Do not be ashamed when you read the Gospel
All praise unto God our father who pardons ours sins. Thanks be to Jesus Christ who gave us the good news of salvation. May the Holy Spirit lead us into all truth and also that we never be ashamed of the Gospel. Amen.
There are some people who know they are sinners and they also know that the Gospel is. Due to their sinfulness they know they need to turn away from a life of wickedness. Yet instead of reading the Gospel they avoid it. This is because they are filled with shame when they realize that they are indeed sinners, lost in the wickedness of the world and are walking down the wide road to eternal damnation. I’d say that that these people do have a sincere grasp of their spiritual condition but are lacking in one thing. That one thing is their response to the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Instead of believing it they instead look at their own deeds. Now looking at their own sins they truly won’t find anything worthwhile to be happy. What such people need to look at is that the Lord God sent his only begotten son Jesus for them.
Let’s recall how Simon Peter related to Jesus at the miracle of the huge catch of fish
1 On one occasion, while the crowd was pressing in on him to hear the word of God, he was standing by the lake of Gennesaret, 2 and he saw two boats by the lake, but the fishermen had gone out of them and were washing their nets. 3 Getting into one of the boats, which was Simon’s, he asked him to put out a little from the land. And he sat down and taught the people from the boat. 4 And when he had finished speaking, he said to Simon, “Put out into the deep and let down your nets for a catch.” 5 And Simon answered, “Master, we toiled all night and took nothing! But at your word I will let down the nets.” 6 And when they had done this, they enclosed a large number of fish, and their nets were breaking. 7 They signaled to their partners in the other boat to come and help them. And they came and filled both the boats, so that they began to sink. 8 But when Simon Peter saw it, he fell down at Jesus’ knees, saying, “Depart from me, for I am a sinful man, O Lord.” 9 For he and all who were with him were astonished at the catch of fish that they had taken, 10 and so also were James and John, sons of Zebedee, who were partners with Simon. And Jesus said to Simon, “Do not be afraid; from now on you will be catching men.” 11 And when they had brought their boats to land, they left everything and followed him. (Luke 5:1-11)
When Simon Peter acknowledged his sinfulness and professed Jesus Christ as the Lord he didn’t receive any punishment. In fact Jesus told him not to be afraid and gave him a new calling in life. Simon Peter valued the words of Jesus and left everything and followed him. On must take note that Jesus first preached the Gospel and then the miracle came in next which led to Peter’s repentance. This is where a person who gets ashamed to read the Gospel and even the entire Bible must take a personal choice, either to listen to sin or to the words the Gospel. There is no middle ground. Don’t fool yourself on this one.
There is no reason for you to be ashamed of the Gospel. Not one bit ever. You need to believe in the Gospel.
For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek. For in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith for faith, as it is written, “The righteous shall live by faith.” (Romans 1:16-17)
The problem is how will you believe the Gospel if you refuse to read it (or even hear it). From where will faith arise in you?
Simon Peter answered Jesus, “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life, and we have believed, and have come to know, that you are the Holy One of God.” (John 6:68-69)
But the righteousness based on faith says, “Do not say in your heart, ‘Who will ascend into heaven?’” (that is, to bring Christ down) “or ‘Who will descend into the abyss?’” (that is, to bring Christ up from the dead). But what does it say? “The word is near you, in your mouth and in your heart” (that is, the word of faith that we proclaim) because, if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For with the heart one believes and is justified, and with the mouth one confesses and is saved. (Romans 10:6-10)
So faith comes from hearing, and hearing through the word of Christ. (Romans 10:17)
The Lord Jesus made his position about sinners very clear. He came for their sake on earth. Not to condone the ways of sinners but to call them to repentance.
After this he went out and saw a tax collector named Levi, sitting at the tax booth. And he said to him, “Follow me.” And leaving everything, he rose and followed him. And Levi made him a great feast in his house, and there was a large company of tax collectors and others reclining at table with them. And the Pharisees and their scribes grumbled at his disciples, saying, “Why do you eat and drink with tax collectors and sinners?” And Jesus answered them, “Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick. I have not come to call the righteous but sinners to repentance.” (Luke 5: 27-32)
So if you ever feel like shying away or know of others in danger of shying away from reading the Gospel bring to remembrance how Jesus dealth with Simon Peter and Levi in the Gospel verses mentioned above. If you are willing to give the Lord God a chance to save you then you have chosen wisely. Act in right wisdom rather than shame towards the Gospel because by faith in it you have righteousness and reconciliation with God.