“I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God for the salvation of everyone who believes…” – Romans 1:16
Most Christians know this piece of scripture by heart. It’s been underlined in a thousand Bibles and quoted at a hundred of prayer rallies. Christians want the world to know that no matter how much culture changes, and no matter how unpopular our faith becomes, we will never stop living and speaking for Christ. Like Peter at the Last Supper, we boldly declare ourselves unashamed of the Gospel. Unfortunately, we all know how that turned out for Peter, and most of us don’t fare any better.
The reality is scripture contains many difficult texts that can make even the staunchest believer cringe. There are extreme verses about rape, about slavery, and commands to wipe out entire tribes of people. The last three chapters of Judges alone could make Christians wince. So what should we do when confronted with such harsh words? Do we try to justify them? Do we ignore them or explain them away?
According to Brian Cosby, author of the new book Uncensored, we should accept these verses and learn from them. Cosby noted that modern Christians are becoming embarrassed by what the Bible says. In his latest article for The Gospel Coalition, he explained why Christians should not try to censor scripture. He writes,
“The apostle’s task wasn’t to censor Scripture in the hope people would be (more likely) saved after hearing a partial gospel; his task was to preach the whole counsel of God because ‘faith comes from hearing, and hearing through the word of Christ’ (Rom. 10:17).”
“When we embrace the entirety of Scripture, we are freed from making our Maker ‘fit’ our socially correct, tame caricatures of a god who seems no more omnipotent than a divine grandpa. But like Aslan, God isn’t safe. The lion of the tribe of Judah has conquered. Eternally self-sufficient, he is dependent on no one. And his Word reveals his majesty and glory from Genesis to Revelation.”
By acknowledging the Bible’s more difficult passages, we accept that God does not conform to our safe, limited preconceptions. He is not a God who will fit neatly into a box to be tucked away when we are inconvenienced. He is the All and Everything, the Alpha and Omega, and His ways are not our ways. Perhaps C.S. Lewis gave Christians the best illustration when he introduced children to the lion Aslan,
“‘He'll be coming and going’ he had said. ‘One day you'll see him and another you won't. He doesn't like being tied down--and of course he has other countries to attend to. It's quite all right. He'll often drop in. Only you mustn't press him. He's wild, you know. Not like a tame lion.’”
Yes, the Bible has many sever things to say, and yes, some of them are difficult to comprehend. As Christians, we strive to learn and understand the Gospel, but we should never allow ourselves to be ashamed by it.
What about you? Are you ashamed of the Gospel of Christ?
*Ryan Duncan is the Entertainment Editor for Crosswalk.com