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Coming to Salvation

Many are familiar with the explanation of the redemption narrative using several verses from the book of Romans. This string of passages explain the lostness of humanity, God’s provision in Christ, and how we can respond to what God was done. It has been commonly called the Romans Road to Salvation.

Living out Salvation

I would like point out another road on the Romans map. This other Romans road isn’t about how to believe what God has done. This road is about how one is to live out this salvation. A walk down the Romans Road to Salvation is a glorious trip! But many are disillusioned after that walk, because no one points out the next road to travel.

The Wrong Road

Many keep walking up and down the Romans Road to Salvation expecting to somehow change. Paul says the goal of God’s call is to be conformed into the likeness of Jesus (Rom. 8:28). Deep heart change must occur before reaching that goal of God’s call. It is less of a walk down a road, as it is a slide down a ravine. At the bottom, Jesus is there to pull us up to himself.

Know, Count, Offer

After all the glorious things which occur at conversion, there is still a lot of sin left to deal with. In Romans 6 Paul outlines a whole regimen of continuing to see and own one’s sin. He talks about knowing (6:3,6,9) the powerlessness of sin, because of the cross. Something definitive happened with our sin when Jesus was crucified. Paul also talks about how one must be reckoned or counted dead to sin (6:11). As well, one is to not yield or offer the body to sin (6:13,16,19).

Getting to the Bottom

But the slide down the ravine doesn’t end in Romans 6. Paul chronicles his own slide down this ravine in Romans 7, where he recounts facing the sin beneath the sin. Paul basically says, “What I want to do, I don’t do; and what I don’t want to do, I do!” (7:14-20). Even then, the frustrating fruit of sin, the sin beneath the sin, comes from a root of sin that is deep within him (7:21-24). Finally, Paul finds himself at the bottom of the ravine crying out “What a wretched man I am!” (7:24). But it is here at the bottom where true repentance occurs.

The Crisis Experience

This process can be understood using a sin like lying as an example. A person usually realizes lying soon after making it. But a lie is just the surface sin. Seeing and owning it is good, but what is the fruit of a lie? What is the sin beneath the sin? It may be the person that made the lie is a coward and a lie is spoken because of fear. Another fruit of the lie may be a broken relationship with the other person who was hurt by the lie. If one goes deeper though, at the root is a drive for approval. “Oh wretched people-pleaser that I am! Who will rescue me from this body of death?” In The Alliance this is called a crisis experience. It is that moment of sliding to the bottom of the ravine and offering everything as a living sacrifice (cf offer in 6:13,16,19 with 12:1).

Jesus Pulls Us Up

Jesus’ work of double imputation and union with him then cascades down the other side of the ravine and pulls a person up to himself. Romans 4:24 explains that Jesus’ righteous life has been imputed, as well as his atoning death (Rom. 5:8). In Romans 8 the two parts of union with Christ. In Alliance circles, this is called the deeper life. In verse 1 Paul states, “Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.” But that is just half of it. Those in Jesus are free from the guilt and shame of sin. But a power for living is given. Verse 10 says, “Christ is in you [and] your spirit is alive because of righteousness.”

Transformed Lives

This is the other Romans Road. Do you ever take this route? How many people have you led down this road? This is the road that leads to transformed lives (Rom. 12:2). This is the road that prove God’s desire for you is good, pleasing, and perfect.

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