Summary: When most hear the phrase “not ashamed”, their minds think of the declaration by the Apostle Paul - “I am not ashamed of the Gospel of Christ." In this study, we focus on two lesser known passages that speak of another person who has said they are “not ashamed”.
When most students of the New Testament hear the phrase “not ashamed”, their minds think of the famous pronouncement by the Apostle Paul - “I am not ashamed of the Gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to everyone that believes; to the Jew first and also to the Greek” (Romans 1:16).
While I, personally, find these words of the Apostle both inspiring and a challenge to maintain that attitude in each and all circumstances, in this study I want to focus our attention on two lesser known passages that speak of another person who has said they are “not ashamed”. That person being our God Jehovah and His amazing “not ashamed” statements are found in Hebrews 2:11; 11:16.
HEBREWS 2:11, “For both He who sanctifies and those who are sanctified are all from one Father; for which reason He is not ashamed to call them brethren.”
In this verse, the Apostle speaks of the fact that both the One Who sanctifies (Christ cleanses us from sin and sets us apart unto God) and we the sanctified (those who have accepted and obeyed the Gospel invitation and are continually being consecrated to godly and holy living) share the same heavenly Father. Christ enjoys the dignity of Sonship by His eternal Divine Nature. We Christians have attained the dignity of being the heavenly Father's sons and daughters through the gracious adoption we have in and through Christ. According to the Father's eternal Plan, “He predestined us to adoption as sons through Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the kind intention of His will (Ephesians 1:5).” Our verse informs us that, due to the fact that we share the same spiritual Father, Christ Jesus is not ashamed to accept us and regard us as His fellow brothers and sisters.
How astounding that the eternal Son of God, He Who created all things and now rules sovereign in Heaven and on Earth, should think it not beneath His honor and dignity to think of us in such close familial terms as siblings. Such a position is certainly a demonstration of grace; for, we understand that with our weak and fallible nature we are so very unworthy of such high regard. As we often look to our biological older sibling(s) to provide love, guidance, protection, and understanding, such is perfectly offered to us from Christ, our Elder Brother.
HEBREWS 11:16, “But as it is, they desire a better country, that is, a heavenly one. Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God; for He has prepared a city for them.”
The context in which we find this amazing verse deals with the faith demonstrated by the patriarchs Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. Jehovah God had made a covenant with them which gave them ownership of a large territory of land, stretching from the Nile to the Euphrates. They did not live to see the day when their descendants did take possession of that entire territory (Joshua 21:43-45); however, the Patriarchs could have – in their lifetimes - settled down and built secure homes and even cities where they did choose to reside. Instead, the Patriarchs chose to live like nomads in their own land. We read, in verse 9, “By faith he (Abraham) lived as an alien in the land of promise, as in a foreign land, dwelling in tents with Isaac and Jacob, fellow heirs of the same promise.” Verse 13, “These died in faith...having confessed that they were strangers and exiles on the earth.” Why did the Patriarchs live as aliens or strangers or exiles in their own promised land? Verse 10, “for he (Abraham) was looking for the city which has foundations, whose architect and builder is God.” Verse 16, “But as it is, they desire a better country, that is, a heavenly one.”
Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob lived like strangers or exiles in Canaan because their hearts were filled with the desire, the yearning for the heavenly country wherein is a city with permanent foundations, whose Architect and Builder is God. Rather than focusing their thoughts and energies on making their lives more comfortable on Earth, satisfying themselves with worldly pleasures, and storing up temporal treasures.... their lives reflected their faith in and desire for a heavenly inheritance. Their lofty values lead them to live a more simple and noble life in the midst of their earthly neighbors. And this leads to the awesome declaration that concerning individuals with such faith and values, God is not ashamed to be called their God. If you recall, centuries after the lives of the Patriarchs, when God appeared to Moses, He identified Himself as “the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob.” God was not ashamed to be called their God.
If we take the message of Hebrews 11:16 and think it only applies to the relationship between the Patriarchs and their God, I think we miss the intended message. The message is that all who share the same faith and hope of the Patriarchs, God is well-pleased with them and is not ashamed to be called their God. The thought that the almighty and omniscient God of the Universe would be happy to be so associated with we mortal individuals, marred as we are with so many faults and weaknesses in comparison to His majesty and glory, is beyond comprehension. Yet, that is the character of our God.