"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
As an American, I live in relative freedom every day. I have the freedom to live and believe as I so choose. So it is easy for me to say that I am unashamed of the Gospel of Christ. But in almost every other nation in the world, Christians are living in fear for their lives from their governments, which are continually persecuting them for their faith. One would think that these believers would try to conceal their faith. But on the contrary, we hear stories almost daily of how believers are standing firm in their faith, even in the face of imprisonment and even worse, death.
What is it that keeps our brothers and sisters in foreign lands to continue to stand for their faith in the face of death? They understand that the gospel is the most important message in the history of the world. This gospel is the message of Christ, who gives all people, regardless of race, gender, or socioeconomic status, salvation through their faith in Him. It is as powerful as dynamite, which is what the Greek word for “power” means. It brings life and deliverance from sin to those who believe, but death and banishment to those who do not.
Paul, as a Jew, was not ashamed to be preaching a doctrine that went against popular Jewish belief. John MacArthur notes, “He had been imprisoned in Philippi, chased out of Thessalonica, smuggled out of Berea, laughed at in Athens, regarded as a fool in Corinth, and stoned in Galatia, but Paul remained eager to preach the gospel in Rome…Neither ridicule, criticism, nor physical persecution could curb his boldness.”
It is only through the gospel that the righteousness of God is granted to mankind through faith in Christ. Righteousness is perfectly conforming to God’s law. Since it is impossible for totally depraved humanity to achieve righteousness, therefore the perfect righteousness of God is granted through faith in Christ. This is why Paul quotes Habakkuk 2:4, noting that salvation has always been given to God’s people through faith alone.
Even though Western Christians live in relative ease, we believe a doctrine that goes against the "touchy-feely" experience-driven religion of popular culture. Our faith lies in Christ, not ourselves, nor science. We must be willing to take a stand for the gospel and to preach salvation through faith alone in Christ alone to all.