I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ
Romans 1:16-17 provides the theme for this epistle from Paul to the Romans; it has to do with the proclamation of the gospel by Paul in contrast with the misunderstanding of the Jews:
For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to everyone that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek. For therein is the righteousness of God revealed from faith to faith: as it is written, The just shall live by faith. (Rom. 1:16-17)
They thought the Law of Moses without Christ would enable them to have salvation, which is why the Judaizing teachers demanded the Gentiles to undergo circumcision in order to keep the Law of Moses. Nevertheless, Paul taught that those who lived under the Law of Moses by faith that looked forward to the coming of the promised seed of Abraham would lead them to Christ, who would save them, which is what the Law of Moses properly taught and what Paul emphasizes in this epistle. Only with Christ would the Law of Moses lead them to find salvation.
The same thing is true relative to the gospel—the good news concerning the death, burial and resurrection of the Son of God (cf. 1 Cor. 15:1-4). Paul was not ashamed of this gospel, and we are not to be ashamed of this gospel as well. Please examine some reasons why we are not to be ashamed of the gospel of Christ.
First, we are not to be ashamed of the gospel of Christ because of what it is—it is power! There are different types of power. God demonstrated power in creation, for when He spoke, “Let there be light,” there was light (Gen. 1:3). “By the word of the Lord were the heavens made; and all the host of them by the breath of his mouth” (Ps. 33:6). God demonstrated power by the miracles He performed. In fact, whenever God performed a miracle, no one could resist it! Yet, the gospel has moral power: “For the preaching of the cross is to them that perish foolishness; but unto us which are saved it is the power of God” (cf. 1 Cor. 1:18). It has the power to transform lives! The gospel is powerful because of the relationship Christ has to it (cf. 1 Cor. 2:2; Rom. 8:3-4).
Second, we are not to be ashamed of the gospel of Christ because of what it can provide—“unto salvation” (Rom. 1:16). This is why Paul wrote to them in this letter.
For I was alive without the law once: but when the commandment came, sin revived, and I died. And the commandment, which was ordained to life, I found to be unto death… There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit. (Rom. 7:9-10; 8:1)
Third, we are not to be ashamed of the gospel of Christ because of whom it affects. There is no need to be ashamed of the gospel because it is universal (Rom. 3:9). Nevertheless, it is conditional, which is what Paul urges his Roman readers in Romans 9-11. We are to follow and obey the law of faith (Rom. 3:27).
Therefore, because the faith of the Old Testament leads us to the complete faith of the New Testament, wherein is the righteousness of God (Rom. 1:17), we do not have to be ashamed of the gospel of Jesus Christ!