Tuesday, January 10, 2012

All Roads Lead to Rome

Today is a busy day and so I think today I will post a classic.  Not a classic by me, but a classic means of presenting the Gospel to someone.  This is a method that has been used by many evangelists, pastors, and lay people for a very long time.  We have all heard of it, but I am not sure of how many know it.  Today I am going to take you on a trip, a trip down the Romans Road to salvation.  Basically what this is a trip through the book of Romans in order to present the Gospel.
for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,  Romans 3:23 NKJV
This is the place we must all begin.  This is the realization that as good as we thought we might have been, we do not measure up to God.  This is when we mourn our unrighteousness.  This is when we see ourselves for the sinners that we are.  You can not begin your road to a savior until you come to the realization that you need one.  The realization of our own hopeless unrighteousness is the first step.
As it is written: "There is none righteous, no, not one; There is none who understands; There is none who seeks after God. They have all turned aside; They have together become unprofitable; There is none who does good, no, not one.""Their throat [is] an open tomb; With their tongues they have practiced deceit"; "The poison of asps [is] under their lips"; "Whose mouth [is] full of cursing and bitterness." "Their feet [are] swift to shed blood; Destruction and misery [are] in their ways; And the way of peace they have not known." "There is no fear of God before their eyes." Romans 3:1-18 NKJV
The second stop is much like the first.  It is the realization that not only are we unrighteous before God, but that we are really unrighteous before God.  First we come to the knowledge that we are depraved, now we are seeing the level of our depravity and it is not a pretty picture.  This is the man outside of Christ. 
For the wages of sin [is] death, but the gift of God [is] eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord. Romans 6:23 NKJV
This is both the third and fourth stops on our trip.  I am so glad they are close together because the first stop levies our sentence for our unrighteousness.  The end result of our unrighteousness is death.  This death is not the death we all must go through but an eternal death where we exist only unto our own misery.  We are cast away by God into the lake of fire to wallow in perpetual suffering as a result of our sin for all eternity.  That would be the fate of all who have ever lived if not for the glorious "but."  In the same sentence, we learn the hopelessness of our present condition and the hope that is in Jesus Christ.  The penalty for our sins is death, but it does not have to be that way.  We need not suffer the consequences of our actions because of Jesus Christ who came as our savior. 
But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. Romans 5:8 NKJV
Now we have turned the corner on our trip.  Whereas before we were learning that we were sinners and the horrifying consequences of that sin, we are now learning of the grace offered through Jesus Christ.  To me this verse is glorious.  Jesus did not die for us while we were turning our lives around for Him.  Jesus did not die for us when we decided to finally take Him seriously.  Jesus did not die for us when we were seeking after Him.  Jesus died for us while we were still sinners. 
that if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved.  Romans 10:9 NKJV
What point would be it be to give the good news of God's grace if you did not share how to receive that gift?  The amazing thing is how easy it is.  God did not command us to any ritual or sacrament.  God did not command us to perform any great feat. God did not even command us to shape up our lives.  God called us to ask and believe.  You merely have to confess Jesus as Lord of your life and believe that God raised Him from the dead and that free gift of salvation is yours.  It really is that simple. 
For "whoever calls on the name of the LORD shall be saved." Romans 10:13 NKJV
Just in case you did not believe it was that simple, God confirms it here.  Call on Jesus and you will be saved. 
Therefore, having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom also we have access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God.  Romans 5:1-2 NKJV
And once we put our faith in Jesus, we are justified.  Once again, note we are not justified by any work or accomplishment on our parts but we are justified merely by our faith in Jesus as our Lord and Savior.  In this faith, we now rejoice in the in new life and new hope we have in Jesus Christ. We are saved eternally by the free gift of salvation through Jesus Christ, that is truly something to rejoice about!
[There is] therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus, who do not walk according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit.  Romans 8:1 NKJV
And now that we have received that gift, we no longer have to worry about being condemned for our sin.  The wages of our sin was death, but it was not our death.  Jesus paid that penalty and now we walk according to the Spirit and in the newness of the new lives we now have in Jesus Christ.  Where we once awaited our judgement, we now await our redemption.  We are sealed and secure eternally in Jesus Christ. 
For I am persuaded that neither death nor life, nor angels nor principalities nor powers, nor things present nor things to come, nor height nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.  Romans 8:38-39 NKJV
Indeed we are secure in Jesus.  Nothing can ever separate us from this new reality of hope that we live in.  Nothing can ever come and take away our salvation. 

That is the Romans Road, but it is not the end of the road.  The Romans Road only brings us to our new lives, and we spend the rest of our lives growing in Christ until we receive our final redemption and enter into our glorious eternity in the presence of God.  This is a great tool for leading someone Christ, but then the work of discipleship begins to bring them up from babes in Christ to men and women of God.  Jesus calls us to make disciples of all the nations and we can not neglect that all important part.  Just as the fruit of a tree is a vessel to spread more seeds so is the fruit God produces through our lives.  Leading someone down the Romans Road to salvation is a glorious thing, but then seeing that person take others down that same road is even more glorious. 
Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, [even] to the end of the age." Amen.  Matthew 28:19-20 NKJV

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