God intervenes, he will spend eternity separated from God paying the penalty for his sins against God. That is a very unpopular message.
And let’s be honest. None of us likes to be ridiculed. Since the gospel is often the source of the ridicule we receive, it’s a temptation for every Christian to be ashamed of that gospel.
Romans is the most magnificent and profound explanation of the gospel ever written. The theme of this book is the righteousness which comes from God to the believing sinner in the Gospel of God. But notice Paul begins his brief powerful statement of the thesis of Romans in a shocking way. “For I am not ashamed of the gospel.”
Tempted to be ashamed of the gospel
We live in a society that’s happy to accept an emasculated form of Christianity, as long as we’re content to have it be one of many viable choices. But the people around us are every bit as intolerant of the true gospel and those who embrace it as they were in the first century.
If you really understand the Christian message, you have been and will be tempted to be ashamed. It’s a temptation because the gospel is nothing but the story about a publicly shamed man. To the Greeks and the Romans, it was foolishness.
To the Jews, it was a stumbling block. They just couldn’t conceive of the Messiah being publicly shamed like Jesus was on the cross. In fact, in the second century there were a series of debates between Christian apologist, Justin Martyr, and a Jewish teacher of the law named Trypho. In one of those debates, Trypho responds to Justin Martyr’s argument with these words: “It is clear that the scriptures announce that the Messiah had to suffer, but prove to us whether he must be crucified and die so disgracefully and so dishonorably the death accursed in the Law. For we cannot bring ourselves even to consider this.”
Because of Paul’s message, the world, both Jews and Gentiles, had labeled him as a fool and as a shameful man. He was without a sense of honor and thus deserving of ill treatment.
In spite of all this, Paul said he was unashamed.
Are you ashamed of the gospel of Jesus Christ?