The Roman Road
by Elder Tim Binion
The Book of Romans is the most fundamental, vital, logical, profound, and systematic discussion of the whole plan of salvation in all the literature of the word. Yet, by using the tenth chapter for what is called a Roman Road conversion, souls are being deceived and left unchanged by the Spirit of God. It's not surprising that Satan would pull from this book a passage to cause man to "tempt the Lord God." He used the same tactics with Christ in the wilderness when he said; "cast thyself down; for it is written . . . (Matthew 4:6). Satan quoted the most confident passage (Psalm 91) of all the Old Testament and tempted Jesus to cast himself down simply because the Bible said He would be safe. All over the world people cast themselves down on the Roman Road and believe they are safe. This promise Satan quoted to Jesus was lacking something and as the Rich young ruler said in Matthew 19:20 "All these things have I kept from my youth up: what lack I yet?" People with a Roman Road conversion have something lacking. Notice when Satan tempted Christ in the wilderness quoting Psalms 91, Christ used the complete circle of truth for interpretation. Jesus knew that apart from God's appointed way and personal involvement trusting this promise would be "tempting the Lord God" and wrong.
The Book of Romans harmonizes the gospel with all the other books of the Bible and furnishes a comprehensive theological discourse of salvation for all. Most scholars agree that the book's overall theme is found in Romans 1:16-17 For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek. 17 For therein is the righteousness of God revealed from faith to faith: as it is written, The just shall live by faith. This power of operation upon the heart explained by the Apostle Paul clarified the way, when he wrote; For he is not a Jew, which is one outwardly; neither is that circumcision, which is outward in the flesh: But he is a Jew, which is one inwardly; and circumcision is that of the heart, in the spirit, and not in the letter; whose praise is not of men, but of God (Romans 2:28-29). Paul explained in chapter four that this inward spiritual experience unites the imputed righteousness of the believer with the same imputed righteousness received by Abraham and David. Now it was not written for his sake alone, that it was imputed to him; 24 But for us also, to whom it shall be imputed, if we believe on him that raised up Jesus our Lord from the dead (Romans 4:23-24). Satan is the one who draws conclusions from a single detached passage, he severs the scripture from its context, and dislocates it from the unity of truth. I fear thousands have accepted Christ, casting themselves down at the promise of scripture, apart from Holy Spirit conviction and a born again experience that changes the heart.
Other important foundational points of soteriology (doctrine of salvation) found in The Book of Romans help broaden our comprehension and understanding of the internal work of redemption. Let's notice one of these points, as Paul progressively builds (one point enlarged by another) toward a completed scope of salvation for both Jew and Gentile. First, every theological point of soteriology (doctrine of salvation) embraces a subjective experience in the believer's soul. Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ (Romans 5:1) And hope maketh not ashamed; because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost which is given unto us (Romans 5:5). The Apostle Paul established a spiritual change which occurs at the point of repentance and faith, including God's personal involvement. He includes his own heart felt conviction and a new life when the Holy Ghost came into his soul. For I was alive without the law once: but when the commandment came, sin revived, and I died (Romans 7:9). The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God (Romans 8:16). By misappropriating Chapter Ten, apart from a complete embodiment of truth, one removes God's personal involvement. We've already learned that scripture may be used to tempt the Lord God, absent Divine approval, but notice again what Jesus said in Matthew 19:26. As Jesus responded to the amazement of the disciples when they asked "who then can be saved?" Jesus said; "With men this is impossible; but with God all things are possible." God must have complete control and involvement in transforming the soul. Through the gospel, God writes His law's in the heart and apart from this spiritual influence, trusting scripture for salvation is blind presumption.
This spiritual work of the New Covenant individually and personally experienced by any or all that believe, simply cannot occur apart from God's personal choosing. Romans 9:17-18 For the scripture saith unto Pharaoh, Even for this same purpose have I raised thee up, that I might shew my power in thee, and that my name might be declared throughout all the earth. 18 Therefore hath he mercy on whom he will have mercy, and whom he will he hardeneth. Mindful of our limitations, God reserves for himself the work of saving the soul by placing the principles of the New Covenant directly into the heart. Doctor Edgar Mullins, late president and Professor of Theology at The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary wrote ". . . repentance may be mistaken for mere reformation, and faith for blind belief, when taken apart from their place in the organic unity of Christian experience. Repentance is 'toward God.' It is an element in a personal transaction that awakens the will and emotions. The whole nature is stirred to depths in this personal return to God in obedience. So faith is a vital union with God through Christ, and not the acceptance merely of propositions about God or Christ (The Christian Religion In Its Doctrinal Expression, page 55)."
The essence of redemption includes a mystical, divine, spiritual change, experienced by EVERYONE BORN OF THE SPIRIT. John 3:8 "The wind bloweth where it listeth, and thou hearest the sound thereof, but canst not tell whence it cometh, and whither it goeth: so is every one that is born of the Spirit." The Apostle Paul, concerned about his brethren (Israel) stumbling, confronted their system of self-righteousness that lacked spiritual discernment. These Jews made claims of eternal life by their own merits and opposed God's work upon the soul. Today many Christian denominations do the same. They claim eternal life without a spiritual work of grace on the heart. This Theological irony, practicing the opposite of what a said passage of scripture is teaching, reveals the diabolical plan of the beast clothed as a lamb to deceive the world with another gospel. This counterfeit gospel uses scripture but leaves out the personal work of God on the soul.
The main theme of the tenth chapter of Romans "righteousness by faith and free to all" was a critical issue in the first century church. The Apostle Peter, when he stood before the Church at Jerusalem and explained the expansion of the Gospel to the Gentile world said; And God, which knoweth the hearts, bare them witness, giving them the Holy Ghost, even as he did unto us; 9 And put no difference between us and them, purifying their hearts by faith (Acts 15:8-9). In the first century church, this contention between Jew and Gentile continued for many years. So likewise Paul in Romans chapter ten, clearly states that the scheme of salvation extended to both Jew and Gentile. For there is no difference between the Jew and the Greek: for the same Lord over all is rich unto all that call upon him.13 For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved (Romans 10:12-13). Paul's affirmation here in no way differs from what Peter said in Acts 15:8-9, God purifies the heart by giving the Holy Ghost to all that call upon Him.
Those leaving the primary theme and purpose of Romans chapter ten, and using it for a canned presentation of another Gospel called "The Roman Road" ignore the overwhelming need of a spiritual change. In context these passages stand as a prophetical proclamation of hope to non-Jews of the world. God's choice to save a Gentile, firmly established that salvation is "of the Lord" and comes directly from Him by an operation of the heart (on Jew and Gentile). Paul went on to explain that this spiritual witness, the imputed righteousness of Christ, was near and available through "the word of faith, which Paul preached." This was the same message preached to Greeks on Mars Hill in Acts 17:27 "That they should seek the Lord, if haply they might feel after him, and find him, though he be not far from every one of us." However, in Romans Ten he illustrates from the Pentateuch this same Christian doctrine by quoting Deuteronomy 30:14 and applying it to the incarnation and resurrection of Jesus, in verse six. These were the two grand stages in the great work of redemption required that the righteousness which is of faith might effectually be brought nigh unto all of us. Paul's Jewish brethren (Israel) stumbled at the stumbling stone, holding to the carnal ordnance and Gentile exclusion which kept them spiritually stumbling and missing the spiritual blessing enjoyed by the true Israel of God. Not as though the word of God hath taken none effect. For they are not all Israel, which are of Israel (Romans 9:6). Not understanding or confessing Christ as the main scope of the Levitical dispensation and the faith or conversion of the Gentile as the children of promise still to this day, keeps Israel stumbling and lost.
Paul's desire and prayer to God in verse one, for Israel to be "saved" did not change from what Paul wrote and taught in his own experience. My objection to simply reading these passages and calming them for salvation violates the Biblical meaning of "saved." Being saved means; Spiritual deliverance from sin through the shed blood of Christ. The Soul experiences a spiritual life he or she had never known before.
I've noticed that those who use these passages to manipulate the mind of a sinner, twist and pervert what it actually says. For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved. It does not say whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord is saved, but reads "shall be" (future tense) saved. The zealous religious manipulators that draw disciples unto themselves, tell their prospective convert - - he has called - - he is saved - - You've called - - You are saved. This methodology clearly changes the text and ignores waiting on God to save the soul. The future tense of this passage clearly states the sinner should call on the Lord until he gets saved (experiences the new birth, spiritual peace, New Covenant, imputed righteousness, circumcision of the heart, etc.). The future tense in this passage restricts its use by the Christian world, only allowing us to encourage sinners to call on the Lord until the Lord saves them. Never does the Bible allow us to tell them they are saved. Calling is not salvation. Salvation comes to the soul by the Holy Ghost after calling. Crying out to God for mercy should not cease until spiritual evidence of forgiveness comes personally to the soul. The seeker will experience all that the Bible teaches about salvation at the point of saving faith.
Claimed salvation in Christ Jesus, absent the internal accrediting witness of the Holy Spirit leaves sinners lost and without God. Coaching a convert with words when the Bible teaches conviction and conversion with power, constitutes another gospel. This clearly changes the Righteousness by Faith in the Lord Jesus Christ taught here by Paul and embraces a faith in Biblical words. Rather than saving faith in Christ, the Roman Road convert trusts in reading passages of scripture for righteousness. This Bibliolatry, where the Bible becomes the security and what it says (out of context and misinterpreted) becomes the only evidence of eternal life, has proven unacceptable, lacking the sanctifying change and fruits of the Spirit.
The Bible is not God. At the end of your Roman Road, as you stand in Judgment, God will reveal how the "unlearned and unstable wrest the scriptures, unto their own destruction" (2 Peter 3:16). You've been told "God cannot lie, you've confessed and called, you've accepted Christ, you've been told to take Him at His word; you've been told by an "unlearned and unstable" person that YOU ARE SAVED." However, in Judgment Christ will say (Matthew 7:22-23) "I NEVER KNEW YOU!!!" Until God declares and chooses you saved, you are lost. Claiming a promise in God's Word and declaring it done without the regeneration of the soul "tempts the Lord God." The Bible teaches repentance has not occurred until the Holy Spirit comes into your heart. You have not trusted the Lord or believed on Him unless you've been "born from above" (John 3:8). In other words Regeneration (God's Spirit coming in contact with your spirit) must accredit Repentance and Faith. "Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost (Titus 3:5)." At the point of true Biblical saving, faith, an operation of the heart occurs. A witness of the Spirit always authenticates Repentance toward God and Faith in Jesus Christ. 1 John 5:10 "He that believeth on the Son of God hath the witness in himself: he that believeth not God (without a spiritual witness in the soul) hath made him a liar; because he believeth not the record that God gave of his Son." Jesus said in Matthew 7:13 "Enter ye in at the strait gate: for wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat: 14 Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it." Harmonizing scripture straightens the gate and narrows the way. Get off the Roman Road and go through the narrow gate!
This site was last updated 04/21/11