Repaving the Romans Road – Romans 10:9-10, 13; Part I

March 8, 2011

After using Romans 3:23 and 6:23, many people who use the Romans Road approach to evangelism go to three statements in Romans 10. All three provide instruction about the necessary responses that a sinner makes to be saved: “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. For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness: and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation. . . . For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved” (10:9-10, 13). 

Paul teaches in this passage that a person will have to believe objective truth in his heart concerning the Resurrection. Approaches to evangelism that do not plainly testify to the Resurrection risk failing to provide the foundational information that is necessary for the person to confess Jesus as Lord and to call upon Him. People can be saved without having someone else witness to them about the Resurrection, if they have already received that information from some source prior to the encounter in which they are saved. Nevertheless, because of the importance of this information, we should never take this prior knowledge for granted

According to Paul’s exact wording, the sinner is to believe that God has raised Jesus from the dead. Earlier, he taught that righteousness is imputed to those who “believe on Him that raised Jesus our Lord from the dead” (4:24). The wording of 4:24 supports holding that he is speaking about the Father’s raising Jesus in 10:9. 

Romans 6:4 strongly supports this interpretation through Paul’s statement that “Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father.” Paul’s climactic statement in his message at the Areopagus (Acts 17:31) similarly highlights the Father’s raising Jesus, as do many other statements by Paul (1 Cor. 6:14; 15:15; 2 Cor. 4:14; Gal. 1:1; Eph. 1:19-20; Col. 2:12; 1 Thess. 1:10) and by other Scripture writers (at least 10 more times in Acts; 1 Pet. 1:21; Heb. 13:20). In fact, the NT has more than two dozen statements of God’s raising Christ. 

In a number of these statements, we see that key OT passages (Pss 2, 16; Isa. 55) were used to support the truth that the Father raised His Christ. Without exception, every OT passage used by the apostles in their evangelism spoke of God’s raising Him; none of the passages speaks about His raising Himself or simply about His rising. The apostles used these passages to emphasize God’s faithfulness to fulfill what He had said long ago that He would do (Acts 13:33). They thus provided sinners with biblical truth by which they were given sound basis to entrust their souls to the Father in confident expectation that He would be faithful to raise them up as well one day from the dead (1 Cor. 6:4; 2 Cor. 1:9). We should do the same in our witnessing. We should glorify the Father by specifying that He raised Jesus and explain His faithfulness in doing so. 

Telling sinners that the Father raised Jesus from the dead also glorifies Him in this respect because it provides us with the opportunity to explain a glorious truth about Jesus Himself that deserves much more proclamation in evangelism. Psalm 16, a key Resurrection passage from the OT that the apostles used in evangelism (Acts 2:25-28; 13:35-37), does not just speak about what the Father would do. It also records the Messiah’s glorying in His confidence that the Father would do so. The Messiah trusted that the Father would raise Him and rejoiced in the hope of the future glories that He would enjoy in the presence of the Father (Ps. 16:8-11)! 

By explaining in evangelism that the Messiah confidently trusted in the Father to raise Him from the dead, we glorify both the Messiah and the Father in our evangelism. We set the Messiah forth as the great Example of faith in God that the sinner should emulate. He entrusted Himself to the Father and was not disappointed. We should stress that the same will be true for all who like Him entrust themselves to the Father.

Bringing these truths out when we witness to sinners, the Father and the Son will receive the full glory that they deserve in our evangelism, especially on the occasions on which sinners are saved! Let us stress the Father’s raising Jesus when we minister Romans 10:9-10 to sinners.

Rajesh

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