Nevertheless, I Am Not Ashamed :: By Gene Lawley

That word, “nevertheless,” has kinship with phrases like “however” and “even so.” It moves one to a change in situation that is different than that before. It depicts a change that is fixed. The source of this discussion topic comes from 2 Timothy 1:12 where the Apostle Paul writes of his own changed position before the Lord, having been that Saul of Tarsus who was on a raging campaign to eliminate this new threat of Christianity against Judaism: “For this reason I also suffer these things; nevertheless I am not ashamed, for I know whom I have believed and am persuaded that He is able to keep what I have committed to Him until that Day.”

In his first letter to Timothy, he said this:

“This is a faithful saying and worthy of all acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, of whom I am chief” (1 Timothy 1:15).

And in his testimony, he told this:

“Indeed, I myself thought I must do many things contrary to the name of Jesus of Nazareth. This I also did in Jerusalem, and many of the saints I shut up in prison, having received authority from the chief priests; and when they were put to death, I cast my vote against them” (Acts 26:9-10).

The meaning of “nevertheless” in that verse above seems to reach back to these revelations of Paul’s life as Saul of Tarsus, the enemy of Christianity. The giant question is how could he write off his past with just, “nevertheless, I am not ashamed.”

That is the point of this article and what it means to other believers who suffer with that sense of past sins that cry out for our own judgment…somehow! The solution to that issue is what we want to explore.

One reason this has come up is that I heard someone lament recently of their expectation of having to see the Lord run a video of all their sins of the past for the world to see when that judgment seat of Christ comes to pass. That view was the offering sometimes made by evangelists to the unsaved in a plea for them to seek forgiveness for their sins. It was not directed to the saved person.

Perhaps the issue has to do with sins committed during the life of the believer, and this is answered in 1 Corinthians 3:11-15 where it deals with how well we have obeyed the Lord in doing His will:

“For no other foundation can anyone lay than that which is laid, which is Jesus Christ. Now if anyone builds on this foundation with gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, straw, each one’s work will become clear; for the Day will declare it, because it will be revealed by fire; and the fire will test each one’s work, of what sort it is.  If anyone’s work which he has built on it endures, he will receive a reward. If anyone’s work is burned, he will suffer loss; but he himself will be saved, yet so as through fire.”

Paul was no longer ashamed of his sinfulness, as bad as it was, because he was totally confident in the Lord’s forgiveness for him. It speaks of that part of 1 John 1:9 that we tend to skim over, at the end of the verse: “If we confess our sins, He is faithful to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.”

That passage plainly tells the true situation—once the foundation is laid, what kind of building is built on it is what is dealt with, not total erasing of the fact of a born-again experiencer that established the foundation.

In his letter to the Philippians, he exclaimed, “…but one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind and reaching forward to those things which are ahead, I press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 3:13-14).

Is that total belief in the promise of Christ just for Paul and others who are called to a higher service? Or, is there a place for the rest of us?

First of all, one must know for sure that he is born again and forever bought and paid for fully by the Lord Jesus Christ. Either Christ is sufficient to fully save us, or He is not. If that one sacrifice once for all did not suffice, then how can He be sacrificed again to re-save you if you have lost your salvation? If one can lose his salvation, and he has been born again already, how can he be un-born from God’s family into which he was adopted? Let not your emotions tell you what Satan wants you to hear—that is, “I don’t feel like I am saved.”

(As a new believer 64 years ago, I struggled for about eight or nine months with that issue until I had the promises of God instilled firmly in my mind and will.)

The Apostle Paul looked at his old nature that fought to drag him into sinfulness and wrote this:

O wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death? I thank God—through Jesus Christ our Lord! So then, with the mind I myself serve the law of God, but with the flesh the law of sin” (Romans 7:24-25).

It was an exercise of his will, energized by the Holy Spirit, that gave him deliverance. Then he was able to write this: “There is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus, who do not walk according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit, for the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has made me free from the law of sin and death” (Romans 8:1-2).

What about that movie that will show all of my sins of the past for review at the Judgment Seat of Christ? Look at these Scriptures and learn what has happened to those sins:

“For I will be merciful to their unrighteousness, and their sins and their lawless deeds I will remember no more” (Hebrews 8:12).

“Their sins and their lawless deeds I will remember no more” (Hebrews 10:17).

“I, even I, am He who blots out your transgressions for My own sake; And I will not remember your sins” (Isaiah 43:25).

“As far as the east is from the west, So far has He removed our transgressions from us” (Psalm 103:12).

Should we chastise ourselves by asking the question, “How many times does God have to tell us something or make a promise before we can accept it as truth? May God forgive our unbelief.

He will remember them no more; our sins, once forgiven, have been cast into an unending distance, for the east will never reach the west! (A friend commented, “Perhaps they have been cast into the ocean, and we always try to fish them out to review them again and again!”)

Do not cheapen the sacrifice of the Son of God that He paid for us, as 2 Corinthians 5:21 says: “For He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.”

That is why the Apostle Paul can exclaim, “Nevertheless, I am not ashamed, for I know whom I have believed and am persuaded that He is able to keep that which I have committed to Him against that day” (2 Timothy 1:12).

God is no respecter of persons; if Paul can say that with such firmness and conviction, so can any and every believer! Thanks to God for the victory!

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