The Romans Road
- August 07, 2019
- Lydia McCord
When I was 18 years old, I didn’t really know what the gospel was. I knew it was referred to as the “Good News” sometimes and I knew that it was that Jesus Christ died for my sins. I knew that He was risen from the dead 3 days later and all of that together meant my sins were washed away. But if someone asked me what the gospel was, I would have probably said something like, Jesus died for our sins and made us clean like snow.
What does THAT mean?
I mean, if someone walked in who had never heard of Christianity, did not grow up in a church setting or a household with a Bible they would probably have had a lot of questions like, I don’t know, “who is Jesus?” “What are sins?” “And clean… like… sprayed me down with a hose? Why am I dirty?”
And I would have been like… uhhh *insert shoulder shrug and wide-eyed expression here*
So today, I want to answer these questions that I now, by God’s grace and truth, know the answers to for all of us shoulder shrugging, wide-eyed lovely people out here.
All of these questions can be answered pretty simply by something constructed from verses in Romans, I have heard it referred to as the “Romans Road”. It references 4 verses from the letter that Paul wrote to the Christians in Rome and it is a crazy helpful tool for when we are trying to remember the gospel and when we are trying to share it with others.
This is the first verse, and it states why we need a savior, why the good news is so good. It says:
“for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God”
To fully grasp this message, we would really have to just go ahead and read the whole Bible, but if we are summarizing the Bible’s message for someone who hasn’t done that yet, we can talk about these things:
Sin entered the world through the first man and woman ever created. They chose to decide what was right and wrong for themselves which separated them from God and was sinful or wrong in the eyes of God, the perfect judge. They are our ancestors, the father and mother of all mankind. So, we have the tendency to sin also, just like those whom we descended from. We are born sinful and none of us are righteous. (Romans 3:9 -12)
This is the second verse on the Romans Road. It continues to explain why sin is a problem at all. It states,
“For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.”
Maybe you have heard this verse before. I did, but it didn’t hit any kind of nerve because of that word wages. I never interpreted it to mean anything at all and therefore, by my ignorance and inattention to the text, watered down this passage completely.
What are wages? Wages are what we earn for the work we do. So, in our 21st Century lingo we could say, the pay we earn or the pay check. So, the “pay check” for sin is death, or the “pay” for sin is death. Ah, now that hits closer to home for me. My sin has earned me death. The things I have done against God, without God, despite or in spite God, those things, those works have earned me death.
Okay, so the second part of that line said the gift of God is eternal life in Jesus.
A gift, a Christmas gift, a gift you get for your birthday, those are free, we don’t pay someone to buy us gifts. Then they aren’t true gifts, they are things we have bought ourselves. So, God’s gift to us is eternal life, the opposite of death. And that gift is given to us through Jesus.
The third verse on the road is this:
“But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.”
So, remember the whole, if you pay someone for a gift it is no longer a gift? Many times, we try to earn God’s grace. He tells us what Jesus’ death and resurrection mean and we try to hand Him 20 bucks for His Son’s brutal death.
Many times, we also try to clean ourselves up before we go to God because we want Him to like us or think we are pretty or nice or “good”. But God sent Jesus to die for us while we were His enemies. While we were choosing separation from Him, death, darkness and destruction, God sent His precious Son here to earth to receive the payment we deserved for the works we have done and were currently doing. Also, God sees our heart so no matter how pretty we make our outsides look, if we do not have new hearts, we stink in the sight of God, and as ludicrous as it sounds, He saves us despite that. So, no, He doesn’t just spray us down with a hose and send us to sit in a pew. He grabs us up while we are in the midst of darkness and death, puts a new heart inside of us and breaths life and purpose into our bodies… pretty cool, I know, it happened to me.
Romans 10:9 & 10
The fourth verse on the road tells us how we accept the gift, spoiler alert, it’s not by handing God a twenty.
“that if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. For with the heart one believes unto righteousness, and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation”
No matter who you are, where you are from, this is true for you. This is all you have to do. Jesus fulfilled the Old Testament, otherwise know as the Old Law or Old Covenant so we do not have to, not that we ever could (the OT is filled with stories of people trying). Confess, believe. That is all.
So, no matter what church you go to or if you go to church. No matter what you have done, where you have been or who your parents are. No matter your race, gender, or physical appearance. This message is universal, global. It is not an American message. Jesus was a middle eastern Jewish carpenter.
If the gospel we are sharing does not apply to someone, it is not the true gospel, because the true good news of Jesus Christ, is for everyone.
That is the “Romans Road”. More importantly, that is the gospel. If you are hearing it for the first time, it should bring you great hope and peace knowing that you do not have to earn favor or a spot or anything, it’s freely given. Your debt is paid in full all you have to do is confess and believe.