In the early days of missions, missionaries would take the Gospel into areas where the Gospel had never been heard. Some places would have heard the Gospel, but hardly anyone believed, or there was serious persecution from unbelievers.
Today many missions fields have changed…..
they have become religious!
The area of Saint Vincent where I live is a community called Barrouallie. If you include both my community, and the two just over the hill, there are more than ten churches in less than a ten-mile area! Every Sunday dozens of families can be seen walking to church because its an integral part of the community. So much so that during the pandemic, churches were only asked to close for one weekend.
There are blessings to being in a religious mission field
- People care about the things of God (I pass out tracts almost every day, and people take them)
- Acts of sin won’t be tolerated
- and there are many open doors to talk about the Lord
But regardless of those blessings, I would rather not live in a religious mission field
Because there is a huge difference between being religious, and being saved!
The old saying is “before you get somebody saved you have to get them lost first.” Its true that only after a person stops relying on their own good works that they are ready to be saved. Because Salvation is based on faith alone instead of any works.
The problem with religion is it’s based on good works
- Going to church
- Reading your Bible
- telling others about Christ (etc)
These good works are meant to be a FRUIT of Salvation that proves we are God’s children. But the can never be the foundation for perfection, because God’s standard is perfection. If God let one sinner into Heaven who had not accepted Christ, He would not be perfect, and therefore not God!
Unfortunately Satan deceives many individuals into believing religion is the same thing as saved. This leads countless individuals who thought they were saved into a Christless eternity.
This is why Christians must make a very clear distinction between those who religious, and those who are saved.
While in Australia as a missionary, I was able to volunteer in a conversational English group, that had quite a few different religious represented. Towards the end of a session the Lord led me to explain the difference between religion and salvation so I said “I hate religion”!
I chose not to elaborate on that statement, so the next week another volunteer asked me “why did you say that”? And in front of many religious people, I explained that good works changing your hands can never change your heart.
There are days I wish the Lord called me to a pagan country.
Because the religious ones are harder to reach.