2 Timothy 1:8-12 “Be not thou therefore ashamed of the testimony of our Lord…” The Tolerance Police stand ready to keep people in line. Think differently than the commonly accepted line of “truth” and you’ll soon hear a version of their battle cry. To some, more intimidating than the “Rebel Yell” or an Apache war cry, the phrase “You ought to be ashamed!” sends grown men whimpering off to the corner mumbling to themselves. Should it?
Shame is the feeling of judgment when we are guilty of a transgression, or embarrassed by one of our characteristics, or embarrassed by our associations. Shame or feeling ashamed can be both a good or bad thing – it all depends on why you are ashamed. If we’ve done wrong, shame leads us to seek forgiveness. Having no shame means you never feel the weight of your guilt. However, it’s just as bad to feel ashamed when you shouldn’t. The feeling of shame comes from our conscience but sometimes our conscience is out of tune with the truth.
Amazingly, Timothy was ashamed of Jesus. Many Christians are also ashamed of Jesus. Timothy was ashamed of the Lord’s testimony and embarrassed by the gospel, the testimony that Jesus died on a cross for his sins. Timothy was embarrassed to be associated with Paul, the persecutor turned prisoner, the fanatical preacher of the gospel of Jesus.
Jesus did nothing wrong, ever and had nothing to be ashamed of. But in the court of public opinion, Jesus is guilty of breaking with the world. Put to death on a Roman cross, the world judged Jesus and condemns him. Because the carnal heart is enmity against God, the world always will think poorly and judge harshly the Lamb of God. The cross is a stumbling block for the Jews and foolish to the Gentiles. He is guilty and condemned in the eyes of the world. Anyone who associates with Christ, shares His beliefs and moral characteristics, and trusts in His name is guilty by association in the world system. Timothy felt shame because he feared the judgment of the world more than the judgment of God. He elevated the opinion of nonbelievers higher than the opinion of His Lord. He didn’t want the world to hate him.
Paul was not ashamed (2 Timothy 1:12). He boldly proclaimed the gospel of Christ despite the condemnation. Jesus saved us, called us with a holy calling by his grace, ordained before the world began. Jesus Christ our Lord, abolished death and through his death burial and resurrection gives eternal life and by faith in Christ, we are saved. Paul is a preacher of such glorious good news and he isn’t ashamed because he knows Jesus. People will condemn him. People will tell him “he ought to be ashamed” but he’s not ashamed, because those judges are wrong. He knows his soul is safe in the Lord Jesus and so his is not ashamed now and won’t be ashamed in the last day.