The Road to Salvation

Posted by Worldview Warriors On Wednesday, May 20, 2015 0 comments
by Logan Ames

Have you ever found yourself wondering how in the world you could ever understand the Bible? There is so much information, so many translations, and so many different writers that it’s easy to get confused regarding its true meaning. Because it seems too confusing at times, the tendency is just to give up rather than dig deeper or ask the Holy Spirit to help “guide you into all truth,” as Jesus declares is one of his purposes in John 16:13. Giving up is the temptation and the trap in which the devil wants to ensnare you. But sometimes, it’s not necessary to dig deeper and try to find out the things that are difficult. Sometimes, it is better just to stick to the basics and let your understanding of everything else flow out from there.

I’ve heard it said that the first 3 chapters of the Bible in Genesis are the story of God’s perfect creation and man’s choice to mess it up, and that the rest of the entire Bible is about God’s plan for redemption. If you don’t accept that we as human beings have messed up God’s plan for us and that he made a way for us to be reconciled back to him, there is not much else you can understand about the Bible. However, the good news is that you don’t even have to read the entire Bible to learn about the basics of that message. There is a path you can take within one book written to one group of people, and that path is known commonly as the Romans Road.

The verse for this week is a critical part of the Romans Road. Romans 6:23 says, “For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.” For this post, I’d like to take you through the whole journey of the Romans Road. You can use it to better your own understanding of your salvation through Christ, as well as to share this amazing gospel message with others. All of the Scripture verses are found within the book of Romans, so as you follow along in your own Bible, you won’t have to go very far to get to each step.

The first reference is found in Romans 3:23, which says, “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” Who is included in the word “all”? Is the Pope exempt? What about those who follow all the laws of the land and try to be good people? How about those of you who were “born into the church,” meaning your parents were Christians so you were automatically raised in a believing home? Do you need this verse? If you’re laughing at my questions, please remember that there are probably millions of people out there heading down a path of destruction and an eternity without Jesus simply because they don’t recognize they need him. They are just assuming for one reason or another that God will take care of them. This verse doesn’t have any exceptions. If there were any, I’m sure Paul would have named them. The only human who doesn’t fit the category of those who sinned and fell short of God’s glory is the One who WAS God in the flesh (John 1:1). Everyone else has sinned, and that means we all need something to restore us to God’s glory. This is the first step of the journey because you can’t move forward until you’ve recognized your need for salvation.

The second reference is the one for this week, Romans 6:23. We must recognize that sin carries a penalty with it. Just as we are generally aware of what happens when we commit certain crimes in the land where we live, we must recognize that sin is not harmless. Even when it seems to be safe, it leads to death. When we choose to sin, death is what we deserve. That death may not be instantaneous, but God created us and gave us LIFE. Death wasn’t part of that equation, so anything that is against our Creator results in the loss of what he gave us. However, because God is gracious, he gave us a gift. It’s not something we could earn on our own and not something we could buy. Eternal life is what we gave up when we sinned, but God’s work through Jesus is what gave it back to us as a gift. I said earlier that this verse is critical to the Romans Road to salvation. The reason is because it takes us from the “before” to the “after,” in one verse. Before, the wages for our sin was death. After, we are given the gift of eternal life. This is the turning point, the defining moment.

Some of you out there may believe that it’s not really a free gift because God requires us to obey him. That’s where the third Scripture reference comes in. Romans 5:8 says, “But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” In other words, obedience wasn’t required when God offered you and me this gift. He doesn’t wait until you have your act together. He sent Jesus to the cross knowing full well that many would reject his love and grace. For those of us who choose to accept it, the obedience comes IN RESPONSE to God’s gift, not to try to earn it. That leads us right to the final verse.

Romans 10:9 says, “If you declare with your mouth, ‘Jesus is Lord’, and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.” You see, it’s not just about what you believe in your heart, and it’s not just about what you speak with your words. Both are necessary. Our actions demonstrate what we truly believe in our hearts, but at the same time it is possible to do good things and not really believe that Jesus is LORD and the source of all that is good. That’s why we are told to confess it. Jesus himself said in Mark 8:38 and Luke 9:26 that anyone who is not willing to confess his truth will not be declared as believers when he comes back to judge the world. This last part of the Romans Road tells you exactly what your part in the process is. You have no part in the work of salvation, but it is yours to accept or reject. Don’t miss the opportunity.

So, that’s it. Those four Scripture references found within this book can explain the gospel message to anyone who has not heard it, those who have heard but not understood, and even those who have understood but forgotten. The link I included above shows that you can end with Romans 5:1, and I’ve heard of others who wrap it up with Romans 10:13, where Paul quotes the Old Testament. You may even want to pick from a number of other verses, or just end it as I did. No matter what, don’t miss the gospel message and don’t miss an opportunity to share it with others. Use the Romans Road as a teaching tool and let it guide you into other conversations about Jesus when appropriate. Once you have the basic foundation, the rest of the Bible begins to make a little more sense. May the Lord bless you as you read, understand, and share!

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