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Please choose life Abd Allah

Reader comment on item: Is Allah God? - Continued
in response to reader comment: a word to my brother

Submitted by Lactantius Jr (United Kingdom), Mar 27, 2007 at 17:16

To Abd Allah

Thank you for speaking openly, please let me reciprocate. You have said so much I would like to interact with, but for now, won't do that, instead, I will concentrate on the very heart of your posting. In saying:- "CHRISTIANITY, ISLAM, JEWISM (sic)..........these 3 religions have a strong bond..........which most people are unaware of.........learn about these religions...and you would know about THIS BOND," you deny the massive difference between Christianity and Islam, Islam being a profound theological opponent of Christianity, denying The Lord Jesus Christ's divinity, saying He was just a man, a good man, but nowhere near as good as Muhammad, saying that trusting the Lord Jesus for salvation is blasphemy, saying that He wasn't crucified, saying that Allah (upon whom be peace), put a "lookalike" on the Cross, (and if Allah's deception is to be believed), deceived Christians at the time, deceiving Christians and Muslims for the last 1,400 years, and by denying the Lord Jesus' crucifixion, knows nothing about His glorious resurrection from the dead, on which Christianity absolutely stakes its claim to validity.

Christianity and Islam don't disagree on much do they? only on "incidentals" like the nature and lostness of human beings, on the nature and character of the Biblical God and the Qur'anic Allah, on sin and salvation, heaven and hell, on how to attain the first and avoid the second, they don't differ much do they "Abd Allah?" which "strong bond" between Christianity and Islam do you have in mind?

I now quote some ayat from the Qur'an, and I do so not because it is authoritative for me, I quote it believing you, as a Muslim will accept as authoritative what it says of the Bible, both Old and New Testaments. (quoting Abdullah Yusuf Ali's translation):-

"Let the people of the Gospel judge by what Allah hath revealed therein. If any do fail to judge by (the light of) what Allah hath revealed, they are (no better than) those who rebel." Surah 5:47

"If only they had stood fast by the Law, the Gospel, and all the revelation that was sent to them from their Lord, they would have enjoyed happiness from every side. There is from among them a party on the right course: but many of them follow a course that is evil." Surah 5:66

"Say: ‘O People of the Book! ye have no ground to stand upon unless ye stand fast by the Law, the Gospel, and all the revelation that has come to you from your Lord.' It is the revelation that cometh to thee from thy Lord, that increaseth in most of them their obstinate rebellion and blasphemy. But sorrow thou not over (these) people without Faith." Surah 5:68

Demonstrating from the Qur'an that you can trust what the Bible says, I now concentrate on the Biblical diagnosis of our problem, and the cure made freely available to us by the God of the Bible, described in His printed Words, the Bible, and supremely demonstrated in His Living Word, the Lord Jesus Christ. Believing the Bible to be all-sufficient in matters of belief, conduct and doctrine, I quote it extensively, and the Biblical references I quote may be referred to in numerous translations at:- http://www.biblegateway.com/ and I suggest a modern-language translation such as The New Living Translation, or the Contemporary English Translation, but whichever translation you use, it's the same Gospel, the same good, good news, or news which brings joy.

Mentioning "bad" and "good" people, be they, Christian, Muslim, Jewish, Hindu or Buddhist etc. points to the very heart of our problem, which is that everybody has a fatal disorder, the Lord Jesus Christ saying "……………no one is good except God alone." Mark 10:18 with the heart of the problem being the problem of the human heart, "the heart being desperately wicked" Jeremiah 17:9 the Bible diagnosing the "heart" of our problem, using that much-misunderstood little word, sin. Sin is anything that is contrary to the law or will of God. For example: if we lie, we have sinned. Why? Because God has said not to lie Exodus 20:16. If we do what God has forbidden, then we have sinned. In addition, if we do not do what God has commanded, we sin James 4:17. Either way, the result is eternal separation from God Isaiah 59:2. Sin is lawlessness 1 John 1:3 and unrighteousness 1 John 5:17. Sin leads to bondage Rom. 6:14-20 and death Romans 6:23. The Bible saying "For everyone has sinned; we all fall short of God's glorious standard." Romans 3:23 and "the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life through Christ Jesus our Lord." Romans 6:23

Everyone has sinned, everyone that is except the Lord Jesus Christ, the Bible and the Qur'an agreeing that He alone was without sin, and being absolutely sinless, He was able to be "The lamb of God Who takes away the sins of the world." John 1:29 the Bible affirming He "…………..came into the world to save sinners." 1 Timothy 1`:15 and that "God showed His great love for us by sending Christ to die for us while we were still sinners." Romans 5:8 reality being that the Biblical God has taken the initiative (and what an initiative!!), in providing a solution to our massive problem as sinners, utterly helpless and unable to save ourselves, the Bible clearly describing the salvation available in and through the Lord Jesus Christ, and Him only, saying "For God loved the world so much that He gave His one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in Him will not perish but have eternal life." John 3:16 and that, "If you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is by believing in your heart that you are made right with God, and it is by confessing with your mouth that you are saved." Romans 10:9-10 saying very clearly that, "There is salvation in no one else! God has given no other Name under heaven by which we must be saved." Acts 4:12

Only Christianity has such good news for sinners, we're not worth it, we don't deserve it, we can't earn it, with the Biblical God promising forgiveness to those who ask Him for it, do we want it?:-

"If we say that we have not sinned, we are fooling ourselves, and the truth isn't in our hearts. But if we confess our sins to God, He can always be trusted to forgive us and take our sins away." 1 John 1:8-9

I now consider what the Bible has to say about those who are "in Christ," and compare/contrast that, to the Muslim's position with Allah.

When someone 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 get so that we 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 Jesus. Saints, priests, ministers, missionaries do not possess a greater righteousness before God.

3) God's righteousness is permanent. Once we receive it, 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 sink overflowing. Salvation is an act of God by which we belong to God 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 Jesus supplies what God demands. Hebrews 7:25-28

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 follower of Jesus' because of His 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

We often see things more clearly in contrast. 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 Jesus, "He is nothing but a slave on whom We bestowed favour." Surah 19:30 puts these words into the mouth of the infant Jesus, "Lo, I am a slave of Allah…" In Islam, Allah is every person's master and the individual has no claim over his life. They are the property of Allah who has the right to use or dispose of them 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 the God revealed in the Bible, and suprememly in the Lord Jesus Christ. Fear of the terrors of judgement is the chief motivation to obedience for the Muslim believer.

Also, the Qur'an emphasizes different attributes for Allah than those possessed by the God of the Bible. His power, sovereignty, and right to judge are emphasized rather than His love. He is an impersonal being, separate from his creation revealing not himself, but his will to his creatures. "Islam" means submission, not peace, and "Muslim" means ‘one who submits.'

Even in al-janna, the ‘paradise' 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 God to being a child and intimate friend in God's family. Listen to Jesus' words 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 possible 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

Committed to following Jesus, the Christian has entered a new state of being. They are in a different position before God than the rest of humanity; they are "in Christ" and as such are completely forgiven and are in a unique position of privilege and blessing. It is one even the angels do not share in. They are 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."

Let us rejoice in our position in Christ. We have received it as a gift and not because of anything we have done to earn it. We have no reason to be arrogant. Rather, from our helpless state as weak, defiled, rebellious sinners condemned before God, we have been given a position of complete forgiveness, purity, blessing, strength, and security. Let us not abuse this trust, but rather with humility, grace, initiative, and boldness act as God's ambassadors and extend God's reconciliation in Christ to Muslims and all who have not heard or believed the Gospel.

Going for the Max, are you up for it?

Christianity stands alone in worshipping a God Who "went public" around 2,000 years ago, when He paid us a visit, coming to live amongst us as Jesus Christ, that very special baby Whose very birth was so special that it divided human reckoning of time into before He was born BC, and after He was born AD. The baby Who went on to grow into someone Who said and did truly amazing things, and Who died a hideous death by crucifixion when He was around 30 years old. But (that lovely little word), He didn't stay dead, as He said He would, He rose from the dead, "truly, you can't keep a good man down," amazingly He's been alive for the last 2,000 years, and He's coming back, yes, there really is going to be a ‘judgement day,' what will the judgement be? for me and for you Abd Allah?

The Bible makes many absolute truth claims for Jesus Christ, as He does Himself, underlining His authority for saying them, by rising to eternal life after His crucifixion, and by changing messed-up lives and by giving new life to anyone who will "put themselves under His new management."

Christianity is often accused of being "pie in the sky when you die," but my experience and that of countless others is that it's "steak on the plate whilst you wait," and this can be your experience, but you have to go for it, and anyway, who wants "pain in the pit when you flit?"

What now? What if I do? What if I don't?

What If I Do?

If we "put ourselves under His management," God forgives us and He treats us as if we had never messed-up, and enables us to live a life pleasing to us and to Him, we become "part of the family" again, and He guarantees we will be with Him always. The choice is ours.

What If I Don't?

We're in a mess, we have a problem, a massive problem, we're sinners and we need a Saviour, and that's the Lord Jesus' job, which only He can do. Only Christianity has such good news for sinners, but we must accept God's rescue-plan before we die, since death ends the opportunity of being rescued, and if we turn His rescue-plan down, we'll face judgement as unforgiven sinners and receive the due penalty, that being a living death in the place called hell, but nobody needs to be there, so please stay out of it "Abd Allah."

Counting The Cost

The cost of becoming a follower of the Lord Jesus Christ can sometimes be very high. In some parts of the world it can cost your life. In the West, that is not yet likely, and the worst that will happen is that you will be laughed at, sworn at and ridiculed. Nevertheless, if you decide to follow Jesus, God will take it very seriously. He will work in your heart and in your life to change you and make you more like Him. Sometimes this is an easy journey and other times it can be difficult, but you will be given His strength to face and overcome whatever happens.

Christianity is not a truth to be affirmed, but a Gospel to be received, a Gospel which possesses content, and which presents truth claims that demand our keenest arguments and boldest proclamation. This is what it means to become a Christian, to have God at work in your life, when He's on your case. What a wonderful journey it is.

We're all going to live for ever, BUT we have to choose our address, which are you going to choose "Abd Allah?"

"Today I have given you the choice between life and death, between blessings and curses. Now I call on heaven and earth to witness the choice you make. Oh, that you would choose life, so that you and your descendants might live!" Deuteronomy 30:19

"In the Scriptures God says, ‘When the time came, I listened to you, and when you needed help, I came to save you.' That time has come. This is the day for you to be saved."

2 Corinthians 6:2

Please choose life Abd Allah.

With kind regards and best wishes

Lactantius Jr


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