The Romans Road for Too Many Churches
Many churches never go beyond Romans 1 whereupon they read, "For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who by their unrighteousness suppress the truth." (Romans 1:18)
So, they never move beyond condemning the blatant sinner to condemn their own hidden sin according to Romans 2:1. "Therefore you have no excuse, O man, every one of you who judges. For in passing judgment on another you condemn yourself, because you, the judge, practice the very same things.
So, they never move on to see that their own self-righteousness is equally sinful. "None is righteous, no, not one; no one understands; no one seeks for God." (Romans 3:10-11)
So, they never move on to see how God grants his righteousness to the sinner by faith alone according to Romans 4:24-25. "It will be counted to us who believe in him who raised from the dead Jesus our Lord, who was delivered up for our trespasses and raised for our justification."
So, they never find peace with God because they fail to admit their need for him. Romans 5:1-5 becomes a nice but unsatisfactory passage. "Therefore, since we have been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ. Through him we have also obtained access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and we rejoice in hope of the glory of God. Not only that, but we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not put us to shame, because God's love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us."
So, they never find the grace abounding over sin in Romans 6:5 because they refuse to die with him in order to be raised with him. "For if we have been united with him in a death like his, we shall certainly be united with him in a resurrection like his."
So, they fail to see that wrestling with sin leads to needing Christ daily according to Romans 7:24-25. "Wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death? Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord! So then, I myself serve the law of God with my mind, but with my flesh I serve the law of sin."
So, they never feel the mercy of Romans 8:1 washing over them. "There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus." They never know life from the Spirit according to Romans 8:14-15. "For all who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God. For you did not receive the spirit of slavery to fall back into fear, but you have received the Spirit of adoption as sons, by whom we cry 'Abba! Father!'" They never know the help of God in their weakness, according to Romans 8:26, because they know nothing of personal weakness. "Likewise the Spirit helps us in our weakness. For we do not know what to pray for as we ought, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words." They never feel secure in Christ because they believe their arms are strong enough to hold on to him. When they slip, they must pretend instead of fall into the words of Romans 8:35. "Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or danger, or sword?"
So, they never see the glory of God bursting forth from Romans 9:15, because they believe God owes them something for their goodness. "For he says to Moses, 'I will have mercy on whom I have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I have compassion.'"
So, they never see the boundarylessness of the Church of God according to Romans 10:12-13 because their dividing walls are so thick with exclusion. "For there is no distinction between Jew and Greek; for the same Lord is Lord of all, bestowing his riches on all who call on him. For everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved."
So, they never understand the wisdom and wonder of God's sweeping plan across history according to Romans 11:33-35. "Oh, the depth of the riches and wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are his judgments and how inscrutable his ways! 'For who has known the mind of the Lord, or who has been his counselor?' 'Or who has given a gift to him that he might be repaid?'"
So, they never offer themselves as a living sacrifice according to Romans 12:1 because the gospel is merely step one on a ladder to religious success. "I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship."
So, they never learn to fulfill the law they proclaim to obey because they fail to love one another according to Romans 13:8. "Owe no one anything, except to love each other, for the one who loves another has fulfilled the law."
So, they pass judgment on one another for weakness contrary to Romans 14:1. "As for the one who is weak in faith, welcome him, but not to quarrel over opinions." In their church, opinions are all that matter.
So, they know nothing of the welcome of Christ, and therefore know nothing of welcoming one another according to Romans 15:7. "Therefore welcome one another as Christ has welcomed you, for the glory of God."
So, they miss the entire point of the gospel Paul preached in Romans 16:25-27 because their doctrine created a culture of exclusion. One wonders if they'll find inclusion on the day of judgment. "Now to him who is able to strengthen you according to my gospel and the preaching of Jesus Christ, according to the revelation of the mystery that was kept secret for long ages but has now been disclosed and through the prophetic writings has been made known to all nations, according to the command of the eternal God, to bring about the obedience of faith— to the only wise God be glory forevermore through Jesus Christ! Amen."