13th of May, 2013
They must keep hold of the deep truths of the faith with a clear conscience.
There is much to be shameful about in the Gospel. The severeness of God’s judgements against sinners: the judgement of Amalek, for instance, or the Deluge. But the most-shameful is Calvary, which is so revolting and so completely about Sin, that it remains a stumbling-stone for the Jews. Though God hates child sacrifice—and forbids all intercourse with worshippers of Moloch—He nevertheless tells Abraham to do It to Isaac, and stops him just short of the blow. The He does It when the time for Sin to be put on the same Man. (I have sometimes felt that Jesus was to live as a human and have the option to bail out of Calvary at any time, but that He chose to let the thing proceed to its completion so that even this sin of human sacrifice would be covered in the deal.)
At the beginning of Romans, Paul states from the get-go that he is not ashamed of the Gospel. Would this be necessary if the Gospel were what we are told today? When you talk of the Gospel over and over, you end up having to repeat over and over (as Paul does) that you are not ashamed of this Message. The Message contains all the extremes, because it is about Jesus Christ. It contains mystery, it contains history, it contains God descending from prostitutes, it contains God as the definition of Holiness, it contains the Law of God, it is all about the Pardon of God.
In this one, there is need to emphasise that the deep truths of the faith are, to the humbled-greats of the Faith, matters that should be held to be true with a clear conscience. The most-serious matter about which we are supposed to maintain a clear conscience, if we seek to know the deep truths of the faith with a clear conscience, is the matter of: justification by Grace alone, which is given on the sole basis of Faith in Jesus Christ.
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. For in the gospel the righteousness of God is revealed—a righteousness that is by faith from first to last, just as it is written: “The righteous will live by faith.”