The Roman Road of Redemption
Walk with us on the Amazing Road of Redemption
Discovered in the Book of Romans!
Good News for You!
Have you ever taken a walk along a pathway with the expectation of discovering something beautiful and lovely when you reach your destination? Once we took such a walk and were delighted with the fresh air, the wilderness surroundings, the towering evergreens, and wildlife along the way. At the end of the journey God displayed a wondrous scene of waterfalls and mountain streams. The walk had been rewarded!
You are about to take a spiritual “journey” through a most amazing letter in the Bible—the book of Romans. Within this fascinating writing, you will discover, in a clear and wonderful way, God’s eternal plan to rescue us from the most dreadful tragedy and bestow upon us the most astounding blessings! This is truly “good news” and it is God’s message to you—personally.
Let nothing interfere with your reading this little booklet. Within its covers you will discover riches beyond compare, truths that will transform your life, and fulfillment of your most holy dreams. You will be confronted with sobering facts, solemn warnings, and shocking consequences, but you will also see divine promises, liberating realities, and awesome blessings.
Let us begin our spiritual journey in the book of Romans to discover God’s truth and promises for you!
THE ROMAN ROAD OF REDEMPTION
Have you ever wondered why you exist? Why did God create you and what purpose does He have for your life? What root problem do we all face and what has God done to solve it? How can we discover the reason for our existence and thereby find deep fulfillment and meaning in life?
Maybe you don’t often ponder such weighty questions and wonder about their answers. Yet we must admit that these issues are very, very important. If we can discover the answers to questions of our existence, our root problems, and God’s will, we can face life now more confidently and approach life after death with expectant hope.
God doesn’t want us to remain in the dark about His truth. He has revealed spiritual truth to us in His written Word that we know as the Bible. You may respond, “But the Bible is a large volume! How can I find truth in it?” Although all of God’s Word comes from Him and is profitable (2 Timothy 3:16-17), let us consult only one important portion of it—the section we call the book of Romans.
This fascinating book or letter was written by Paul, a specially-chosen servant of God. It was addressed to people living in Rome, the political and economic capital of the first century Roman empire. People in those days were interested in many of the same questions we have today and they had the same basic needs as we have. God chose to answer these concerns in this remarkable writing. Let’s look at some of the truths that Paul wrote about. We might call this the Roman Road of Redemption. We will “travel” through a series of verses in the book that will ultimately take us to the wondrous destination of heaven! Let’s begin this “journey” in this amazing book of the Bible. Be prepared to learn some awesome truths that will bring both sorrow and joy to your heart!
Who is God and what has He done?
“Since the creation of the world His [God’s] invisible attributes, His eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly seen, being understood through what has been made, so that they are without excuse.” (Romans 1:20)
God created you and me and everything else that exists. Everything that we see bears witness to this fact—the petals of the flower, the starry sky at night, the apple-blossomed tree, the intricacies of the human body, the complexities of the human cell, the birth of a baby. Although some people imagine that all of this just happened by chance or a long process of evolution, the evidence for creation is overwhelming. Those people who reject God’s power and wisdom displayed in His creation are “without excuse” since God has made it so plain to them.
Since God is our Creator, how are we to respond to Him?
“For even though they knew God, they did not honor Him as God or give thanks, but they became futile in their speculations, and their foolish heart was darkened. Professing to be wise, they became fools.” (Romans 1:21-22)
Since God really is our Creator and all of us know (deep in our hearts) that He is, we are responsible to honor Him and thank Him. This is only right! If we were created by Him to honor Him and glorify Him, it is the greatest offense to fail in our responsibility and privilege. We are to live our whole lives in grateful obedience to the God who made us for Himself. God is so loving, wise, merciful and good that He deserves to be at the very center of our thoughts. Instead of acknowledging Him and living for Him, we have failed in our responsibility and neglected the most wonderful Creator we can imagine! Many have even denied His existence or at least lived as though He were unconcerned about them. Our guilt is very great!
What else have we done?
“God gave them over in the lusts of their hearts to impurity, so that their bodies would be dishonored among them. For they exchanged the truth of God for a lie, and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever. Amen.” (Romans 1:24-25)
Not content to simply disregard God the Creator, we have fallen into the horrible sins of idolatry and immorality. Some people (like Hindus, Buddhists and others) actually worship images or idols. Others, who think of themselves as more secular and sophisticated, choose to “worship” idols and gods of a different nature—their money, houses, cars, television, sports, music, jobs, bank accounts, or a special person in their lives. Yet this is placing a created thing or person before and above God the Creator! When we worship and serve these created things and devote our time, energy, and our lives in pursuit of them, we fail to give God the exclusive devotion He deserves.
Furthermore, we have fallen into fleshly lusts and sexual impurity. Premarital sexual relations, adultery, homosexuality, pornography, and other sexual sins abound in our culture. Divorce and remarriage is rampant. Sex on television, in movies, and in literature is widespread. We are living in a sex-saturated age and most people indulge in it!
Are we guilty of anything else? Have we rebelled against our Creator and His law in any other way?
“Being filled with all unrighteousness, wickedness, greed, evil; full of envy, murder, strife, deceit, malice; they are gossips, slanderers, haters of God, insolent, arrogant, boastful, inventors of evil, disobedient to parents, without understanding, untrustworthy, unloving, unmerciful.” (Romans 1:29-31)
Doesn’t this sound like a description of our country, our community, and our neighborhood? Don’t we see something of our own lives in Paul’s description? Have you and I been guilty of greed, envy, and deceit? Have we been guilty of evil speaking, pride, disobedience, and lack of love? Have we been unkind to others, participated in evil things, or failed to be trustworthy? If we are honest with ourselves, we must admit that Paul is describing us in some measure. We have sinned in thought, attitude, word and deed. We have sinned inwardly and outwardly. We have sinned knowingly and unknowingly. In these ways and a thousand other ways, we fail to live as God would want us to live. We do not do what God wants us to do and we do what God doesn’t want us to do. We all stand guilty before our holy Creator!
How can we sum up what we have learned so far?
“All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” (Romans 3:23)
Yes, all of us have sinned. All of us have disobeyed God and His will. We have fallen short of God’s perfection and glory. There is no hope for us unless we are willing to acknowledge that God is right in charging us to be guilty of sin.
What consequence do we find in the world because of our sin?
“Therefore, just as through one man [Adam] sin entered into the world, and death through sin, and so death spread to all men, because all sinned. . . . The wages of sin is death.” (Romans 5:12; 6:23a)
When we think of sickness, disease, aging and death, we are reminded of sin in this world. If Adam had not sinned and if we had not sinned, there would be no physical death—and there would be no spiritual death of separation from God. We must admit that if we have sinned, we indeed are sinners, and this sinful disobedience has inevitable consequences—death and separation from God.
What is the dreadful result of our sin?
“The wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men who suppress the truth in unrighteousness.” (Romans 1:18)
Although we generally don’t want to think about this and do all we can to avoid facing this fact, we must pause long enough to see the truth. God says that His righteous wrath (his holy anger) rests on us because of our sin—our ungodliness and our unrighteousness. If we remain in our sin and are not forgiven, we cannot escape God’s burning wrath or anger. It will be poured out on us forever and ever.
If we are all guilty of sin, how can we possibly be delivered from this condition? If we have sinned against our holy, just, and righteous God, how can we escape the dreadful penalty and just punishment for our sin? How can we avoid the sentence of death, the terror of God’s judgment, and the reality of God’s wrath?
What is God’s answer to the problem of sin and death?
“God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.” (Romans 5:8)
The truth is that God is not only a righteous Judge who will condemn those in sin, He also is a marvelously loving God who wants to deliver us from sin and its consequences! He has made provision for this salvation. How did He do it while still remaining just and dealing with our sin? He sent His dear Son, Jesus Christ, to this earth to die for us! Jesus died in our place so we would not need to spiritually die and be punished forever. Even physical death need hold no fear since Jesus will resurrect us and give us new, glorified bodies when He comes again.
But did Jesus really die for us?
“While we were still helpless, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly.” (Romans 5:6)
Yes, Jesus died for the ungodly—for you and me. He took our sins on Himself when He was crucified and by this wonderful act of love He made provision for our forgiveness! He died so that we might not remain in spiritual death and separation from God.
What is the effect of Christ’s death on the cross?
“The wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.” (Romans 6:23)
Although sin brings the wages of death, God offers us a free gift in Christ Jesus our Lord! What is it? Eternal life! Instead of experiencing spiritual death, we can have eternal life with God! Furthermore, one day we can be delivered from all physical, earthly pain, suffering, sickness, tears and death itself if we have appropriated the benefits of Christ’s work on the cross. Eternal life with God is the gift He gives to those who are forgiven of their sins.
What else does God offer through the death of Jesus, His Son?
“Being justified as a gift by His [God’s] grace through the redemption which is in Christ Jesus.” (Romans 3:24)
God, in His amazing grace, offers us other gifts through Jesus Christ. We have “redemption” in Christ Jesus! This means that we have been delivered from sin and judgment through Jesus because of His death on the cross (v. 25). Also, God “justifies” us as a gift through Christ. This means that God counts us as “righteous” and treats us as “not guilty” before His judgment bar. Even though we have sinned and are objectively guilty, God graciously accepts us as righteous and makes us His own dear children! Since no sin can enter heaven and only the righteous can enter, we can see how important this is. We don’t need to be weighted down with the unbearable burden of sin! We can be right with God through Christ!
Is there anything else we are offered through Jesus Christ?
“Much more then, having now been justified by His [Jesus’] blood, we shall be saved from the wrath [of God] through Him. For if while we were enemies we were reconciled to God through the death of His Son, much more, having been reconciled, we shall be saved by His life. And not only this, but we also exult in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received the reconciliation.” (Romans 5:9-11)
So many blessings come to us because of Jesus Christ, His death on the cross for us, and His glorious resurrection to new life. Besides being counted righteous (or justified) through the sacrificial blood of Jesus, we shall be saved from God’s wrath. If our sins are forgiven, God’s wrath and judgment are eliminated from our future. What’s more, Paul says that we are reconciled to God through the death of Christ. Instead of being alienated or cut off from Him, we are intimate friends with our wonderful Creator and Father!
But can we be sure that we will be saved from God’s judgment?
“Therefore there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.” (Romans 8:1)
If we are in Christ Jesus, we will not be condemned on the Day of Judgment. Our sins are forgiven and the sentence of death is removed. We are accepted as righteous before our Father. We are treated as though we are as righteous as God and Christ are righteous! Since God offers all of these gifts to us through Christ, how do we respond to Him? How do we appropriate or receive Him?
How do we respond to God and appropriate His blessings?
“I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek.” (Romans 1:16)
The word “gospel” means good news. It is the good news concerning Christ Jesus and the forgiveness of sins He offers. Paul says that this good news is God’s “power” for salvation to those who believe. God makes it clear that we can’t earn His forgiveness. We can’t deserve or merit His grace. We respond to Christ in faith.
But can’t I be good enough to be saved on my own?
“If it is by grace, it is no longer on the basis of works, otherwise grace is no longer grace.” (Romans 11:6)
Our works or good deeds do not have the capacity to earn God’s favor. Since the basis of forgiveness is the death of Jesus, we must believe in the crucified and living Christ and place our trust or faith in God. We cannot achieve salvation—but we can receive it. We receive salvation by faith in the crucified and living Lord.
Can faith in Christ really bring salvation from sin?
“Therefore, having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom also we have obtained our introduction by faith into this grace in which we stand; and we exult in hope of the glory of God.” (Romans 5:1-2a)
How plain Paul makes it. Faith is the principle by which we appropriate God’s grace, righteousness, forgiveness, and peace. We have peace with God since the barrier of sin has been removed. We can joyously anticipate His glory one day because we respond in faith to God through Jesus our Lord.
But is this faith only a mental exercise of the mind?
“If you confess with your mouth Jesus as Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved; for with the heart a person believes, resulting in righteousness, and with the mouth he confesses, resulting in salvation.” (Romans 10:9-10)
We do believe with our heart to receive God’s righteousness. But we also respond by confessing the risen Christ Jesus as Lord and Ruler. He is not only a Savior who died for us; He is also a Lord who has all authority in heaven and on earth. This means that we must obey Jesus as our Master, Ruler, and Owner. Whatever he says, we must do. Whatever He forbids, we must lay aside. We must acknowledge that He indeed is Lord of all and Lord of our own lives.
Can we be assured that the Lord will save us?
“Whoever will call on the name of the Lord will be saved.” (Romans 10:13)
Whoever—whether we are young or old, male of female, rich or poor, white or black or Hispanic or Eastern—whoever calls on the Lord will be saved. You are not too sinful to be forgiven. You are not beyond God’s reach. You are not too hopeless. If you are willing to call on the Lord (the ruler with all authority), you may be saved.
But how do I come to Christ in faith and call on Him?
“Or do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus have been baptized into His death?” (Romans 6:3)
God wants us to express our faith in Christ by being baptized (immersed) in water. How does God view this meaningful act of baptism? Paul says that when we are “baptized into Christ Jesus,” we are “baptized into His death.” It is not just a physical action; it is a spiritual experience involving the Holy Spirit! We are united or joined to Christ as we are baptized into Him and His saving death. Baptism is faith expressed. It is our repentance embodied. This shows how important it is to be immersed into Christ by faith.
What else do I need to know about baptism into Christ?
“Therefore we have been buried with Him through baptism into death, so that as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, so we too might walk in newness of life.” (Romans 6:4)
Not only are we baptized into Christ and into His death, but Paul says that we are “buried” with Christ through baptism into our own “death” to sin and are raised from this burial to “walk in newness of life.” This is why baptism is so significant. When we are buried or immersed with Christ in baptism and lifted from this watery grave, we begin to live a new life in Him. Baptism was not meant for a little baby who cannot believe in Christ or call on Him. It was not intended for those who cannot—or will not—repent of their sins. It can only be for those able—and willing—to die to their sins and begin to live a new life for Christ. Baptism is not sprinkling a few drops of water. Rather, one must be “buried” in baptism and raised from baptism as he identifies with the death, burial, and resurrection of the Savior.
What are the implications of this meaningful act?
“Thanks be to God that though you were slaves of sin, you became obedient from the heart to that form of teaching to which you were committed, and having been freed from sin, you became slaves of righteousness.” (Romans 6:17-18)
What happens when one turns from his sins, is buried in baptism, and rises to walk a new life? An amazing transformation takes place in the spiritual realm! God delivers us! He is working and active! Paul says that when we become obedient from the heart, we are freed from slavery to sin and become slaves of righteousness. The chains of our sin are broken and we become free people—free to serve the Lord with a clear conscience, with a willing mind, with a sincere heart. Our earnest desire is to live in righteousness and holiness before the Lord who rescued us from the power of sin!
What practical result do we see in our life?
“Now having been freed from sin and enslaved to God, you derive your benefit, resulting in sanctification [holiness], and the outcome, eternal life.” (Romans 6:22)
When we are liberated from the sin that enslaved and condemned us and become slaves of God and of righteousness, we begin to live in holiness. This means that we are separated from everything evil and we pursue everything that pleases God. We must have an entirely new perspective in life. Paul says that the ultimate outcome of living for God in holiness is eternal life!
What practical counsel does Paul give us for living?
“Therefore I urge you, brethren, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies a living and holy sacrifice, acceptable to God, which is your spiritual service of worship. And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect.” (Romans 12:1-2)
When we come to God and are accepted by Him, how are we to live? Paul says that because of the mercies of God, given to us in Christ, we must present our bodies to God. Just as a Jewish priest offered a slain lamb as sacrifice, so we must present our body as an acceptable, “living and holy,” sacrifice to God. We cannot treat our bodies with disrespect any more. We must not abuse our body with drugs, tobacco, alcohol, immoral sex, foods, or injurious practices any more. Furthermore, because of God’s mercies, we must not be conformed to the sinful patterns of this world. This would include worldly music, worldly television, worldly computer games, worldly literature and pictures, expensive or sexy clothes, worldly luxury cars, worldly homes and furnishings, and everything else of the world. In contrast, we must have renewed minds that reflect God’s perspective and perfect ways. We are indeed new people in Christ!
What does coming to Christ mean in respect to other believers?
“Let love be without hypocrisy. Abhor what is evil; cling to what is good. Be devoted to one another in brotherly love; give preference to one another in honor. . . contributing to the needs of the saints, practicing hospitality. . . . Rejoice with those who rejoice, and weep with those who weep.” (Romans 12:9,10,13,15)
God says that we not only have radically changed personal lives when we come to Christ, but our relationship extends to other true believers in Christ. The Christian realizes that he or she is a brother or sister to every other child of God. The Lord wants His body of followers to enjoy a loving, close, intimate, and fruitful life in His spiritual family. This family relationship differs greatly from the superficial church relationships we see in the denominational world around us. We have fellowship with each other because of Christ!
Will our life in Christ be always easy, carefree, and pleasant?
“And if children, heirs also, heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ, if indeed we suffer with Him so that we may also be glorified with Him. For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory that is to be revealed to us.” (Romans 8:17-18)
The true Christian will face trials and difficulties in life. Some of this will come through the persecution that others place upon us. Some will come from our own efforts to serve the Lord in the midst of difficult circumstances. Some will come from our own battles with sinful surroundings or worldly practices. We must also keep our bodies under strict control. Therefore, it is a mistake to think that we will eliminate all troubles in life; many will come our way because we belong to the Lord and are determined to live in holiness before Him. Yet we can “exult in our tribulations” (5:3) for God is with us!
Can’t I just continue as I am without Christ?
“Do you think lightly of the riches of His kindness and tolerance and patience, not knowing that the kindness of God leads you to repentance? But because of your stubbornness and unrepentant heart you are storing up wrath for yourself in the day of wrath and revelation of the righteous judgment of God.” (Romans 2:4-5)
Since God has been so kind and patient toward us in our past sin, we should flee to Him and seek forgiveness. We should escape the coming anger of God and be motivated to repent of our sinfulness. If we refuse to repent and become stubborn in our sin, we “store up” more of God’s wrath and will face the dreadful judgment of God one day! The Day of Judgment for us will be a terrifying day of wrath!
Can we be sure that God will punish those still in their sins?
“To those who are selfishly ambitious and do not obey the truth, but obey unrighteousness, wrath and indignation. There will be tribulation and distress for every soul of man who does evil.” (Romans 2:8-9a)
God has spoken and we must accept His words as the solemn truth—or be guilty of the additional sin of unbelief in rejecting His truthful words! God’s wrath will definitely fall on those who do not obey the truth! It will come to those who fail to do what is right! God’s righteous wrath and indignation will be against those who remain indifferent to Christ and refuse to be forgiven of their sins.
If we are in Christ, what assurance do we have of God’s love?
“In all these things [sufferings] we overwhelmingly conquer through Him [Christ] who loved us. For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor any other created thing, will be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” (Romans 8:37-39)
In Christ Jesus, the believer is assured of God’s eternal love. Nothing will separate us from His love—a love that will last forever. We are eternally secure as we look to Christ in obedient and submissive faith and cling to His redeeming love!
How can we describe this wonderful plan of God?
“Oh, the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are His judgments and unfathomable His ways!. . . For from Him and through Him and to Him are all things. To Him be the glory forever. Amen.” (Romans 11:33,36)
We can understand how Paul could be filled with awesome wonder. God’s marvelous plan for our salvation from sin, death, and judgment has been clearly described in Paul’s letter to the Romans. Indeed, it is a wonderful plan—one that only God could devise!
How Will You Respond?
Now that you have surveyed the theme of salvation in Paul’s letter to the Romans, have you understood these words? How will you personally respond to this marvelous “good news” of salvation through Christ Jesus the Lord? If we can be of help to you in explaining the way of God more accurately and fully (Acts 8:30-31; 17:11; 18:26), please let us know. We sincerely want to make known the riches of God’s grace that you might know our wonderful Savior and be eternally blessed.