Sunday, November 6, 2022

Stepping off the “Roman Road” and Following the Path of Jesus #JesusFollowers

Over the past century, Conservative Christianity is created it's own version of what Christ Jesus taught, and has very little to do with his actual words.

Here is a typical online description of the “Roman Road”: “All you have to do is accept that Jesus is your Savior, that you are a sinner, and he is the only way to get to heaven. The bible passage for the Roman Road to Salvation, Romans 10:9 says this: “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. Romans 10:9”

This Roman Road then explains the consequences of sin. Romans 6:23 says, "For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord." This refers to spiritual death and separation from God for eternity.

Next, this Roman Road teaches how God has provided this instant version of salvation. Romans 5:8 states, "but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us." While we deserve death, Jesus has offered a way of life. He alone has provided a sufficient (and easy) answer to the sin and spiritual death we face. 

The Roman Road then teaches how we can receive this easy salvation. Romans 10:13 adds, "For 'everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.'" Salvation is available easily and instantly to anyone who will turn to Jesus for eternal life (John 3:16). This occurs when we believe Jesus is Lord and that He literally came alive again from the dead.

Finally, the Roman Road shares the results of salvation. Romans 5:1 declares, "Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ." The result is a relationship with God. This includes peace (Romans 8:1) and eternal  security (Romans 8:38-39).

What’s missing here? Except for the quotation of John 3:16, out of context, Jesus’ words aren’t included in this method of salvation.

And what did Jesus say about this alleged “Road?”

Of course it was devised long after his ministry. But he did have something to say about Easy paths and Wide Gates like this. “NOT EVERYONE who says to me, “Lord, Lord” will enter the kingdom of heaven, ONLY those who do the will of the Father will enter.”(Matthew 7:21)  So much for merely calling upon the name of the Lord to “get saved.”

Also, in The Sermon on the Mount, Jesus had warned, “Enter by the narrow gate. For the gate is wide and the way is easy that leads to destruction, and those who enter it are many. For the gate is Narrow and the way is HARD that leads to life, and those who find it are FEW.” (Matthew 7:13-14) The Roman Road is advertised as an easy way to salvation, guaranteeing our seat in heaven by merely saying a few easy words.

How strongly this contrasts with what Jesus preached about a life serving him would be like! He portrayed it as a difficult yet rewarding struggle that ended in the Kingdom of Heaven. Doing the will of the Father means denying ourselves, leaving family behind, serving others as we would want ourselves to be served, and living and serving God completely.

Contrary to those who follow this Roman Road, Jesus clearly calls us to do good works and serve others with those good works, and explicitly says we will be judged by God by our works not our mere intentions or even our vain words.

Jesus calls on us to repent of our past misdeeds, and echoed John the Baptist’s preaching, ”bear fruit worthy of our repentance.” (Matthew 3:8)

All of his ministry is very far from this alleged Roman Road, and far from the preaching of today’s Conservative Christian ministers, who are preaching a very different Gospel than the one Jesus preached.

In fact, the  one time Jesus addressed personal salvation, (Mark 10:17-22) he told someone who wished to have eternal life to keep the Commandments.

Let's do that instead.

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