Only God knows how many dear souls have been led to the Lord Jesus Christ by the above verses of Scripture. These verses, commonly referred to as the "Roman's Road," are used worldwide by Christian workers in an effort to present God's Salvation Plan to the lost in a step by step fashion. The Roman's Road is wonderful for getting straight to the point and dealing with the primary issues of sin and salvation. Millions have come to know Christ after reading these verses (including myself), and it is our prayer that millions more will come to know Him in the future.
But there is a problem. Because of the habitual use of such quick and easy portions of Scripture, more and more Christians are developing a very shallow concept of New Testament Salvation. Time and time again I find myself speaking with people who profess to be saved, and yet they aren't sure about their eternal destiny. Many of these people can tell of a specific time in their life when they prayed and asked the Lord to come into their heart and save them, but still today they live in a state of uncertainty. This should not be happening.
Then there are others who have never been saved and really do not understand the need to be saved. Someone says, "Well, they probably just don't care." Yes, that's often the case, but not always. I believe there are many people who would like to have a better understanding of Jesus Christ and the Salvation that He offers, and I believe that many such people WILL receive Christ once they truly understand their need for Him.
Friend, if you fit into one of these categories, this tract is for you. This tract has been written for the sole purpose of helping people UNDERSTAND New Testament Salvation. Whether you're saved or lost, this tract can help you . So why not set aside a little time and read the following pages, prayerfully and carefully. You will not be disappointed (Lk. 11:9-10).
There are many things that can be said about God in this study, but the one thing that must be said is that God is a RIGHTEOUS and HOLY God. So often we hear of God's love for US, and we very seldom think of God standing alone without man in the picture. Let's first consider God Himself, without even thinking of mankind. Let's take a look at the personality of God Almighty.
Exodus 15:11 says, "Who is like unto thee, O LORD, among the gods? who is like thee, glorious in holiness, fearful in praises, doing wonders?" The seraphims of Isaiah 6 praised God, crying "Holy, holy, holy, is the LORD of hosts: the whole earth is full of his glory." If something is holy, then it is whole or complete. God is holy. He lacks nothing, for he is complete. God simply cannot be improved upon.
Someone has said, "God without man is God, but man without God is nothing." How true these words are! One who wishes to know God must IGNORE himself. It was God who created man. God existed first, without man in the picture. So, in order to really understand New Testament Salvation, we must first focus totally upon the eternal God of Glory. We must know something of God's personality.
We must realize that God never has and never will do anything wrong for any reason. God has always been holy, and He always will be. He says in Malachi 3:6, "For I am the LORD, I change not; therefore ye sons of Jacob are not consumed." God never has and never will make one single adjustment within His person. His state of sinless perfection is eternal. If the entire universe were to turn against God, including all the hosts of Heaven, it would not change God. He would still be the eternal God of Glory. Consider these strong portions of Scripture from the Book of Isaiah:
"All nations before him are as nothing; and they are counted to him less than nothing, and vanity. To whom will ye liken God? or what likeness will ye compare unto him?" Isa. 40:17-18.
"I am the LORD: that is my name: and my glory will I not give to another, neither my praise to graven images." Isa. 42:8.
". . . .Is there a God beside me? yea, there is no god; I know not any." Isa. 44:8
"I am the LORD, and there is none else, there is no god beside me: I girded thee, though thou hast not known me." Isa. 45:5
"Declaring the end from the beginning, and from ancient times the things that are not yet done, saying, My counsel shall stand, and I will do all my pleasure." Isa. 46:10.
So let's first understand one great truth: with or without us, GOD IS GOD. He is the unchangeable, holy, and eternal God of Glory. Regardless of what happens, this will always be true.
God in Relation to Man
Genesis chapter one gives to us the account of the creation, including the creation of man. We read in Genesis 1:27, "So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them." Man was created in the image of God. That image, as we have already seen, was an image of RIGHTEOUSNESS. It's an image of absolute holiness. God did not create man in a sinful condition. It would have been foolish to do so! God created a sinless man in HIS OWN IMAGE. Luke 3:38 tells us that this first man, Adam, was actually "the son of God." No other man after Adam is called a son of God. But Adam was called this, because he was made in GOD'S IMAGE.
Being absolutely sinless, Adam was now ready to carry out God's plan. God is a SPIRIT (John 4:24), but He created a PHYSICAL earth. So He needed a physical being to rule over the earth. Genesis 1:28 tells us that God gave Adam DOMINION over the earth and over all of its inhabitants. "Why?" you may ask. Couldn't God manage to run things for Himself? Sure He could, but He wanted something more. God had a very special reason for creating man. Notice how clearly the reason is given in Isaiah 43:7: "Even every one that is called by my name: for I have created him for my glory, I have formed him; yea, I have made him." Why did God create man? He did it to bring GLORY to Himself! All through the Bible we find that God wants to be GLORIFIED (Psa. 22:23; 50:15; Mt. 5:16; John 12:28; Rom. 15:6; I Cor. 6:20; etc.), and the beginning was certainly no exception. God wanted to form a living being out of the ground and have that being live in close fellowship with Him. God wanted His human creation to live in RIGHTEOUSNESS. God wanted to see His children prosper! He didn't want them to fail; He wanted them to prosper. This would bring honor and glory to His name. Just as any respectable father delights in watching his own children live right and succeed in life, God wanted the same for His children! Like any responsible father, God knew what was best, and He had a wonderful plan for His children.
So God created man and placed him in a perfect environment. Would man be obedient and fulfill God's will, or would he become disobedient? God had to put man to the test. He had to give man a choice. God could have FORCED Adam and Eve to always obey Him, but that would be against His nature. God wanted man to LOVE Him and ENJOY serving Him, so a choice was given.
Rather than populate the entire universe at once with newly created humans, God, in His infinite wisdom, placed one man and his wife in a garden and gave them a choice. You know the story. Adam and Eve chose to disobey God by eating of the forbidden fruit (Gen. 3:1-6). Satan's way seemed more pleasant at the moment, so man fell into sin by disobeying God.
Worst of all, man LOST the IMAGE OF GOD. God was still holy, but man was now UNHOLY. Man was now a transgressor against God. Man had failed the test. In his sinful condition, Adam could not carry out God's divine plan. He was no longer qualified, for he was now a sinner.
At this point, God could have chosen to destroy His creation and start with a new one, or He could REDEEM the fallen creation. He chose to redeem fallen man. He chose to set forth a master plan that would allow man to become RIGHTEOUS once again. Being the merciful God that He is, God chose to work out a wonderful redemption plan for fallen man.
But wait! This will be no easy plan, because Adam and his wife aren't the only sinners. Every child born after Genesis chapter three has been born in Adam's SINFUL image (Gen. 5:3). All men are natural sinners upon being born into the world:
"Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned." Romans 5:12.
"Behold, I was shapen in iniquity; and in sin did my mother conceive me." Psalm 51:5.
"As it is written, There is none righteous, no, not one." Romans 3:10.
Men are no longer made in God's image. In fact, the Lord Jesus Christ Himself said "Ye are of your father, the devil..." in John 8:44. God is not a sinner, so sinners are not God's children. Sinners are natural-born children of the Devil. Paul writes in Ephesians 2:2 that lost sinners are "children of disobedience." Why? Because we naturally receive a SIN NATURE at birth.
In addition to this, we must also realize that we cannot rid ourselves of this corrupt sin nature. We are "stuck" with a fallen image of unrighteousness. Unless God works a miracle in our lives, we are absolutely hopeless--forever doomed to the eternal fires of Hell. We cannot earn our Salvation by performing righteous works, because our righteousness is no good. Isaiah 64:6 tells us that our righteousness is like "filthy rags!" Instead of being clean in the eyes of God, men are FILTHY, because of the sin nature in us all. God is holy, but we are unholy. He is Godly, but we are ungodly. He is righteous, but we are unrighteous. Our sin nature stands like a brick wall between us and God, separating us from His dear fellowship.
Now try comparing a HOLY God with unholy men. Contrast the two in your mind. You see, there must be a separation. Just as you keep your clean laundry separate from your dirty laundry, God must keep Himself separate from ungodly man. God is not a sinner, so He cannot fellowship with sinners. Unless sin is somehow removed from man, there is no hope. Unless man is somehow redeemed from his fallen nature, God has no choice but to sentence him to Hell forever. The sin debt must be paid so that man can regain his original righteous image and his fellowship with God. Someone must pay the price.
God's Plan of Redemption
There once was a king who had a very strong reputation for enforcing the law in his kingdom. He never compromised for anyone. If someone broke the law a penalty was always required.
Then one day this king sat upon his throne hearing case after case, when suddenly a very shocking thing happened. A young man was brought in for judgment. He had been caught red-handed in theft. The whole kingdom stood in silence to hear the king's judgment. You see, this was no ordinary case: the young man was the king's son!
Being as broken hearted as he was, the king knew that he still must give judgment. Justice must be done. One hand would have to severed. Then suddenly the king surprised everyone by ordering HIS OWN HAND to be cut off. He chose to pay the penalty himself!
This is precisely what God did for you and me. Notice these important words from Isaiah 53:5-6:
"But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed. All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned everyone to his own way; and the LORD hath laid on him the iniquity of us all."
Just as the king suffered and fulfilled the law for his son, God came to this earth and fulfilled the law for us. Jesus Christ was God manifested in the flesh (I Tim. 3:16), and He came to FULFILL the law (Mt. 5:17)! The law demanded a payment for sin. Either man could spend eternity in Hell, paying for his sins, or God could make the payment Himself. God, because of His love for lost man, chose to make the necessary payment Himself. He gave His only begotten Son as a payment for our sins:
"For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life." John 3:16.
"Christ hath redeemed us from the curse of the law, being made a curse for us: for it is written, Cursed is everyone that hangeth on a tree." Galatians 3:13.
"For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him." II Corinthians 5:21.
All men are born under "the law of sin and death" (Rom. 8:2). We are under a curse. But the Lord Jesus Christ came to our rescue by dying and paying for our sins. Hebrews 10:14 says, "For by one offering he hath perfected forever them that are sanctified." It took only one offering to pay for our sins. Now that the payment has been made, all men can be "perfected" through Jesus Christ! Through Christ we can be set FREE from the law of sin and death! Through Christ, and Him alone, we can escape the curse! Through Christ, we can be saved!
After Jesus pays for the sins of the world and returns to Heaven, a very special Gospel (Good News) message is preached by the Apostles and early Christians:
"Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved, and thy house." Acts 16:31.
"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.
"For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast." Ephesians 2:8-9.
As lost and doomed sinners, we must take God at His word and believe that Jesus Christ is our only hope for Salvation. We must trust that His payment for our sins is sufficient. We must STOP trying to "do good" that we might go to Heaven. Our good works cannot save us, as the above verses reveal. Only the good work of the Lord Jesus can save us. We are hopeless without Him. As a criminal sits upon death row awaiting the electric chair, we sit upon the death row of eternity awaiting Hell Fire.
God's Imputed Righteousness
While sitting upon the "death row" of eternity, our only hope is for God to MAKE US RIGHTEOUS, for we cannot establish righteousness for ourselves (Rom. 10:3). We read in Romans 4:5 the following words:
"But to him that worketh not, but believeth on him that justifieth the ungodly, his faith is counted for righteousness."
God's desire is to MAKE us righteous by GIVING us HIS RIGHTEOUSNESS! This portion of Scripture goes on to say:
". . . .Blessed are they whose iniquities are forgiven, and whose sins are covered. Blessed is the man to whom the Lord will not impute sin." Romans 4:7-8.
God has a way of cleansing us from our sins and giving to us HIS righteousness so that we may have Eternal Life. Referring to the Lord Jesus Christ, Colossians 1:14 says, "In whom we have redemption through his blood, even the forgiveness of sins. . ." The "blood" spoken of here is God's Blood (Acts 20:28). The blood of the Lord Jesus was not natural human blood; it was PURE blood from the Father above. Remember, Mary was a Virgin; so the blood of Jesus Christ came from His heavenly Father. This blood was shed at Calvary to be an ATONEMENT for our sins. The atonement can make us "at one" with God, just as Adam was in the very beginning. Through the Blood Atonement of the Lord Jesus Christ, we can have our sins washed away (Rev. 1:5), thus being placed back into God's righteous image.
All throughout the Old Testament, God required a blood sacrifice from His people. This blood was obtained from various animals such as bulls, goats, and lambs. Sacrifices were made daily, because people would sin daily. By offering to God a sacrifice--something of value to them--men were showing God that they were aware of their sin nature and desired forgiveness. Upon seeing this, God would then accept their sacrifice and forgive their sins. This is called remission. Hebrews 9:22 says, ". . . .without shedding of blood there is no remission." These many animal sacrifices served as a foreshadow or a type of the blood of the Lord Jesus that would eventually be shed at Calvary.
However, FORGIVENESS of sin isn't enough. A penalty still must be paid. The law must be fulfilled. The record must be cleared. God could cleanse His people TEMPORARILY from their sins with animal sacrifices, but only the precious blood of the Lord Jesus Christ could CLEAR their sin record forever. The Old Testament sacrifices were for forgiveness, but not for making a person CLEAR from sin (Ex. 34:6-7). This is why Jesus had to come and CLEAR the record forever. He came to wipe the slate clean for all Eternity. When you receive Christ as Lord and Savior, you receive a CLEAN RECORD! You receive HIS RIGHTEOUSNESS, and since you are trusting Him alone for your Salvation, God will not impute sin to you!
Suppose you receive Him as your Savior. What then? Then you become a "son of God. " John 1:12 says, "But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name." You RECEIVE Christ by BELIEVING on Christ. You can be "born again" SPIRITUALLY (John 3:3) by receiving the Lord Jesus Christ as your Savior. Once you truly turn to Christ alone, asking Him to wash away your sins, you are FORGIVEN and your sin record is CLEARED forever. Your soul has been made RIGHTEOUS through the Blood of Jesus Christ. That's precisely why He came and died. Once you have been born again you will be in God's family for the first time in your life! God's human creation was lost in Genesis chapter three, but you, a part of that growing creation, can be FOUND and REDEEMED to God this very moment!
There once was a little boy who made for himself a toy sailboat. While playing in the stream one day, the boat drifted away. A few days later another boy found the boat. The first boy said, "Hey! That's my boat! I made it myself, and I want it back!" The second boy would not hand over the boat, but instead he offered to SELL it to the boy. So the original owner and maker of the toy boat reached into his pocket and gave all his money to pay for the boat. As he walked away, he held the boat to his chest and said, "You're mine! You're mine! You're mine TWICE! I MADE you, and then I BOUGHT you: YOU'RE MINE!"
Upon receiving Christ as Lord and Savior, you will become God's property (I Cor. 6:19-20). You will become His child, His responsibility. You will become the property of God, for he BOUGHT you with his own blood (Acts 20:28). Nothing can ever change that.
Friend, if you've never really been born again, please repent of your sins right now and place your total trust in Jesus Christ to save you. Tell Him that you're sorry for your sins and that you want to live for Him. Tell Him that you want to have a new life in Christ (II Cor. 5:17). Aren't you tired of sin? Do you not want to please God? Repent of your sins right now and ask the Lord to save you. He said that He would save you, if you will call upon Him (Rom. 10:13). Why not call upon Him right now!
If you have been saved, then the next section of this tract is very important for you. Please read it immediately.
If you have not been saved, the next section is NOT for you. You will not understand it, and you will not believe it (I Cor. 2:14). Our prayer is that you will meditate upon the things you've already read and ask the Lord to show you the truth. May you find peace with God today.
God's Promise of Eternal Security
Lord Palmerston, Queen Victoria's Prime Minister, was crossing Westminster Bridge one day when he came upon a little girl who had just dropped a jug of milk. The girl broke into tears as the glass jug shattered into pieces. Palmerston had no money with him at the time, but he was able to stop her crying by promising her that he'd return at the same time the next day and pay her for the jug and the milk. The following morning he was in the midst of a cabinet meeting when he suddenly remembered his promise to the girl. He stood up and rushed out to the bridge and paid the girl the money. You see, to him, a promise was a promise, and he had to keep it. Nothing was more important.
With or without us, God will always be God. He will carry out His wonderful plan, regardless of our actions. He never HAD to promise us Eternal Security, just as Lord Palmerston never HAD to make the promise to the little girl. But God CHOSE to promise us Eternal Security. It was a pure act of grace on His part. He chose to COMFORT and STRENGTHEN us by making the promise:
"My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand." John 10:27-28.
"Being confident of the very thing, that he which hath begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ." Philippians 1:6.
"Verily, verily I say unto you, He that heareth my word, and believeth on him that sent me, hath everlasting life, and shall not come into condemnation; but is passed from death unto life." John 5:24.
"All that the Father giveth me shall come to me; and him that cometh to me I will in no wise cast out." John 6:37.
We are told in Romans 8:38-39 that NOTHING can separate us from the love of God that is in Jesus Christ, and the Lord tells us in Hebrews 13:5 that He will NEVER leave us or forsake us. Eternal Life is a PRESENT POSSESSION for the Christian. If you've received Jesus Christ as your Savior, then you HAVE eternal life. You will not go to Hell, for you have been saved by believing on the record that God gave of His Son (I John 5:11-13, which see.). If you have received Christ as your Savior, then you have received eternal life, because Jesus Christ IS eternal life (John 14:6; Col. 3:4; Rom. 6:23). He placed His Spirit within you to keep you and to preserve you (John 14:16-17; II Cor. 1:22); so you should be REJOICING in Christ, not WORRYING about losing Him!
You say, "But what if I sin after I've been saved? Won't I lose my salvation?" No, because it really isn't your's to lose. You are totally God's property. You didn't earn salvation by any good work of your own, and you can't lose salvation by any bad work of your own. Your salvation is based entirely upon the FINISHED work of the Lord Jesus Christ. Your conduct can affect your FELLOWSHIP with God, but not your RELATIONSHIP with Him. You're His son, if you're saved, and that's the way it's going to stay.Someone asked Luther, "Do you feel that you've been forgiven?" He answered, "No, but I'm as sure as there's a God in Heaven!
For feelings come and feelings go, and feelings are deceiving;
God's Treatment of Disobedient Christians
What happens when a Christian sins? If God doesn't send us to Hell, then how does He deal with us about our sins after we've been saved? This subject becomes rather easy to understand when we fully realize that we are now God's CHILDREN. We have entered into a Father/son relationship with God. He will deal with us as a Father deals with a child, NOT as a judge deals with a criminal.
Christians need to understand that their BODIES have not been born again. Only our SOULS have been saved. Our flesh is still corrupt, and it will die one day. Paul said that in the flesh dwells no good thing (Rom. 8:18). Since the soul has been made righteous through the blood of the Lord Jesus Christ, God has found it necessary to SEPARATE the soul from the body. This is called spiritual circumcision. Notice these important words from Colossians 2:11:
"In whom also ye are circumcised with the circumcision made without hands, in putting off the body of the sins of the flesh by the circumcision of Christ."
Instead of being PHYSICALLY circumcised as the Old Testament Jews were, we have been SPIRITUALLY circumcised by the Holy Spirit. Our flesh has been cut loose from our righteous soul. When you received Jesus Christ as your Savior, your soul was SET FREE! The burden of sin was LIFTED, and the Holy Spirit of God came to live within your soul (not in your flesh!). A Christian's flesh is still corrupt and sinful, so we are to live in the SPIRIT, not fulfilling the lusts of the flesh (Rom. 8:1-9; Gal. 5:16). In Matthew 26:41, Jesus Himself said, "....the spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak."
Since the soul has been made righteous, God sees us as righteous individuals. He does not see our sins, because Jesus PAID for our sins. Our souls are FOREVER PERFECT (Hb. 10:14). So, if I sin, I do so in the flesh, and God will deal with me in the flesh about it. He will NOT judge my soul, for it's sinless.
Let's take an example of a Christian who sins against God. For stronger emphasis, let's take an extreme case where the sin committed is a most horrible sin. Such a case is found in I Corinthians chapter five, where a man is charged with having his father's wife. That's pretty bad, is it not? Some would think that this man should go to Hell for this sin, but that's not what happens to him. Paul tells the Corinthians to deliver this man to Satan for the destruction of the FLESH, so that the spirit might be saved. What happened? God dealt with this man just as a Father would deal with a child. God did not disown the man, but He DID chasten him in order to get him back in fellowship.
To "chasten" is to punish or discipline. Revelation 3:19 tells us that God rebukes and chastens his children. He does NOT forsake them, but He does correct and instruct them. Hebrews 12:4-8 explains how that all of God's children are chastened of the Lord. In fact, Hebrews 12:8 actually says that you're a "bastard" if you're not chastened! So there are two kinds of people in God's sight: sons and bastards. He corrects His sons, but He doesn't worry so much about the bastards, because they're going to get their punishment in Hell. Notice these inspired words from I Corinthians 11:31-32:
"For if we would judge ourselves, we should not be judged. But when we are judged, we are chastened of the Lord, that we should not be condemned with the world."
You wouldn't send YOUR children to Hell, and God doesn't send HIS there. But He does discipline Christians in order to keep them in tune with His will. No one gets away with sin. No one has a "license to sin."
If you are a Christian, then you should always be conscious of the fact that YOU are not your body; you are INSIDE your body. Your soul has already been redeemed, but you are still waiting for the redemption of your body (Rom. 8:23). Your body is no good, for it is still under the law of sin and death. But remember, your SOUL has been made perfect by the Blood of Christ. The words of this poem by Dora Johnson illustrate this truth very well:
You tell me I'm getting old, I tell you not so;
Being a Christian, you are like a prisoner chained up in his cell. He is lonely and miserable. Then one day someone comes in and cuts his chains loose, allowing him to begin moving freely in his cell. He's no longer chained to the wall, but he is still in the cell until someone comes and frees him completely. Do you get the picture? You are no longer "chained" to your sins. You're free from them. Geographically speaking, you are still stuck in your corruptible flesh until the Lord calls you home to Heaven, but SPIRITUALLY speaking, you are IN THE BODY OF CHRIST. If you slip and fall, you'll do so IN CHRIST. You see, there is a difference between falling IN Christ and falling OUT of Christ, just as there is a difference between falling down IN an airplane and falling OUT OF an airplane! Spiritually, we are seated in Heavenly places IN CHRIST, according to Ephesians 2:6, and that's where we'll stay - FOREVER!
God's Judgment for Christians
God also has a separate judgment for Christians. It is called the "judgment seat of Christ" in Romans 14:10 and II Corinthians 5:10. This is not a judgment for determining whether or not we go to Heaven, but rather a judgment to determine whether or not we receive any REWARDS for our Christian service. II Corinthians 5:10 says, "For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ; that everyone may receive the things done in his body, according to that he hath done, whether it be good or bad."
Unsaved people have their own judgment in Revelation 20:11-15. No one will go to Hell from the Judgment Seat of Christ. A Christian may lose his rewards, but he himself shall be saved (I Cor. 3:11-15). All Christians will be judged for their Christian service at the Judgment Seat of Christ, so we are supposed to be laying up treasure in Heaven (Lk. 12:33-34), and we do this by SERVING GOD in this life. So let's get busy and serve Him. Let's stop worrying about salvation (If you've been saved), and let's START earning some rewards, lest we find ourselves ashamed in that day!
May God save you, bless you, and use you for His honor and glory.
Copyright © 1994 James L. Melton
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