by Terry J. Hallock

Do Not Be Ashamed to Be a Christian: Taking Up Your Cross Despite the Cost
T. J. Hallock
Romans 1:16-17; II Timothy 1:8-12; Mark 8:34-38

Two times in his letters Paul openly declares that he is not ashamed of the Gospel. He first makes that declaration in his letter to the Roman church following years of hardship that included shipwrecks, snake bites, beatings, and imprisonment for the sake of Christ. Yet despite it all he glories in the gospel. "I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God for the salvation of everyone who believes: first for the Jew, then for the Gentile. For in the gospel a righteousness from God is revealed, a righteousness that is by faith from first to last, just as it is written: 'The righteous will live by faith'" (Ro. 1:16-17).

Some ten years later Paul writes it again, this time in his second letter to Timothy, the young pastor of the church at Ephesus and Paul's own son in Christ. These words are not penned from a comfortable home where the Romans had first imprisoned him only a few years before. This declaration of faith is written in a dank and dark dungeon. Paul knows that the course of his ministry and life are about to end yet his words to Timothy literally leap from the page. "So do not be ashamed to testify about our Lord, or ashamed of me his prisoner. But join with me in suffering for the gospel, by the power of God, who has saved us and called us to a holy life - not because of anything we have done but because of his own purpose and grace. This grace was given us in Christ Jesus before the beginning of time, but it has now been revealed through the appearing of our Savior, Christ Jesus, who has destroyed death and has brought life and immortality to light through the gospel. And of this gospel I was appointed a herald and an apostle and a teacher. That is why I am suffering as I am. Yet I am not ashamed, because I know whom I have believed, and am convinced that he is able to guard what I have ent ...

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