As a young Christian, I struggled to articulate the message of the Gospel. By articulate what I actually mean is I didn’t really understand it. I thought I was primarily in church every Sunday to learn how to be a better person. I knew Jesus died on the cross and then He rose from the dead. So what? Why did this matter?
As the world becomes largely Post-Christian, fewer and fewer people have heard of Jesus – let alone know what the Gospel is about. We have spent the majority of time on this site exploring issues that keep people from believing that Christianity is true. Our case making efforts are done as a way to clear the intellectual hurdles that may stand in the way of someone getting to the cross. What we haven’t really spent much time on is the actual reason people need to get to the cross in the first place.
As Ambassadors Of Christ, the issue of salvation – that is, deliverance from our sin and its consequences – is one of our primary messages to non-Christians. In today’s world where Biblical illiteracy is at an all-time high, the initial challenge is often to get people to understand that there is a problem. If they don’t understand the problem, they won’t see a need for the solution.
It would be wrong of me not to mention some of the complaints against this method before I show it to you. In the version Jack Hyles introduced, it had 4 verses. He taught it to his congregation in a somewhat formulaic and sales pitch-y way so that they could go door to door, repeat these verses and save souls very efficiently. This method later earned the nickname “1-2-3 now pray after me”. As if you could give someone the entirety of the gospel in 3 verses, pray the 4th and they would be saved. This is, of course, silly. Bible verses aren’t magic spells.
Instead, think of these verses as the roadmap for you to be able to articulate the gospel in your own words. I’ve done that in each section below. Many people don’t put any authority in the Bible already, so quoting Bible verses at them when they don’t trust the source is another hurdle you would have to overcome. But, if you can say the message they give in modern conversational language, that barrier won’t exist.
So, without further ado, I present…
The Romans Road
We have a problem. Life, the universe, and everything was created by a being so glorious, so holy, so perfect that nobody deserves to be in His presence. No one. No matter how many times you’ve been to church or how many times you’ve read through the Bible or how many people you’ve baptized or how many homeless people you have fed or how much money you have donated to charity or how pointy your hat is – no one deserves to be in the presence of God.
10as it is written: “None is righteous, no, not one;
Romans 3:10 (ESV)
23for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,
Romans 3:23 (ESV)
Our sinful nature has made us unworthy of being in God’s presence. Our sinful actions have consequences and that consequence is death – both spiritually and physically.
12Therefore, just as sin came into the world through one man, and death through sin, and so death spread to all men because all sinned—
Romans 5:12 (ESV)
23For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.
Romans 6:23 (ESV)
When the final day of judgment comes, no one will be able to say “but, nobody ever told me about you”. God has revealed himself to everyone in the world around us. From the beginning of the universe to its fine-tuning for life to the over 100 encyclopedia volumes worth of information stored in the human genome, God has his fingerprints all over His creation.
19For what can be known about God is plain to them, because God has shown it to them. 20For his invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made. So they are without excuse.
Romans 1:19–20 (ESV)
Even though none of us deserve to be in the presence of God, there is good news! God gave us a solution to this problem in his Son, Jesus Christ, who took on the punishment we deserved and paid the tab for us. And all of this he did without us earning it. We didn’t have to “be a good person” first. He’s the one who came to us. He sought us out. Not the other way around.
8but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.
Romans 5:8 (ESV)
25whom God put forward as a propitiation by his blood, to be received by faith. This was to show God’s righteousness, because in his divine forbearance he had passed over former sins.
Romans 3:25 (ESV)
11More than that, we also rejoice in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received reconciliation.
Romans 5:11 (ESV)
In order to receive this gift, all you have to do is admit that you need Jesus as Lord over your life and that He was raised from the dead for your sins. Now, it’s not a magic spell. You can’t just say some words and have that be it. You have to believe it in your heart.
9 because, if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. 10 For with the heart one believes and is justified, and with the mouth one confesses and is saved.
Romans 10:9-10 (ESV)
We know that this covenant is true because God told us as much in His Word.
13 For “everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.”
Romans 10:13 (ESV)
Once Jesus is Lord over your life, you can find peace in Him – knowing your sins have been paid for, that you will spend eternity in His presence, and nothing can keep that from happening.
Therefore, since we have been justified by faith, we[a] have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.
There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.
38 For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, 39 nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.
“But Daaaaaaave… what about (insert missing verse here)”.
I get it. There’s a lot more to learn that doesn’t appear on this road. There’s nothing about the fruits of the Spirit or the sins of the flesh or many other things. My goal here is to give you some bullet points to be able to quickly and concisely show the problem and the solution. The Romans Road should be your springboard and not your landing strip.
I’ve compiled all of these verses into a Bible insert that you can print out and keep in your Bible so that they can be handy if you need to get to them quickly.
Dave Gilmore is the founder and editor-in-chief of Legati Christi. Over the past few years he has developed a passion for Christian Apologetics and theology, and enjoys talking to others about the Christian world view
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