When the apostle Paul wrote to the Romans, “For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ” (Rom 1:16), he clarified at the end, “my gospel, and the preaching of Jesus Christ” (Rom 16:25). The true gospel message is what Jesus Christ Himself preached that Paul wasn’t ashamed to proclaim as his own gospel message.
The gospel Jesus Christ preached begins and ends with His claim to be the Son of God. The religious leaders of His day tried to kill Him for this claim, “Therefore the Jews sought the more to kill him, because he not only had broken the sabbath, but said also that God was his Father, making himself equal with God” (Jhn 5:18). They accused Him of blasphemy for this claim, “Say ye of him, whom the Father hath sanctified, and sent into the world, Thou blasphemest; because I said, I am the Son of God?” (Jhn 10:36). And they eventually had Him put to death for His claim, “We have a law, and by our law he ought to die, because he made himself the Son of God” (Jhn 19:7).
His claim to be the Son of God was a threat to the religious system of His day. And about 2,000 years later, although the context is different, the situation is essentially the same. The Trinitarian religious systems of Roman Catholicism and Protestantism claim that Christ is God Himself—denying what Christ declared that His Father is God, “thee the only true God” (Jhn 17:3), and He is His Son. Along with roughly 2 billion Trinitarians in the world today there are also 2 billion Muslims, all denying that Jesus Christ is the Son of God. Like the Christians of the early church, we’re also living in a religious context in which our faithfulness to Him is going to be tested. Will we be faithful to His message that He is the Son of God, or will we be ashamed?
The statement “For both he that sanctifieth and they who are sanctified are all of one: for which cause he is not ashamed to call them brethren” (Heb 2:11), concerns Christ’s prayer to His Father in John 17 when He sanctified or set apart His disciples from the world: “the men which thou gavest me out of the world” (v. 6); “I pray not for the world, but for them which thou hast given me” (v. 9); “they are not of the world, even as I am not of the world” (vs. 14, 16); “Sanctify them through thy truth” (v. 17); “that they also might be sanctified through the truth” (v. 19). That they were “all of one” is that they were all in unity and agreement with Him: “that they may be one, as we are” (v. 11); “That they all may be one; as thou, Father, art in me, and I in thee, that they also may be one in us” (v. 21); “that they may be one, even as we are one” (v. 22); “that they may be made perfect in one” (v. 23). Since Christ’s disciples were in unity and agreement with Him about God, “that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent” (v. 3), therefore “he is not ashamed to call them brethren.”
Jesus Christ said, “Whosoever therefore shall confess me before men, him will I confess also before my Father which is in heaven. But whosoever shall deny me before men, him will I also deny before my Father which is in heaven.” (Mat 10:32-33), “For whosoever shall be ashamed of me and of my words, of him shall the Son of man be ashamed, when he shall come in his own glory, and in his Father’s, and of the holy angels” (Luk 9:26). Being unashamed of Him and His words means standing for what He stood for and teaching what He taught.
Paul wrote to Timothy, “if we deny him, he also will deny us: If we believe not, yet he abideth faithful: he cannot deny himself” (2Ti 2:11-13). The Son of God is the Messenger of the Lord that called to Abraham from heaven, “By myself have I sworn” (Gen 22:16). He swore by Himself, therefore He can’t deny Himself. As God’s Messenger, Christ faithfully lived and died for the message His Father sent Him to preach. On judgment day therefore, if we denied Him, He must deny us or else He would have to deny Himself. He can’t make even one exception.
Christ’s message to the early church was, “He that overcometh, the same shall be clothed in white raiment; and I will not blot out his name out of the book of life, but I will confess his name before my Father, and before his angels” (Rev 3:5). As they had to overcome the contentious environment in which they lived, so will we under similar pressure. We must not care about being shamed in front of people.
Jesus Christ said: “Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works? And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity.” (Mat 7:21-23); “Verily I say unto you, I know you not” (Mat 25:12); “I tell you, I know you not whence ye are; depart from me, all ye workers of iniquity” (Luk 13:27). Our destiny is in the Son’s hands. If we denied Him before people, then He will deny us before His Father. Sadly, this will be the case with many, “Many will say to me in that day.”