I hear much today about the social gospel. People are concerned with the trouble they see. War, famine, disease, homelessness, hopelessness. They want to help ease the suffering they find around them and around the world. They want the family of God to be compassionate enough to spend resources on meeting the world’s needs. Many feel that the organized churches have not and do not do enough to combat what they feel is social injustice.
Jesus said the greatest commandment was to love God with all your heart, soul, mind, and strength. And the second commandment was like the first, love your neighbor as yourself. We should be concerned about the physical well-being of our neighbors as well as any other problems they may have. But, I am concerned that we put too much emphasis on a person’s earthly issues and forget their most pressing need, to know Jesus. Yes, the old adage is usually true. When someone has urgent needs, they don’t care what you know until they know that you care. Jesus Himself provided food for the multitudes when they were hungry. And as He hung on the cross, He provided for the future care of His earthly mother. But He always taught the people about God and their need for a relationship with Him. And although we sometimes don’t think about it, Jesus didn’t heal everyone.
The fact of the matter is that everyone has sinned and is separated from God. When they eventually die, they will stand before Christ and be judged on the status of their righteousness. Did they accept the free gift of salvation from Jesus and have His righteousness applied to their account, or did they reject Him and have no way of attaining the righteousness required to enter Heaven? At that point, their life on this planet will have no bearing. It will make no difference how rich or poor they were, how ill-fed or well-fed, how sick or healthy, or whether they were considered lucky in life and had all opportunities or could never catch a break. Make no mistake, this is the single most important aspect of every human being’s life. What did they do with Jesus?
While there is only one way to God and that is through Jesus, a person can learn about Him in many different ways. One of the easiest to follow, and therefore easiest to share, is called the Roman Road. It is a list of verses found in the letter Paul wrote to the church at Rome. Placed in a particular order, the verses give the basics all will go through to know Christ.
Romans 3:23 “For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God.”
As already stated, everyone has sinned and therefore doesn’t have the standard of righteousness required by God which is perfection. This is usually the biggest point of contention a person has to come to terms with, their need for salvation. Most people like to think of themselves as good. They admit they aren’t perfect, but they do more good deeds than bad. They must understand that all of their good works are worthless when it comes to salvation. They must admit their need for a savior. This can be especially difficult for those who deny their sin. Regardless of a person’s feelings, they must agree with God and His word that certain actions are sin and repent of them. Forgiveness of sin can only come when it is acknowledged and forsaken. God is faithful and just to forgive us our sin when we confess it, but we must repent of it and not live in it.
Romans 6:23 “For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.”
Sin brings only death, separation from the love of God. Those who die without their sin forgiven are doomed to the lake of fire, prepared for the devil and his angels. It is their only remaining option. However, while we’re still on the earth, God offers a way out through Jesus. He provides eternal life free of charge. No one has to experience eternal death if they’ll accept His gift.
Romans 5:8 “But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.”
God doesn’t expect us to clean ourselves up before He will love us. Christ died on the cross for us while we were still sinners. He loves us so much He is willing to take us just as we are, sin and all. It doesn’t matter what terrible, horrible sin we have committed, Christ loves us and is waiting to receive us and cleanse us of that sin if we’ll turn to Him. He has done everything necessary for us to be free of our sin and to be accepted by God. We must confess our sin and accept His gift of salvation.
Romans 10:9-13 “That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation. For the scripture saith, Whosoever believeth on him shall not be ashamed. For there is no difference between the Jew and the Greek: for the same Lord over all is rich unto all that call upon him. For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.”
Verses 9 and 10 spell it out very plainly. God has taken care of all the work, all you have to do is believe He has done so, then show that you believe it by confessing it. Once you believe something, you take action to affirm it, in this case by openly repenting of your sins and asking Christ to save you. Doesn’t matter who you are or what you have done. Everyone that believes in Christ enough to call to Him for salvation will be saved. That’s His promise.
Romans 8:1-2 “There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit. For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me free from the law of sin and death.
Jesus said that those who believe on Him were not condemned, but that those who did not believe in Him were condemned already. Many people think they haven’t done enough bad things to be judged unworthy, but the truth is, they already have. It’s like being born in debt. You didn’t acquire it, you inherited it. But once you have accepted Christ’s offer, repented of your sins, confessed them, and asked Christ for forgiveness, that condemnation is gone forever. You never have to worry about sin again. Yes, you will still sin because of your sin nature, but when you do, you won’t be condemned again. You just confess the sin to Christ, and He will forgive you and cleanse you of it.
Romans 8:23-25 “And not only they, but ourselves also, which have the firstfruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, waiting for the adoption, to wit, the redemption of our body. For we are saved by hope: but hope that is seen is not hope: for what a man seeth, why doth he yet hope for? But if we hope for that we see not, then do we with patience wait for it.
I don’t know if others include this passage in the Roman Road, but I like to do so to complete the picture. When God saves us, He frees us from the power of sin, but He doesn’t free us from our sin nature which is tied to our earthly bodies. That’s why we still have to deal with sin and be sure to confess it to Christ when we do. We have to wait until either this body dies, as it is appointed for us to do, or have it transformed if we happen to still be here when Christ returns. We have the promise that one day our bodies will be redeemed from the sin nature, and we will finally be totally free.
The Bible reminds us of two things. We aren’t promised tomorrow, therefore, today is the day of salvation. We could die at any moment for a whole list of reasons. Don’t put off starting a relationship with Jesus Christ for another moment. Realize that He is Almighty God. He created everything and knows everything. You can trust that what He says is true and right. Admit that you are a sinner, that you are condemned to death, and that nothing you can do on your own can save you. Accept that Jesus loves you more than you can imagine and that He has already paid the price for your sin by dying on the cross. Believe that He is the Son of God and can save you. Confess your sins and ask Him to forgive you. Surrender your life to Him. He will save you and begin to mold you into the image of His Son. Do something with Jesus today.
Please feel free to comment or question. Thanks for reading!