The Power of God
By Stan Schuermann
For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes,
What was the reason Paul was not ashamed of the gospel? Why was he so confident? Paul knew that the gospel is the power of God for salvation. He knew that the gospel has the power to change lives.
My grandchildren recently were amazed as they watched a tractor equipped with a loader bucket lift boulders and heavy tree stumps. The lifting of these giant loads seemed to them impossible. But each time a boulder or stump rose into the air, they gave a collective, “Wow!” as they marveled at the “awesome” power of the tractor. We are most impressed by power, when we see it displayed in doing what to us seems impossible.
To understand the power of God for salvation, consider what the prophet Jeremiah asked, “Can the Ethiopian change his skin or the leopard its spots? The answer is certainly no. It is impossible. Jeremiah goes on to say, “Then may you also do good, who are accustomed to do evil.” (Jeremiah 13:23 NKJV) The prophet made his point – We have no ability to change ourselves. Yet everywhere the gospel is preached we see the power of God displayed in the changed lives of people who believe.
Corinth, like Rome, was a place of commerce, wealth and luxury. At the same time, Corinth abounded in every evil and vice. A church had been established there through the preaching of the gospel and Paul wrote to encourage and instruct them –
9 Or do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: neither the sexually immoral, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor men who practice homosexuality, 10 nor thieves, nor the greedy, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God. 11 And such were some of you. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God. (1 Corinthians 6:9-11 ESV)
Notice what Paul is saying. The people in the church in Corinth were no longer identified by their old sinful habits. They had been washed clean by God’s free pardon of their sins. And by His Spirit, He had given them a new nature so that they can now aim at holiness.
What hope this gives to all of us with sinful habits! The power of the gospel comes to us in Christ. It is by faith that we receive Christ, and have his graces applied to us.
I will close with a wonderful quote by Charles Spurgeon, from a portion of his June 28 morning entry of is devotion Morning and Evening, titled Looking to Jesus.
“It is always the Holy Spirit’s work to turn out eyes away from self to Jesus. But Satan’s work is just the opposite; he is constantly trying to make us look at ourselves instead of Christ. He insinuates, ‘Your sins are too great for pardon; you have no faith; you do not repent enough; you will never be able to continue to the end; you do not have the joy of His children; you have such a wavering hold on Jesus.’ All these are thoughts about self, and we will never find comfort or assurance by looking within… If we are to overcome Satan and have peace with God, it must be by “looking to Jesus.” Keep your eye simply on Him; let His death, His sufferings, His merits, His glories, His intercession be fresh upon your mind… Do not let your hopes or fears come between you and Jesus; follow hard after Him, and He will never fail you.”
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