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Counterfeit religion

March 1995 | by Don Fortner

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Spot the difference

There are but two religions in this world. One is true; the other is false. The religion of the Bible is the religion of free grace. It traces salvation to God and ascribes the work of salvation to God alone. All false religion is the religion of free will. Freewillism, no matter what denominational name it wears, traces salvation to man. It does not omit God altogether, but it ascribes salvation to men, not to God. It makes the determining factor in salvation to be the will, work and worth of man. Here are four glaring differences between true religion and false religion.

True religion gladly submits to and rejoices in God’s reign. All who truly worship God delight to know that he is God and that, as God, he reigns everywhere, absolutely. He always does as he wills in creation, providence, and grace (Psalm 115:3; 135:6; Romans 9: 11-24). All false religion rebels against God’s sovereignty and seeks to place limitations upon the Almighty in order to make allowance for the power of man’s imaginary free will.

True religion delights in God’s righteousness. False religion goes about the business of establishing righteousness (Romans 10:3). All who are saved by the grace of God recognize that their righteous deeds are but filthy rags in God’s sight. The believer knows that the only righteousness he has is the righteousness of God in Christ imputed to him in justification and imparted to him in regeneration. Christ is our Righteousness (Jeremiah 23:6; 1 Corinthians 1:30).

True religion glories in God’s redemption (Galatians 6:14). False religion makes redemption’s efficacy to be contingent upon the sinner’s will. upon the sinner’s decision to trust Jesus. The faith of God’s elect is a faith that arises from and is the fruit of the effectually accomplished redemption of the son of God (Isaiah 53: 10-11; Hebrews 9:12; Galatians 3:1). False religion says, ‘Redemption is possible.’ True religion says, ‘Christ has redeemed us!’

True religion is the result of God’s regeneration. False religion makes the new birth to be something determined by the will of man; whereas the gospel of the grace of God proclaims the new birth as the sovereign, almighty, irresistible work of God the Holy Spirit upon spiritually dead sinners (John 3:5-8).