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RELIGION without REPENTANCE

RELIGION without REPENTANCE…is an empty and powerless lifestyle. There is nothing redemptive about it. In fact, it is counter-productive leading to fruitlessness, even frustration. There are so many religions in the world. According to Adherents.com, there are approximately 4,300 of them. Some have suggested it may be as many as 10,000. Only two religions can claim more than one billion adherents each. Christianity, in all of its iterations, has approximately 2 billion believers and Islam 1.3 to 1.5 billion. 

The same source states there are around 1 billion people who identify as agnostics, atheists, non-religious or secular. This number is higher than the estimated number in Hinduism, the third largest religion of 900 million. Chinese traditional religions have approximately 394 million. Buddhism has around 376 million and primal-indigenous religions 300 million. Well-known religions with significantly fewer adherents include Sikhism, Judaism, Jainism, Shinto and the Baha’i faith.

Excluding Christianity, what do all of these have in common? Except for the non-religious who, parenthetically, actually do believe in something, all are works-oriented. One must satisfy a superhuman god or gods by earning whatever they are seeking. Also, none of the others have any assurance of acceptance by their god(s), and certainly no assurance of eternal salvation. The lack of the provision of grace, much less mercy, pervades these ‘man-made religions‘. I say man-made, because they all originate from man’s need for religion, something bigger to believe in. Honestly, they are man’s attempt to fill the ‘God-shaped’ vacuum in each person’s heart, originating from the fall in the Garden of Eden.  

So, where does repentance enter the equation providing the necessary relationship to live an abundant, even eternal life? Many who define themselves as ‘Christian’ are so in name only, not really different from all other religions. Repentance means ‘to change one’s mind’. Jesus, right after he started his earthly ministry, commanded his first, and subsequent disciples to “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand” (Mt. 3:2 ESV). Sounds like an extremely vital first step for us as well.  

He continued to emphasize the critical importance of repentance. “No, I tell you, but unless you repent, you will all likewise perish” (Lk. 13:3 ESV). But there is good news in the gospel of grace. “Or do you presume on the riches of his kindness and forbearance and patience, not knowing that God’s kindness is meant to lead you to repentance?” (Rom. 2:4ESV). So, why do we need to repent? Jesus answers this clearly- “thus it is written, that the Christ should suffer and on the third day rise from the dead, and that repentance for the forgiveness of sins should be proclaimed in his name to all nations, beginning from Jerusalem” (Lk. 24:46-47 ESV). It is for forgiveness of our sins.  

Why is this so important? Because a holy and just God requires it. He knows what is best for us. To live every day in our own strength, not dealing with our sins of omission and commission, is not glorifying to him, and is in fact an act of pure disobedience for which we need to repent! He wants to give us fruitful lives. Confession (agreeing with God), leading to repentance is a part of our daily walk. His power is made manifest in and through a repentant heart.  

The Church, here and around the world, you and I, have been saved through belief in the gospel. “Christ died for our sins and rose from the dead” (I Cor. 15:1-5) This is an act of grace. We cannot earn or deserve it.  

None of these other religions is a product of grace, but a product of works. Scripture says they are filthy rags. Look at Isaiah 64:6. “All of us have become like one who is unclean, and all our righteous acts are like filthy rags; we all shrivel up like a leaf, and like the wind our sins sweep us away.” (NIV) 

But we can overcome; be instruments of righteous acts in his hands. It all starts with daily, if not more often, repentance. A repentant Church is a powerful Church! We need to awaken to the need of repentance. With it will come a revival, a great awakening. This happened in Solomon’s time and it is as true today as then. Pray and live like your very life depends on it, because it does. “If my people who are called by my name humble themselves, and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and heal their land” (2 Chron. 7:14 ESV). The verses following tell of the disastrous consequences of people who refuse this command. It’s serious business.

Christian believer, let’s get about bringing a ‘revival of repentance’. Starting today!       

Copyright 2019Bill C. Dotsonwww.revivalofrepentance.combill@revivalofrepentance.org

ABIDE in Christ,

BillBill C. Dotson Founder  Dallas Real Estate Ministries ( DREM)

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