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The London Institute for Contemporary Christianity

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Unashamed | How the gospel makes sense of life

Paul, a servant of Christ Jesus, called to be an apostle and set apart for the gospel of God – the gospel he promised beforehand through his prophets in the Holy Scriptures regarding his Son, who as to his earthly life was a descendant of David, and who through the Spirit of holiness was appointed the Son of God in power by his resurrection from the dead: Jesus Christ our Lord…

For I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God that brings salvation to everyone who believes: first to the Jew, then to the Gentile

ROMANS 1:1–4, 16

 


 

In the past, I’ve known what it feels like to be ‘ashamed’ of my faith. But studying Romans has lifted off some fear and increased my confidence. Here’s why.

First, the gospel is a rooted story: ‘promised beforehand… in the Holy Scriptures.’

Throughout Romans, Paul frequently references the Old Testament. I find this deeply reassuring. The gospel is not a new philosophy that a brilliant mind made up. Its plot line traces all the way back to Abraham. God called him into a covenant relationship that might restore blessing to all creation. Where Israel failed, the Messiah succeeded and now calls his people to fulfil this global mandate. The gospel story unlocks the larger story.  

This increases my confidence for the same reason being roped to a big boulder reassures me when climbing. It means I’m connected to something much bigger than myself. In Christ, we’re joined to a great story that stretches back to creation and forward into eternity. Our fragile lives are anchored to a faithful God who won’t break his promises. Can you feel the tug of the rope?  

Second, the gospel is a relevant story: ‘salvation for everyone who believes.’

The gospel is relevant to every inch of life here and now. Jesus was crucified to end the curses of this old creation, and raised to life to inaugurate a new creation. His decisive victory is good news at every level.

 

The gospel confronts those who claim to rule the world and fix our problems. In Paul’s day, this meant Caesar and the Empire. Today it includes expansionist states, Big Tech, and political ideologies. The gospel announces that Jesus is Lord, not Caesar or Google. That’s why Romans relates the gospel to every sphere of life, including sexuality (Romans 1), the environment (Romans 8), revenge culture (Romans 12), state authority (Romans 13), church relations (Romans 14), and global mission (Romans 15). Nothing sits outside the remit of the gospel.  

We may imagine the gospel to be a small, isolated truth. But when we really understand it, we encounter the ‘power of God’ that brings transformation to every sphere of life. No amount of technology, science, education, or activism can fix what’s broken with our world, and you and me therein. Only Jesus Christ can do that.  

The gospel is more rooted and relevant than we’ve dared to imagine. There’s nothing to be ashamed of. In our interactions with friends, families, neighbours, and colleagues this week, let’s live it out and share it on.

Dr Andrew Ollerton
Author of Romans: A letter that makes sense of life 

What’s one way you’ve seen the gospel make a difference in your context? Who will you prayerfully share this with this week?

Want to think more about how the gospel makes sense of everyday life?

Join Dr Andrew Ollerton for a jam-packed day of in-depth teaching, interactive discussion, and practical workshopping that’ll draw on inspiration from his book on Romans. It’s not too late to sign up.

Saturday 16 September | 10am | Sign up now

Comments

  1. Thank you for this, Andrew, so helpful. The all-encompassing nature of the gospel message is surely what every part of our national life needs, as well as each individual. So many of UK’s dire “health”, “social” and “economic” problems have deep spiritual roots, there is such a lack of political understanding of God’s plan for us. Thank you too for the brilliant Bible Course!

    By Jeremy Clare  -  11 Sep 2023

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