New International Version (NIV)
16 For I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God that brings salvation to everyone who believes: first to the Jew, then to the Gentile. 17 For in the gospel the righteousness of God is revealed—a righteousness that is by faith from first to last, just as it is written: “The righteous will live by faith.”
A few good lessons in here. Are we ashamed of the gospel?
The gospel is the good news of Jesus, God's only son, coming to earth as a man and taking our place to save us from God's wrath for our sins. We all sin, and we all deserve hell because of it, but Jesus came to earth and lived a perfect life. he did not sin, but took our sin, and the punishment for it (God's wrath), and died in our place. He then rose again to prove that he had paid the penalty for us and that he truly is God. This is the gospel, and we need to tell it to all people. Through Jesus there is salvation to all who believe: complete forgiveness from sins, changing us from God's enemies to his people, and adopting us as his children. We need to tell people! If we have seen God's wonderful grace, been shown his mercy, then what reason is there not to tell people? The only real reason is shame and fear of man. I have always struggled to share the gospel, but God has challenged me to do it heaps over the past years and there is only one response: to do it. It will lead to persecution, it will lead to people not liking us - but it's worth it isn't it? If even one person turns to Christ, it is well worth it! We dont save people, God does, but he has called us to share the gospel and to bring people to him. He uses us even though he does not need us, and it is an honour to serve God. So do you do it?
I think the reason that paul says 'to the Jew first, and then the Gentile' is that the Jews were God's people from the Old Testament. They knew God's promises, they knew that he promised a saviour, and so they had the groundwork already laid to point them to Jesus as the fulfilment of all prophecy about the messiah. Jews are not 'more' saved then Gentiles, we are all equal: sinful, completely helpless and depraved, but saved by grace through Jesus. If people have different views on this, then I would love to hear them!
We are saved by faith - genuine trust in God. But faith comes with fruit, genuine trust in God means that we will obey him, that we will give up sin in our lives. God calls us to be unashamed of the gospel, so are you? If you are unashamed, then do you show it?