When trying to verify the effectiveness and safety of medicines, companies will use a test group and give half of the group the real medicine and the other half of the group a placebo. The placebo is a pill that looks like the real pill, is taken like the real pill, but it does not have the medicine in it like the real pill. It is anemic and useless.
When we present the gospel to a world in desperate need of a saving experience with Jesus Christ, we must be careful to present the true gospel – not a placebo. Anything less than the call to surrender one’s life to become a follower of Jesus is as effective in salvation as the placebo is in treatment. The world needs the real deal.
But, when we present the true gospel of Christ, we can be assured that there is power in that gospel to change lives and save souls. In Romans 1:16, Paul writes: “For I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God that brings salvation to everyone who believes: first to the Jew, then to the Gentile” (NIV). This gospel that Paul speaks of is not a placebo. In fact, this gospel has great power to affect change in the lives of all who respond in faith to what Christ has done on Calvary to die for our sins. This gospel brings salvation to “everyone who believes.” Hearts and lives in need of a Savior can have that need met through the Savior proclaimed in the gospel, the good news, of Jesus Christ. This true gospel brings true salvation.
For all who have received the forgiveness of sins offered in that gospel of salvation, Paul sets a great example. He says that he is “not ashamed of the gospel.” He gladly wears the result of that gospel. He regularly proclaims that gospel to others. He systematically points others to that gospel so they too can experience the life-changing salvation.
What about you? Are you walking and talking in such a way that you show you are not ashamed of the gospel of Jesus Christ? Do others around you know that you belong to Jesus? Do your actions and words line up with the gospel you profess to believe? Do live the good news? Do you share the good news?
When we exhibit and proclaim the gospel to others, God can reveal the life-giving power of that gospel to their hearts and through His Spirit draw them to Him and impart into their lives the salvation through Christ as well. God uses believers who have experienced the power of the gospel and who are living the changed life that this gospel brings to impact others with that same gospel…if we are not ashamed.
Paul shows that he is not ashamed. Do you? Do you live your faith in timidity? Or in boldness? Can you echo the words of Paul: “I am not ashamed of the gospel”?