The road to Heaven
By Jake Heppner
A road is a prepared way of travel from one location to another - it's the best way to get from point 'A' to point 'B.' The Bible is like a road map for life; God addresses all our needs for this life and shows us the 'road' to heaven.
One of the most useful tools I've ever used to understanding the Bible and God's plan of salvation is called the 'Romans Road.' The apostle Paul wrote a lengthy, detailed thesis to his readers in Rome describing God's expectations of every person, regardless of religion or denomination, nationality or social class. This memorable 'Romans Road' tool is a chapter-heading outline that outlines the significant spiritual truths we each need to comprehend and absorb in order to be right with God and experience forgiveness and eternal life.
Truth No.1: Every person is guilty of sin and deserves to experience God's judgment. Romans 3:23 states, "for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God..." None of us think we are wicked people, because we can always find someone 'worse' than us, and we can make ourselves seem righteous by comparison, but God's standard is sinlessness, a standard no human can reach.
Truth No.2: Through our sin, we accrue the payment of death upon ourselves, but God's desire is that every sinner respond to the gift of eternal life He has provided for us. Romans 6:23 asserts, "For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord." Eternal life is offered as a gift in place of the eternal condemnation we deserve, but the value of His gift is far above any payment we could contribute;
Truth No.3 from Romans 5:8 declares that God provided payment for our sin because of His great love for every person, "But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us." The penalty of our sin remains death, but God exercised that penalty on His own Son so He could release whoever came to Him from their punishment.
Truth No.4 reveals how we are able to receive forgiveness, because it isn't automatic; God requires that we agree with Him concerning our sin and His position as provider of salvation and Lord of our life. Romans 10:13 proclaims, "For whoever calls on the name of the LORD shall be saved." If we are to be forgiven and released from judgment, we must approach God on His terms and confirm our faith in the truths He has proclaimed. Romans 10:9 summarizes the method we express our trust in God's provision to Him: "that if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved." That 'heart belief' is what faith is - NOT just faith that you're going to heaven, but faith that Jesus Christ is Lord (God's Son) and paid sin's punishment when He died on the cross. The requirement for receiving God's forgiveness is in believing (having faith) in His truths, and the expression of faith is made by praying to Him in repentance and asking for forgiveness by establishing Jesus Christ as your Savior from sin.
If the Bible is difficult for you to understand, or you don't feel confident that you know its teachings well, write down these Romans Road references in the front of your Bible cover and you'll have your own tool to use.