Truth, as I tell my oldest, is hard to swallow. Most everyone has trouble with a truth revealed to them at some point in their lives. For many, it’s the simple realization that there is a God who created the universe and not random chance that brought the universe into being. For others, it’s hard to accept the truth that Jesus was raised from the dead. After all, dead is dead, right?

For me, however, today revealed one of the hardest truths I’ve ever had to accept…that I was wrong.

For years, I’ve been taught that The Roman Road was the way to salvation. You had to go through each individual step, really (REALLY) believe in your heart that God and Jesus are who They say They are, then pray a prayer, and then you’ll be saved. Did I mention that you really, really, really, really had to believe?

In September, I started taking a class at Fellowship Bible Church on the doctrine of Soteriology (salvation). It’s definitely been an eye-opener; let me tell you. I’ve had to accept several truths, but today was the kicker. Earlier in the class, we (me and the seventy or so other people in the class) learned that we Christians have a tendency to complicate the Bible. *dramatic gasp* The following week, we learned that the only condition for eternal life was belief (John 3:16). A five-step verse list and prayer wasn’t needed at all.

Salvation has at least three meanings – much like other words in the English language have two or three or seven different meanings, based on how we use them. Look for context clues, I keep telling my oldest during her Language Arts lessons. The same goes for searching the Bible, especially the New Testament, with regards to salvation.

Meaning #1: Eternal life
This is usually found in book of John and means just that. John was written to unbelievers in particular and focuses on how one can have eternal life (freedom from Hell and eternal damnation). (John 20:30-31)

Meaning #2: Salvation from Sin
This is a continuing, lifelong process that requires the Christian (a believer) to repent of sins committed in order to maintain a close, daily relationship with God. If sin is not repented (although Jesus has already forgiven us of it), we can fall out of fellowship with God. This means we’re not staying connected with Him. It’s kind of like when you stop talking to your husband or wife and expect your relationship to stay the same. It doesn’t.

Meaning #3: Eternal Reward
If you’re like me, you teach your children to do good deeds and not expect anything back for doing them. A good deed isn’t a good deed if you get paid for it, right? Contrary to this, Christians are encouraged to do good deeds (help others, give to missions, pray for others, help one another, and so on) and “lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven.” (Matthew 6:19-21) Basically, we get paid! (1 Tim 5:18, John 4:36)

I won’t get into our payment; that’s another post or five by itself. Suffice to say, it’s what we’re given for our witness here on earth. If you read over the parable of the talents (Matthew 25:14-30), you’ll understand a little better.

Now, back to my main point.

One of the points in class today that we focused on was Romans 10:9-10, a familiar passage to many.

“that if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. For with the heart one believes unto righteousness, and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.”

This passage is taken completely out of context when it’s inserted into the Roman Road plan of salvation. Confession isn’t a prerequisite for eternal life but it is a requirement for salvation from daily sin or a particular sin you can’t seem to get free of (overeating, anger, pornography, etc). And, if you take a look at Romans 10:1, this was actually written about Israel’s salvation in particular. Paul is speaking to believers in Rome to encourage them not to forget about Israel, God’s chosen nation, and the fact that Israel needs to be saved in order to enter into a close relationship with God, a relationship they haven’t had for many hundreds of years when Paul wrote this.

This actually hit me really hard. For years, I’ve always believed the passage was written to everyone and was necessary for eternal life. I even put this passage (along with four others) on my page – “The Roman Road”.

I was wrong. (Trust me, it gets easier to say the more you say it.) Although I’ve been convicted about my beliefs since I started this class, today just drove it home. I’ve come on here and removed my plan of salvation page. You won’t find “The Roman Road” on here anymore. There’s no need for it.

I know it’s a bit pointless to wish I would’ve been offered this class as a teenager since we only have truths revealed to us when we’re ready for them, but I do. I would feel more well-founded in apologetics than I think I am.