Sermon – May 9, 2021
Paul was not a man who lacked boldness. He fearlessly strode into places that he knew would not receive him well, where his enemies surrounded him and would relentlessly pursue his life. Yet, all the same, he persisted in preaching the gospel. What gave Paul his great confidence and boldness? Was it a confidence in himself? In his abilities and, if nothing else, his way with words? Let us consider today where that confidence of Paul has come from, and press to make it our own, lest we be said to be ashamed of the gospel.
1. Paul is confident in the preaching of the gospel
Paul was not boastful of his preaching, his theological acumen, or his winning personality. When he said that he was hoping to visit the Romans, and to get some harvest from them, this confidence came only from the gospel. Therefore, he showed that he was not ashamed of the gospel.
2. Paul is confident in the power of the gospel
And he was not ashamed, because the gospel is the power of God for our salvation. This power, greatly demonstrated in God’s deliverances in the OT and Jesus’ miracles in the Gospels, is shown particularly in Paul through the conversion of men and women to the gospel. It is not the miracle that we expect, but it is miraculous nonetheless. It is, for Paul, nothing less than new life – new creation. The very power that spoke all things into existence converts us.
3. Paul is confident in the prophecy of the gospel
And, Paul confidence is in that power, because through the work of Jesus in the cross, he has seen the end of all things. Both the “revealing” of the righteousness of God, and the “salvation” that it offers points, not to an immediate fact, but one that relates to the future – Paul speaks here of the end-time reality that has already occurred in the past. Therefore, like Habakkuk, we ought to trust the reality that God has shown us, and believe in what he has done. Thus, it is all “from faith to faith.” The gospel, that Jesus has died for us, and rose again for our justification, is as true as any reality that we see around us. Let that ground our joys, troubles, sufferings, comforts, and peace!