Romans 1:16
I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, first to the Jew, then to the Greek.
Sermons
Glorying in the GospelS.F. Aldridge Romans 1:16
God's Power unto SalvationBp. Thorold.Romans 1:16
Moral Courage Ready to Encounter ShameT. Chalmers, D. D.Romans 1:16
Not Ashamed of the GospelR. Barclay, M. A.Romans 1:16
Not Ashamed of the GospelW. M. Taylor, D. D.Romans 1:16
Not Ashamed of the GospelR. Newton, D. D.Romans 1:16
Not Ashamed of the GospelR. Cecil, M. A.Romans 1:16
Not Ashamed of the GospelR. S. Storrs, D. D.Romans 1:16
Not Ashamed of the GospelD. Thomas, D. D.Romans 1:16
Not Ashamed of the GospelD. Merson, M. A.Romans 1:16
Not Ashamed of the GospelB. Rayson.Romans 1:16
Not Ashamed of the GospelC. Nell, M. A.Romans 1:16
Not Ashamed of the GospelC.H. Irwin Romans 1:16
Not Ashamed of the Gospel and WhyJ M. Cruickshank.Romans 1:16
Not Ashamed of the Gospel of ChristH. W. Beecher.Romans 1:16
Not Ashamed of the Gospel of ChristCanon Liddon.Romans 1:16
On ChristianityT. Laurie, D. D.Romans 1:16
Our Duty to IsraelR. M. McCheyne.Romans 1:16
Paul's Holy Audacity in Regard to the GospelW. M. Taylor.Romans 1:16
Reasons for Glorying in the GospelD. Thomas, D. D.Romans 1:16
St. Paul's Confidence in the GospelJ. W. Burn.Romans 1:16
The Apostle's Estimate of the GospelW. Sidebottom.Romans 1:16
The Christian Evangel, its Contents and ResultsW. Adamson, D. D.Romans 1:16
The Distinguishing Features of ChristianityR. D. Hitchcock, D. D.Romans 1:16
The GospelW. H. Luckenbach.Romans 1:16
The Gospel a Power unto SalvationLyman Abbott, D. D.Romans 1:16
The Gospel Ashamed of Some of its PreachersRomans 1:16
The Gospel the Power of GodW. Grant.Romans 1:16
The Gospel the Power of GodA. J. Parry.Romans 1:16
The Gospel the Power of GodA. Maclaren, D. D.Romans 1:16
The Gospel the Power of God unto SalvationProf. I. B. Grubbs.Romans 1:16
The Gospel's Power: it is GreatA. Huelston, Ph. D.Romans 1:16
The Nature and Claims of the GospelJ. Leifchild.Romans 1:16
The Power of the GospelJ. Vaughan, M. A.Romans 1:16
The Power of the Gospel Contrasted with Other TheoriesW. Hay Aitken, M. A.Romans 1:16
The Power of the Gospel to SaveS. H. Tyng, D. D.Romans 1:16
The Shame of the Gospel of Christ is its GloryH. G. Weston, D. D.Romans 1:16
The Usefulness of Converted JewsRomans 1:16
To the Jew FirstR. Haldane.Romans 1:16
Who are Ashamed of the GospelR. M. McCheyne.Romans 1:16
Exemplary FaithJ. Lyth, D. D.Romans 1:8-16
Paul's Desire to See RomeT. Binney.Romans 1:8-16
Personal ReligionT. Robinson, D. D.Romans 1:8-16
Standard of ThankfulnessDictionary of IllustrationsRomans 1:8-16
Thankfulness for Faith Spoken OfT. Robinson, D. D.Romans 1:8-16
Thankfulness for the Blessings of OthersA. Barnes.Romans 1:8-16
ThanksgivingJ. Lyth, D. D.Romans 1:8-16
The Bond of Christian UnionJ. Lyth, D. D.Romans 1:8-16
True Christian ZealJ. Lyth, D. D.Romans 1:8-16
The Policy to be Pursued in Case Paul Came to RomeR.M. Edgar Romans 1:8-17
Christendom's Debt to the WorldD. Thomas, D. D.Romans 1:14-16
Christian DebtC. S. Robinson, D. D.Romans 1:14-16
Debtor and CreditorW. P. LockhartRomans 1:14-16
DebtorsW. M. Taylor, D. D.Romans 1:14-16
Debtors to All MenA. Maclaren, D. D.Romans 1:14-16
Every Christian a Debtor to the PaganG. T. Shedd, D. D.Romans 1:14-16
I am DebtorW. Arnot, D. D.Romans 1:14-16
Neglecting to Extend the GospelRomans 1:14-16
Our DebtorshipJ. Le Huray.Romans 1:14-16
Paul's Desire to Extend the GospelC. H. Spurgeon.Romans 1:14-16
The Christian a Debtor to MankindR. S. Storrs, D. D.Romans 1:14-16
The Christian's Obligation to Diffuse the GospelJ. Fletcher, D. D.Romans 1:14-16
The Christian's Obligation to Propagate the GospelCanon Jacob.Romans 1:14-16
The Duty of Proclaiming the GospelHomilistRomans 1:14-16
The GrecianF. W. Robertson, M. A.Romans 1:14-16
The Missionary SpiritR. Glover.Romans 1:14-16
The RomanF. W. Robertson, M. A.Romans 1:14-16
The Gospel a Message for Every OneC.H. Irwin Romans 1:14-17
Not Ashamed!T.F. Lockyer Romans 1:16, 17
When these words were written by St. Paul, Christianity did not occupy in the world the position that it does now. In the mind of the ordinary Roman, the Jew was regarded almost always with contempt. And when the Christian was at all distinguished from the Jew, it was only to be the subject of more reproachful terms. Some of the most eminent and well-informed of the Roman writers speak of the Christian religion as a pernicious and detestable superstition. The humble origin, too, of the early founders of Christianity was not calculated to impress favourably the worldly mind. If the gospel which told of Christ crucified was a stumbling-block to the Jew, it was indeed foolishness to the Greek and to the Roman too. Yet Paul had not been ashamed of this gospel at Athens; he was not going to be ashamed of it at Rome. He had proclaimed the message of the Nazarene in the city of Plato and Socrates; he would preach it also in the city of Cicero and Seneca. Paul is not afraid to teach where they have taught. He was right. The name of Jesus is a greater name than Plato's. The religion which Jesus taught has moulded and purified the world. The apostle assigns two reasons why he is not ashamed of the gospel. These are -

I. ITS PURPOSE. This is indicated by the words "unto salvation" The Greek preposition which is translated "unto' expresses purpose, or tendency, or aim. The purpose of the gospel is the salvation of all who will receive its message. To effect this purpose, the Son of God left the glory of the eternal, and descended into the misery and weariness of a life on earth. For this, he suffered the assaults of the tempter; for this, he passed through the agony of Gethsemane; for this, he bore with patience the lingering torments of the cross. "The Son of man is come to seek and to save that which was lost." The purpose of the gospel is salvation. Let us understand fully the meaning of that great word. Salvation is indeed deliverance from guilt, deliverance from condemnation. But the purpose of the gospel is something more than this. It is to save us also from the power of sin in our hearts and lives. Many professing Christians forget this. They think that faith in Christ is simply to deliver them from punishment in the day of judgment, while they do not allow it to have present, practical influence upon their lives. Let us not deceive ourselves. There is no true salvation where there is not an evidence of present departure from sin and present following after holiness. "By their fruits ye shall know them." Faith, if it is real, will show itself. Salvation is a present thing. "The blood of Jesus Christ, God's Son, cleanseth us from all sin." The purpose of the gospel is to save us now There are many who long for some power that might save them from themselves, from some evil propensity or passion, from the influence of bad companionships. This salvation it is the purpose of the gospel to effect. "Thanks be unto God, who giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ."

II. ITS POWER. The gospel, says the apostle, is "the power of God." Here is an encouragement for our faith. This is the second reason why St. Paul was not ashamed of the gospel. Its purpose, no doubt, seemed a very difficult one, but the apostle had no fear for its success. Its earliest messengers were humble men. But the success of their message was in higher and mightier hands than theirs. That sin should be overcome, and men delivered from its power, was the purpose of the Almighty God, and his purpose never fails. In the history of nations we see the gospel proving itself to be the power of God. The moral miracles of Christianity, as Prebendary Row has shown, are the strongest evidence of its Divine origin and power. It has changed barbarism to civilization. It has emancipated the slaves. It has put an end to the cruel sacrifices performed in honour of the heathen gods. It has accomplished moral and social revolutions that to the human eye seemed utterly impossible. So also in the history of individuals. Men who have sunk so low beneath the power of degrading vice that their friends despaired of rescuing them, by the power of the gospel have been brought from death unto life. Jesus, and Jesus only, can cure men of sin's power. If we but touch his garment, we shall be made whole. No one has any reason to be ashamed of the gospel. Its purpose is a high and noble one, the highest and noblest mission ever undertaken. Its power is not the power of a feeble or a puny arm. It is the power of the living God. These are thoughts to inspire, and not to make ashamed. - C.H.I.







For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ.
What grand truths lie concealed in this Scripture, as in a kaleidoscope! The gospel being its focal point, several easy turns bring into clearest view some of the most precious things of our Christian faith.

I. The first turn presents its EFFICACY: "It is...power."

II. The second its DIVINITY: "It is the power of God."

III. The third its OBJECT: "It is the power of God unto salvation."

IV. The fourth its IMPARTIALITY: "It is the power of God unto salvation to everyone."

V. The fifth its CONDITIONALITY: "It is the power of God unto salvation to everyone that believeth."

VI. The sixth the ORDER in which it was to be preached to and employed by guilty man: "To the Jews first, and also to the Greek." A man who can define it so comprehensively and grandly, could not well be "ashamed of the gospel of Christ." In more than the sense of willingness he is "ready to preach" it anywhere.

(W. H. Luckenbach.)

I. PAUL'S ESTIMATE OF THE GOSPEL.

1. The gospel is a power. This power is manifested —(1) In overcoming deeply rooted prejudices. Perhaps no man was more prejudiced than was Paul. Yet he embraced it.(2) In triumphing over cruel persecutions.(3) In overturning systems of long-established idolatry. Diana of the Ephesians, worshipped by the world, lost her adherents when the gospel was proclaimed. All the deities of Greece and Rome were soon dethroned. Buddhism, Brahminism, and other isms are furnishing unmistakable signs of decay.(4) In its influence over men's lives. When imprisonment, stripes, destitution, and disgrace have been powerless to reform, the gospel of Christ has succeeded.

2. The gospel is the power of God. The Jews said this power was of Beelzebub. The Pagans that it was the power of fanaticism. Paul said it was of God.(1) The gospel scheme was originated by God.(2) The success of the gospel is of God. "Not by might...but by My Spirit," etc.

3. The gospel is the power of God unto salvation, Nature exhibits His power in creation. The Deluge furnished proof of His destructive power. The gospel reveals His power to save. It saves —(1) From present sinfulness. "Thou shalt call His name Jesus, because He shall save His people from their sins."(2) From future wrath.

4. The gospel is the power of God unto salvation to believers. The Lord has a perfect right to fix the terms of our salvation.

5. The gospel is the power of God unto salvation to everyone that believeth.

II. PAUL'S PERSONAL FEELINGS CONCERNING THE GOSPEL. "I am not ashamed." Being satisfied of its Divine origin.

1. The poverty of its adherents did not make him ashamed of it. Though our religion had a carpenter for its founder, fishermen for its advocates, and the poor for its supporters, yet Paul was not ashamed.

2. The illiterateness of its adherents did not make him ashamed of it. Paul was a learned man. The vast majority of Jewish rabbis and heathen philosophers despised the gospel. The bulk of Christians were unlearned and ignorant men. Yet Paul was not ashamed.

3. The persecutions of its adherents did not make him ashamed.Lessons:

1. The apostle was not ashamed to profess the gospel.

2. The apostle was not ashamed to live the gospel.

3. The apostle was not ashamed to preach the gospel.

4. Are you ashamed of the gospel?

(W. Sidebottom.)

? — The success of Christianity has won for it the respect even of its enemies.

I. THE SUBJECT WHICH IT EMPHASISES — the "gospel." In the context we have clearest evidence that a knowledge of certain facts and truths associated therewith existed among those to whom the apostle wrote. These facts and truths all clustered around the person, life work, example, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ. The bare historical record of these, however, was not the gospel any more than mere creeds or systems of Christian truth, however important these may be. The members of the body are the servants of the living soul; so the gospel is the animating spirit which employs as its instruments facts and doctrines, precepts and institutions.

II. THE REFERENCE WHICH OUR TEXT IMPLIES — Not ashamed of the gospel! Strange language, surely, for Paul to use, is it not? Did he not love the gospel with a most ardent affection? Did he not prize it above all things, and glory in it as an ineffable trust Divinely committed to his charge: How could Paul content himself with declaring that he was "not ashamed of the gospel"? The reference here implied brings us back to the words in which Christ described His mission to the world at its commencement (Luke 4:18), and also, when replying to the messengers sent to Him by John the Baptist, from the prison (Luke 7:22). Christ's heart glowed with love to all; but most intensely towards the poor, the vast struggling masses of humanity, denied universally the rights of citizens and of manhood. Slavery and class privilege were the cornerstone of that Pagan civilisation, then so powerful, and to these the gospel did not offer any terms of compromise; and so its advocates, as Paul tells us, were "made as the filth of the world, the off-scouring of all things." Enemies were constantly asserting that this "new religion drew to it the dregs of the population — peasants, mechanics, beggars, and slaves." Even long after the time of Paul, when Christianity had won many triumphs, we find Celsus, a haughty, heathen philosopher, remarking that "even the Christian teachers were wool workers, cobblers, and fullers — the most illiterate and vulgar of mankind." We can easily understand that some might waver in the. good cause, and that others, though favourable, might shrink from embracing it through fear of being treated as persons who had degraded themselves in the social scale. So the apostle Paul comes down for the moment from his wonted high position of "glorying "in the gospel and adopts a lowlier strain; he "was not ashamed of the gospel:"

III. THE ARGUMENT UPON WHICH THIS DECLARATION RESTS.

(J M. Cruickshank.)

Whether religion in general has any rational ground or not, it is certain that human society in the long run is quite impossible without religion. You have heard of the ten great religions of the world. Of these only three have been expansive and conquering religions — Buddhism, Mohammedanism, and Christianity. To these three the struggle is narrowed down. And as between the three, whether legitimately or illegitimately, the hard, historic fact is, that Christianity is certainly carrying the day.

I. I name as the first distinctive feature of Christianity, THE INCARNATION OF GOD IN CHRIST. History teaches that human nature cannot endure a bald spiritual theism. We have two thoughts of God equally necessary. We think of Him as an Infinite Spirit, wholly separate from matter and superior to it — wise, just, awful in holiness. Hence the pure monotheism now recognised as lying in the background of all the better mythologies. But human weakness, and, above all, human depravity necessitate another conception of God. The human heart, yearning for sympathy in its weakness, and stricken with terror in its defilement, cries out passionately for an Incarnate God. Call it reason and conscience, or call it finite limitation and guilty fear, this uniform importunate demand for an Incarnate God is answered only by our God in Christ.

II. The second distinctive feature of Christianity is ATONEMENT. Both Testaments are full of it.

III. The third distinctive feature of Christianity is REGENERATION. Confession of sin is not confined to Christendom. Universal sacrifice is universal confession. Christianity begins its curative work by a better diagnosis of the disease. It sets in clear light the original rectitude of man, discloses the tempter, and proclaims the fall.

(R. D. Hitchcock, D. D.)

I. THE CHARACTER OF ITS AUTHOR RECOMMENDS CHRISTIANITY TO PARTICULAR REGARD.

II. THE INTRINSIC EXCELLENCE OF CHRISTIANITY MARKS ITS SUPERIORITY TO EVERY OTHER RELIGIOUS SYSTEM.

III. CONSIDER THE MODE OF ITS ESTABLISHMENT.

(T. Laurie, D. D.)

In these words we have exhibited the true spirit of this ambassador of Christ, and the nature of the message he was commissioned to make known. "The gospel is no feeble utterance, no mere human speculation composed of sentiments light as air. It is charged with Divine energy, and works out the salvation of all who receive it."

I. Notice that by these words we are assured THERE IS A DIVINE POSITIVE MESSAGE TO MAN. Paul did not appear before the world as a philosopher, who by the workings of a powerful intellect could solve all the problems of being and knowing which had baffled those who went before him. He did not assume the position of a reformer, whose business was to set in order those things which pertained to the social and political conditions of life. Neither did he maintain the position of an educator who should train minds in the mental products of human genius. Paul was a herald of the King of grace and of glory; he was an ambassador of Christ, a preacher of a positive message of truth and love to all mankind, and which came from the heart of the Eternal. God has looked down from His high and holy abode in tenderest love and righteous mercy, and has made known to us His purposes and desires.

II. Our text teaches us that THE BURDEN OF THIS DIVINE MESSAGE TO MAN IS A PERSON. The gospel is the gospel of Christ — concerning Christ. It came from Him and it is occupied with Him and nothing else.

III. THE CHRISTIAN EVANGEL IS CHARGED WITH DIVINE POWER. The magnetism of great men — which is the resultant of their personalities — has more power with those they influence than their wisest counsels. So it is with the gospel. It is powerful, not only because of its truthfulness, or merely because of the love it reveals, but because God in the person of His own Son is in it, and with it, dealing personally with the sinful and the lost. Its efficiency is from Heaven, and the spiritual revolutions it has wrought have been produced, not only by power as power, but by the living spirit of the Lord.

IV. We advance a step further by noticing that THE GOSPEL IS A SAVING POWER. The Roman power was in its outgoings, in very many instances, a power unto destruction. It pulled down, injured, and destroyed; and the more destruction it produced, the greater it was feared, and the more loudly it was applauded. This destroying power is a low, vulgar power. Any person — no matter how weak and wicked — is capable of destroying the finest work of art which ever proceeded from the reason and hand of man. On the other hand, it takes one who is wise, tender, and good inspired by more than human genius — to raise and to save the human soul, and secure the advance and development of the human race. Of all beings who ever appeared in this world, no one has ever been equal to this Herculean task except the Man of Sorrows. He alone can build up the temple of humanity which was pulled down by sin.

V. Finally, it is to be observed that THE SALVATION THE GOSPEL WORKS OUT IS TO BE POSSESSED AND ENJOYED BY FAITH. Faith is the door by which all spiritual power and upbuilding influences enter the soul. It is receptive in its nature, and takes into the inner man those thoughts, feelings, and persons, which regulate the heart out of which flows the issues of life. He that believeth the testimony of the gospel takes Christ and all that is in Christ into the deepest parts of his spirit. By faith Christ dwells in us the hope of glory and the power of an endless life.

(W. Adamson, D. D.)

If he had been ashamed, could we have so much wondered? Consider the time and the place, and the man and the message. The time was the hideous time of Nero; the place was the city of Rome, in which, as in a sort of moral sewer, all the detestable, and, to us, in many respects, inconceivable wickedness of the world festered. The man was a Jew, one of an ancient and indestructible race, which then, even more than now, the world despised, ill-used, and robbed. The message was this: that a crucified Hebrew had risen from the dead, being the Son of God, with power. And the apostle felt no sort of reluctance with this message. Of this gospel, the apostle tells us these magnificent statements. First, he calls it a gospel, a good news — a good news which could have been discovered only in one way, by revelation from heaven, a good news declared in a life sealed by death, confirmed by resurrection, and written in a book. And this great revelation, which none of the great thinkers of the day had been able to think out, tells us of three great things. It is a revelation of the fatherhood of God, of the redemption of Christ by the power of grace. Then, in the power of this grace, we go on free, reconciled, and strengthened for the duties of life and for the city of God. This is the gospel, there is no other — the free, full, present forgiveness of sin in Christ our Lord. And it is called the gospel of Christ; Christ is the gospel; Christ reveals the Father. "And Christ is our Redeemer. He is the propitiation for our sins, and not for ours only, but for the sins of the whole world." "The gospel of Christ," the apostle calls it, and he goes on to tell us that the gospel of Christ is the power of God. How is it the power of God? It is the power of God because God uses it to convert, and to instruct, and to console, and to inspire. This book that brings us to God makes us like God, it makes us thirst for God, it helps us to be filled with God. And once more it inspires ideas of the power that rules the world; and this power, with its lofty ideals, with its moral principles, with its wonderful history, with its life-giving promises, is the one book in all the world which has done more than anything else to break the chains of the captive, to lift up mortal man to the true dignity for which God intended him. It is the power of God; and yet there is another sense in which it is the power of God, because only God can make it powerful. I think it is upon this great truth that we preachers need to rely more than we have ever relied yet. "Not by might, nor by power, but My Spirit, saith the Lord of Hosts." The apostle further defines what he means by "power"; he says, "unto salvation." Salvation from the power of sin; from the dominion of the world; from the yoke of selfishness; from the misery of small, wretched faults which eat and ulcerate the soul like venomous insects; salvation from all that makes life poor and mean; salvation from low idea; salvation from forgetting God. It is the gospel which is the power of God unto salvation, because it tells us whence we came, and to what we go: that we are the sons of God. But there is a limitation to this — "unto everyone that believeth." God never makes a man good against his will, He never takes from any one of us our awful freedom. He knows that one day we shall stand to be judged for our works before His Son, to whom He hath committed judgment. How could He punish us for the evil we have done, how could He recompense us for the good which, by His grace, we may have done if He did not leave us free? To everyone that believeth is the gospel a power, and to no one else. It was of this gospel of which the apostle was not ashamed first to accept it for himself, and then to proclaim it to others. He knew, if any man ever yet knew, on whom he had believed. With these last three truths I will leave the subject in your hearts. First, St. Paul's reason for writing to Rome, and afterwards going to Rome, was the sense of his indebtedness. "I am a debtor," so we are debtors to God, to the world, to the Church, and in a sense to ourselves and to those who come after us; and just so far as we know what we owe to Christ, and what Christ has done for us, shall we feel the blessed duty and obligation of passing on to others what has been given to us. And then when this is the case, when we feel our obligation, and when each takes such share as we may in what Christ gives us to do, we shall feel the reasonableness of faith — the reasonableness of a reasonable faith.

(Bp. Thorold.)

I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ —

I.Because of the heroic character of its witnesses.

II.Because of the influence it has had on civilisation.

III.Because of its adaptability to human necessities.

IV.Because of the promise it gives of eternal life.

I. THE HEROIC CHARACTER OF ITS WITNESSES. I think it is Thomas Carlyle who says that "the history of a nation is the history of its great men." On the same principle it may be said that the history of Christianity is the history of its heroes. For it is from them and by them that we have given to us practical illustration of the power and processes of the great God-sent religion. And first we turn to Him who was at once the Founder and Finisher of the faith, Jesus Christ, whose life may be said to epitomise the biography of mankind. But perhaps it may be said, "Time has lent a fascination to their labours; what they did perforce has been transfigured into something done for love." If it was done "perforce," it was the force of Christianity — the force of Jesus Christ, and that is the force of devotion and love. I do not know that history and the lapse of time have done anything to magnify their work. The gospel of Jesus Christ prompts men to acts of as great heroism today as it did in the darker times of history.

II. BECAUSE OF ITS INFLUENCE ON CIVILISATION. So silently has this power been exercised, that we are very apt to lose sight of its influence upon the morals of men. And yet in its very secrecy has lain its strength. It began by enforcing the truth of universal brotherhood: the duties of each to all, and of all to each. It flung aside the superstitions of the age. Civilisation without religion! It is impossible. It is fire without warmth; it is motion without progress; it is existence, but it is not life. It becomes in time the very apotheosis of immorality. I have said that the influence of religion is spiritual. But all work which is spiritual eventually reveals itself in the natural, the material. So is it especially, I think, with the Christian faith. What has Christianity done for men in the mass? Each phase of its spiritual activity has its equivalent in the natural world, in society.

III. BECAUSE OF ITS ADAPTABILITY TO HUMAN NECESSITIES. Herein lies the beauty and the blessedness of our religion. It is to this that what in the most sacred sense may be called its success is due. To go back to its earliest days, how did it attract men? It gave rest to the weary, and comfort to the sad; it cheered the mourning and raised the dead to life. Today its methods are the same. How are we to account for this power? Simply, I think, because its Founder was "the Man Christ Jesus." He knew what was in man.

IV. BECAUSE OF THE PROMISE IT GIVES OF ETERNAL LIFE. It is not a reward; it is a development. And even if it were only a reward, I am too human to disregard its value as an element in the teaching of Jesus Christ. A religion which provides for this world only is no religion at all.

(R. Barclay, M. A.)

I. WHAT ARE WE TO UNDERSTAND BY THE GOSPEL OF CHRIST? Christianity, or the scheme of religion revealed in the New Testament.

1. The things it proposes to our faith. These are of several sorts. Some of them are merely historical; others purely authoritative, and some partly historical and partly authoritative. Of this latter class are the truths relating to the Incarnation of Christ.

2. The things which the gospel commands to be practised.

II. WHAT ARE THE REASONS FOR NOT BEING ASHAMED OF THIS GOSPEL, BUT, ON THE CONTRARY, FOR EMBRACING IT, AND GLORYING IN IT, WITH ALL THE HEART?

1. Its incontrovertible truth.

2. Its incomparable excellence. Compare the system, in its doctrines and duties, with all other systems.(1) What has been the worship of the heathen religions? Ceremonies, penances, and orgies; many that were puerile, painful, cruel, and obscene. And are these to be compared with a worship contemplative, devout, reverential, filial, such as that of Christianity?(2) What have been the duties inculcated by other religions? How questionable and scanty their moral code! But what weed escapes in the moral garden of Scripture?(3) It is, however, in its state of future rewards and punishments that the gospel far outshines every other system.

3. Its sovereign efficacy. "It is the power of God unto salvation, to everyone that believeth." Its objects and sentiments are not merely to fall upon the ear, or to remain before the eye, but to enter into the mind and accomplish its renovation.

III. WHAT ARE THE OBJECTIONS URGED BY MEN AGAINST THIS SYSTEM AND BY WHICH THEY ATTEMPT TO JUSTIFY THEIR NEGLECT OF IT? These may be easily shown to be trivial.

1. Do they object that they can arrive at the knowledge of the truth of the New Testament history, only in a secondary way — only from the testimony of others — and that, therefore, they are not so responsible for their unbelief as these other would be? This, however, is felt to be no prejudice to the truth of any other history, and no argument for its disbelief.

2. Do they object to severity of the gospel requirements? The gospel requires us to crucify only our sins; to deny ourselves only what would be injurious to us. The virtues it inculcates it renders easy to us by a new nature, and productive of a present happiness surpassing every other kind of happiness.

3. Do they object the incomprehensibleness of many things which the gospel states to exist? If God has not revealed them, reject them for their incomprehensibleness; if He has, receive them for His veracity's sake.Conclusion:

1. How awful is their condition who oppose the gospel! What excuse can there be for this? What evil has the gospel done? What attestation does it lack? What good has it not done?

2. How pitiable is their condition by whom the gospel of their salvation is practically disregarded! We are about to be wrecked; the gospel is the only plank left for our escape to the shore; and while we neglect to seize it, our danger increases, and the destructive waves bear us nearer and nearer to our doom.

3. Let them who have received the gospel, and who, in addition to all other evidence, have that of experience in its favour, attach themselves closely to it.

4. The gospel is a subject of triumph to Christians, as through life, so especially at the hour of dissolution. Its grandest objects are those of another world.

(J. Leifchild.)

St. Paul's enthusiasm for Christ is one of the great problems of history. That such a man should deliberately renounce all his advantages, and embark on a career which involved obloquy and suffering, is a fact that has to be accounted for. His own explanation is clear enough, viz., that the Lord Jesus appeared to him under circumstances which left no room for doubt as to His person and His claims; that the evidences he received of Christ's love acted on him like an irresistible constraint to yield to those claims; and that to discharge them he had become a preacher of a gospel which he knew to be the power of God unto salvation to a perishing world. The world, therefore, was his creditor until the glad tidings had been everywhere proclaimed. By the time he wrote this letter Paul had been able to wipe off no inconsiderable portion of his debt. But he felt that until he had seen Rome the greatest portion of the debt must remain unpaid, and that at Rome the most favourable opportunities would be afforded for paying it. Once firmly rooted there the gospel would spread its branches everywhere. So he says, "I am ready to preach the gospel to you that are in Rome." Here the apostle seems to pause to take breathing time, so that he might calculate his resources for an enterprise the like of which he had never yet attempted. "At Rome! Yes, at Rome also, for I am not ashamed of the gospel. I was not ashamed of it at sacred Jerusalem, at philosophical and artistic Athens, at commercial Ephesus and Corinth, any more than among my own friends at Tarsus, or among the unsophisticated heathen at Lystra. And now, although I shall have to confront in combination at Rome all the forces I have elsewhere met singly, I am not ashamed of the gospel."

I. THE APOSTLE'S CONFIDENCE IN THE GOSPEL. To fully appreciate this we must —

1. Reflect where the apostle was writing to. If St. Paul could have been ashamed of the gospel it would certainly have been when brought into juxtaposition with Rome. The incredible tenets of some obscure Hindoo or Chinese sect would hardly appear to greater disadvantage in London than would Christianity in that proud capital of the world. For Rome was now in the zenith of her glory. Yet before this wondrous city, where all that constituted what was then thought greatness existed in colossal proportions, the advocate of a creed which was everywhere spoken against, and to whom, as a provincial, the grand metropolis, we may be sure, would lose none of its glamour, says, "I am ready to preach the gospel at Rome; for I am not ashamed of the gospel."

2. Notice where the apostle was writing from. St. Paul had only recently been prosecuting a vigorous ministry in Ephesus which had been brought to a riotous close. From Ephesus Paul went to Corinth, where he wrote to Rome, and where there was enough to put a far less sensitive mind than his to the blush, and enough for some men to utterly discredit the pretensions of a religion claiming to be heavenly and Divine. And again, he had just learned how the gospel had fared among the Churches of Galatia, and the memorable Epistle to these Churches unfolds one of the most tragic of all the stories of early Christianity. Riot and scandal and failure had been the result of three of the most recent experiments of the gospel, and Paul knew the impression that they would make at Rome. And besides, were these results to be repeated there on a gigantic scale? But such was the apostle's faith in the gospel that, with Ephesus, Corinth, and Galatia behind him, and Rome, with its unmeasured and complicated problems before him, he nevertheless declares, "I am ready to preach the gospel in Rome," etc.

3. Consider what that gospel was of which he was not ashamed at Corinth when writing to Rome.(1) It was a system of vast pretensions, with no apparent means of supporting them. The Roman government was exceeding tolerant of the diverse faiths of its heterogeneous peoples. But the gospel scorned to ask for a simple toleration as it afterwards declined to receive an honourable patronage. It aimed at universal supremacy. And what were its means for furthering its amazing pretensions? There was no known force in the world beside which it did not look contemptible. It had no history. It was a word, and therefore could not compete with the power of arms. It had no public buildings, and scarcely anything that could be called a ceremonial. From a political, intellectual, and religious standpoint nothing seemed so feeble as the gospel. Nor did its advocates dissemble in the least in this particular. "Not many wise, not many mighty, not many noble were called." The chiefest among them were fishermen and tent makers, and the rest, for the most part, artisans or slaves. They "came in much weakness," and were content to let the gospel go on its own merits, and on those merits they insisted with a confidence that startled the world.(2) It was a system whose principles seemed least likely to succeed. Its Author belonged to a race nowhere so detested as at Rome, and yet the Romans were asked to accept the crucified Jew as the Son of God, who had died and had risen again to be their Saviour. Forgiveness and salvation, words of insult to patrician and plebeian alike, must be sought on the humiliating conditions of penitence and faith. In urging these the gospel appealed to sentiments which were a degradation for a Roman soldier to encourage, and to hopes and fears which he scorned to entertain, Those who embraced it were charged with duties alien to their nature, and with the exercise of virtues for which no existing vocabulary could provide a name. In return it offered privileges in this life on which the Romans would set no value, and a destiny in the next from which they would turn with scorn. And Paul had discounted all this, He had once himself regarded and persecuted the gospel as a foolish and offensive thing, And so had people everywhere. In Rome, of all places, was this general verdict least likely to be reversed. Nevertheless, he says, "I am ready to preach the gospel in Rome," etc.

II. THE GROUNDS OF THE APOSTLE'S CONFIDENCE IN THE GOSPEL.

1. Paul sounded the apparent power of Rome and found it weakness. As the apostle gazed at Rome he saw a colossal fabric whose foundations were sand. The empire was built up in utter disregard of the forces on which power has ultimately to depend. The mere lust of power was satiated; but with its gratification everything that made it worth the having went to wreck.(1) The nations poured their luxury into the lap of Rome; but with their treasures came their filth, and that which made her the embodiment of this world's glory, made her the receptacle of its corruption and its shame. Military plunder brought vast wealth into hands that knew not how to use it. It had, however, to be spent, and an era of extravagance set in. Family life was extinguished. Divorce, and worse, was rife, and infanticide was fearfully prevalent. What political life had become may be guessed by the positions to which a Caligula and a Nero, a Pilate and a Felix, might attain, and the means they employed to attain them. The consequences were inevitable. The age was fast wearing itself out. Wholesale indulgence was inducing an intolerable lassitude which refused relief from the ordinary means of excitement. A monstrous ingenuity had to be called into play to invent new pleasures and hitherto inconceivable vices, and the end could not be far off when death by suicide was recommended and embraced as a refuge from the tedious superfluity of a life which had exhausted all possible means of gratification.(2) Equally gigantic evils in another direction also sprang from the satiated lust of power. The swarms of captives who survived the butchery which celebrated the military triumphs had to be provided for. A system of slavery was therefore introduced, for which it would be impossible to find a parallel. Not the least evil of the system consisted in its wholesale adoption in trade and agriculture, from which the freemen were gradually driven, to the extinction of a middle class. Thus there grew up a free population, released from the obligations and opportunities of labour, and eventually despising it as beneath the dignity of a Roman citizen, who became mere loafers and parasites. This teeming, lazy, and because such, dangerous class had to be kept quiet. It was not enough that they were fed by the State, and that they received occasional doles from their lordly patrons. They caught the prevalent unrest and craving for excitement, and developed vicious instincts, which had, at all costs, to be gratified. Hence the savage amusements of the amphitheatre. Hence the open and unabashed practice of every form of moral abomination, of which there was an unlimited provision at a cheap rate. Is there, then, no relief to this terrible picture? Was there no salt that could purify this poisoned fountain? The answer is — none. Religion, which had been powerless to check the progress of corruption, became incurably tainted with it, and eventually succumbed to it. Worship was but one of the outlets for the passion for excitement, and was made the cover for the most licentious orgies. Of course, widespread infidelity prevailed; but the very Atheists surrendered themselves wholesale to still baser systems of superstition and imposture. Philosophy was the last hope of the age; but that, alas! was dying of despair. The apostle saw all this moral rottenness and had already predicted its doom. Christianity, however humble, he felt, could not suffer by comparison. He said, therefore, with the utmost confidence, "I am ready to preach the gospel at Rome," etc.

2. Paul proved the apparent weakness of the gospel and found it power. He knew that under the seeming weakness of its infancy lay the germs of a mighty manhood, which would soon measure itself with Rome and wrest from its senile grasp the sceptre of the world. This knowledge was born of a personal experience of its power.(1) It was the power of God. It might seem weak, but then he felt that "the weakness of God is stronger than men." The gospel was a word, but it was the word of God. A word of God brought the universe into being, and by the Divine word it is still upheld. It was but a word that was spoken at the grave of Lazarus, but at that word the power of death was shattered. To the Word of the gospel a Divine power was guaranteed in a special sense. Its preachers were filled with His inspiration, and were endowed by Him with tongues of flame. Mighty promises urged them forward with it; and so, as they preached it, their word was with power, and it grew mighty and prevailed. The want of this Divine power reduces the greatest human force to impotence. Rome was built up by force of arms, but were is Rome today? Our schools of thought are created by the power of intellect, but how many survive their own generation? Human power, like its embodiment, "is as grass, and the glory thereof is as the flower of grass. The grass withereth, the flower fadeth; but the Word of our God shall stand forever." And this Word is that gospel of which, in the presence of the splendid rottenness of Rome, St. Paul was not ashamed, because it was the power of God.(2) It was the power of God directed to the mightiest result. The weakness of Rome largely lay in the inability of its leading men to measure the world's needs, and in the inadequacy of the best systems of the age to supply them. But the power of the gospel consisted in the fact that it could penetrate the secret of the world's wretchedness and despair, and articulate it. The gospel met man at once with the most searching diagnosis of sin, but told how that God commended His love toward men in that while we were yet sinners Christ died for them. And men began to realise what it was to be saved. This was what men wanted, and what nothing else could give them. The gospel succeeded in accomplishing results that nothing else was competent to reach — nay, even to conceive. And the apostle was therefore "not ashamed of the gospel," etc.(3) It was a power available for all men.(a) It was offered to every man. It began, as it has continued, not by dealing with the mass, but by dealing with individuals.(b) This universal offer was to be accepted on the condition of faith. The embrace of the heart's faith was and is necessary to quicken it into a salvation. "The word could not profit "where it was not "mixed with faith in them that heard," but it worked effectually in them that believed.(c) This condition was within the compass of every man's ability. The evils which the gospel proposed to remedy were worldwide. If the remedy therefore were to be equal to the evil, the conditions of its application must be within the reach of all. All the gospel asks is to be embraced, and surely every man can do that. Paul lived long enough to repeat this boast after a ministry at Rome. With what emphasis would he repeat it could he stand where we stand today! And how he would endeavour to make those tongues which, eloquent on every other, are dumb on this great theme aflame with a live coal from off the altar, and the vehicles of this solitary boast, "I am not ashamed of the gospel," etc.

(J. W. Burn.)

Courage is of two kinds. There is the hardihood which can face danger, and there is the intrepidity which can confront shame. The former can only be where the danger is without dishonour, and the latter where the shame is without desert. The former is an instinctive and animal endowment, while the latter is an acquired virtue and a moral quality possessed only by man. It is physical courage which we admire in the soldier who stands unmoved in front of blazing musketry; in the sailor, lashed to the wheel, and steering his tumbling vessel across the foaming waves, or in the traveller of science scaling untrodden heights: but it is a much higher, rarer, and Diviner quality which we admire in the pious workman who rebukes the ribaldry and oaths of his fellow craftsmen. Rarely does it happen that these two kinds of courage meet in the same individual. You may see the undaunted hero of a battlefield crimson with shame and rage to be twitted for his virtue, or the firm heroine of the household tremble to hear an unusual noise. In Paul, however, the union may be found; and it is this which ranks him among the kingliest of men. Let us ponder a few of the reasons of Paul's holy audacity. Note —

I. THE END PROPOSED: Man's salvation, an object not only aimed at but achieved.

1. Salvation may be viewed either as an individual benefit or as a social one. On the one hand, it is a blessing for everyone that believeth; on the other hand, it is needed by the race at large, and the gospel proposes to accomplish the salvation of mankind in both these aspects. In saying this we oppose those who speak and act as if the whole aim of the gospel was to pick out themselves, and a few other individuals, from the mass devoted to destruction, and translate them one by one to a better world. And we also oppose the vague dreams of rationalistic philosophers who profess to be engrossed with a noble concern for the good of mankind at large. The peculiarity of the gospel is that it begins with the individual, and so seeks, as its last result, the salvation of the community.

2. It may be regarded as either an inward or outward process. Inward salvation is sanity or soundness; outward salvation is deliverance and safety. Each one of us needs to be both restored to righteousness and rescued from hell.

3. It is negative and positive. There is much sin and suffering from which we are saved by it; but there is also much of holy attainment and heavenly joy to which we are raised by it.

II. THE POWER EMPLOYED.

1. Its source is Divine; and this in so direct a way that its very nature is Divine. It is the power of —(1) God's truth, revealing to us both His nature and our own state.(2) Love appealing to us to subdue our enmity and incite us to gratitude and trust.(3) All urgent motives addressed to our hopes and to our fears.(4) Precious promises whereby we are offered a filial position in God's family, and a final lot among all the sanctified.(5) The power of the Holy Ghost, who helpeth all our infirmities. This is the gospel, the power of God unto salvation, because it has God Himself in it and with It.

2. Its extent. The gospel is as strong as God. It can do all that He can do.(1) As to individual souls, it can save any and it can save all. It can deliver from all sin, and enrich with all the treasures of holiness.(2) And so for society generally and the world at large. Here is a Divine and all-availing expedient for the regeneration of the species, and the establishment of righteousness and peace through all the earth.

(W. M. Taylor.)

We have no reason to be ashamed of —

I. THE EVIDENCE BY WHICH IT IS SUPPORTED.

1. Historical. Take the testimony of Paul. He was a contemporary of Christ; he conferred with the apostles; he saw the Lord. In his four undisputed Epistles he embodies all the facts of gospel history. His testimony is unexceptionable, for he was too sane to be imposed upon, too disinterested to be an impostor.

2. Prophetical. The canons of prophecy are that it should be long anterior to the event; that it should be so constructed that the story of its fulfilment could not be manufactured out of the mere study of its terms, and that its fulfilment be undesigned and in full correspondence with it. Apply these to Isaiah 53:3. Moral. How can we account for the difference between the character of Christ and that of His age? The age could produce a Nero, but not a Christ.

II. THE INTELLECTUAL CALIBRE OF ITS CHIEF REPRESENTATIVES. Although not exclusively fitted for intellectual giants, but for the least intelligent also, yet in every age it has produced champions able to cope with the most gifted of its opponents.

III. THE EFFECTS IT HAS PRODUCED.

1. Individually. It has made the drunkard sober.

2. Domestically. It has given sanctity to the marriage tie and blessed little children.

3. Socially. It has stood between class and class as the good Samaritan.

4. Politically it has laid the foundation of liberty.

(W. M. Taylor, D. D.)

I. THE NATURE OF THIS AVOWAL. "Not ashamed."

1. Of what is this spoken? Of the gospel's —

(1)Doctrines.

(2)Precepts.

(3)Threatenings.

(4)Promises.

(5)Privileges.

2. By whom? Paul —

(1)The gifted.

(2)The disinterested.

(3)The self-sacrificing.

3. To whom? Rome —

(1)The great.

(2)The intellectual.

(3)The cruel.

4. What is implied in it?

(1)That he gloried in the gospel.

(2)That he held everything else in comparative contempt.

II. ITS GROUND.

1. The Divine energy of the gospel.

2. The powerful combination against which it has to contend.

3. Its saving efficacy.

4. Its impartiality.Learn —

1. The evil of religious cowardice.

2. The necessity of consistency in religion.

3. Your obligation to make it known.

4. Your duty to expect that your efforts will be successful.

(R. Newton, D. D.)

I. WHAT THERE IS IN THE GOSPEL, TO MAKE CARNAL MEN ASHAMED OF IT.

1. It proceeds upon principles so contrary to the natural man, and so brings down human reasoning and the pride of intellect, that men are shocked at its positions and requirements.

2. It exposes a man's great idol.

3. It demands absolute submission.

4. The world attributes regard to it to weakness of either the head or heart.

5. It levels men.

II. WHY PAUL WAS NOT ASHAMED OF IT. Because he knew it to be —

1. The power of God.

2. The power of God to the greatest end — salvation.

(R. Cecil, M. A.)

The solitary grandeur of the imperial city; Paul's knowledge of Rome's own and its borrowed glories, as a centre of power; his courage in meeting the contemptuous estimate which ancient society passed upon the truth of God.

I. SOME ELEMENTS OF POWER IN THE GOSPEL.

1. Great in —

(1)Motives.

(2)Penalties.

(3)Sacrifices.

(4)Inspirations.

2. These forces Paul had seen exerted on individuals and on communities. They were —

(1)Moral forces.

(2)Universal.

(3)Permanent.

II. HAVING SEEN AND FELT THESE BENEFICENT INFLUENCES, PAUL GLORIED IN THE SAME. We urge —

1. Paul's interpretation of the gospel is vital in its power. The doctrines of sin, atonement, the Holy Spirit and eternal retribution, cannot be eliminated and any power remain. A glass crowbar could as well tunnel the Alps.

2. That each of us trust the gospel as heartily as did Paul. Exemplify its power here, and enjoy its fruition in the perfect felicity of heaven.

(R. S. Storrs, D. D.)

There were reasons which made it needful for Paul to say this. The gospel was then a "contemptible thing." Its Author had been despised and executed. Its character was at variance with the traditions of men, and, above all, of the Pharisees. Its followers were looked upon as the scum of the earth. But, amid all this, there was a man of the highest intellect and the noblest powers, who knew the gospel and knew the world, standing forth and declaring in the face of all that he was not ashamed of it. Consider it —

I. INTELLECTUALLY. As a scheme it is more magnificent than any mind of man could have conceived. No systems of philosophy possess its grandeur or power. The gospel is no puny, drivelling, or paltry imitation. Other systems have been propounded, but all are borrowed more or less from the gospel.

II. MORALLY. It is the purest system of morality which the world has known. God's spotless purity is made the model for human conduct. But the gospel is not only a system of morality, it is a means thereto. It teaches men how they may become holy. Its chief object is to purify and to destroy the evil which is in the world.

III. HISTORICALLY. It affords an outline of history of which but for it we should know nothing. That which it is requisite for us to know — the life of Christ, and the particulars of the way of salvation — are fully developed.

IV. ITS PURPOSE. It is the "gospel" — good news, and it is the power of God unto salvation. Salvation is a great word. What can we wish for more than it includes? Its object is to transform human nature. It is to glorify the soul, to exalt the spirit, to give us thrones in the kingdom of heaven, to purge us from the dross of sin. Is this a thing whereof to be ashamed?

(D. Thomas, D. D.)

There are three gradations of artists. The lowest is one who is able to reproduce an exact representation of natural objects as they appear to ordinary eyes. A higher type is where one brings to objects a clearer eye than belongs to most men. There is a third and rare artist power, where the things represented are, as it were, but instruments to represent the effect produced upon the mind of the artist by the scene, or the event, or the thing. Now, upon this scale Paul was the greatest moral artist of the world. All the way through, it was the unconscious endeavour of the apostle to represent truths as they reflected themselves upon the sensitive surface of his glowing soul. Instead of showing what were all the wonderful elements that in his view constituted it, he reflects what the impression was of the whole gospel of Christ upon his sensitive soul. "I am not ashamed." Well, why should he have been? Every one of us would say it now; but not one of us would have said it in his time, perhaps. In our time, yes. And it is a matter of much interest to imagine what would be Paul's thought if he were permitted to discern the Christianity of the present age and all its triumphs, its monuments, its power, its wealth, its learning, its refinements.

1. If he had looked out into the world and at the external forms and organisations of the Church, what would he have had occasion to be ashamed of?

2. And if Paul had seen the pomp of their worship, and their worship in the pomp of architecture which had been inspired and created by them, he would not have occasion to express a feeling of shame.

3. Still less could he have been insensitive to the literature and the learning that have been inspired among devout scholars all over the world, and that have sprung from Christianity.

4. And still more would he have been in sympathy with the outpouring of the spirit of manhood, "the enthusiasm of humanity," that has sprung from the temper of the gospel, and has gradually crept into the laws, and ameliorated the theory of morals, and softened and sweetened the whole intercourse of human life; and that, moreover, has made man helpful to man.

5. More beautiful still to Paul, who had the art of discerning much from little, would have been the exhibitions of the Christ spirit in its humbler workings among Christian men and in Christianity unorganised, or but slightly organised.

6. More yet, to him, would it have been to have seen what a class of men and women had arisen in every household, and become scattered up and down through every village and hamlet of the land. Domestic life, its purification and its exaltation, would have been a glorious sight to his eyes. As one that should go across a prairie and carry a bag filled with the rarest seeds and give them to the north wind that scattered them south, and to the south wind that scattered them north, every whither, might, years afterwards, when he goes over the same ground, rejoice to see, in the midst of many coarse weeds and much choking grass, here and there ledges and beds of flowers; so if Paul should come down to our day, and see the seeds he has sown which are every day springing up in the household, would not he be filled with more than gratitude and wonder — with transcendent transport? Of course he would not be ashamed. Nobody is ashamed of the gospel now except those of whom it is ashamed.

(H. W. Beecher.)

We are not ashamed of the gospel because it is —

I. DIVINE POWER.

1. The history of Christianity among the nations of the earth has established its claim to power. Its progress has often been in the face of bitterest hostility, without the help of worldly patronage. It proved more than a match for the iron despotism of Rome, and it has never failed for eighteen centuries to make its enemies its footstool.

2. The secret of this amazing power is that God is behind it. Nothing but Divine influence could account for such uniform and unfailing triumphs. Other systems may show the power of man, but the gospel shows the power of God. It brought into the world a force unknown before.

II. SAVING POWER. The power seen in creation and providence is truly Divine, but not necessarily saving. Nor will the power that resides in the gospel result in salvation, unless it is accompanied by the influence of the Spirit. The gospel —

1. Comes with a message of forgiveness to guilty man. Sin is the disease, and in God's hands alone is the remedy.

2. It is a power for the renewal of man's nature. "Who can bring a clean thing out of an unclean?" This is a task beyond unaided human resources. Man can neither begin the work of grace in his heart nor carry it on after it is begun.

III. UNIVERSAL POWER. "To everyone that believeth." The glory of the gospel consists not only in its Divine origin or saving efficacy, but also in its universal adaptation. It suits the needs of mankind everywhere. It reaches out a helping-hand to all, without respect to nation or social standing.

(D. Merson, M. A.)

I. JUSTIFY THE HIGH CLAIM HERE MADE FOR THE GOSPEL. Paul was not ashamed of —

1. Its origin. The advocates of other systems had reason to be ashamed of their origin.

2. Its sentiments —(1) Of God. God is light, love, purity.(2) Of man. His degradation, guilt, helplessness.(3) Of salvation and of the influences of the Spirit to make that salvation known with power to every heart.(4) Of a future state. Which of these sentiments can cause shame?

3. Its practical tendency. It is a system of purest morals springing from the purest motives — gratitude and love. It shows us a temper without a flaw, and a life without a stain; and it says, "We ought to walk as He also walked."

4. Its efficacy. The efficacy of the ancient systems was nothing. But the gospel is "the power of God to salvation."

II. WHO ARE GUILTY OF BEING ASHAMED OF THE GOSPEL? One would suppose that none could ever be ashamed of it; but, alas! there is reason to fear that some are.

1. Such are those preachers and writers who know the truth, but conceal it by specious arguments.

2. In the social circle how many are ashamed of the gospel!

3. In private life there is not that attention to religion which there should be. Young Christians are too often ashamed because of the sneers of those around them.

(B. Rayson.)

The botanist is not ashamed of the insignificant plant which he prefers before the rose and the jasmine, because of its healing properties and powers. The gardener is not ashamed of the tiny, dusky little seed, because he knows that God has endued it with hidden virtues which He has denied to the diamond and ruby. Thus the apostle was not ashamed of the gospel, because it could accomplish what the law was powerless to do; and because from his own personal experience he knew that it was able to produce a mighty and spiritual change in a man's whole character and life.

(C. Nell, M. A.)

1. Years ago the subject of the extension of the Church would have suggested questions of one kind only — viz., that it was desirable, and possibly discussions would have turned upon the best means of carrying it out. Now you only raise in certain minds the previous question, whether it is worth the effort.

2. St. Paul is led to use this expression by an association of ideas which is easy to trace. "In Rome also." Before his imagination there rises the imperial form of the mistress of the world. And this vision for a moment produces a momentary recoil, so that, like a man whose course has been suddenly checked, he falls back to consider the resources at his disposal. There is a moment's pause and then, "I am not ashamed," he says.

3. He is not ashamed of the gospel. We are struck at first by the reserved and negative phrase. It seems to fall so far below the requirements of the occasion and the character of the man. Elsewhere the apostle uses very different language from this. He loves to call the gospel, just as the Jews call their law, his boast. The truth is the apostle is not using a rhetorical figure at all. His negative and measured phrase is imposed on him by the thoughts which rise before him. He is resisting the feeling which threatens to overawe him, and it is in protesting against this feeling, and in thus disavowing it, that he cries, "I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ." Why, you may ask, should he be ashamed of it? Note —

I. THE APPARENT INSIGNIFICANCE OF THE GOSPEL RELATIVELY TO THE GREAT WORLD OF THOUGHT AND ACTION REPRESENTED BY AND EMBODIED IN ROME.

1. The very name was a symbol of magnificence and power. Rome was the seat of empire, the centre of society, the home and the patroness of learning and thought, the great centre of the current religions. She was in ancient civilisation what Paris is to France; everything else was provincial.

2. And the gospel — how did it look when placed in juxtaposition with Rome? Was it not relatively to everything else, as far as the natural sense and judgment of man could pierce, poor and insignificant?(1) The estimate which a French academician might be supposed to form of Quakerism is probably not unlike the estimate which approved itself to the most cultivated minds in Rome respecting the religion of St. Paul.(2) And then if it meant to propagate itself, what was its organisation? How could a few unnoticed congregations challenge any sort of comparison with the mighty system of the imperial rule?(3) Where was its literature? How could it compete with the genius of poets and historians who had the ear of the world?(4) Where were its leading men when set side by side with the accomplished statesman who had created, and who still from time to time ruled the empire? Yes, Rome must overawe, by the magnificence of its collective splendours, the pretensions of any system, or of any teacher coming from an out-of-the-way corner of the empire, on a commission to illuminate and to change the world.

3. True enough Paul had his eye on higher things; but his was too sympathetic a nature not to be alive to what was meant by Rome. Yet the splendours of Rome do not overawe him. He is not enslaved by the apparent at the cost of the real; he knows that a civilisation which bears a proud front to the world, but which is rotten within, is destined to perish. Already, five years before, he has shown in one line in 2 Thessalonians that he forsees the end of all this splendour. In Christian eyes Alaric and his Goths were at the gates of Rome before their time.

4. St. Paul was well aware of the insignificance of the gospel when measured by all ordinary human standards. It was his own observation that not many mighty, not many noble, are "called." But then, in his estimate of the relative value of the Divine and the human, this did not matter; for "God hath chosen the weak things of the world to confound the things that are mighty."

II. THE APPEARANCE OF FAILURE WHICH HAD CLUNG TO THE GOSPEL.

1. Remember that he was writing from Corinth, and what was the Church there a short year before in the judgment of the apostle himself. Its discipline forgotten; its unity rent by schisms; fundamental articles of the faith were denied among its members; scandals permitted such as were not even named among the heathen. Of all this the apostle was sufficiently conscious; and yet with Corinth behind him, and Rome with its gigantic and unattempted problems before him, he still exclaims, "I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ."

2. And the truth is that in this matter St. Paul distinguished between the ideal revealed from above as in his Master's mind, and the real, embarrassed by the conditions imposed on it by fallen human nature. He "knew that the treasure of the faith was deposited in earthen vessels, that the excellency of the glory might be of God and not of us." And, therefore, Paul for his part was not surprised. The failure lay not in the gift, but in the recipient. It was still possible to believe that a new power had entered into human nature which was not therefore incapable of raising and saving human nature, because it did not suspend man's free will and overrule his instincts of resistance and mischief.

III. THE SUBSTANCE OF THE MESSAGE.

1. Paul was well aware that there were features in the Christian creed which were in the highest degree unwelcome. Less than this he cannot mean by "the offence of the Cross," or "Christ crucified foolishness to the Greeks." How was this teaching, familiar enough to our generation but strange beyond all measure to the men who heard it from its first preachers, to compass acceptance and victory? Was it the cogeny of the evidence? No doubt much of the earliest teaching of the apostles was devoted to enforce this. Certainly the resurrection of Christ was sufficiently well attested, and yet its witnesses were not believed. Mere demonstrative evidence, although at first hand, has no effect against a strong and hostile predisposition of the will.

2. And here it is that the apostle may give us his own reason for not being ashamed of the gospel of Christ, for not despairing of its capacity to win a cynical and scornful world. He says that it is the power of God unto salvation to everyone that believeth. There is lodged in it a secret impetuosity which pours forth from it into the human soul, with the result of bearing down all opposition and landing it safely on the eternal shore. And by this gospel he means no mere fragment of it, such as Christian morality without Christian doctrine, or as the atonement without the grace and power of the sacraments. For all, all is really included in that free unmerited gift of righteousness which faith receives at the hands of Christ, and which robes the believer in the garments of salvation. St. Paul knew that this had been his own experience. Since that scene on the road to Damascus he had been another man, he had lived a new life. Old things had passed away, and all things had become new. And as with himself, so with others. The gospel had made many a man, whom he knew, utterly unlike his former self. The religion of Jesus Christ is here upon ground peculiarly its own. There are many claimants in our modern world for the throne which it has owned for eighteen hundred years. But whether the eye rests upon the masters who have done so much for mind, or upon the masters who have spent themselves in manipulating matter, what has been achieved by these great and distinguished men that could be described as the power of God unto salvation? No: the deeper aspects of human life, and much more the grave and real significance of death, are quite beyond them.

3. And yet, even here, a lingering feeling might well be experienced, I do not say of shame, but of hesitation. Those to whom the saving power of Christ's gospel is intimately certain, cannot without difficulty bring themselves to talk about it. We do not any of us readily talk about that which really touches us. Men have no objection to talk politics, because politics address themselves to those common sympathies and judgments which we share with others. But no man will consent to discuss, if he can help it, his near relations or some family interest in public. This motive operates not infrequently in the case of religion. Religion twines itself round the heart like a family affection. The relations of each soul to the Lord of souls are quite unique; and therefore the very best of men are not unfrequently the least able to talk freely on the one subject respecting which they feel most deeply. Doubtless so human and sympathetic a nature as St. Paul's would have felt this difficulty in its full force, and yet we know how completely he overcame it. If he did not yield to the instinct which would have sealed his lips and stilled his pen, this is so because he knew that the gospel of his Lord and Master was not really, like some family question or interest, a private matter for him. The friend of his soul was the rightful, the much-needed friend of every human being. And therefore no false reserve could permit St. Paul to treat the gospel as a private or personal interest. Conclusion: In their degree the feelings which may have been present to St. Paul's mind will have been our own. Pagan Rome has perished, and yet that which it represented to the apostle's eye is still in a modified form before us. And yet to those who can take a sober measure of men and things there are no reasons for being ashamed of Christ's gospel. The world which confronts us is really not more splendid nor yet more solid than the empire which has long since gone its way. The religious weakness and disorganisation which alarms us in the Church is not greater than that which was familiar to St. Paul. Modern attacks upon the faith are not more formidable than those which he refuted. And the gospel is now what it was then, only to a much greater multitude of souls, the power of God unto salvation.

1. "I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ." Here is a fitting motto, not merely to Christ's great apostle, but —(1) To the humblest and weakest of His ministers. No man who wears His livery can be ashamed of His gospel without incurring even the scorn of the world.(2) For every young man who is entering upon life. You know what is practically meant by being ashamed of the gospel. The creed is best confessed in the life of the believer.(3) For a nation which owes to Christ's gospel so great a debt as England has owed it now for 1,400 years. They tell us, indeed, that the gospel is an admirable guide of life for the individual, but that it has no business to enter into the sphere of politics. But if the religious principle is worth anything, it applies to a million of human beings just as truly as to one. Yet many a man who is exemplary in all the private relations of life, is in his public conduct and political opinions too often ashamed of the gospel of Christ. Let us be honest. Let us either have the courage not to be ashamed of the gospel of Christ in any one department of life and thought, or let us own that we have really adapted the ethics of the New Testament to suit a state of feeling and conduct which they were intended gradually to render impossible.

(Canon Liddon.)

I. THE WISE, because it calls men to believe and not to argue.

II. THE GREAT, because it brings all into one body.

III. THE RICH, because it is to be had without money and without price.

IV. THE GAY, because they fear it will destroy all their mirth.

(R. M. McCheyne.)

Dr. Murray was made warden of Manchester by James

I. There was little to do, and Murray had neither the ability nor the inclination to do much. He was expected to preach but seldom, and he did not intend to preach at all. Once, however, he did preach before the king, and his text was, "I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ." "True" said James, "but the gospel may well be ashamed of thee."

I.In its relation to the HUMAN INTELLECT. Its mysterious character.

II.In its relation to the MORAL CONSTITUTING. Its humiliating character.

III.In its relation to OTHER KINDS OF RELIGION. Its transcendent character.

IV.In its relation to THIS LIFE. Its unworldly character.

(H. G. Weston, D. D.)

There are three things in connection with this avowal which invest it with great significance: the distinguished character of the author — the great apostle; the universally execrated nature of the subject — the religion of the crucified malefactor; and the class of persons to whom it was addressed, the cultured, intrepid inhabitants of the imperial city. For such an avowal there must have been good reasons and here they are specified: — The gospel is —

I. A SYSTEM OF DIVINE POWER.

1. There are three manifestations of Divine power.(1) Material, as seen in the production, support, and order of the universe.(2) Intellectual, as seen in the plan upon which the whole, the vast and the minute, is organised.(3) Moral, as seen in the influence of God's thoughts and feelings upon the minds of His intelligent creatures. The last is the power of the gospel, God's truth.

2. All truth is powerful. But there are three things that make gospel truth peculiarly powerful.(1) It is moral, appealing to the conscience and heart.(2) Remedial, graciously providing for our deeply-felt spiritual wants.(3) Embodied in the living example of God Himself. There then is one reason why Paul was not ashamed of it. Had it been a weak thing, he as a strong-minded man might have blushed to own it.

II. A SYSTEM OF DIVINE POWER TO SAVE. What is salvation? Some persons speak of it as if it were a local change, a transporting of man from one world to another. "But the mind is its own place." Salvation may be regarded as consisting in the restoration of a —

1. Lost love. We were made to be governed in all things by a supreme affection for God, but nothing is more clear than that man is not so governed now. The gospel comes to restore it.

2. Lost harmony. The soul is all in tumult. This cannot be the normal state.

3. Lost usefulness. Our relations to each other and our social instincts and powers are such as to show that we were intended to be useful to each other. But we are injurious. The gospel makes us useful. This is another reason which made Paul glory in it. If it had been a power to destroy, his generous nature would have been ashamed of it. Any power can destroy.

III. A system of Divine power TO SAVE ALL.

1. "The Jew first," because —(1) He has the best opportunity of testing the foundation facts of the gospel.(2) When converted he would become the most effective agent in converting others.(3) It exhibits more strikingly the merciful genius of the gospel. The Jew, the murderer of the prophets and of Christ, etc.

2. The gospel is, like the air and sun, for humanity. Had it been for a sect, or class, Paul might have been ashamed of it.

IV. A system of Divine power to save all ON THE MOST SIMPLE CONDITION. "To everyone that believeth." Man as man —

1. Has this power to believe. It requires no peculiar talent or attainment.

2. Has a strong tendency to believe. He is credulous to a fault. Conclusion: — Who are ashamed of the gospel?

1. Any in heaven? No! They owe their blessedness to its discoveries, and chant the praises of its Author.

2. Any in hell? No! There are thousands there ashamed of themselves for having been ashamed of the gospel.

3. Who on earth? Not the best parents, etc., the greatest sages, poets, patriots and philanthropists. They are to be found in the lower strata of moral life. They are to be found amongst men who ought to be ashamed of themselves.

(D. Thomas, D. D.)

Let us not pass over the intrepidity of Paul, in the open and public avowal of his Christianity. We call it intrepidity, though he speaks not here of having to encounter violence, but only of having to encounter shame. For, in truth, it is often a higher effort and evidence of intrepidity to front disgrace, than it is to front danger. There is many a man who would march up to the cannon's mouth for the honour of his country, yet would not face the laugh of his companions for the honour of his Saviour. We doubt not that there are individuals here who, if they were plied with all the devices of eastern cruelty to abjure the name of Christian, whose courage would bear them in triumph, and yet whose courage fails them every day in the softer scenes of their social and domestic history. The man who under the excitements of persecution was brave enough to be a dying witness to Jesus, crouches into all the timidity of silence under the omnipotency of fashion. There is as much of the truly heroic in not being ashamed of the profession of the gospel, as in not being afraid of it. Paul was neither: and yet when we think of what he once was in literature, and how aware he must have been of the loftiness of its contempt for the doctrine of a crucified Saviour; and that in Rome the whole power and bitterness of its derisions were awaiting him, and that the main weapon with which he had to confront it was such an argument as looked to be foolishness to the wisdom of this world — we doubt not that the disdain inflicted by philosophy was naturally as formidable to the mind of this apostle as the death inflicted by the arm of bloody violence. So that even now, and in an age when Christianity has no penalties and no proscriptions to keep her down, still, if all that deserves the name of Christianity be exploded from conversation — if a visible embarrassment run through a company when its piety or its doctrine is introduced among them — if, among beings rapidly moving towards immortality, any serious allusion to the concerns of immortality stamps an oddity on the character of him who brings it forward — if, through a tacit but firm compact which regulates the intercourse of this world, the gospel is as effectually banished from the ordinary converse of society as by the edicts of tyranny the profession of it was banished in the days of Claudius from Rome: — then he who would walk in his Christian integrity among the men of this lukewarm and degenerate age — he who, rising above that meagre and mitigated Christianity which is as remote as Paganism from the real Christianity of the New Testament, would, out of the abundance of his heart, speak of the things which pertain to the kingdom of God — he will find that there are trials still which, to some temperaments, are as fierce and as fiery as any in the days of martyrdom; and that, however in some select and peculiar walk he may find a few to sympathise with him, yet many are the families and many are the circles of companionship where the persecution of contempt calls for determination as strenuous, and for firmness as manly, as ever in the most intolerant ages of our Church did the persecution of direct and personal violence.

(T. Chalmers, D. D.)

For it is the power of God unto salvation to everyone that believeth
I. THE POWER OF THE GOSPEL.

1. We can quite understand that to a man of such singular force of character as St. Paul, the "power" of the gospel would be its leading idea. To St. John, it might be its sweetness. And we can follow the current of St. Paul's feelings when he said that he could not be "ashamed" of anything which was so very strong.

2. What we all want is to treat religion more as a thing of "power." We think and speak of it, and act about it, too softly. It is a thing of beauty, poetry, enjoyment, — but would not it be far better if we held it more as a grand fact for vigorous thought, manly action, and practical effort? The piety of the day is too enervated. Hence its watery literature, its feeble hold on the minds of working men, its pettiness, unreality, and small results. There would be less "shame" if there were more "power."

3. I need scarcely say that before the gospel can be this "power," it must be gospel indeed — not a theory, a system of theology, an abstract truth, a diluted joy, something half fear and half hope, but "God's spell."

II. SOME FACTS IN REFERENCE TO THIS POWER.

1. The Christian religion is the only one which has ever had "power" to set in motion real missionary action. Why? The selfishness and sluggishness of human nature is exclusive, and it requires an immense lever to stir it, and nothing in the world has ever been found equal to do it, except the love of such a God as we have in Christ. That, and that only, can "thrust out labourers into the vineyard." We have something to say worth making a mission for — we have a motive which can send us forth to say it.

2. See what the gospel of God does in all lands wherever it is planted — what softening of savagery, what civilisation it carries along with it. True, it may be hindered by the inconsistencies of Christians. But in itself the gospel always grows into an improvement in everything.

3. Look over this world at this moment. There are about two hundred millions of Christians upon the earth — once there were twelve. The increase without war — the great engine of Mahometanism — with very little to please and attract flesh and blood into it, rather with the greatest opposition to all which is natural to us, what "power" lies in that single historical fact!

4. Or let me tell you the experience of every Christian minister. It is when he preaches the full simple gospel that he gets all his success. If he preach morality, or an abstract divinity, or a gospel which is half gospel, he has no results whatever. But Christ carries everything.

5. Or listen to the witness of your own heart.(1) What have been the best hours of your life? The hours when Christ was most to you.(2) Who is the really composed man, but the man who is at peace in his own soul. That man does everything with confidence, and rest is power — "the power of God."

III. WAYS IN WHICH YOU MAY USE THIS "POWER."

1. Perhaps you are a weak character. You long for more strength of mind, and will, and purpose, and for capacity and power to persevere. Now nothing will give what you want but real personal religion — union with Christ, the gospel of Christ in you, and that gospel is "power."

2. Or you may have a habit, and you want to conquer it. Bring Christ to bear upon that habit, have motive enough, make the effort for Christ's sake, because He has loved you, do it to please Him, and show that you love Him. That principle will command all victory.

3. Or, perhaps, there is someone you very much wish to influence, but you cannot move him. Lead him to your object through the peace you bring into his own soul, and Christ will be stronger than the strong one.

4. Or, you are conscious of a want of moral courage in speaking of religious subjects; there is only one remedy, Christ must be more to you, and then you will be able to say, "I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ," etc.

(J. Vaughan, M. A.)

I. IN THE REVELATION IT EMBODIES. It is the power of God, because it not only emanates from God, but God is in it. The Father has centred all His thoughts in the words of His gospel, and these words retain their power because they are the only satisfying portion of the human heart.

II. IN THE DELIVERANCE IT EFFECTS. It was with a mighty hand that Israel was delivered from Egyptian bondage. No less wonderful is the power demonstrated in the deliverance of man from under the thraldom of sin.

III. IS THE TRANSFORMATION IT PRODUCES.

IV. IN THE MOTIVES IT INSPIRES. Men are actuated by a desire to gain wealth, fame, learning; and what unflagging energy this inspires! The gospel inspires us with a hope of being kings and priests unto God. But love to God and our fellow men is to be the great motive for our actions. This is to be the ruling power of our lives, and this will render us godlike.

V. IN THE UNIVERSALITY OF ITS APPLICATION. "To everyone that believeth." It is the gospel for mankind, and among all nations it has gained its trophies. Its power has not waned. Conclusion: — Its hindrances are in the individual soul. Sin makes the barrier. But the gospel brought home by the Spirit can overcome all. There is nothing in it of which we should be ashamed.

(A. Huelston, Ph. D.)

Suppose that two persons start upon a philanthropic mission. One shall be a preacher determined to preach the old-fashioned gospel; and the other shall be a nineteenth century lecturer, whose great article of faith is, "I believe in the nineteenth century," Each of us addresses congregations, and at the end of one of my sermons I say, "Now then, if there are any of you who feel yourselves tied and bound with the chain of your sins, while you are longing to lead a better life, stay behind and I will endeavour to make the way as plain as I can." Well, suppose also that the lecturer has delivered his oration, the place is crowded, and a great amount of enthusiasm is kindled by the wonderful oratory of the man. At the end, suppose again that he too says something of the same kind: "Now then, I have been speaking of the progress of civilisation, and the development of humanity, and what we may expect as years roll away and as man rises to a higher level. But I wish to be practical, and to endeavour to benefit any now present who feel they need some help. Should any of you tonight feel as if you are failing to benefit by this general advance that is being made, just remain behind and I will offer you a few words of advice." Suppose that in both cases the invitation is accepted by some. I come down, and there approaches me a miserable-looking specimen of humanity. I have only to look in his face to see the marks of sin there. A few minutes' conversation discloses the fact that there is scarcely a sin which that man has not committed; tears stand in his eyes as he says to me, "I wish you could tell me, sir, what I must do to be saved." To such a one I should have no difficulty in making answer — "My dear brother, you are just the person I have to preach to. My Master came to seek and to save the lost. Tell me, are you altogether out of conceit, nay, out of heart, with yourself?" I can imagine the melancholy reply. "What hope have I left in myself? Unless a higher power than mine do something for me, there is nothing before me but despair." If such be the response, I can hail that self-despair as the harbinger of true hope. I am able to lead the forlorn and hopeless wretch out of self and into Christ; show him the provision that has been made to meet the case of the helpless, and guide him step by step, till at length he claims Christ as his all-sufficient Saviour who is able to save to the uttermost. Well, in such a case, the man will become a changed person. The intervention of the Creator will have made him a new creature, and he who before delighted in sin, will suddenly find himself hating sin and loving purity and holiness, blow let us turn to the other scene. The lecture is just closing, and the lecturer gives such an invitation as I have suggested. One man comes up and addresses himself to the lecturer: "I am a very bad man, and have lived a very bad life, and I want to know if you can give me any advice that shall make me better." "Well, my friend, reasoning on utilitarian grounds, I assume that you have found your evil course not much to your advantage." "Advantage! Why, I have stripped my house of every comfort, and turned it into a wild beast's den rather than a human home; I have lost my situations; and it is all through that cursed drink." "Then your case is very clear, my friend. You can see without any lecture on utilitarianism that drunkenness is unprofitable to you." "Well, I know that; but the point is how I am to overcome this craving." "Well, first reflect seriously that you are injuring yourself." "But I am convinced of that already." "Well, then act in accordance with that conviction; sign the pledge." "I have signed the pledge, over and over again, but I cannot keep it." "Why not? Have you been really in earnest?" "Yes, sir; but I could never keep it for any length of time." "Well, but you had better sign it again." "I have signed it a dozen times, sir." "Well, I don't know what to advise; struggle more earnestly." "But I have struggled my very utmost." "Then can you keep out of the way of bad company?" "I may try, sir; but the bad company won't keep out of my way." What is the lecturer to say next? My own impression is that there is nothing left for the apostle of the new creed but to admit his failure, unless he has the assurance to say to him, "Very well, then, your only chance is to believe in the nineteenth century!" But where is there one who would dare to say this? No! the individual must perish, while the lecturer comforts himself with the hope that the species will improve. You ask me to lay aside the gospel, and take in place of it one which leaves me in such a position that I am morally helpless and incapable of grappling with the infirmities of human nature, or of holding out a helping hand to those around me who are sinking down to perdition. We are asked to accept the dictates of science, or the theories of philosophers, or what are supposed to be exhibitions of supernatural power, or some enthusiastic visionary who sets himself up as a religious reformer, and bids us accommodate our convictions to his dreams. But we go back to that question, "Where is the power?" As I look around on all the various substitutes for the gospel, I seek an answer, and I seek in vain. Where is the man who is ready to tell me how a bad man is to become good, how a weak man is to become strong? From all these I turn to the cross of Emmanuel. The power of God in redemption is felt, and from the cross I see men going forth, new creatures in Christ Jesus, possessed of new desires and new affections, and animated by a new power.

(W. Hay Aitken, M. A.)

(Text and Matthew 6:13; Acts 1:8). The first of these verses declares that power belongs to God, and, by implication, that we have power only as we borrow it from God; the second, how this power is, in the moral and spiritual realm, to be bestowed upon men; the third, through what instrumentality this power shall be bestowed — "the gospel."

I. THE RELIGION OF THE BIBLE IS, THEN, CHARACTERISTICALLY A POWER-BESTOWING RELIGION. It is this which distinguishes it from all other religions.

1. All the significance of the miracles of the Old Testament and the New Testament lies in this, that they are witnesses to a help that lies beyond humanity, but which is extended to humanity. The entire Old Testament is the history of a power not belonging to humanity, and yet working for the benefit of Israel. It is by the power of God that the Israelites are summoned from their bondage, that the waves of the Red Sea part for them, and that one after another victory crowns their campaigning in Palestine. The history is not the history of what the Jews did or Jewish great men did, but of what a power not themselves was doing for them. As this is the Old Testament history, so this is the Old Testament experience of the individual. It reappears in David, in Isaiah, in every prophet.

2. The old doctrine that power belongeth unto God, and that God bestows this power upon His children, reappears in the New Testament, but in a new form. It is now the spiritual helpfulness of God that comes to the front. We speak as though a man's power had greatly increased our power during the past few centuries; but all the power of civilisation is a power that is not our own. We have increased a little our individual muscular power, but the increase is very little, while it is stored in nature, and we lay hold upon it and use it. And I will not go to an orthodox authority, but I will ask Herbert Spencer what this power is in that famous definition: "Amid the mysteries which become the more mysterious the more they are thought about, there will remain the absolute certainty that we are ever in the presence of an Infinite and Eternal Energy from whom all things proceed." What is this but the old Hebrew Psalmist's "Power belongeth unto God?" And what is the result of all modern science but this: a skill to lay hold on this power that is not our own, and to make it our own by obedience to its laws?

3. Now, the New Testament, as a spiritual appendix to the Old, confirmed by modern science, adds the declaration that there are powers not our own that make for human helpfulness and lift us up in the spiritual realm. The power that is of God is a power unto spiritual salvation. As there is a power to help man in the material and physical world, so there is a power to help him in the realm of virtue and truth. A hopeful man can inspire hope; a weak-willed man can be made stronger in will by leaning upon a man whose will is stronger than his own; there is power in a great heart to fill vacant hearts full of noble, Divine love.

4. And as the individual imparts to the individual, parents to their children, the teacher to his pupils, the pastor to his congregation, so generations impart to other generations. It is not all a fiction, this Roman Catholic idea of works of supererogation stored up, on which men may draw. The world has accumulated a great reservoir of virtue, and we draw on it every day. You are stronger men and women today for your Puritan ancestry, for your Anglo-Saxon blood.

II. SALVATION IS NOT SOMETHING YOU ARE TO GET IN HEAVEN BY AND BY, ON CONDITION THAT YOU DO BELIEVE, THINK, OR EXPERIENCE SOMETHING HERE ON EARTH NOW. That man will be saved from future punishment through faith in Christ is true, but it is not the burden of the Bible declaration. The great good news of the Bible is this: men are saved from the burdens of their present life; from the darkness of their scepticism; from the bondage of their superstition; from inhumanity, weakness of will, and sin, here and now. This universe is stored with great spiritual powers. Do not fight your battle alone; lay hold on those powers and ask their help in the conflict. "There is no other name under heaven given among men whereby we must be saved." What is that? A narrow declaration? Not at all. I find a man trying to lift a great stone, which is too heavy for his strength; and I say to him, Get out your tackle and pulleys, and then you can lift it. Is that narrow? No man can take the fruits of civilisation unless he lays hold on powers other than his own; and no man can take the fruit of Divine culture unless he reaches out and lays hold of powers that are not his own, that make for righteousness.

III. FAITH IS NOT BELIEF. It is not belief in a long or a short creed. Faith does in the spiritual realm that which reason does in the material realm. It is simply reaching out a heart of sympathy and laying hold on the heart of God, and receiving strength that God pours into the children whose souls are open to receive His help. What virtue is there in the mere declaration of an opinion? This is not faith. Faith in Christ is an appreciation of the quality that is in Christ, a sense of His worth, a desire to be like Him, a resolute purpose to follow after Him.

(Lyman Abbott, D. D.)

The gospel manifests the power of God.

I. IN THE REVELATION IT MAKES OF WHAT GOD HAS DONE FOR US IN THE WORK OF HIS SON.

1. As transgressors the law held us in bondage, and bound us over to endure the wages of sin in everlasting death. But in the obedience which Christ has rendered to the law, and the satisfaction He has made to its demands, He has opened a new and certain way of life for the guilty. Satan also held us captive, but Christ has overcome him who had the power of death.

2. The influence of this work is displayed —(1) In heaven in the acceptance there of Christ's sacrifice, in His prevailing intercession, and in the continual crowning of the subjects of His redemption.(2) On earth in the increasing testimony that is borne to the glorious redemption, in the providence which causes all things to work together for the good of the redeemed, and in the continual progress of the truth.(3) In hell, in the subjection which it compels Satan to acknowledge to the Lord Jesus.

II. IN THE EXHIBITION OF THE WORK WHICH GOD ACCOMPLISHES WITHIN US BY HIS SPIRIT. Take a view of this as given —

1. In the past history of the Church. Reflect on the progress of the gospel, and the multitudes who have been actually rescued.

2. In the experience of the individual.(1) Who awakens and converts the careless sinner?(2) Who justifies the penitent believer, and gives him peace and acceptance with God?(3) Who carries on in increasing holiness the work thus commenced?(4) Who upholds and preserves to final salvation those who are thus brought to God?(5) Who finally crowns the subjects of grace in glory?

III. IN THE PROPER GROUND FOR HOPE WHICH IT THUS AFFORDS.

1. If you look upon yourselves you find yourselves utterly weak and unworthy; but there is offered to you in the gospel a sufficient and abiding hope.

2. Let the Christ have all the praise for this work of salvation.

(S. H. Tyng, D. D.)

There are two reasons for which we may be ashamed of anything —

1. If it be base in itself, or shameful in its aim.

2. Though good in itself, and honourable in its aim, if it be weak and powerless to achieve the good it aims at. For example: we are ashamed of a traitor who sells his country for gold; and of a general who, though loyally fighting for his country, ruins its cause through ignorance or incapacity. Paul was not ashamed of the gospel because —

I. IT WAS NOT BASE IN ITSELF, NOR SHAMEFUL IN ITS AIMS. Its facts were true, its morals pure, its doctrine ennobling. Its aim is "salvation." You have seen at a railway station carriages labelled "London," "Edinburgh," etc., signifying that the company engaged to carry the passengers to these places. So the gospel is labelled as intended to carry passengers "unto salvation." Anything short of that would be to fail in its promise. But what is this "salvation"? The common idea is, that when a man dies he shall be saved from hell and have a place in heaven. But salvation implies more than this — deliverance from the corruption of sin as well as from its condemnation; from its power as well as from its punishment — in short, deliverance from sin itself.

II. IT WAS NOT FEEBLE AND UNABLE TO ACHIEVE ITS AIM. Its power is as great as its purpose is good. This is what most of all we need? We know the doctrines of the gospel, the sins it forbids, the duties it requires, the hopes it teaches. But somehow we feel that these things do not influence us as they ought. What we need is power to convince us, to subdue us, to rule over us, to sustain us, power to resist the devil, to overcome the world. In some things the gospel has come to us in power. For example, we believe in the forgiveness of sins through Christ's blood. And that belief has brought us peace from the fear of punishment. But oh I how we long that the words, "Go and sin no more," would "come in power." Behold, then, gospel promises do not speak more truly of pardon than they speak of power for present duty by Christ's living grace.

3. ITS OFFER IS NOT LIMITED TO ANY ONE NATION OR CLASS, but is free and sure "to everyone that believeth." "To as many as received Him, to them gave He power," etc. Everyone who believes on Jesus receives of the Holy Spirit. They receive this power, but they must use it. The power of God is laid up for them in Christ; but out of His fulness they must go on to draw grace for grace.

(W. Grant.)

1. The apostle here gives his reason for the statement that he was willing to preach the gospel in Rome. In characterising the gospel as "the power of God," he showed his usual tact. It was his object to present the gospel to his readers in such an aspect as would commend it to their peculiar disposition as admirers of power. At Athens, on the other band, he was amongst a people who spent their time in telling or hearing some new thing. The apostle, therefore, observing an altar to "the unknown God," presents himself as one who had the key to this mystery. The effect upon men of such an inquisitive turn of mind may be easily conceived. The Corinthians, again, made great pretensions to wisdom; to them, therefore, the apostle represents the gospel as the highest wisdom — the wisdom of God. Whilst, however, representing the gospel as "power," to the Romans the apostle is careful to say that it was the "power of God," not that military and political power so much desiderated by them.

2. In the text we have three terms, salvation, gospel, and power. The gospel effects the salvation, and the power is the reason why.(1) Salvation must be regarded in the light of the exposition of it given in this Epistle. Three words describe it — justification, sanctification, and glorification. The first is the soul's deliverance from the condemnation and penalty of sin (chaps. 1-5); the second, its emancipation from its dominion as a ruling principle (chaps. 6, 7); and the third, the bestowment upon it of everlasting happiness and glory (chap. 8).(2) The gospel as a record embodies a scheme of truth based upon a series of transactions of transcendent glory, the incarnation of the Son of God, His life, death, resurrection, exaltation, and the gift of the Holy Ghost. As a message of mercy, the truths it records are presented for acceptance as a means for effecting salvation.(3) The power of God. The gospel is —

I. THE PRODUCT OF DIVINE POWER. The transactions it records testify to the power of God in the same way that every author's power is revealed by his works. Power has three qualities, Moral, which indicates the motive, and has regard to the end in view; intellectual, which contrives, and has regard to the means; physical, which executes, i.e., applies the means devised to the end contemplated. Thus, power manifests itself in force, contrivance, and purpose. The Divine operations ever display these qualities. These qualities, however, in the gospel show different degrees of combination from those which obtain in creation — e.g., all physical objects are distinguished by some one particular colour, although all the other hues of light are there. In the light falling upon objects which appear blue, all the hues of light are present, but by the operation of a certain law, the blue alone presents itself to the eye. So in creation physical power prevails, at least to our senses. The multiplicity of its worlds and their vast magnitude divert the mind from the equally glorious, but less obtrusive, manifestations of intellect and beneficence. Now the gospel is a marvellous manifestation of power in its several phases. As the product of God's moral power it is defined as "the exceeding riches of His grace" (Ephesians 2:5). As an exhibition of His intellectual power it is represented as "making known the manifold wisdom of God" (Ephesians 3:10; 1 Peter 1:10). Its manifestations of physical power, instanced in the resurrection and exaltation of Jesus, are described as the working of His mighty power (Ephesians 1:19). But its moral power is its crown and glory. One characteristic will suffice to show this. Its pith and marrow is its provision for the forgiveness of sin, and this is the grandest exercise of moral power possible. "Who is a God like unto Thee, that pardoneth iniquity?" So far was the idea of forgiveness from the hearts of men that when they came to create gods they never imagined gods possessed of the power to pardon sin. Does not this prove that the religion which presents this fact to us must be, as regards its conception, absolutely Divine?

II. AN INSTRUMENT OF DIVINE POWER. "The power of God unto salvation." The transactions it embodies were characterised by superlative condescension and self-sacrifice. As such they were replete with power in the two senses of legal merit and spiritual influence — the one frowning the ground of men's reconciliation with God, the other forming the instrumentality for weaning them from sin, for changing their disposition, subduing their passions, and kindling in their hearts the love of Christ. But this is not all. The gospel possesses instrumental fitness for securing justification and sanctification, but in order that these may become experimental realities men must, believingly, accept, as the ground and instrument of their salvation, the transactions it records. Hence powerful influences are necessary to overcome men's indifference and stubbornness. The gospel is the power of God to this end. The transactions it embodies are presented as messages of love. This message is instinct with the moral and Divine power of the transactions which form its theme. No wonder the gospel is called the "word of salvation" — the word which both reveals salvation and opens the heart, by conviction, to its reception.

(A. J. Parry.)

The gospel is the power of God —

I. IN ITS MOST PARADOXICAL AND YET HIGHEST FORM.

1. Of course, the message was power only as being the record of power; the real energy lay in the Incarnate Word. And Paul's thought is, that high above all other manifestations of the Divine energy, rises that strange paradox, the omnipotence of God declared in weakness. Sinai is impotent, compared with the tremendous forces which stream from the little hillock, where stand three black crosses, and a dying Christ on the midmost.

2. There is the power of God; for material force is not power; nor majesty, which being deprived of its externals becomes a jest; nor the rule over men's wills by iron constraint; nor is the rule of ideas the highest power; but the Divinest force in God is tenderness, and the true signature of omnipotence is love.(1) What a discovery of the depths of the Godhead that is! The world has heard of gods of physical force, lustful, whimsical, benevolent by fits and starts, vengeful when mood suits them; gods apathetic and indifferent, but it never dreamed until this Man came of a God whose power could drape itself in weakness, and was guided by love.(2) What a lesson as to where the true strength and greatness for man lies! We have had enough of the worship of genius; of the beating of drums and singing hosannas over the achievements of poet and philosopher, and artist and scholar. Let us remember that there is a stronger thing in the world than all these, and that is patient gentleness that bows, and bears, and suffers, and dies.

II. IN ITS MIGHTIEST OPERATION. Rome gathered its forces for destruction. And Paul is thinking of the contrast between the devilish use of human strength which generally attends it, and the Divine use of Divine power which dedicates it all for salvation. Salvation is negatively the deliverance from everything that is evil; positively it is the endowment with every good.

1. Think of the strange audacity of Christianity in calmly proposing to itself such an end as this. People tell us that the gospel idea of men is dark and depressing. Why? but because the gospel can afford to look facts in the face, inasmuch as it knows itself able to overcome all that is evil, and to reverse and supplant it by perfect good. And there is nothing in the New Testament that is more of the nature of a demonstration of its Divine energy than the unruffled composure with which it declares, looking on the ruins that lie round about it, "I have come to set all that right, and I know that I can do it." And it has done it. I do not know any other religion that would not be laughed out of court if it strode forward and said, "I have come here to abolish all evil, and to make every soul of man like God." "Well, then; do it!" would be the simple answer; "and if with your philosopher's stone you can turn the smallest grain of a baser metal into gold, we will admit the claim and believe that the transmutation of the rest is a question of time." Well, Christianity has done it, and there are millions of people in this world today who will say, "One thing I know, there are a great many things I do not know, but one thing I do: whereas I was blind now I see. Look at my eyes if you doubt it."

2. This transforming and saving power is clearly beyond man's ability. It will take God to change a man's relations to the Divine government, and to hold back the consequences which, if there were no God, by the law of cause and effect, would certainly follow every transgression and disobedience. And it needs no less than God to renew the spirit into a loftier life. And the world knows it, and instead of salvation it talks about reformation, restraint, culture, etc.; all very good in their way, but not going deep enough down into the facts of man's condition, not being able to lift him high enough up towards the destined good, to be accepted as a substitute for the Divine idea of salvation. There tower the great white summits of the Himalayas; down at their feet stand palaces, temples, porches for philosophers. Measure the height of the one by the other, and you get an approximation to the difference between human efforts upon human society and the Divine design for every soul of man upon earth.

3. This restoring work of salvation is not only exclusively a Divine work, but is the most energetic exercise of the Divine power. Creation is great and Divine. The new creation, which is restoration to more than primeval blessedness and beauty, is greater, inasmuch as it is accomplished not by a word but by toil, sacrifice, and death, and inasmuch as the result is man more truly and gloriously the image of God than was he over whose appearance angels shouted for joy, and God said, "It is good." It is great to "preserve the stars from wrong," and to keep the most ancient heavens "fresh and strong," but the conception of the Divine power that is gathered from those majestic regions where His finger works is low compared with that which flows from the redeeming work of Christ. God never has done, and never will do a mightier thing than when He sends His Son with power to save a world.

III. IN ITS WIDEST SWEEP.

1. Rome wielded an empire which approached to universality, so far as the world then knew. But Paul has a vision of an empire that overlaps it, as some great sea might a little pond, and sees the Dove of Christ outflying the Roman eagle, and the raven, sin. For to him his Christ is everybody's Christ; and that which changed him from persecutor to apostle can never have a more obstinate block to hew into beauty.

2. The text may seem to narrow the universality which the apostle proclaims, but not really, For to believe is nothing more than to take the power which the gospel brings. Faith is the belt by which we fasten our else still and silent wheels to the great engine, and the power then begins to drive. You would not say that a universal medicine was less universal because it did not cure people that did not take it.

3. Nay! rather the intention and power of the gospel to save everybody can only be preserved by faith being the condition of its operation. For the condition is one that everybody can exercise, and just because men do not get saved by things that belong to classes it comes about that "not many wise, not many noble, not many mighty after the flesh" are saved. The wise man wants a religion that will give culture its proper high seat in the synagogue. The noble does not like to have his robes crumpled by a crowd of greasy jackets going in at the one common door. And so they turn away because they would like to have a little private postern of their own, where a ticket of a special colour would let them and their friends in. Conclusion: Are you exercising this faith, and therefore saved? You can separate yourselves from the power, notwithstanding the Divine purpose and adaptation of the gospel to everybody. And although God wants all of us to come to His heart, you can, if you will, stand apart. You do not need to do much. Putting your hands behind your back, or letting them hang languidly at your sides, is enough. Not to accept is to reject. You can waterproof your souls, as it were, and so lie there as dry as a bone, whilst all around you the dew of His blessing is refreshing others. Christ's power received is life; Christ's power not received is not negatived, but reversed, and becomes death.

(A. Maclaren, D. D.)

By affirming this the apostle lays down the fundamental doctrine which he intends to establish against the legalistic pretensions of the Jews. Here are no less than five cardinal terms, keywords, which suggest a five-fold antithesis between Christianity and Judaism. The gospel is —

I. "THE POWER of God" — a hint as to the weakness of the law in reference to salvation. This contrast is brought out fully and clearly in chap. Romans 8:2-4, God Himself is powerless to save anyone righteously except through the gracious provisions of the gospel of His Son, whom He accordingly "set forth to be a propitiation," etc. (Romans 3:25).

II. "The power of GOD." He who wins souls in the presentation of the gospel is wielding a power not human, but Divine; and the resulting justification before God is based, not on the righteousness of man, but "the righteousness of God." Here we have another antithesis of the apostle's great theme, which is fully presented in Romans 10:3 and Philippians 3:7-9. The Jews, "being ignorant of God's righteousness, and going about to establish their own righteousness, have not submitted to the righteousness of God." It is only on the ground of merit that law can justify. If, then, a man could merit his acceptance with God, his justification would not be due to the gracious "power of God," but would rest upon his own inherent goodness.

III. The "power of God UNTO SALVATION." This the law could not accomplish in that it was weak through the flesh, But as regards the very opposite result, condemnation and death, it has, indeed, tremendous power (Romans 7:9, 10; 2 Corinthians 3:6, 7). Thus the only hope for man is to pass from under a legal system, which can only justify the sinless, to a dispensation of grace which is clothed with Divine power to "justify the ungodly."

IV. "The power of God unto salvation to EVERYONE who believes." But the Jew, supposing that he had kept the law sufficiently to stand before God in the strength of his own righteousness, very naturally limited the favour of God to legalistic worshippers, and looked upon all others as inevitably doomed to death without mercy. Now the argument of the Epistle, in dispelling this double delusion, enables us to discern the broad contrast between the universality of grace and the exclusiveness of legalism (Romans 3:21-23). We are again and again reminded that this blessedness cometh not upon the circumcision only, but upon the uncircumcision also; that "the same God over all is rich unto all who call upon Him," and that, consequently, "whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved."

V. "The power of God unto salvation to everyone who BELIEVES." The contrast between the gospel and the law is the significant antithesis of faith and works so extensively developed in this Epistle. The dictum of the law is, "Do this and thou shalt live." The maxim of the gospel is, "The just shall live by faith." Doing is the ground of legal justification. Believing is the condition of gracious justification. The radical opposition between these, together with the inapplicability of the former to man as a sinful being, undergoes thorough discussion, especially in chaps. 3 and 4.

(Prof. I. B. Grubbs.)

To the Jew first and also to the Greek
The gospel should be preached first to the Jews, because —

I. JUDGMENT WILL BEGIN WITH THEM (Romans 2:6-10). Why is this? Because they have had more light than any other people. God chose them out of the world to be His witnesses. Every prophet, evangelist, and apostle was sent first to them. Christ said, "I am not sent but to the lost sheep of the house of Israel." The Word of God is still addressed to them. Yet they have sinned against all this light and love. "O Jerusalem, Jerusalem," etc. Their cup of wrath is fuller than that of other men. Is not this a reason, then, why the gospel should first be preached to the Jew? They are ready to perish — to perish more dreadfully than other men. In an hospital the physician runs first to the worst case. When the sailors have left the shore to save the sinking crew they first help those that are readiest to perish. And shall we not do the same for Israel? The billows of God's anger are ready to dash first over them — shall we not seek to bring them first to the Rock that is higher than they? Yes, and some of you are in a situation very similar to that of Israel — you who have the Word of God in your hands and yet are unbelieving and unsaved, Think how like your wrath will be to that of the unbelieving Jew.

II. IT IS LIKE GOD. It is the chief glory and joy of a soul to be like God. Too many rest in the joy of being forgiven. We should be like God in understanding, in will, in holiness, and also in His peculiar affections; and the whole Bible shows that God has a peculiar affection for Israel (Deuteronomy 7:7; Lamentations 4:2; Jeremiah 12:7). Shall we be ashamed to cherish the same affection as our heavenly Father?

III. THERE IS PECULIAR ACCESS TO THE JEWS.

IV. THEY WILL GIVE LIFE TO THE DEAD WORLD. A reflective traveller, passing through the countries of this world, and observing the race of Israel in every land, might be led to guess, merely from the light of his natural reason, that that singular people are preserved for some great purpose in the world. There is a singular fitness in the Jew to be the missionary of the world. They have not that peculiar attachment to home and country which we have. They are also inured to every clime; they are to be found amid the snows of Russia and beneath the burning sun of Hindostan. They are also in some measure acquainted with all the languages of the world, and yet have one common language — the holy tongue — in which to communicate with one another. But what says the Word of God? (Read Zechariah 8:13, 23; Micah 5:7)

(R. M. McCheyne.)

The preaching of the gospel to the Jews first, served various important ends. It fulfilled Old Testament prophecies, as Isaiah 2:3. It manifested the compassion of the Lord Jesus for those who shed His blood, to whom, after His resurrection, He commanded His gospel to be first proclaimed. It showed that it was to be preached to the chief of sinners, and proved the sovereign efficacy of His atonement in expiating the guilt even of His murderers. It was fit, too, that the gospel should be begun to be preached where the great transactions took place on which it was founded and established; and this furnished an example of the way in which it is the will of the Lord that His gospel should be propagated by His disciples, beginning in their own houses and their own country.

(R. Haldane.)

A Jewish convert says: "It is a well-known fact that men celebrated as theologians, as lawyers, as teachers of the young, as professors at the various universities of Europe, have been or are converts from Judaism. The late Mr. Fould, the great French finance minister, was a Jewish convert. The late Dr. Neander, the author of one of the most erudite works on the Church of Christ, and professor of theology at the University of Berlin, was a converted Jew. Dr. Crippadorn of Holland, physician to his Majesty the King of Holland, is a converted Jew. The late Dr. Dufosty, one of the greatest poets which Holland has ever produced, and the author of 'Israel and the Gentiles,' 'A Harmony of the Gospels,' and several other works, was a Jewish convert. Prof. Leone Levi, of King's College, is a Jewish convert. The late Dr. Alexander, the first bishop of Jerusalem, was a converted Jew; while not less than a hundred and thirty clergymen of the Church of England are converted Jews." He states further that, in London, there are between two and three thousand Jewish converts, whose conduct, whether as heads of families, as citizens, or as men, is an honour and credit to the churches with which they are connected.

Links
Romans 1:16 NIV
Romans 1:16 NLT
Romans 1:16 ESV
Romans 1:16 NASB
Romans 1:16 KJV

Romans 1:16 Bible Apps
Romans 1:16 Parallel
Romans 1:16 Biblia Paralela
Romans 1:16 Chinese Bible
Romans 1:16 French Bible
Romans 1:16 German Bible

Romans 1:16 Commentaries

Bible Hub
Romans 1:15
Top of Page
Top of Page