A Crucifixion and a Resurrection
For I delivered to you first of all that which I also received: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, and that He was buried, and that He rose again the third day according to the Scriptures (1 Corinthians 15:3-4).
A woman wrote to a radio minister and said, “Our teacher said that on Good Friday, Jesus just swooned on the cross and that His Disciples nursed Him back to health. What do you think?” The minister replied, “Dear sister, beat your teacher with a leather whip for 39 heavy strokes. Nail him to a cross. Hang him in the sun for six hours. Run a spear through his heart. Embalm him with spices. Put him in an almost airless tomb for three days, and then see what happens.” Jesus was crucified and now He is alive.
But to him who does not work but believes on Him who justifies the ungodly, his faith is accounted for righteousness … Blessed are those whose lawless deeds are forgiven, and whose sins are covered; Blessed is the man to whom the LORD shall not impute sin (Romans 4:5-8; emphasis mine).
God will not unjustly wave off your sins. It would be immoral if a civil judge just waves people’s crimes away and decrees that a dozen murderers and rapists are forgiven because he wants to set them free. We would say that the judge is not good, and his unjust decree is reprehensible. Ultimately, Muslims claim Allah can arbitrarily forgive their sins without justice being carried out. This is unjust and false. In contrast, the true and living God is just and righteous. Only through Christ’s death on the cross can mercy as well as justice be satisfied. An eternal Messiah paying the price for our sins against an eternal God is the only solution for sin and depravity.
The Cross: An Instrument of Death and Salvation
A six-pointed star, a crescent moon, a lotus—symbol or other religious symbols suggest beauty and light. The symbol of Christianity is an instrument of death. It suggests hope (Frederick Buechner).
Few have lived to equal John the Baptist. His blows fell with a thud and a sharp edge that shook the oaks of Bashan. … The modern counterpart is seen as an improvement on the rough and heavy one that John used. It is lighter and more highly polished…and much easier to swing…but what sort of trees can it fell? When John wielded his axe…he made chips fly. That rough-looking man…who ate no dainties…produced trembling in the hearts of the people and a confessing of their sins. This is the need of the times: men of God, skilled in the use of the ax of the Word (Franklin Ferguson).
All people, including Muslims, must first understand the judgment that awaits them without the Savior Jesus. Paul understood this: “Knowing, therefore, the terror of the Lord, we persuade men” (2 Corinthians 5:11). Christians are called to raise the moral law above non-Christians in order to create desperation and the knowledge that they must have grace through the gospel. The Psalmist announced: “The law of the LORD is perfect, converting the soul” (Psalms 19:7). The Apostle Paul reminded us that “by the law is the knowledge of sin” (Romans 3:20). After the terror of the law is made known to the non-Christian, the believer is then to preach the comfort of the gospel: “For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ, for it is the power of God unto salvation to everyone who believes” (Romans 1:16). And the gospel is: “Moreover, brethren, I declare to you the gospel…by which also you are saved…that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, and that He was buried, and that He rose again the third day” (1 Corinthians 15:1-4; emphasis mine). Thereupon share with the Muslim the bad news and then proclaim the good news.
Only Jesus was and is sinless. He died on the cross for the atonement of believers; no other religion has provided an eternal effectual atonement by grace alone. Heaven is perfect and men are not; men must have their sins expiated (removed). All mortals require a perfect all-effectual atonement to enter heaven. Every man needs his sins atoned for, only Christianity has an infinitely effectual atonement. Christ’s sacrifice and resurrection justifies those who repent and trust Him. One can have legal, forensic righteousness to enter into the perfect purity of heaven, or reject Christ and attempt to live a religious life that cannot remove your past sins. Good works cannot erase sinful works. If a man beat-up 200 women, felt bad and proceeded to feed hundreds of the poor at a soup kitchen; the good deeds do not erase the sinful deeds of hurting hundreds of women. Sinners need an effectual atonement.
The Harshness of the Law Leads One to a Savior
The Book of good deeds and bad deeds will be set before you; and you will set the sinful in great terror because of what is therein; they will say, “Woe to us! What a book is this! It leaves out nothing small or great, but takes account thereof” (Sura18:49).
Therefore, having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ. … For when we were still without strength, in due time Christ died for the ungodly. For scarcely for a righteous man will one die; yet, perhaps for a good man, someone would even dare to die. But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us (Romans 5:1-8).
The doctrine of justification by grace alone is absent from Islam. Islam stresses that the balance of one’s righteous deeds must outweigh their unrighteous deeds in order to “attain salvation” in Paradise. Those whose unrighteous works outweigh their righteous works are doomed to hell (Sura 23:102-3). In Christianity, justification is by grace alone through faith alone. Justification is a forensic term laid out in various books in the Bible. Since Christianity alone supplies true forgiveness and justification, one only has to remind the person who follows another religion that they are a sinner before you extend the relief of the gospel. The zealous preacher, Robert M’Cheyne, offered this inspiring quote: “If the mercies and if the judgments do not convert you, God has no other arrows in His quiver.” The terror and thunder of Sinai will invoke fear in the sinner. Then, by grace, the convert will flee God’s judgments and hurl himself upon Christ and His eternal mercy.
I say to you that likewise, there will be more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine just persons who need no repentance (Luke 15:7).
When one shares the love of God without preaching God’s exactness in law, it often weakens the sinners’ sense of sin. Then the lost sinner is not interested in the grand truth of the cross and justification. The law and the gospel, these are the means God uses to save lost sinners through grace by His Spirit. Soteriological truth’s summation is “to know nothing but Christ and Him crucified.” God is the righteous King, whom all men have offended in every point of His holy law, and Christ the Savior died for our transgressions, of that very same law.
Witnessing to Muslims
Many ministers have remarked, “That compared to evangelism and witnessing, everything else that the Church does is like rearranging the furniture while the house is on fire.” While we should never pit one of God’s commandments against another, the importance of preaching the gospel to the unsaved cannot be overstated. Our aspiration and passion should be for the lost to come to Christ. Our perennial goal must be to glorify God in all things. If multitudes of radical Muslims have an unbending zeal to commit wicked acts in the name of a false god, then Christians should be willing to have more Holy Spirit zeal to preach Christ and Him crucified.
My experience is that most believers do not obey the Lord in proclaiming their faith in the local market place. Surveys of Christians have revealed that ninety-percent of believers have never brought another person to Christ. Many are afraid, some are too busy, some do not care, and a number of them would share their faith if they felt they were competent enough to witness to strangers. If you want to rid yourself of a fear of witnessing, ask God to plant a profound love for the lost in your heart. Jesus promises that the Holy Spirit will be in and with His followers in a special way when they are sharing their faith: “But you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be witnesses to Me in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth” (Acts 1:8). Notice the disciples start preaching in Jerusalem, their principal base. They started in the place where they lived. The real solution to the fear of witnessing is to start where you are, and step out as you trust in God’s Word.
Modest Steps to Be a Witness
- Pray: Ask God for a holy passion for the unsaved.
- Plan: Scratch out a specific time on your calendar to go out and evangelize.
- Prepare: Pick-up some tracts, a note pad, and a pen.
- Partner: Call a Christian friend in advance to go out with you.
- Preach: Step out and go hand out tracts in the marketplace.
- Pray more: Pray for the lost to come to Christ. Pray daily for a desire to witness to your neighbors, coworkers, store clerks, and everyone you see in your personal routine.
- Go: Do not wait, do not make excuses, just go and share your faith in the marketplace, the campus, at work, and on the internet (Matt. 28:19-20; Mark 16:15-20; Acts 1:8)).
- Invite: all the people you know to church. Pray for them, offer to pick them up in your car and take them to church. Keep praying and keep inviting.
- Make Disciples: God calls Christians not to make mere converts but disciples (2 Matt. 28:19; Timothy 2:2). Find a Christian friend and spend time together as you share the Word in order to grow in the Lord; then help them also make disciples.
Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age. Amen (Matt 28:19-20).
see My eBook that Christian Philosophy Critiques the Islamic view of Allah HERE
see my Paperback that refutes Islam and other false religions:
One Way to God: Christian Philosophy Examine World Religions HERE