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Sure and certain salvation in Jesus Christ, the sinner's all-sufficient Saviour

Reader comment on item: Pope Benedict XVI and the Koran
in response to reader comment: To Lactantius

Submitted by Lactantius Jr (United Kingdom), Oct 30, 2006 at 16:39

Dear Hafiz

So, you're depending on Allah's mercy for salvation, without having the sure and certain assurance of salvation in the Lord Jesus Christ. My understanding of mercy, is not receiving something you deserve, so you're hoping that Allah will not give you what you deserve, BUT and what a but Hafiz, Grace is being given something you don't deserve, by a God Who loves you unconditionally, and gives you God's Riches At Christ's Expense

In my reading of the Qur'an, I can find nowhere that the Muslim is given assurance of salvation, with the very specific exception of killing and being killed as a shahid on jihad in Allah's service, as promised in Surah's 4:74; 9:111 and 61:10-12 On the contrary, those who put their trust in the Lord Jesus Christ don't have to go on jihad killing and being killed, and have an absolute assurance of salvation, and in my previous postings, I have outlined the sure and certain promises of the God of the Bible, made possible by Jesus' sacrifice for the sin of the whole world on the Cross, and this salvation is available to whoever wants it, and who will accept the Lord Jesus Christ, as their all-sufficient Saviour from sin.

The previous postings were:-

Mistakes http://www.danielpipes.org/comments/57616

Strength in weakness http://www.danielpipes.org/comments/57835

Which way will you go? http://www.danielpipes.org/comments/58101

Muhammad the sinner and where sure and certain salvation is found http://www.danielpipes.org/comments/63411

I see things most clearly, by comparison/contrast, and so I focus on the position of the sinner, who accepts that the God of the Bible has dealt with this, through the once-for-all sacrifice of the Lord Jesus Christ.

How then does He change us into people completely acceptable to Him? By giving us the righteousness of Christ as a gift. Listen to His Word in the Bible:

For if, by the trespass of one man, death reigned through that one man, how much more will those who receive God's abundant provision of grace and of the gift of righteousness reign in life through the one man, Jesus Christ…. For just as through the disobedience of the one man the many were made sinners, so also through the obedience of the one man the many will be made righteous.

Romans 5:17, 19

When somebody trusts in Jesus' atoning death for themselves, they are placed in Christ. This is what makes them righteous. They are made the righteousness of God in Him. This righteousness alone overcomes our desperate, sinful condition, and measures up to all the demands of God's holiness.

Here are some additional thoughts concerning this gift of God's righteousness that are received in Christ.

1) God's righteousness is a gift: the only righteousness God will receive back from us is His own. We can't make it ourselves. We can't earn it in any way as if to buy it from Him. We can't deserve it by any action, character, quality, or special knowledge we obtain. Rather, it is a gift, like rain falling on flowers. It is no more difficult for God to save a big sinner than a small one. Criminals, terrorists, megalomaniacs and good people all need the same righteousness. This is because of the wickedness of sin and the absolute moral and ethical purity of God. Sin is so bad, it took the death of God's sinless Son to atone for it.

2) God's righteousness is unchangeable. God does not change so His righteousness does not change. It is the same righteousness that Paul received, that all the great Christians through history received, and that we, too, receive. It is the privilege of all who believe in the Lord Jesus Christ. Saints, priests, ministers, missionaries do not possess a greater righteousness before God.

3) God's righteousness is permanent. Once received, it is ours forever. For example, we don't become Christians by just confessing our sins. We can't remember all of our sins and there's always tomorrow. Confession is like trying to mop up the floor with the tap running. Salvation is an act of God by which we belong to Him forever.

Listen to God's word again: For by one offering He has perfected for all time those who are sanctified Hebrews 10:14

4) When we receive Christ, we receive the full righteousness of God. It takes us all the way to heaven. It is heresy to say, "God would love me more if I were better." 24 hours a day, the Lord Jesus Christ supplies what God demands.

We are made righteous in fact, not fiction or imagination, before the Holy God. This is why the Apostle Paul could say, "Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus." Romans 8:1 This is how God can say to us:

"What then, shall we say in response to this? If God is for us, who can be against us? He who did not spare His own Son, but gave Him up for us all—how will He not also, along with Him, graciously give us all things? Who will bring any charge against those whom God has chosen? It is God Who justifies. Who is he that condemns? Christ Jesus, who died—more than that, Who was raised to life—is at the right hand of God and is also interceding for us. Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword?... No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us. For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord."

Romans 8:31-39

With this gift of righteousness that justifies us before God, we are put into a position of safety and privilege that neither the world, nor Satan can wreck. We are in Christ, surrounded, supported, protected, encompassed by, and identified with Him, the Lord of the universe. His righteousness, purity, merit, grace, and power are given to us as a free gift.

And as if that is not enough, God in grace enriches that position by giving us a new identity. Believers in Christ are given a number of titles when we believe to explain our new status.

Our New Status: Saint, Citizen, Adopted Child ,Son

1. Saint: The primary Biblical meaning of this word does not refer to a position attained by exceptional merit or holiness, but a state God calls us into by justifying us. The Greek word hagios means "holy one", "sanctified," "set apart." This is how God views every believer because of Jesus' work on the cross: justified, fully forgiven, cleansed, pure, spotless and holy. 1 Corinthians 1:2; Philippians 4:21; 2 Thessalonians 1:10; Jude 3

2. Citizen: We are now citizens of heaven, of a kingdom, realm and country that will last forever with an eternal King at its head. Ephesians 2:19; Philippians 3:20

3. Child of God: This emphasizes the fact of the new birth, that one is made a child of God at the moment of faith. God adopts us legally and regenerates us through His Spirit, placing us in His family and He becomes our heavenly Father. John 1:12,13

4. Son of God: This emphasizes the new legal status of the believer regardless of gender and also stresses the dignity and exalted character of our position in God's family. It speaks of intimate relationship, privileges, responsibilities, and inheritance. Again, justification provides the basic relationship upon which God confers sonship as He indwells us with His Spirit. Romans 8:14-21; Galatians 4:4-7

All of these are conferred on the believer by grace. They are gifts given on the basis of justification, and God enriches the relationship through regeneration and the indwelling of the Holy Spirit. It is all done on the basis of Christ's merit, not our own. These are conferred because of our position in Christ, not because of anything special in us. These are all facets of what it means to be "in Christ"- our true position in God's eyes once we have received His gift of righteousness in Christ in salvation.

B. A Muslim's position with Allah

Consider the contrast Islam provides, in what is offered the Muslim believer.

1. The Title ‘Abd: "Slave; Servant" of Allah

In the Qur'an, this is the normal title for a human being in his relationship to Allah as a creature and possession of Allah. It also has the sense of worship and worshiper. Though the basic idea is that of slavery, there is also dignity in that it is an honour to be even a slave to Allah. Becoming a believer in the Islamic sense does not elevate a person above this level; even prophets are regarded as human slaves of Allah. Surah 43:59 has Allah saying of the Lord Jesus Christ, "He is nothing but a slave on whom We bestowed favour." Surah 19:30 puts these words into the mouth of the Lord Jesus Christ as an infant, "Lo, I am a slave of Allah…" In Islam, Allah is every person's master and the individual has no claim over his life. He is the property of Allah who has the right to use or dispose of him in any way He pleases. There is no mutuality in the relationship with Allah, no covenants, no unconditional promises, no family relationship, and no personal relationship with Allah as the Bible teaches there are with God. Fear of the terrors of judgement is the chief motivation for obedience for the Muslim believer.

Even in al janna, the heaven described by the Qur'an, the greatest thing a Muslim might attain is the possibility of having a sight or vision of Allah, but does not live with him or have communion and friendship with him. This is such a far thing from the eternal bliss Christians are promised in enjoying the very presence of the Lord.

Also, Christians, by believing in Christ, are elevated from the basic position of a creature/slave/servant before Allah to being a child and intimate friend in God's family. Listen to the Lord Jesus Christ's words recorded in John 15:14,15

"You are My friends, if you do what I command you. No longer do I call you slaves; for the slave does not know what his master is doing; but I have called you friends, for all things that I have heard from My Father I have made known to you."

2. No Justification of the sinner in Islam

Islam has no doctrine of atonement, no substitution by a Saviour, no justification of the believer by the sacrifice of Christ. The Qur'an denies the crucifixion even happened Surah 4:157 and offers a salvation based on the person's good works and repentance, rather than on the merit of a Saviour. The Qur'an teaches repeatedly that no one can bear another's burden of sin Surah 6:165; 17:15; 29:12,13; 35:18; 39:7; 53:38

CONCLUSION

A Muslim has merely adopted a way of life he believes is the right one and hopes might earn al janna for him.

The Christian, however, has entered a new state of being, and stands in a different position before God than the rest of humanity; He is "in Christ" and as such is completely forgiven and is in a unique position of privilege and blessing. It is one even the angels do not share in. He is in God's own family, made His own children, given a sure inheritance and a glorious destiny as citizens in His eternal kingdom. Listen to how God puts it in 2 Corinthians 5:17-21:

"Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come! All this is from God, who reconciled us to Himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation: that God was reconciling the world to Himself in Christ, not counting men's sins against them. And He has committed to us the message of reconciliation. We are therefore Christ's ambassadors, as though God were making His appeal through us. We implore you on Christ's behalf: Be reconciled to God. God made Him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in Him we might become the righteousness of God."

I rejoice in my position in Christ. I have received it as a gift and not because of anything I have done, or can do, to earn it. I have no reason to be arrogant. Rather, from my helpless state as a weak, defiled, rebellious sinner condemned before God, I have been given a position of complete forgiveness, purity, blessing, strength, and security. Let me not abuse this trust, but rather with humility, grace, initiative, and boldness act as God's ambassador and extend His reconciliation in Christ to Muslims and all who have not heard or believed the Gospel. I therefore beg you Hafiz, to accept what God has done for you through the sacrifice of the Lord Jesus Christ, and then, we will meet in glory, "When the Roll is called up yonder."

The Lord Jesus Christ came "so that you may have life, and have it in all its fullness" John 10:10 He promises that:- "I give them eternal life, and they will never perish. No one can snatch them away from me." John 10:28 and the Apostle John tells us why he wrote his Injil ("news which brings joy"), "The disciples saw Jesus do many other miraculous signs in addition to the ones recorded in this book. But these are written so that you may continue to believe that Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God, and that by believing in Him you will have life by the power of His name." John 20:30-31

Truly Hafiz, the Lord Jesus Christ is the sinners all-sufficient Saviour, you can trust Him, you can have absolute confidence in Him, and as the Injil says:- "This confidence is like a strong and trustworthy anchor for our souls." Hebrews 6:19 please put your trust in the God Who can be absolutely depended on to keep His promise, "Without wavering, let us hold tightly to the hope we say we have, for God can be trusted to keep His promise." Hebrews 10:23

Get your anchor down Hafiz, make sure "knowfully" not "hopefully."

With kind regards and best wishes, and I gladly return your greeting of peace, in the Name of the Lord Jesus Christ Who said:- "I am leaving you with a gift—peace of mind and heart. And the peace I give is a gift the world cannot give. So don't be troubled or afraid.

John 14:27

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