What’s Happening Here
The Roman Road is a way of explaining the good news of salvation using verse from the book of Romans. It’s a simple yet powerful method of explaining why we need salvation, how God provided salvation, how we can receive salvation, and what are the results of salvation.
The purpose of doing this series is multifaceted.
To answer questions like, ‘I’m a good person, isn’t that good enough and is sin really a big deal,’ we’ll explore the gravity and seriousness of our sin.
To answer questions like, ‘does God love me in my mess and will he disown me if I make a new mess,’ we’ll explore the magnificence of God’s display of love for us even while we’re sinners.
To answer questions like, ‘what does it mean to be saved and where do I go from here and how do I help my friends believe,’ we’ll explore the assurance of God’s grace for people who are saved and being saved and how tightly God holds on to us as we hold onto him, and we’ll explore how all these truths should fire us up to share Jesus’ message with the lost.
As we look forward in our future as a body of believers, our hope for this series is for all of us to be saved and equipped to be sent.
We are sinners saved and sent to share the salvation story.
This is our main thesis for the series. If the body of Christ is going to grow as a result of what we do at One Life Church, it’s not going to be largely due to some outreach method we brew up in the lab.
It’s going to be each and every one of us praying and listening to the Holy Spirit and believing we may be have been saved in church and worship in church, but we are SENT into the world.
You are saved and sent.
Let’s get started.
Good Won’t Work
If you really pay attention in our culture, and by that I mean if you watch TV or listen to the radio or podcasts or browse the internet, you’ll quickly realize that everyone in our culture agrees there is something wrong with us.
When you’re finished reading this post bring up Amazon.com and you’ll find that Self-Help is the biggest book category.
Inside you’ll find self-help for EVERY area of life.
From finances to body weight to purpose to the bedroom – the whole world is collectively screaming, “WE NEED HELP!”
In many ways this is sad for me to see. As a Christian, though, I see it as both accurate and hopeful. These people who have realized they’re broken simply need pointed to the One True Solution.
That brings me to the first verse of the Roman Road to Salvation.
“…for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,” Romans 3:23
If you were to sit down on a park bench with a friend who was not saved and wanted to share the salvation message story with them by way of the Roman road, you could begin with a question that leads you to this verse.
If the park bench question is:
“How do you think a person gets to heaven,” and their answer was, “I consider myself a good person, isn’t that enough,” or some variation of that, Romans 3:23 answers that question.
Have you ever thought that to yourself? Well, I’m not too bad; I’m a pretty good person. This is more common in society than most of us realize.
Paul, the God-inspired writer of the book of Romans, uses Old Testament references to lead up to this verse to show us that humanity in general, in its sinful condition, is unacceptable before God.
Read these eight verses and think about yourself and see if any of these apply to you. Consider the reality of our position as a people.
As the Scriptures say,
“No one is righteous—
not even one.
No one is truly wise;
no one is seeking God.
All have turned away;
all have become useless.
No one does good,
not a single one.”
“Their talk is foul, like the stench from an open grave.
Their tongues are filled with lies.”
“Snake venom drips from their lips.”
“Their mouths are full of cursing and bitterness.”
“They rush to commit murder.
Destruction and misery always follow them.
They don’t know where to find peace.”
“They have no fear of God at all.”
Valuable Enough But Not Good Enough
Every person is valuable in God’s eyes because God created us in his image and he loves us.
But no one is good enough, meaning no one can earn right standing with God.
Who has sinned? All of us. Who has fallen short of the glory of God? All. Of. Us.
We have all done things that are displeasing to God. No one is innocent and being a good person isn’t enough.
To the person who hears this and realizes the reality of their circumstances – it’s bad news. By the nature of who you are and by the practices of your body, mind, heart, and soul you are a sinner. That’s a bad news if it just lays there by itself.
We have all failed God. You can’t be good enough on your own and you can’t achieve salvation on your own. You’ve failed God.
Think of it this way. Deer archery season is coming soon. Hunters are out in their backyards perfecting their craft. Setting their sites for 10, 20, 30, and 40 yards and learning the fall of their arrows.
Figuring out how to judge distance so they use the right color on their sites or trying to juggling their deer call, distance finder, binoculars and bow all while hiding in a tree from an animal who lives in the woods. It’s his living room, his bedroom, his kitchen, his backyard. Would you notice a deer in your living room? It’s a real challenge.
The hunter puts in the work. He does everything right. Sneaks into the woods quietly. Calls in the deer. Keeps from dropping tools before he releases the arrow. The arrow drops to the ground right in front of the deer. He missed his mark, he came up short. Did everything right, but still wasn’t good enough.
Just as we all do by the standard of the glory of God. You can do everything right and still never make the perfect shot.
Some sins seem bigger than others because of their more serious consequences. Murder, for example, seems worse to us than hatred, and adultery seems worse than lust.
But this does not mean that because we only commit “little” sins we deserve eternal life. All sins make us sinners and all sins cut us off from our holy God and cause us to fall short of his glory..
All sins therefore lead to death and disqualify us from living with God.
Don’t minimize little sins and overrate big sins. They all separate us from God and his glory.
And 1 Corinthians 10:31 tells us that whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, for it all for the glory of God.
Meaning we all fall short of God’s magnificence and his deserved honor and all we do should be about restoring God to his splendor in how we respond to him.
A Powerful Truth
Now here’s the powerful truth as our conclusion today.
God doesn’t stop by telling us we’re sinners and have no chance. The story isn’t over. The passage begins with ‘all people are sinners,’ but it ends with ‘Christ took our punishment.’
For everyone has sinned; we all fall short of God’s glorious standard. Yet God, in his grace, freely makes us right in his sight. He did this through Christ Jesus when he freed us from the penalty for our sins. For God presented Jesus as the sacrifice for sin. People are made right with God when they believe that Jesus sacrificed his life, shedding his blood. – Romans 3:23-25
You may have thought God was pulling out and letting us all die. Oh, no, my friend, be encouraged and reminded and possibly informed for the very first time that God has not let us to lay in the mud and die in our sin. He has come for us.
God himself has sent his son as the sacrifice for our sins. He didn’t have to, he chose to. And that’s our only way out.
For those who write and read self-help books that are not Bible based, those books can help you but they can’t fix you because the solutions treat symptoms not the root problem of sin.
Don’t be discouraged there’s an answer: God presented Jesus.
For the conversation with a friend on the park who thinks good is good enough or better than most is good enough, God makes no hesitation in scripture to tell us we are not good. We cannot be good.
We will always miss the mark even as the world-class archer falls short of the bullseye sometimes. We can’t do it on our own.
Don’t be discouraged that you cannot be good: God presented Jesus.
Good won’t work. You and I can’t achieve good anyway. God presented Jesus. For that reason and that reason alone, you and I can meet God’s glorious standard of holiness.
So the first stop on the Roman Road is to recognize you are have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God.
You’re not good. You’re bad. But God presented Jesus.
That’s great news.