16 For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek. 17 For in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith for faith, as it is written, “The righteous shall live by faith.”
There are several Greek words which are translated using the same English word of “power.” There is kratos which is in reference to the power to rule, to have dominion. We can see this in words like aristocrat, autocrat, and democrat. Exousia is another word for power meaning the power of authority or permission. We see this in John’s gospel “as many as received him, to them gave he the power [the authority, the permission], to become the sons of God.” A third word for power, the one we have in our text here is dunamis. We find this in our own language in the words of dynamo, dynamite or dynamic.
Now just because we have derived the word dynamite from dunamis this is not the right way to think about the power of God for dynamite is destructive, it blows things up, it destroys things. No, when we think of dunamis power our minds should think of the power God exerted to raise Jesus from the dead. That same power that caused Jesus’ physical body to come back to life is the same power that God works in our own life to raise us from spiritual deadness.
Think again to Paul’s words to the Ephesians, “But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ—by grace you have been saved” (Eph. 2:5, 6). We were dead in our trespasses, but God made us alive through the power [the dunamis] of the gospel. That’s what the gospel message does when the Spirit of God is active in the hearts of those who hear. The Spirit of God uses the Word of God (the gospel) in power to make the dead live. That’s what happened to you when you came to faith in Christ.
Paul was not ashamed of this message of the gospel even though it was foolishness to the Greeks and a stumbling block to the Jews (1 Cor. 1) because he knew it was the only message that will truly bring life to a spiritually dead person. Any other message may see to bring life to someone, but in reality the best any other message can produce is a dead corpse on puppet strings. Only the power of the gospel can bring life to the dead.
Do not be ashamed to make it known!