(Continued from page 353)Sword of Islam
You write: 1. I know very well what Jesus tought and love him for what he gave us (God's word). After all, he is the Word of God. However David, you mention that Christ told us to love and not hate. It is hard, nonetheless not to acknowledge what Christianity (And all religions including Islam) have done in the name of Christ and ultimately God. You and I can debate in a civilized fashion. However, looking around the world today, we see that religion has been perverted by ill intent.
We agree with your point 'that religion has been perverted by ill intent' up to a point. We don't know if you have read our sections on the Roman Catholic Cults' instigation of the Crusades at:
or the origins of Muhammad's attacks on Jews and those who opposed him at:
On these quoted pages we have proven that Muhammad quickly turned to force to impose his teachings on those Jews and Christians who rejected him (the latter certainly recognised that he was bringing 'another gospel' - ref. Galatians 1:6-8), so it is impossible for Muslims to claim that 'other religions' have used force against Islam without seeing the 'three fingers' pointing back at themselves. Muhammad claimed that Allah commands Muslims to "fight against all people [worldwide] until all confess there is no god but Allah and Muhammad is his messenger."
By contrast, the Israel of the Old Testament was not commanded to convert anyone under threat of death, nor to take over the world, but to exterminate the Canaanites because of their wickedness and to possess that specific land whose boundaries were clearly stated (Genesis 15). Held captive in Egypt, Israel was restrained from invading Canaan for 400 years because "the iniquity of the Amorites is not yet full" (Genesis 15:16). Only then did the evil of these people reach such proportions that God's holiness caused Him to use Israel to annihilate them. If you think that this is unfair then consider many other passages in the Old Testament where God used other nations (e.g. King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon in the three invasions of 605, 597, and 586 B.C. - described in 2 Kings 24; 2 Chronicles 6 and 36; Ezra; Jeremiah; and Daniel) to punish the horrific sins of Israel and Judah! As we have pointed out many times on our web-pages, it is the honesty of the accounts in the Bible that prove its authenticity. If Christians were guilty of such horrors as the Crusader killings we could admit it, but that slaughter of Jews and Turks was in disobedience to the Bible and to the teachings and example of Christ and was the work of the Papal Roman Catholic Church which is an anti-Christ cult. By contrast, the murder of millions of both Christians and Jews by Muslims all through history, and today's terrorism, are in obedience to the Qur'an of Allah, and the example Muhammad and his early Muslim followers set.
It is important for all who call themselves Christians to remain true to the teachings of the gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ and, of course, He certainly never instructed us to use any form of aggression to spread His Word. He sent His disciples out with a sword as a deterrent, and for self-defence (Luke 22:35-38), when He was about to leave the earth and would no longer be with them physically, and these are the conditions under which we can use force or take up arms today:
LK 22:35 Then Jesus asked them, "When I sent you without purse, bag or sandals, did you lack anything?" "Nothing," they answered. LK 22:36 He said to them, "But now if you have a purse, take it, and also a bag; and if you don't have a sword, sell your cloak and buy one. 37 It is written: `And he was numbered with the transgressors' ; and I tell you that this must be fulfilled in me. Yes, what is written about me is reaching its fulfillment." LK 22:38 The disciples said, "See, Lord, here are two swords." "That is enough," he replied.
But Jesus' made it clear that force and violence would not be the means of spreading his Gospel or even defending Him (Matthew 26:45-55):Trinity and the Father
55 Then he returned to the disciples and said to them, "Are you still sleeping and resting? Look, the hour is near, and the Son of Man is betrayed into the hands of sinners. 46 Rise, let us go! Here comes my betrayer!" MT 26:47 While he was still speaking, Judas, one of the Twelve, arrived. With him was a large crowd armed with swords and clubs, sent from the chief priests and the elders of the people. 48 Now the betrayer had arranged a signal with them: "The one I kiss is the man; arrest him." 49 Going at once to Jesus, Judas said, "Greetings, Rabbi!" and kissed him. MT 26:50 Jesus replied, "Friend, do what you came for." Then the men stepped forward, seized Jesus and arrested him. 51 With that, one of Jesus' companions reached for his sword, drew it out and struck the servant of the high priest, cutting off his ear. MT 26:52 "Put your sword back in its place," Jesus said to him, "for all who draw the sword will die by the sword. 53 Do you think I cannot call on my Father, and he will at once put at my disposal more than twelve legions of angels? 54 But how then would the Scriptures be fulfilled that say it must happen in this way?" MT 26:55 At that time Jesus said to the crowd, "Am I leading a rebellion, that you have come out with swords and clubs to capture me? Every day I sat in the temple courts teaching, and you did not arrest me. 56 But this has all taken place that the writings of the prophets might be fulfilled." Then all the disciples deserted him and fled.
None of this condones the violence done in the name of Christianity by such as the Popes, and I have no doubt that He will reject many who shed blood in aggression - yet thought they were doing His will (Matthew 7:21-23):
MT 7:21 "Not everyone who says to me, `Lord, Lord,' will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only he who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. 22 Many will say to me on that day, `Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and in your name drive out demons and perform many miracles?' 23 Then I will tell them plainly, `I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!'
We have also recently given an account (to a Roman Catholic) of the Protestant and Puritan errors which occurred in eras close to the Reformation and this will appear shortly on the site.
Atonement before Adoption
You write: 2. We will forever be at odds on technicalities of Jesus' relationship to God. Islam believe that Christ is the Messiah, has risen to the one God and shall return by God's will (As Jesus himself stated that nothing is by his will but by that of one Greater than he). When Propet Muhammad spoke of Jesus and told people that if they did not believe him, to reference the previous scriptures, he was indicating the very things that Jesus spoke of... If Jesus were equal to God, then why would he pray to God? Anything he did is because God anointed (Christ) the holy spirit into Jesus. Another critical issue is that of the trinity. My understanding is that the trinity was formed around 300 A.D. Furthermore, I haven't found one evidence in the New Testament where Jesus makes reference to the Trinity.
We cannot agree that anyone who seriously considers all of the scriptures relating to 'Jesus' relationship to God' can avoid seeing His Deity and position in the Triune Godhood which we will discuss next and answer the other points you bring up. As we stated in the first reply, the Muslim position fails to deal with the many claims of Christ and holds an inadequate understanding of His attributes to the point where no one believing Muhammad's view of Him can be a partaker in the Promises of God. This is a very serious matter indeed. Again, the Quranic view cannot be taken seriously by anyone carefully considering the evidence and we would like to see some evidence that you have actually done this. The rest of your questions here will be answered within the discussion of the 'Trinity' and other matters in the discussion of 'the Atonement'.
You write: He does refer to God as father but he does so at times in a way which clearly indicates that we all can have the same relationship with God in that we all have the potential to be his children once we remove our sins:
for I have not yet ascended to the Father; but go to my brethren (disciples), and say to them, 'I ascend to my Father and your Father, and my God and your God.' (John 20: 17).
Here, Jesus (PBUH) Clearly indicates the type of relationship with God.
There are subtle differences in the way in which Jesus addressed His Father which were not applicable to His disciples before the Crucifixion! Notice that He called His Father by the personal term 'Abba' (Mark 14:36) - which is akin to a very intimate term such as 'Papa' or 'Daddy':
MK 14:32 They went to a place called Gethsemane, and Jesus said to his disciples, "Sit here while I pray." 33 He took Peter, James and John along with him, and he began to be deeply distressed and troubled. 34 "My soul is overwhelmed with sorrow to the point of death," he said to them. "Stay here and keep watch." MK 14:35 Going a little farther, he fell to the ground and prayed that if possible the hour might pass from him. 36 "Abba, Father," he said, "everything is possible for you. Take this cup from me. Yet not what I will, but what you will."
Jesus never instructed His disciples to use this term but, instead, taught them to pray to their 'Father in Heaven ....' (Matthew 5:16; 5:45; 6:1; 18:19 etc.; Mark 11:25; Luke 11:13). The reason is that believers in Christ were not yet reconciled to God the Father and had not yet come into this intimate relationship with Him which only comes through accepting the sacrifice of the Lord Jesus Christ at Calvary! After the resurrection the disciples were able to call the Father by this Personal Name 'Abba' as shown in the following passages. Secondly, Jesus, as the Perfect Man-God, would obviously call the Father 'My God' and - in His role as the fully human and fully Divine Mediator (Galatians 3:19-20; 1 Timothy 2:5; Hebrews 8:6; 9:15; 12:24) between men and God - will always emphasise this fact as He does by stating: 'for I have not yet ascended to the Father'.
This new adoption into the family of God is a family position only available to those who accept the claims of Christ. We prove this from passages such as Galatians 3:19-4:7 - which also answers your question about keeping the commandments (follow the argument from the sections in bold):
GAL 3:19 What, then, was the purpose of the law? It was added because of transgressions until the Seed to whom the promise referred had come. The law was put into effect through angels by a mediator. 20 A mediator, however, does not represent just one party; but God is one.
GAL 3:21 Is the law, therefore, opposed to the promises of God? Absolutely not! For if a law had been given that could impart life, then righteousness would certainly have come by the law. 22 But the Scripture declares that the whole world is a prisoner of sin, so that what was promised, being given through faith in Jesus Christ, might be given to those who believe.
GAL 3:23 Before this faith came, we were held prisoners by the law, locked up until faith should be revealed. 24 So the law was put in charge to lead us to Christ that we might be justified by faith. 25 Now that faith has come, we are no longer under the supervision of the law.
GAL 3:26 You are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus, 27 for all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ. 28 There is neither Jew nor Greek, slave nor free, male nor female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus. 29 If you belong to Christ, then you are Abraham's seed, and heirs according to the promise.
GAL 4:1 What I am saying is that as long as the heir is a child, he is no different from a slave, although he owns the whole estate. 2 He is subject to guardians and trustees until the time set by his father. 3 So also, when we were children, we were in slavery under the basic principles of the world. 4 But when the time had fully come, God sent his Son, born of a woman, born under law, 5 to redeem those under law, that we might receive the full rights of sons. 6 Because you are sons, God sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, the Spirit who calls out, "Abba, Father." 7 So you are no longer a slave, but a son; and since you are a son, God has made you also an heir.
Can you see the clear argument: the law [commandments] was given to teach us and to lead us to faith in Christ who is our complete righteousness and only when we have accepted him under the conditions of faith alone are we adopted sons [but we are never God's sons as Jesus is the 'only begotten' Son of God!].
It is essential for anyone desiring to understand this relationship to read the whole of the New Testament carefully. The Books of Galatians and Romans, in particular, emphasise the new spirit-led life in Christ in contrast with bondage to the law, e.g. Romans 8:9-17:
RO 8:9 You, however, are controlled not by the sinful nature but by the Spirit, if the Spirit of God lives in you. And if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he does not belong to Christ. 10 But if Christ is in you, your body is dead because of sin, yet your spirit is alive because of righteousness. 11 And if the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead is living in you, he who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through his Spirit, who lives in you. RO 8:12 Therefore, brothers, we have an obligation--but it is not to the sinful nature, to live according to it. 13 For if you live according to the sinful nature, you will die; but if by the Spirit you put to death the misdeeds of the body, you will live, 14 because those who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God. 15 For you did not receive a spirit that makes you a slave again to fear, but you received the Spirit of sonship. And by him we cry, "Abba, Father." 16 The Spirit himself testifies with our spirit that we are God's children. 17 Now if we are children, then we are heirs--heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ, if indeed we share in his sufferings in order that we may also share in his glory.
How do we come into this position? Is it possible to have this 'same relationship with God' with 'the potential to be his children once we remove our sins'? How do you think we can achieve this, Rami - by doing good works and keeping the commandments 100%? The Bible teaches that this is absolutely impossible - for there is no one who ever lived who could fulfil either design without accepting the Messiah, the Lord Jesus Christ, under the conditions of the New Covenant in His blood. How is this done? Can a man be justified by his own good works in any way? What does the Bible teach? This is the Gospel of Christ Jesus in a nutshell:
Justification is an act of God's free grace in which He pardons all our sins and accepts us as righteous in His sight only because the righteousness of Christ is imputed to us and received by faith alone.
The Bible teaches that justification is a once-for-all event based entirely on God's grace and received through faith alone. Scripture teaches that: 1) justification is a singular and instantaneous event; 2) justification involves a legal declaration by God; 3) justification is external to man; 4) justification is once-for-all; 5) justification is based on the work of Christ on the cross; 6) the result of justification is peace with God; 7) justification comes through faith alone; 8) justification is based entirely on God's grace; and 9) good works are a consequence of justification, not a condition of it.
The Bible portrays justification as a singular event in which God declares the believing sinner to be righteous. It is not based on performance or good works. It involves God's instantaneous pardoning of the sinner, declaring him or her to be absolutely righteous at the moment he or she trusts in Christ for salvation (see Romans 3:25,28,30; 8:33,34; Galatians 4:21-5:12; 1 John 1:7-2:2), hence our confidence that, like the thief on the cross (Luke 23:43), we can be certain of spending eternity in heaven with Christ.
Negatively, this word means that a person is once-for-all pronounced not guilty before God. Positively, the word means that a person is once-for-all pronounced righteous before God. The very righteousness of Christ is imputed (or credited) to the believer's life. From the moment a person places faith in Christ the Saviour, God sees that person through the lens of Christ's righteousness - He views us as if He were viewing His Son (in terms of righteousness!). This view is often referred to as 'forensic justification.' 'Forensic' comes from a Latin word meaning 'forum' which has its roots in the ancient Roman forum, where a court could meet and make judicial, or legal, declarations. Forensic justification, then, speaks of God's judicial declaration of the believer's righteousness before Him. The believer is legally acquitted of all guilt, and the very righteousness of Christ is imputed to his account. Henceforth, when God sees the believer, He sees him in all the righteousness of Christ.
Justification is external to man, and does not hinge on man's personal level of righteousness or on anything that man does. It hinges solely on God's declaration. Even while the person is still a sinner and is experientially not righteous, he is nevertheless righteous in God's sight because of forensic justification. This view of justification has support from the Old Testament. For example, in Deuteronomy 25:1 we read of judges who 'justify the unrighteous and condemn the wicked' (emphasis added). The word justify here clearly means 'declare to be righteous' just as condemn means 'declare to be guilty.' The word is used in a forensic sense here and elsewhere in the Old Testament (e.g. Job 27:5 and Proverbs 17:15). When the apostle Paul (an Old Testament scholar par excellence) used the word justify in the Book of Romans, he did so against this Old Testament backdrop.
So, to use modern terminology, at the moment a person places personal faith in Christ, God makes an incalculable 'deposit' of righteousness into that person's personal 'spiritual bank account.' It is a once-for-all act on God's part and is irrevocable. It is a 'done deal' in modern parlance and cannot be lost (if you want to know whether it can be 'thrown away' the answer is - not easily!). God's pronouncement is final. This is the wonderful gift of salvation that the apostles, Church Fathers and Reformers and pre-Reformers died for.
Justification is based solely on the work of Christ on the cross. God did not just subjectively decide to overlook man's sin or turn a 'blind eye' to his unrighteousness. Justification has an objective basis. Indeed, Jesus died on the cross for us. He died in our stead and paid for our sins. Jesus ransomed us from death by His own death on the cross (2 Corinthians 5:21):
'God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God'.
The result of justification is peace with God. Romans 5:1 states:
'Since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ'
Because there is peace between the Father and Jesus, there is also peace between the Father and believers, since believers are 'in Christ' (Romans 8:1). When we believe in Jesus Christ as our Saviour, God looks at us through the Lord Jesus Christ. He sees us in all absolute purity and holiness of His Son.
Scripture clearly teaches justification by faith in Christ alone (Romans 4:1-25; Galatians 3:6-14). God justifies 'the one who has faith in Jesus' (Romans 3:26). 'A man is justified by faith apart from works of the Law' (Romans 3:28). 'Abraham believed God, and it was credited to him as righteousness' (Romans 4:3). 'Since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ' (Romans 5:1).
(Continued on page 355)