Apologetics for the Masses #430 - The Roman (Catholic) Road

Bible Christian Society


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The Catholic Version of the Roman Road

General Comments

Hey folks,

     Just a reminder about my series, "Accessible Apologetics" that was recorded for a planned online Apologetics Institute by the Office of Evangelization of the Diocese of Birmingham.  It's the first of a 4-part series.  Episode 1 - the only episode edited and posted on YouTube so far - is titled: "Call No Man Father - Common Sense Strategies for Evangelization and Apologetics".  If you're interested in watching it, you can find it here on YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EkduRADTHQE.

     I'll let you know as the other episodes get edited and posted to YouTube in the near future.


     Continuing with my responses to your requests, I had someone email me and ask if I had a Catholic reply to the "Roman Road" (or "Romans Road") technique used by Protestants to get people "saved" through their Sola Fide - Salvation By Faith Alone - dogma.  If you're not familiar with the Roman Road, there is an explanation of it below.  Anyway, I didn't have a reply for it, so I came up with one.  It's not as short as some of the Roman Roads I've seen, but I think you'll understand why. Below is the email I received, and then a version of the Roman(s) Road, and then the Roman (Catholic) Road. 


Question From a Subscriber

Dear John,

Was wondering if you have a Catholic reply to the Roman Road?  I want to print some info to hang on doors or put in mailboxes in our community. We have a small parish in Western Pa. and it is in need of an influx of members. Something like the Roman Catholic Road.  In my personal estimation the Protestant version of the the Roman Road falls short of the desired goal.

Thank You and God Bless,

Michael G.


The Romans Road

(Adapted from www.learnreligions.com)

Romans Road is not a physical road, but a series of Bible verses from the book of Romans laying out God's plan of salvation. When arranged in order, these verses form an easy, systematic way of explaining the biblical message of salvation in Jesus Christ.

There are different versions of Romans Road with slight variations in Scriptures, but the basic message and method are the same. Evangelical missionaries, evangelists, and lay people memorize and use Romans Road when sharing the good news.
5 Questions Answered by Romans Road

Romans Road clearly answers these five questions:

    1. Who needs salvation?
    2. Why do we need salvation?
    3. How does God provide salvation?
    4. How do we receive salvation?
    5. What are the results of salvation?

Step 1 - Who Needs Salvation? (The Problem of Sin)

We must realize that we are all sinners in need of forgiveness.  Every person is guilty before God. We all fall short of the mark.

Romans 3:23
    "...since all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God."

Response: Confess that you are a sinner.

Step 2 - Why Do We Need Salvation? (The Wages of Sin)

The consequence of sin is death...both physical and spiritual.

Romans 6:23
    "For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord."

Response: Understand that, as a sinner, you deserve death.

Step 3 - How Does God Provide Salvation? (The Love of God)

There is nothing we can do in and of ourselves to be forgiven.  But, God loves us so much that he sent his son, Jesus Christ, to die for our sins. Through the death and resurrection of God's own Son, the debt we owed was satisfied.  His death paid the full price for our salvation.

Romans 5:8
    "But God shows his love for us in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us."

Response: Believe Jesus Christ died on the cross to save you from sin and death.

Step 4 - How Do We Receive Salvation? (The Free Gift)

We receive salvation and eternal life through faith in Jesus Christ. Anyone who places their trust in Jesus receives the promise of eternal life.

Romans 10:9-10
    "Because if you confess with your lips that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved."

Response: Repent and turn from your old life of sin to a new life in Christ by accepting Jesus into your heart as your personal Lord and Savior.

Step 5 - What Are the Results of Salvation?  (Accepting the Free Gift)

Once we believe, once we have faith, we can be sure that our salvation is secure.

Romans 5:1
    "Therefore, since we are justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ."

Response: Receive, through faith in Jesus Christ, God's free and eternal gift of salvation in Jesus Christ.


The Roman (Catholic) Road

The Roman Catholic Road clearly answers these six questions:

     1. Who is meant for salvation?
     2. Why do we need salvation?
     3. How does God provide salvation?
     4. When do we receive salvation?
     5. Must we abide in Christ for salvation?
     6. What must we do to abide in Christ?


Step 1 - Who Is Meant for Salvation? (God's Desire)

Salvation is meant for everyone.  God created us because He loves us and wants us to spend eternity with Him in Heaven.

1 Timothy 2:3-4
    "...God our Savior, Who desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth."

Response: Realize that God loves you and wants you to always be with Him.

Step 2 - Why Do We Need Salvation? (The Wages of Sin)

We were born of the flesh.  But, because of the effects of Original Sin, the flesh profits nothing.  The consequence of sin is death - physical death, but, even more importantly, spiritual death, which is eternal separation from God.

Ephesians 2:1-3
    "...you were dead through the trespasses and sins in which you once walked...and so we were, by nature, children of wrath, like the rest of mankind."

Response: Understand that sin separates you from God and that unless your sin is forgiven, you will remain separated from Him forever.

Step 3 - How Does God Provide Salvation? (The Love of God)

There is nothing we can do in and of ourselves to be forgiven.  But, God loves us so much that he sent his son, Jesus Christ, to die for the sins of all mankind.  Through His death and resurrection, we have all been redeemed.

1 John 4:10
     "In this is love, not that we loved God but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the expiation for our sins."

1 John 2:2

     "...and He is the expiation for our sins, and not for ours only, but also for the sins of the whole world."

Ephesians 2:4-5

     "But God, Who is rich in mercy, out of the great love with which He loved us, even when we were dead through our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved)..."

Response: Believe that you have salvation by the grace of God in and through Jesus Christ.


Step 4 - How Do We Receive Salvation? (The Free Gift)

Through Baptism we are saved.  Through Baptism we are born again of the Spirit, receive forgiveness of sin and the Holy Spirit, and become members of the Body of Christ.  Through Baptism we receive the free gift of God unto salvation.

Titus 3:4-7
    "But when the goodness and loving kindness of God our Savior appeared, He saved us, not because of deeds done by us in righteousness, but in virtue of His own mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewal in the Holy Spirit, which He poured out upon us richly through Jesus Christ our Savior, so that we might be justified by His grace and become heirs in hope of eternal life."

John 3:3-5

     "Truly, truly I say to you, unless one is born anew, he cannot see the kingdom of God...Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the Kingdom of God."

1 Peter 3:21

     "Baptism, which corresponds to this, now saves you."

Acts 2:38

     "And Peter said to them, 'Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins, and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.'"

1 Corinthians 12:13

     "For by one Spirit we were all baptized into one body..."

Response: Repent and be baptized for the forgiveness of your sins and receive the Holy Spirit and salvation in Christ.


Step 5 - Must We Abide in Christ for Salvation? (The Process of Salvation)

Once we have received the free gift of salvation by the grace of God through Jesus Christ in Baptism, is that it?  Are we guaranteed to spend eternity in Heaven?  No, we are not.  Salvation is not a one and done event.  It is a process. Paul talks of having been saved, of being saved, and how he will be saved - past, present, and future - process.  Scripture tells us that we must "abide," or remain, in Christ so that our salvation may be realized.  The word "abide," in and of itself, connotes process.

John 15:6
     "If a man does not abide in Me, he is cast forth as a branch and withers; and the branches are gathered, thrown into the fire, and burned.

Response: Stay close to Christ.  Avoid sin.


Step 6 - What Must We Do to Abide in Christ?  (Faith Working Through Love)

What all is involved in this "process" of salvation?  How exactly is it we "abide" in Christ.   

John 15:10
     "If you keep my commandments, you will abide in my love..."

1 John 3:24
   "All who keep His commandments abide in Him, and He in them."

John 6:56
     "He who eats My flesh and drinks My blood abides in Me, and I in him."

Romans 3:28
     "For we hold that a man is justified by faith..."  

Matthew 6:14-15
     "For if you forgive men their trespasses,your heavenly Father also will forgive you; but if you do not forgive men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses."

Matthew 7:21
     "Not everyone who says to Me, 'Lord, Lord,' shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father Who is in heaven."

Ephesians 2:8-9
     "For by grace you have been saved through faith, and this is not your own doing, it is the gift of God."

Romans 2:6-7
     "For He will render to every man according to his works: to those who by patience in well-doing seek for glory and honor and immortality, he will give eternal life."

Matthew 25:31-46
     "Come, O blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you...for I was hungry and you fed Me, I was thirsty and you gave Me drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed Me...And [the cursed] will go away into eternal punishment, but the righteous into eternal life."


Or, to sum all of this up:

Galatians 5:6
     "For in Christ Jesus, neither circumcision nor uncircumcision is of any avail, but faith working through love."

Faith and works, all by the grace of God...keeps us abiding in Christ.


The Roman Catholic Road - A Summary

We are given the free gift of salvation through Baptism - we did nothing to earn it.  But, even though we did nothing to earn it, we can indeed do something to lose it - sin.  Sin separates us from God.  Just as the Prodigal Son lost his inheritance that he had been given by his father, through sinful living, just so, after we have been given our inheritance - our salvation - freely by the grace of God through Baptism, we can lose it through sin.  Our faith and our works - our faith working through love - all done by the grace of God, help us to avoid sin and to become holy.  And, as Hebrews tells us:

Hebrews 12:14

     "Strive for peace with all men, and for the holiness without which no one will see the Lord."

Closing Comments

I hope all of you have a great week!


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Apologetics for the Masses