We see many different “I am” phrases in Scripture, used by God and others. For the ultimate example, we read of God calling Himself “I AM” in Exodus 3:14-15 when He commanded Moses to go and face Pharaoh on behalf of the children of Israel. In John 8:58, Jesus testified, “Truly, truly, I say to you, before Abraham was, I am.” This phrase signifies to us God’s eternal nature. He existed before the world was created; He has simply always been. This is so incomprehensible to our human minds because our minds are just that: human. Who would God be if He was not completely above our comprehension, able to be infinitely omnipresent and omniscient (Isaiah 55:8-9)? “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever.” (Hebrews 13:8)
In the New Testament, Jesus also uses the phrase, “I am”, to identify Himself with the many things that He is to us. Some examples include:
- “I am the Bread of life” (John 6:48)
- “I am the Light of the world” (John 8:12)
- “I am the Door” (John 10:9)
- “I am the Good Shepherd” (John 10:14)
- “I am the Resurrection and the Life” (John 11:25)
- “I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life” (John 14:6)
Switching gears a little bit, the apostle Paul used the phrase “I am” in the book of Romans to describe his life in Christ. Let us notice three of these:
- “I am a debtor” ( Romans 1:14) Some translations render the word “debtor” as “under obligation”. Paul literally felt obligated to share the gospel with everyone with whom it was possible. He explains in Galatians 1:11-24 how he had been apart from Jesus and persecuted the church for a good part of his life, until Christ was revealed to him, instructing him of the Truth (see Acts 9). It was because of this time spent away from God and the grace given to Paul that he felt indebted to the world (1 Corinthians 15:10). We ourselves must also realize the debt we owe to the lost world. As followers of His, we are commanded by Jesus to share the gospel (Matthew 28:19-20). But if we realize that we have been blessed with such a great salvation in Christ Jesus, who are we to boast of it if we do not share it? Paul goes on to tell the Roman church that he was a debtor “both to Greeks and to barbarians, both to wise and to unwise”. Paul felt indebted to preach the gospel to people of all backgrounds and ethnicity. Paul showed no kind of discrimination when it came to sharing God’s Word, and neither does God. He desires all men to be saved (1 Timothy 2:4), and so must we. Keeping eternity in mind, we must not let any prejudices come between us and some other lost soul.
- “I am ready” (Romans 1:15) Paul had nothing holding him back when it came to sharing the gospel. He was willing to go anywhere and do whatever was necessary so that others could know Christ: “So, as much as is in me, I am ready to preach the gospel to you who are in Rome also.” (verse 15) We see his fearless and courageous spirit also in Acts 21:13, where he proclaims, “…For I am ready not only to be bound, but also to die at Jerusalem for the name of the Lord Jesus.” Paul was willing to do anything for his Savior. He was fully committed! Can we say the same? As Christians, we are to be eager and “ready for every good work” (Titus 3:1). 1 Peter 3:15 says, “But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts, and always be ready to give a defense to anyone who asks you a reason for the hope that is in you, with meekness and fear.” A Christian is not only always on the lookout for opportunities to talk about Jesus, but when they arise, jumps at them! May we never lose our zeal and eagerness to talk about our Redeemer.
- “I am not ashamed” (Romans 1:16) If Paul was a debtor to the lost world and was ready to take the gospel to them, he most assuredly would not be ashamed of that message he aspired to deliver. He continues in verse 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.” Paul firmly believed in the power of God’s Word, available to everyone! He was convicted of it! He even tells Timothy in 2 Tim. 1:7-8, “for God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control. Therefore do not be ashamed of the testimony about our Lord, nor of me His prisoner, but share in suffering for the gospel by the power of God.” Paul’s confidence in the gospel overflowed into Timothy’s life, and now continues to overflow in our lives as we read of his example. Can we say that we are not ashamed of Jesus or His gospel? In daily conversation, are we afraid to bring up the Lord, Who has given us the greatest gift in the world (John 3:16)? “So everyone who acknowledges Me before men, I also will acknowledge before My Father Who is in heaven, but whoever denies Me before men, I also will deny before My Father Who is in heaven.” (Matthew 10:32-33) Christ is my life. Is He yours? (Colossians 3:3-4) May you, along with me, never cower in shame, but instead be inspired to shout the good news about Christ’s salvation as long as we have breath.