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God's Revolutionary Demand
This article is an abridgement of a much longer essay written at the request of the World Council of Churches. It was published in the July 21, 1967 issue of Christianity Today.
The word on the lips of the peoples of the world today is "revolution." Every few days we read in our newspapers of another revolution somewhere in the world; an old regime has been overthrown and a new regime has taken over. Conversion is a revolution in the life of an individual. The old forces of sin, self-centeredness, and evil are overthrown from their place of supreme power. Jesus Christ is put on the throne.
No one can read the New Testament without recognizing that its message calls for conversion. Jesus said: "Except ye be converted … ye shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven" (Matt. 18:3). Paul encouraged men to "be … reconciled to God" (2 Cor. 5:20) and insisted that God now "commandeth all men everywhere to repent" (Acts 17:30). Paul viewed his office as that of an ambassador for Christ "as though God did beseech you by us" (2 Cor. 5:20). It was James who said: "Let him know, that he which converteth the sinner from the error of his way shall save a soul from death, and shall hide a multitude of sins" (Jas. 5:20), and Peter taught that we are "born again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, by the word of God, which liveth and abideth forever" (1 Pet. 1:23).
In reading the New Testament we are confronted with many incidents of men and women who encountered Christ either personally or through hearing the message preached. Something happened to them! None of their experiences were identical, but most of them experienced a change of mind and attitude and entered an entirely new dimension of living.
In my opinion ...1