Making our way through Romans reminds me of something I learned as a kid that is called “Romans Road.” It is meant to be an evangelistic tool that uses several verses taken from throughout Romans to tell the story of what God has done for us. It goes something like this (you’ll find some versions that vary a bit):
For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God. Romans 3:23
The wages of sin is death. Romans 6:23a
But the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord. Romans 6:23b
God demonstrates his own love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. Romans 5:8
Whoever will call upon the name of the Lord will be saved. Romans 10:13
There is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. Romans 8:1
We see our fallen condition, sin, and its consequence, death. And there is nothing we can do about it. But Christ takes that consequence on himself, dying for us, and gives to us his righteousness and eternal life. All we must do is place our trust in him. In Christ we are no longer guilty, for there is no condemnation in him.
It summarizes nicely a lot of what Paul writes, but it is good to remember that this is just a selection of the book, and if it said it all, Paul probably wouldn’t have gone on to write the entire letter. But it tries to lay out our sinfulness and hopeless condition apart from the saving work of God. In the end, Jesus is the only hope for this world.
We should not forget that emphasis–for the world. Jesus’ death is not only something for me personally, but it is a cosmic event that changed all of creation. His death and resurrection change everything, and as Paul writes in his opening, Jesus is now declared to be Son of God and is the judge over all the earth. In his humility and sacrifice he has been glorified and given the name that is above all names. The world is truly a different place because of the life, death, and resurrection of our Lord, Jesus Christ.
I hope this helps you better understand some of what Paul is writing to the church in Rome. These are also some great passages to commit to memory, if you’re in the market for some new memory verses.