As Christians we have many opportunities to come in contact with Muslims, maybe at Starbucks, the grocery store or at work. It is not very tough these days to meet them. They are our neighbors, colleagues and fellow citizen of this great nation. Because so many people from different parts of the world with various backgrounds and different beliefs have come to this country, makes it much easier for us to share what we believe as Christians. We don’t necessarily have to travel abroad on mission trips. I do respect and admire those who do have the calling of God to go out into the world. God has brought many of them right here to America, from Europe, China, Asia and of course the Middle East. In the past I had plenty of conversations with Muslims, some of them were moderates almost secular and some of them very religious following the Quran. It is always exiting and interesting to me, starting up a conversation about God and faith.
I like to share my faith when the opportunity arises, and as Paul said: “For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ, for it is the power of God to salvation for everyone who believes, for the Jew first and also for the Greek” (Gentiles). Rom 1:16.
In the past I have tried to show them that the Bible is the true word of God versus the Quran. That Jesus was and is more than just a prophet of God. But those conversation never really went anywhere. Most Muslims have made up there mind that the Bible is corrupted and the Quran is the true book and that Muhammad is the greatest prophet of God. Most of these conversations or debates just go back and forth without any real outcome or a changed mind on either side. I believe that we have to go to the fundamentals, one of them is the subject of a just God.
Asking Muslims about Allah and how they view him, they will answer most likely with that Allah is just. Allah is a just god. My second question to them is, I am a sinner and you are a sinner, both of us will die and one day and stand before God to face judgment. If Allah is just, how do you as a Muslim have assurance to make into paradise? If Allah is a just god, he has to punish sin, he cannot let sin go unpunished.
Most likely the answer is that Allah is also merciful. That is what Muslims believe. Allah is just and at the same time merciful. If sin demands justice i.e. the punishment for the offense, how can Allah be just and at the time be merciful. If Allah is just and merciful at the same time, would he not compromise being just?
It would be like a criminal found guilty before the jury for his crime and the judge saying, well I feel really good this morning, I will let you off the hook. That judge would not be just. He would have compromised justice. Some may argue that they can be merciful and just let someone go. That is a human perspective and many people may think that way, but none of them or any of us for that matter know true righteousness. If Allah is a just god, he cannot be just and merciful at the same time. And that in my view is a dilemma for the Muslims.
A dilemma, because Muslims cannot be sure if they are good enough to make it into paradise. There is no loving relationship with Allah. So they try to weigh out the good and bad they have done, in hope that Allah will be merciful and let them into Paradise.
That is another reason that we see so many suicide bombers. For them according to the radical Islamist, it’s a short cut and assured entry into paradise where they will be welcomed by 72 virgins.
Do Christians have the same dilemma as the Muslims? The Bible clearly teaches the God is just and cannot let sin go unpunished. God is also perfect in His Holiness and a perfect God cannot compromise His justness. The Bible declares that all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God. We all have offended God, no matter who we are or from where we are, we all have fallen short i.e. missed the mark. How can God be appeased? How can we get a right standing before Almighty God?
The Bible says that we cannot come before God and stand on our own righteousness or by our works. The Bible also says that the law cannot make us righteous and save us from the wrath of God. What are we to do, how can we escape the punishment for our sins? May I say, nothing? God has provided a way out, and that way is Jesus Christ.
God in His foreknowledge has determined long ago before the foundation of the world that He would send His only begotten Son. Jesus Christ is the propitiation i.e. satisfaction or appeasement for our sins. Jesus who knew no sin became sin for the sinners. He suffered on the cross and paid the penalty that we deserved as sinners with His blood. Justice was served without God compromising His justness, and because the penalty for the sin of the world was paid in Christ, God by His grace showed mercy to those who will believe by faith in His Son Jesus. God loves us so much that He provided, the unblemished passover lamb, the only acceptable sacrifice and payment for fallen man.
The God of the Bible YHWH is truly just and merciful without compromising His perfect Holiness. For a Christian there is no dilemma, God is Holy, just and merciful to those who believe in His Son and His finished work on the cross.
The Islamic faith however has a dilemma, and if you are a Muslim, you have to ask yourself this question: How can Allah be just and at the same time be merciful? Do I have assurance of eternal life?
“He indeed was foreordained before the foundation of the world, but was manifest in these last times for you who through Him believe in God, who raised Him from the dead and gave Him glory, so that your faith and hope are in God.” 1Peter 1;20, 21
“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ, just as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before Him in love, having predestined us to adoption as sons by Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the good pleasure of His will, to the praise of the glory of His grace, by which He made us accepted in the Beloved.” Eph 1:3-6