In Romans 1:3-4, the Apostle Paul tells the Romans that Jesus is both heir to the king (David) and to God. How is this, and why is it important?
Well, Jesus had Davidic lineage, fulfilling a major Jewish prophecy that the messiah would come through David’s line and thus be royal heir, worthy to “save” the Jews as a warrior king to lead them in battle and throw off their oppressors. 1 Samuel 7:13 prophesies that the Lord will “[e]stablish the throne of his kingdom for ever.” So Jesus fulfilled that prophecy, God keeping His promises to the covenant people (even though they broke the covenant in so many ways). But of course to save the world from death and sin took Godly power, complete and perfect, thus requiring Jesus to be the Son of God, the heir in the priestly sense.
In fact, we learn in John 10:17-18 that it is because Jesus was mortal that he could lay down his life, and because he was immortal he could take it up again, be resurrected. Both parts of his nature were essential.
So the Christ is both man and God, and his gospel is for men who want to be glorified as joint-heirs with Christ (Romans 8:17). The Apostle Paul, once awakened to the error of stoning Christians while traveling the road to Damascus, converted completely and was never ashamed of being Christ’s loyal follower (Romans 1:16). He was never afraid and preached tirelessly through personal missions and impassioned letters to the new Christian saints, whether of Jewish or Greek heritage.
We should all be like Paul, and never be ashamed of being Christians, of following the gospel of Jesus Christ. It is never admirable for people to be wormy and slither behind a rock when challenged on their beliefs, but even more so to be so weak in the defence of Christ’s gospel. Jesus Christ didn’t shrink from his (much harder) life mission, so how can we? I think Paul felt that way.
I think that we show we are not ashamed to be Christ’s disciple by living his truths, his commandments with JOY. When we joyfully go to sabbath worship instead of taking the motorboat for a spin, we show we are not ashamed, but committed. When we work hard to have a joyous marriage, we show we are not ashamed of the law of chastity and fidelity. When we offer our time, our talents and our tithes to help and serve others, we show we are not ashamed to live as servants for Christ. We are confident in our commitment to follow Him.
Romans 1:21–32 gives a pretty comprehensive list of the people’s sins of the day:
- ungrateful, vain, proud, boasting, unmerciful
- without understanding (without wisdom), foolish
- lustful, dishonorable to their bodies, fornication, had vile affections, against nature
- had reprobate minds
- malice, backbiting, full of envy, covetousness
- changed truth to lies, deceitful, covenant-breaking
- hating God, despiteful
- inventors of evil things
- disobedient to parents
- dethroned God, made Him an idol, worshipped the creature rather than the Creator
- basically, all unrighteousness, wickedness
Are these things any different from the problems of our day? How much more have we slid toward these things, as a people? And then, how much more important is it for us to be like Paul and be unashamed of living the right way, Christ’s way?
Elder Dieter F. Uchtorf had great advice on how we can be more unashamed of the gospel of Jesus Christ:
The most effective way to preach the gospel is through example. If we live according to our beliefs, people will notice. If the countenance of Jesus Christ shines in our lives, if we are joyful and at peace with the world, people will want to know why. One of the greatest sermons ever pronounced on missionary work is this simple thought attributed to Saint Francis of Assisi: “Preach the gospel at all times and if necessary, use words.” Opportunities to do so are all around us. Do not miss them by waiting too long…
I really admire Paul and his passion for living and sharing the good news. So hey, maybe I’ll blog about it… 🙂