My Sympathies For Muslims of Islam
- by R. Totten, MDiv. - (c) 2014
Assalamu alaikum (Peace be Upon You)
As I consider the situation of Muslim friends around the world, ...my sympathies go out to them. The reason for my sympathy, is that (from reading the Koran) even committed Muslims have no assured/guaranteed way to gain eternal life with God (Allah). As I understand it, various Muslim authorities have confirmed the following fact of the Koran's theology: that not even a sincere and dedicated Muslim --nor even one who dies as a martyr defending his faith-- has an absolute promise and guarantee from Allah in the Koran that he will end up with eternal life in paradise (or heaven). The Koran does not offer an assured promise or guarantee of final salvation and eternal life for anyone ...no matter what they have done. Thus, according to Islamic theology, any Muslim's destiny may be hell, regardless.
In stark contrast, however, God has given an amazing promise, which is: an assured guarantee of eternal life in God's glorious presence in heaven --through sincerely trusting in Jesus Christ and his saving work. We know for sure that this is true, because Jesus Christ said, "everyone who looks to the Son [Jesus] and believes [relies and trusts] in him shall have eternal life, and I will raise him up at the last day" (John 6:40). Similarly, John also wrote, "Whoever believes [relies and trusts] in the Son [Jesus Christ], has eternal life, but whoever rejects the Son [Jesus] will not see life, for God's wrath remains on him" (John 3:36). And in fact, God's only promise of eternal life and salvation has been made through Christ alone, as Jesus also said, "I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to [God] the Father except through me" (John 14:6). This is why the Scripture says, "Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to men by which we must be saved" (Acts 4:12). So, according to the Scriptures, Jesus is the only one who can and does guarantee and give eternal life to people who truly look to him for salvation, --- putting their full reliance and trust in him as Lord and Savior from sin.
Concern About Bible Corruption
However --after citing several verses from the Bible-- I note that many Muslims do not accept the Bible as being accurate and truthful, since, they say it has be altered or "corrupted" down through the centuries. - However, such a position is actually not a legitimate or faithful one for any Muslim to take, because the Koran itself endorses the Bible as being truthful and accurate written words of revelation from God (Allah). --(Note: Christian speakers of Arabic also call God "Allah"). Also, such a view goes contrary to historical facts. Therefore, no faithful and knowledgeable Muslim can reject the Bible as being "corrupt." This is because the Koran directs and commands people to accept the Bible (both the New Testament as well as the Old Testament) as true words of revelation from God (Allah) himself.
-- And where does the Koran say this about the Bible? -- As follows:
Sura 6:91 states: "No just estimate of Allah do they make when they say: 'Nothing doth Allah send down to man (by way of revelation).' Say: 'Who then sent down the Book which Moses brought? --a light and guidance to man."
-- We see here, in Sura 6:91, that the Koran says the "Book which Moses brought" (the Torah or Pentateuch: Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers and Deuteronomy) is true divine revelation sent down from God to man, and it provides "light and guidance" from God to mankind. This shows that the 5 books of the Torah is given to Muslims as an instance of genuine and true divine revelation. - Thus, every Muslim must regard and believe it as such.
Sura 17:55 says: "And it is your Lord that knoweth best all beings that are in the heavens and on earth: We did bestow on some prophets more (and other) gifts than on others: and we gave to David (the gift of) the Psalms."
-- As proof that Allah knows "all things," we are told in Sura 17:55, that the Koran declares that the Psalms are a gift that is given by God. Every Muslim must therefore regard the Psalms of the Bible as revelation from God.
Sura 5:46-47 says: "And in their footsteps We sent Jesus the son of Mary, confirming the Law that had come before him: We sent him the Gospel: therein was guidance and light, and confirmation of the Law that had come before him: and guidance and an admonition to those who fear Allah. Let the people of the Gospel judge by what Allah hath revealed therein."
-- Here, Sura 5:46-47 not only confirms “the Law” (Torah) again, but it also declares that the "Gospel" (Matthew, Mark, Luke and John) --also called the "Injil"-- were revealed and sent from God, and that it provides "guidance and admonition to those who fear Allah." The Koran commands people to "judge" all things by what Allah (God) has "revealed" in the Injil or Gospels. --Thus, the 5 books of Moses' Law and the 4 Gospels are included in God's standard of truth by which to determine and "judge" what is true. Clearly, the Koran declares the Gospels to be revelation from God. No Muslim should suggest any objection to the truth, accuracy or divine origin of the 4 Gospels.
Sura 4:163 says: "Indeed, We [Allah] have revealed to you, as We revealed to Noah and the prophets after him. And we revealed to Abraham, Ishmael, Isaac, Jacob, the Descendants, Jesus, Job, Jonah, Aaron, and Solomon, and to David We gave the book of the Psalms."
-- This verse adds in "the prophets," as being what God (Allah) has "revealed" as Scripture in the rest of the Old Tesament, in addition to "the Law." This includes Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel, Daniel, Hosea, Jonah, Micah ...and all the other prophets and writings of the Old Testament. In fact, Jesus and other legitimate Scripture teachers of his day would refer to "the Law and the Prophets" as a way of indicating the entire Old Testament (as in Matthew 7:12; 11:13; Acts 24:14; Rom. 3:21). In this way, the only man (Jesus) to ever be resurrected permanently from the dead, endorsed the entire Old Testament as being God's Holy Word! - We must do likewise. -- Thus, no Muslim should question whether any book in the Old Testament of the Bible was given by revelation from God.
Sura 10:94 asserts: "If thou wert in doubt as to what We have revealed unto thee, then ask those who have been reading the Book from before thee: the Truth hath indeed come to thee from thy Lord: so be in no wise of those in doubt."
-- And here, in Sura 10:94, we find that the Koran declares that the whole Bible ("the Book") is given as revelation from God himself. Thus, the Koran boldly says, that if someone wonders what has been given as revelation from God, they are to read, study and accept the Bible (“the Book”) as such revelation; and people should also to talk to those who read the Bible. Why do that? Because Sura 10:94 declares that the Bible is "the Truth," and it is indeed divine revelation which has come from God. No one should be in doubt about this ...especially a Muslim. Indeed, Jesus declared to his apostles (through whom all the words of the New Testament came), that God's Holy Spirit would "guide" them "into all truth," and God's Spirit would give to them whatever He received from Christ (John 16:13,14). Mark this: Sura 10:94 requires Muslims to not be among those who are "in doubt" about the Bible's divine authority and its origin from God.
Therefore, nobody (especially a Muslim) should imagine that they are respecting or obeying the Koran or God (Allah), if they do not deeply respect, believe and obey the Bible as unquestioned divine revelation and Scripture --and the actual Word of God himself.
...Finally, we must be aware that all of the above quoted Koranic assertions about the Bible were given around the year 630 AD (when the Koran was written down). The words of the Bible had already been established and settled for about 500 years at the time of Mohammed; and the many Bible text manuscripts have not changed ever since. Think about that. Thus, the Muslim's view must be: No corruption has occurred in the Bible.
Further Koranic Proof Against Bible Corruption
Now, some Muslims say that some "corruption" or alteration of the wording in the Bible occurred after the time of Mohammed, however, in several places the Koran teaches that "there is nothing that can alter the words of God" (Sura 6:34 and 10:64 and 18:27) ...not before or after Mohammed. And we have seen that, according to the Koran, the Bible is the "words of God." And according to the only resurrected One --the God-man, Jesus-- the Bible is the "Word of God." So nothing can possibly alter it. In addition, Allah makes the promise to watch over his revealed words and to guard them from corruption (Sura 15:9). -- Since the Koran's verses given above this establish the Pentateuch, the Psalms, the Prophets, the Gospels --and in fact, the complete Bible-- to clearly be revelation from God, it is proper and required of Muslims to accept the Bible as being not corrupted or changed, since God (Allah) has guaranteed its purity and the guarding of it from corruption. And Jesus said, "I tell you the truth: Until heaven and earth disappear, not the smallest letter, not the least stroke of a pen, will by any means disappear from the Law (the Bible) until everything is accomplished" (Matt. 5:18). --Conversely, it is improper and wrong for any Muslim to reject the teaching of the Bible as being "corrupt" or altered, because according to the Koran, such a thing is not possible. Thus, every faithful Muslim must reject the notion of Bible-corruption. --And that the Bible is unaltered is also confirmed historically by a careful study of the many copies, as seen next.
Historical Facts Confirm
In addition, at this point, it is important for Muslim friends to realize that the original writings of the New Testament (hand-written in Greek) were all completed before the year 96 AD. In fact, most of the N.T. was completed by the year 67 AD (when Paul died), and all four Gospels were complete by the year 96 AD. And then, soon after that, the original manuscripts of the New Testament were already considered to be God's Scripture before the year 100 AD, therefore they would have been highly prized, venerated, and very carefully handled from that time on. And many of the original manuscripts (from Paul, Peter, James, John, etc.) were probably still in existence and still being copied up until the year 400 AD --or later. There were probably still some of the original manuscripts in existence at the time of Mohammed! This is not at all shocking, since 300 year-old books are fairly common today if they are “treasured” copies --as seen by many examples in many libraries and old homes. And in the next few paragraphs we will even refer to ancient copies of Scripture which are today about 1700 years old. --(Ancient manuscripts/copies of various Bible-books still exist today, which are 400 years older than Islam itself!)
--- Now, it should be remembered that even today we still have a copy of the first 14 chapters of John's Gospel from about the year 200 AD (the "Bodmer 2 Papyrus").
--- And then too, we have copies of all four Gospels: Matthew, Mark, Luke and John from the year 240 AD. --Around that date, the original manuscripts likely still existed.
--- In addition, from the year 210 AD we have early copies of most of Paul's writings, including Romans, 1 & 2 Corinthians, Galatians, Ephesians, Philippians, Colossians, 1 & 2Thessalonians. This collection of copies includes Hebrews (all of these are in the "Chester Beatty Biblical Papyri"). --The original manuscripts of the New Testament most probably still existed at the time these copies were made!
In addition to the above important copies, the copy called the "Codex Vaticanus" has the entire Bible in Greek from the year 325 AD, ...except for a few pages from the book of Hebrews.
The "Codex Sinaiticus," now located in the British Museum (in London), is a copy of the complete Bible in Greek, copied in around 350 AD. (300 years before Mohammed).
The "Codex Alexandrinus," also in the British Museum, is a copy of almost the whole Greek Bible from about 350 AD, but is missing about 40 pages.
Remember, that the original manuscripts (written personally by Matthew, Mark, Luke, John, Paul, Peter, James, etc.) were most likely still in existence when all of the above copies were made! Direct copies of the originals were probably made, and there was little or no time-gap available during which corruption might occur.
Furthermore, there are about 5,300 copies (in Greek) of many portions of the New Testament --many of them from before the year 150 AD-- and all together, there are more than 24,000 copies of various parts of the New Testament --many of them were made when the original manuscripts (from Paul, etc.) were still existent (before the year 350 AD). An accurate and complete copy of the New Testament text can be made from these copies alone.
Significantly, Bible scholars today still rely heavily upon the large number of Bible-copies from before the year 400 AD, therefore, we know that the Bible to which Muhammad and the Koran refer was complete, accurate and virtually unaltered. It is still unaltered today. My Muslim friends should remember that the Koran affirms the revelation of God in the Bible, and it makes this affirmation in the year 630 AD. -- Thus, there is no good reason to imagine that the Bible was at all corrupted at the time of Muhammad, ...and the Bible texts (in Hebrew and Greek) which scholars use today for Bible-translation are exactly the same as back then! In fact, scholars today can be even more sure of the exact correct text than ever before, because almost all the available copies can be consulted in the various libraries where they are still stored, and they can even be consulted world-wide by use of photographic images. The Bibles we have today come from the very same early copies of the Bible texts, and there is no corruption involved!
It is true, that various copyists (since they are human) ended up putting (for example) a mis-spelling here and there, or including a word or phrase twice, or some such copyist error ---but today's scholars are able to very easily weed out virtually all such little errors by merely comparing the hundreds and thousands of other copies, most all of which do not have that particular mis-spelling, and the correct reading is always quite obvious and simple to discern and correct. The abundance of good copies makes the correct wording certain. Everyone should be totally assured that the Bible's text and teaching is totally known and preserved. The Koran is sure of it ...and we should be more sure today.
Therefore, all Muslims should know for sure that the Bible is not corrupted. They must know that the Koran is correct in saying the Bible truly is the revealed Word of God. Also, the Koran is correct in saying that God will not allow the Bible to be corrupted. This was true with Mohammed in the year 630 AD, and it is no different now. There is no excuse. --Also, the Koran does not say anywhere that the Bible (or any part of it) is corrupted ...nor can be corrupted. Please do take note of that. In addition, Muslims have never before said the Bible was corrupted --until recent years. This is a new innovation, and a hollow excuse to ignore the Bible's truth. -- Muslims who now say the Bible is corrupted are standing in opposition to their ancestors and also to Mohammed and the Koran itself.
The clear and logical conclusion: Faithful Muslims must consider the Bible to be genuine and trustworthy revelation and Scripture from God. This is the Koranic view, and the Bible has not changed since the beginning of the Koran. --And then, although the Bible’s purest and most accurate form is in the original languages of Hebrew (for OT) and Greek (for NT), it is generally quite acceptable (for basic personal study) to read a good Bible-translation in English or Arabic or many other languages.
So, ...back to the main issues of this article:
Salvation Through Christ
In the beginning of this article, we were talking about the fact that Jesus Christ promises salvation and eternal life to all who rely and trust in him. --And how is Christ able to do this?
Well, first of all, he has the power and authority to save people from sin, because Jesus Christ is not merely a man (since a mere human not have the power to save sinners). Actually, the Bible teaches that Christ is a “person” who has two natures; He is one “personality” who has both a Human-nature (with a body), and he also has an infinite and holy God-nature (which is spirit). Neither of these two natures are inter-mixed with each other, nor is either one diminished or altered by belonging to the same person. Christ is not half God and half man. The Bible teaches that Christ is fully and truly eternal, infinite God, and also fully and truly finite man at the same time. This is why some Christians call him the “God-man.” --- We see in Scripture that Christ is directly called God (see John 1:1,14,18; John 20:28; Acts 20:28; Rom. 9:5; 2Thess. 1:12; Titus 2:13; Hebrews 1:6,8,10; 2Peter 1:1), and Christ is also clearly called a human ( John 1:14; 1Timothy 2:5; Romans 1:3; Romans 9:5).
-- Please refer to links, for more biblical references for this teaching of Christ's two natures: ... http://carm.org/christian-doctrine-part-2
-- (Note: The Bible does not teach that God had sexual relations with a woman when Christ was conceived --which would be impossible because the being of God “is spirit” (John 4:24) and does not have a body, and God is invisible (1 Tim. 1:17). Rather, it says that God’s Holy Spirit caused the baby Jesus to be conceived in his mother (Matt. 1:20). It is only Christ's human nature that had a body. -- Note also: The Bible teaches that there is only one God (Deut. 6:4; Mark 12:32; 1Tim. 2:5), but that single being of God has three eternal spirit-personalities or "persons" in that one being, which are: The Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit (Matt. 28:19). All three "persons" are eternally and fully infinite God; no one is less God than the other two.)
-- For more references on this biblical and true teaching on God, see: ... http://carm.org/christianity/christian-doctrine/christian-doctrine
In addition, Christ is able to promise and give eternal life, because the God-man Jesus Christ lived a sinless life (1Peter 1:19; Hebr. 4:15) --which God requires to be in good standing before God-- and then, Christ paid God’s death penalty for human sin (Rom. 5:8), and then Christ rose physically from the dead (Lk. 18:33) as a demonstration that he is God "the Son” (Rom. 1:4). Christ’s sinless life and his resurrection also proves he has the power and authority to save (Hebr. 7:25) to guarantee eternal life to those who trust in him. Christ's resurrection shows that God accepts him as a sinless and perfect sacrifice to pay the death-penalty God requires (Rom. 6:23) for the sin of those who trust in Christ. Jesus is the only man who assuredly has real power over death, since Christ is the only man who has ever risen permanently from the dead (until now), and now he remains forever alive (Hebr. 7:25).
For a deeper discussion that Christ rose from the dead go to: http://www.testingworldviews.com/resurrectjesus.html
And then, if a sinner (which is all of us humans) admits to God they are a sinner, and turns in sorrow away from their sin, while sincerely confessing that they truly trust and rely on Christ (who died and rose to gain their salvation), God promises and guarantees eternal life, resurrection and heaven to that person. This is what the Bible teaches. -- You who are reading this, can come to Christ on these terms, right now!
But then, many Muslims don't even accept the idea that Jesus died on the cross. - However, this objection must be rejected and overthrown by the historical records in the Bible, which were written by people who lived with Christ, and saw it all happen --and records of most of these historical events are found in the writings of the New Testament (the Gospels) of the Bible. -- Specifically, Peter directly said that he and the others with him were themselves witnesses of the death and the resurrection of Jesus Christ (see Acts 2:23-32). The same thing is stated elsewhere as well, and --as we have seen-- those who believe the Koran must accept this biblical testimony.
Man's Need for Salvation
The Bible teaches that all humans need to be saved from facing eternal judgment, because all of us have sinned. Romans 3:23 says that, "all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God," which includes you, me, and every naturally-born human. The very best we humans can do, seems filthy to God and is unacceptable to God (Isa. 64:6). This is because God is perfectly sinless, and God is too pure and holy to allow any evil and sinful beings in his glorious presence (Habak. 1:13).
The result of our sin-condition is death, as Romans 6:23 says, "the wages of sin is death." Death involves a separation: Physical death is a separation of the person's soul from the body; while spiritual death is the separation of the person's soul (or spirit) from God, resulting in eternal, spiritual death. The iniquities of people cause a wide gulf of separation between sinful people (all of us) and God (Isaiah 59:2), which leads to eternal death of the soul (if not remedied).
Now, some people will say, "Wait a minute. I'm not a horrible person and a sinner." --However, you don't have to be an axe-murderer to be a condemned sinner in God's eyes; you only must have broken any one part of God's holy law, spelled out briefly in the Ten Commandments (Exo. 20:1-17).
For example: Have you ever stolen anything, however small? --Yes, you (and I) have. And that makes you (and me) a thief at that point, which is the breaking of God's holy law. Unforgiven thieves will not enter God's kingdom (1 Cor. 6:10). -- Or, have you ever told a lie (however small) to proper authority, such as parents, elders, teachers or officials? --Yes, you (and I) have... and that makes you (and me) a liar, which is the breaking of God's holy law. Unforgiven liars will not go to heaven. --Or, have you ever looked at someone of the opposite sex (who was not your spouse), with sexual lust, and imagined "having" that person sexually (Mat. 5:28), even if you did not act out on that desire? --Yes, you (and I) have, ...and Jesus said that makes you (and me) an adulterer and/or fornicator, which is a breaking of God's holy law (Exo. 20:14). Unforgiven sex-violators will not go to heaven. --Need I go on? --I could, but I'm sure I don't need to. -- You (and I) have broken God's law. So, you (and I) are law-breakers who are condemned under God's law ...unless there is a remedy.
This is why the Scripture is right in saying that "there is no one righteous, not even one" (Rom. 3:10); and "all have sinned and fall short of God's glory" (Rom. 3:23). That includes all people --even those who are born into religious families-- whether with Muslim, or Christian parents; no matter what nationality --whether Arab or western. --And such sinners who have fallen short of God's pure and sinless glory do not end up in God's holy heaven when they die. Rather, the result and "the wages of sin is death" (Rom.6:23) as well as eternal separation from God, because God is too pure and holy to allow a sinner in his perfect presence. --That is, unless something is done to remedy the situation and to totally cleanse the guilty sinner. And religious sinner dieing as a martyr for his/her faith will not clear them of sin-guilt. --So, all of us humans are born in need of salvation from our sin and condemnation.
But what can be done, and is there any hope of remedy? --Yes, there is.
God's Provision: Christ The Savior
So, how can a person be saved from being condemned to hell because of their sin? --Well, in a nutshell, the Bible teaches: "Believe (trust and rely) in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved --you and your household" (Acts 16:31). This is God's only way of salvation, because it says, "Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to mankind by which we must be saved" (Ac. 4:12). And trusting and receiving Christ into your life as the only provision to deal with your sin --and to gain eternal life. This is not optional, as John writes: "Whoever has [Christ] the Son has life; whoever does not have the Son of God does not have life" (1 Jn. 5:12). -- All people in the world need the salvation of Christ.
The Bible says: "For there is one God, and there is one mediator between God and men: the man Christ Jesus" (1Tim. 2:5).
-- And what did Christ do to accomplish our salvation? -- "Christ suffered for our sins once for all time. He never sinned, but he died for sinners to bring you safely home to God" (1Peter 3:18). -- "God showed his great love for us by sending Christ to die for us while we were still sinners" (Romans 5:8). -- "Christ died for our sins, just as the Scriptures said. He was buried, and he was raised from the dead on the third day" (1 Cor. 15:3,4).
But just because Christ (the God-man) paid for sins, does this mean every human will be saved? -- No. -- You personally must make an intentional choice to accept, rely on, and trust in Christ and what he did; and you must surrender your life and submit your will to him, to obey him as the divine authority and "Lord" over your life.
The Bible says, "to all who believed him and accepted him, he gave the right (& power) to become children of God" (John 1:12). -- "And anyone who believes (trusts and relies) in God's Son (Jesus) has eternal life. Anyone who does not obey the Son will never experience eternal life but remains under God's angry judgment" (John 3:36). -- Jesus says to some who do not submit to him: "why do you keep calling me 'Lord, Lord,' when you do not do what I say?" (Luke 6:46). -- Jesus said, "I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one can come to the Father (God) except through me" (John 14:6). -- Without having Christ, and submitting to him, no one will have eternal life.
So, the question is: Are you ready to surrender your life to Christ? ...and to trust in him for forgiveness from sin, so that you may have eternal life and become a child of God, and so you will finally have peace with God and not be destined for God's judgment?
If you are ready to do this, all you need to do is pray (talk) to God and Jesus (the God-man), and tell him (essentially) that: 1.) You admit you are a sinner, and you are sorry for your sin, and that you need his forgiveness; 2.) You are willing to turn away from your sin, and turn away from trusting in anything else (such as religious activity, like prayer, and good deeds) to gain merit with God to deserve salvation -- that you are trusting only in Christ and his righteousness, that God will credit to you when you trust in Christ; 3.) that you believe that Christ died on the cross to pay the death-penalty for your sin, and that he came back to life, and is your only way to heaven; 4.) that you accept Jesus' offer to forgive your sins and to come into your life as your God, divine Boss, and your Savior.
You may want to tell Jesus word something like this: "Lord Jesus, I admit that I am a sinner, and I am sorry for my sin. I am willing to turn away from my life of sin, and I need your forgiveness. I know that I can never deserve salvation by doing good things, but I trust in you as the only one who can earn and gain salvation for me, because you died on the cross for my sin, and then you rose from the dead. I now receive you into my life as my Lord and divine Boss and Savior, so I can have eternal life from God. Thank you for saving me, and make me to be the kind of person you choose for me to be. - Amen."
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REMEMBER: ...You, dear reader, are valuable and loved by God, and that's why Jesus Christ came! May God bless you and enable you to come to know his great love and forgiveness through God who took on a human body (Jesus), and then died for our sins (Romans 5:8 and 1Peter 3:18) to pay the death-penalty for sins which God requires (Romans 6:23), so that we could become honorary "adopted sons" of God, if we will only trust and believe in this wonderful Lord and Savior, Jesus.
For many further discussions concerning Islam and Christianity
you may find help at: Answering-Islam.org