Should Christians Still Use the Romans Road to Salvation?

Contributing Writer
Should Christians Still Use the Romans Road to Salvation?

Many Christians struggle with evangelizing family and neighbors. The Romans Road to Salvation has become one of the most popular models for sharing the gospel.

The Romans Road to Salvation is rooted in the American evangelical Christian movement. One of the movement’s key influences was the revivalist movements of the 1800s. Innovative preachers began leading many to Jesus through large meetings, finding efficient phrases and models to communicate the Good News.

Over time, the Romans Road to Salvation became a primary evangelistic model. But where did it come from? And should Christians today use the Romans Road?

What are the Steps to the Romans Road to Salvation?

The Romans Road to Salvation presents the Gospel message using selected verses from Romans, providing clear and concise steps to receive salvation through faith in Christ.

The first step in the Romans Road acknowledges sin and its consequences. Romans 3:23 states, “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” The Romans Road quotes this verse, highlighting how every person has rebelled against God in their hearts and lives.

The second step further recognizes sin’s consequence: spiritual death and separation from God. “For the wages of sin is death” (Romans 6:23a). All humanity has sinned, missed the mark, and earned the penalty: death. This step helps the hearer understand the need for redemption and reconciliation with God.

Third, the Romans Road expresses God’s salvation through Jesus Christ. Romans 5:8 declares, “But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” God sent his Son, the Lord Jesus Christ, to die for humanity in grace and love. Jesus’ death and resurrection made a way to save any who believed.

We should take this opportunity so the fourth step involves a personal response. Romans 10:9 states: “If you declare with your mouth, ‘Jesus is Lord,’ and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.” This verse gives a simple direction for salvation: declare Jesus is Lord and believe he died and rose again.

The fifth and final step guarantees salvation as people confess and believe. Romans 10:10 reaffirms, “For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you profess your faith and are saved.” God delivers through a person’s genuine faith and outward declaration.

Who Developed the Romans Road to Salvation?

As noted earlier, the Romans Road to Salvation developed from revivalist preaching. No one has established the first person who created the model: it developed over time through various preachers based on their systematic study and interpretation of Romans.

Throughout church history, various individuals and groups have used the Romans Road method to share the Gospel, adapting it to various cultural contexts and languages. After men like Charles Finney and Dwight Moody revolutionized evangelism (and, by extension, church services), the Romans Road became a standard tool in the mid-twentieth century.

Martin Luther and the resulting Reformation sought to break away from legalistic Catholic teachings like indulgences. Luther responded by developing the five solas to express central Christian tenets: Christ alone, faith alone, Scripture alone, and to the glory of God alone.

Later, the Western Church began focusing on the Gospel provision for atonement and forgiveness—which Romans Road to Salvation highlights. In the book of Romans, the apostle Paul defends against critics who say the Gospel allowed people to sin at will under grace. Paul beautifully corrects this over seven chapters, culminating in the transcendent Romans 8. Evangelicals pieced together the Romans Road and distributed the model through tracts and sermons.

What Makes the Romans Road to Salvation So Popular?

Several reasons account for the Romans Road’s popularity. First, it’s rooted in Scripture—, especially Paul’s teachings on grace and salvation in Romans, often regarded as the Bible’s most comprehensive and systematic gospel presentation. Paul includes depth and detail to defend the Good News against critics.

Second, the Romans Road provides a systematic progression to outline Gospel components. As the name suggests, the Romans Road takes the hearers on a path—from sin and death to Jesus and life. This step-by-step approach makes the Gospel message accessible and easily understood for believers and non-believers.

Third, the Romans Road’s simplicity and conciseness make it memorable. Key verses allow individuals to recall steps and confidently share the Gospel message. This memorability makes it a practical tool for evangelism and discipleship. In addition, this basic framework adapts to different cultural contexts, languages, audiences, and mediums. A speaker or writer can customize the Romans road to address an audience’s questions, objections or cultures encountered.

The Romans Road’s proven effectiveness is the most significant factor in its popularity. Thousands of people testify to the model’s life-changing impact. When people present the Romans Road, many have heard and responded to salvation in the Lord Jesus Christ.

Does the Romans Road to Salvation Create Problems?

The Romans Road does possess critics. This method can encourage a reductionist scriptural approach, where verses are viewed as isolated formulas rather than a larger, interconnected narrative. The four Gospels all narrate Jesus’ story to express theological truth. The Romans Road expresses those truths, often divorced from the power of story, a shallow introduction to the Bible’s depth, richness, and nuance.

Theological focus can also miss the point of a personal relationship with Jesus. A simple prayer repeating certain words doesn’t distance people from legalism as much as some might think. Hearing God’s voice and call must take precedence, which can happen when using the Romans Road but needs to be emphasized.

The Romans Road method may overlook repentance. Jesus and the Bible emphasize repentance, which is central to the Kingdom Gospel, which Christ preached. That should undergird his followers’ preaching, as well. Jesus proclaimed, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven has come near” (Matthew 4:17), highlighting the necessity of turning from sin and aligning one’s life with God’s Kingdom values and principles.

Finally, the Romans Road can be misconstrued as a one-time event, leading people to misunderstand the Christian journey. The Bible expresses a conversion event. However, a believer’s life involves ongoing repentance, growth, and transformation. Jesus’ followers are called to take up their cross daily (Luke 9:23), continually surrendering to God, striving for holiness, and bearing spiritual fruit. Neglecting repentance and discipleship results in superficial Christianity and hinders growth and maturity.

How Can We Use the Romans Road to Salvation Wisely?

Considering these issues, we must use the Romans Road to Salvation wisely and maintain a holistic scriptural approach. Here are key ways to do so.

  1. Supplement with Context. While the Romans Road offers a systematic and concise presentation, we must supplement it with a broader biblical context, including sharing Jesus’ narrative, which the Bible and Christian history treat as central. By providing context, we ensure a more accurate and comprehensive Gospel message and its implications.
  2. Emphasize Repentance. The Romans Road rightly focuses on faith in Christ. However, we must include repentance as the foundation for the complete Christian life. Incorporating the call to repentance, as emphasized by Jesus and the Bible, ensures a holistic Gospel presentation and underscores the need for genuine heart transformation and turning away from sin.
  3. Encourage Discipleship. Rather than solely emphasizing a one-time conversion, the Gospel requires discipleship for ongoing growth, learning, and obedience to Christ. Since salvation is a lifetime commitment, we follow Jesus’ instructions by having people count the cost (Luke 14:28-29). From the point of decision, we bring new believers to a faith community to develop spiritual gifts and mutual encouragement.
  4. Adapt to Context. Recognizing certain individuals and cultural contexts requires different approaches; we adapt the Romans Road accordingly. This may involve tailoring the Gospel presentation to address specific questions or sensitivities. The Gospel doesn’t change, but our mode of expression may. By being sensitive to the audience’s needs and backgrounds, we can communicate timeless truths in new ways to resonate with diverse people.
  5. Model Authenticity. Looking at Scripture, Jesus and others taught us that living faithful lives supports verbally sharing the Gospel message. The world will know we are Christ’s disciples by our love (John 13:35). Rather than approaching evangelism as a mere task or obligation, we should demonstrate genuine love, compassion, and humility as Gospel representatives. Our lives of transformation become evidence the Gospel transforms people.

By employing these principles, believers can effectively share the Gospel message in a faithful, relevant, and transformative way, leading others to encounter Jesus’ life-changing power.


Photo Credit:©GettyImages/eric1513

Britt MooneyBritt Mooney lives and tells great stories. As an author of fiction and non -iction, he is passionate about teaching ministries and nonprofits the power of storytelling to inspire and spread truth. Mooney has a podcast called Kingdom Over Coffee and is a published author of We Were Reborn for This: The Jesus Model for Living Heaven on Earth as well as Say Yes: How God-Sized Dreams Take Flight.