We, in the Restoration Movement, are dedicated to unity in Christ through the restoration of the New Testament Church. One of the most important aspects of this effort is restoring the New Testament plan of salvation. Unfortunately, the devil has succeeded in confusing this issue even among conservative Christians.
Why can’t we give the same answer to the question “What must I do to be saved?” One way to sort out this problem is to understand the keys of the Kingdom.
You will recall the Lord’s promise to Peter, after his good confession, that Peter would be given “the keys of the Kingdom” (Matthew 16:19). Keys are for opening doors. Peter was the first preacher to give the keys to enter the church or Kingdom of God to both the Jews on Pentecost (Acts 2) and to the Gentiles (Acts 10). The word “keys” does not refer to those two events, because the gospel message was the same for both occasions. Peter, rather, proclaimed the facts of the gospel and the terms God gave for entering the church – faith, repentance, confession, and baptism.
Evangelical Christians agree on the facts of the gospel (Christ’s atoning death, burial, and bodily resurrection), but still, differ on the terms for entering the kingdom of God. This was brought home to me again recently when one of my sons showed me a card distributed by a large Baptist church around the city where he lives. This card gave “The Bible Way to Heaven” as follows:
- Recognize your condition (then it quoted Romans 3:23).
- Realize sin’s penalty (Romans 6:23).
- Recognize where sin came from (Romans 5:12).
- Believe Christ died for you (Romans 5:8).
- Trust Christ as your Savior (Romans 10:13).
- Claim God’s promise for salvation (Romans 10:9-10).
The list closed with these words: “Now pray, confess that you are a sinner, ask God to save you, and receive Christ as your Savior.” No Scriptures are given for this formula because there are none.
The above plan of salvation is called the Roman Road. Many in our brotherhood use it. Most (but unfortunately not all) of them add Romans 6:3-5 to include baptism. However, I have never seen any version of the Roman Road which mentions repentance. Most evangelicals are content not to include repentance and baptism, although both were clearly included in the “Keys of the Kingdom” (Acts 2:38).