Tuesday, June 28, 2005

The Roman Road

You can't save yourself anymore than you can take a rowboat into the Atlantic Ocean during a hurricane and suck up all the water with a medicine dropper.

Let me start by asking some questions. Is being a Christian like being an American? Are you born a Christian? Are you a Christian because you are an ordained minister? Are you a Christian because your dad is a minister? Are you a christian because you go to Sunday School and Church? Can you sit in your pew in Church on Sunday morning and look around and know that everyone there is a Christian? Are you a Christian because you are a good person? Before reading on, seriously ask yourself these questions. What is your definition of a Christian?

I can't look at a person and automatically know that they are a Christian. For those of us in Sunday School on Sunday morning we talked about micro-sins. If I don't go to rated R movies or listen to secular music because I feel that it is sinful, then I have this prejudice that anyone doing these things is sinful, and can't possibly have the understanding of God that I have. We all must be careful of that. Someone made a valid point about emphasizing the do's instead of the dont's. If you were to create a list of all of the things a christian should do, the list would be exhaustive and fill many pages. Would it be possible to do all of these things and not be a Christian?

When I was 9 years old and at church camp, one of my camp counselors shared with me what is called the "Roman Road" to Salvation. I want to share it here. It is called the Roman road because all of the verses are taken from the book of Romans. Many of you will be familiar with the verses, and others will not. Take some time to read each verse, and even look up the verses in your own Bible.

Romans 3:23 "All have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God."

All of us have fallen short of God's standards for us. We talked a little about this on Sunday morning. If we realize that we have all fallen short, we won't be so quick to judge others. I didn't bring up the example Sunday morning, but wish I had thought of it at the time. Suppose that you and your friends are at the edge of the Grand Canyon. You each decide that you are going to jump across by taking one leap. Your friends all go, and they jump different distances. You take a look at them, and get a big grin on your face because you know that you can jump twice as far as anyone else. You get a running start and jump as far as you can. You turn around and get a look back at your friends and think about what a good jumper you are. You've missed the point. You have fallen short. You should turn back around and look at the rest of the canyon in front of you. Admit to God right now that you are a sinner.

Romans 6:23 "for the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord."

Now we are in some trouble. We know that we sin, I don't know many that would argue otherwise. Now we see that our sin deserves death. This part hurts. Our "little" sins that are petty or that nobody knows about deserve death. This isn't a characteristic of God that people really like, so it is glossed over. It is easy to skip the first part and go straight to the second half of the verse, but spend some time thinking about how God sees sin. If it deserves death, He takes it very seriously, and so should we. Understand that you deserve death for your sin. If you're done thinking about it (I bet nobody thought about it very long) we now get to the good part of the verse. The gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord. So our sin deserves death, but God has given us a gift of eternal life. If someone gives a gift, the gift must be accepted. I go back again to Sunday Morning. If the worst mass murderer, child molester, etc. etc. in the world accepts this gift, it is his to accept. Eternal Life is not deserved, it is a gift. If this upsets you, look again at the Grand Canyon example. If you think you deserve eternal life more than someone else, that leaves you open to prejudice. The truth is you don't deserve it. Accept this gift by asking God to forgive your sins and save you from the death you deserve.

Romans 5:8 "God demonstrates His own love for us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us!"

When Jesus was on the cross, all of the ugliness of our sins was placed on Him. He paid the penalty for all of our sins (death) so that we don't have to face that judgement. Give your life completely over to God. Pray now and tell God thank you for the fact that He loves you enough to pay the penalty of sin that you deserve. Commit your life to God and decide right now that you are going to live for Him from this moment on.

Romans 10:13 "Whosover calls upon the name of the Lord will be saved!"

Call out to God right now in the name of Jesus and ask Him to save you.

Romans 10:9-10 "If you confess with your mouth Jesus as Lord, and belive in your heart that God raised Jesus from the dead, you shall be saved; for with the heart man believes, resulting in righteousness, and with the mouth he confesses, resulting in salvation"

Tell someone about your decision to follow Christ. It is not something to be kept to yourself.

I hope by reading this, you will begin to understand that simply "being good" is not enough. I heard the analogy that you can't save yourself anymore than you can take a rowboat into the Atlantic Ocean during a hurricane and suck up all the water with a medicine dropper. Our own good works are worthless when looking through an eternal perspective. It is the work of Christ for us and in us that is critical.


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