The Journey With the Lord
It’s been two and half years since Kathy and I began the RV life, living fulltime in a 5th wheel, traveling about the USA. We thoroughly enjoy it. We count it a blessing to be able to do life this way for now. When people ask us where we are from, it’s fun to answer, “from wherever we’re parked!” Reactions are mixed. Some folks confess jealousy, wanting to do the same; other folks think we’re crazy! We’re having fun, and continue to be overwhelmed by the privilege to see the majesty of the glory of God in what He has made across our great land.
I invite you to think with me a bit about another journey, the spiritual journey—particularly about the beginning of a faith-walk with God. A couple of days ago, while talking with an RV neighbor, he handed me a tract “The Romans Map to Heaven—the truthful Bible road to Heaven from the Book of Romans.” This tract was not new to me. I’ve known about The Romans Road. Praise God, by the blessing of God’s grace and the gift of faith in Christ, I walk the road of faith in Christ Jesus.
If you’re not familiar with The Romans Road, it outlines a specific series of steps that a person seeking God is to take, to the end of praying a prayer “asking the Lord to save you.” Along the five steps of this road- (1-Who is Good? 2-Who has sinned? 3-Where sin came from. 4-God’s price on sin, and 5-Our way out)- a person reads Bible verses for each step from The New Testament book of Romans, outlining the road to salvation.
What I was stirred to rethink this time was the starting point. The Romans Road begins with the question- Who is good? The answer in the tract from Romans 3:10 is: There is none righteous, no, not one. According to The Romans Road the journey to salvation begins with you acknowledging that you are unrighteous—in other words, you confess that there is no spiritual goodness naturally in you. This is indeed true - there is no spiritual goodness (and ability) naturally in any human being. But to confess this is not the first step of the spiritual journey with the Lord because in and of ourselves we humans don’t have the capacity to recognize or acknowledge our sinful condition without a prior first act of God. The Bible says: God made Jesus who did not know sin to be sin for us, so that IN HIM we might become the righteousness of God (2 Corinthians 5:21).
So The Romans Road is not accurate as regards the start of the salvation journey with the Lord. The correct answer to the first question- “Who is Good?”- is God! God is good. And because God is good, God took the first step to “wake up” a human’s heart and mind as regards his/her natural sinful condition and need for God’s salvation. Because God is good, God works first, so that a person can then start the journey, confessing personal unrighteousness and the need for the remedy that God provided through the work of His son Jesus.
If you want to know what you think about the start of the journey with the Lord, complete this sentence: “Salvation happens when …” For you, is the next word in that sentence “I”, or is it “God”? It IS necessary for a person to exercise faith in Jesus—to believe in Him and what He did for the forgiveness of sin. The Bible teaches the necessity of personal faith in Jesus. (Romans 10:9) But a person believing and putting faith in Jesus, is the outcome of God graciously working first to awaken your heart and mind to the reality of your sin and the sufficiency of His salvation. The salvation journey begins not with what I do—with me acknowledging my unrighteousness and lack of goodness. Rather, it begins with God—with God and His goodness—with God who graciously and mercifully did everything to accomplish your salvation through the cross and resurrection of Jesus.
Why is this particularly important? Because the philosophy of self-sufficiency (it’s all about me) is greatly influencing everything people think and do these days, including faith in God. A life journey launched and conducted from self-sufficiency is futile. It seems empowering and even pleasing at times, but is ineffectual and vain, leading to hopelessness and despair. It’s self-serving, and can therefore be quite provoking, which sadly we see these days in increased conflict among people.
Friend, rejoice that before the foundation of the world (Ephesians 1:3-6), God started the journey that all who believe in Him travel. In Christ Jesus, God made your standing with Him right (Romans 5:1-2). He graciously gifts you with faith (Ephesians 2:8-10) and promises to be with you and to keep you until that journey is complete (1 John 5:11-13). So, live well in Christ Jesus! Be joyful. Be fruitful. Be hopeful. Enjoy the ride wherever you’re parked! What God started, God will finish (Philippians 1:6)!
…and the journey continues,