First, the bad news…
March 25, 2021
Sin is rebellion against God. It has consequences.
Isn’t that what we should expect from a righteous God?
There are different ways in which humans get around this uncomfortable fact. Buddhism says people are fundamentally good and need to discover the true nature of their perfection. Many people of no fixed address in their faith believe that if they do mainly good things, that’s good enough to make them good people. Sin isn’t an issue in Islam. Islam says Allah has created people as his representatives and given them everything necessary to fulfill his will, including the Qur’an and the messenger, Mohammad, to give them right guidance to know his will. Success is theirs if they follow it.
But God says, “no one living is righteous before [Him]” (Ps 143:2, Ro 3:10-18), and through the prophet Isaiah, “all our righteous acts are like filthy rags” (Isa 64:6). This is really bad news for humans because “the wages of sin is death…” (Ro 6:23). Death is separation from God, the source of life.
Most of us don’t need much help to believe that sin deserves punishment, especially if “the punishment fits the crime”. But most of us have difficulty accepting that an innocent person should suffer punishment in place of the guilty. It takes revelation to comprehend that God’s ways are indeed higher than ours. “How unsearchable His judgments and His paths beyond tracing out! ‘Who has known the mind of the Lord? Or who has been His counselor?’” (Ro 11:33b-34)
It is God the Father Himself who wants a human family. So He Himself made a way that would depend on Him alone, not us, and bring the glory to Him alone. He said, “the life of the flesh is in the blood, and I have given it for you on the altar to make atonement for your souls, for it is the blood that makes atonement by the life” (Lev 17:11), and “without the shedding of blood, there is no forgiveness of sins” (Heb 9:22b). By God’s own standards and rules, there is only One whose shed blood could atone for the sins of all humanity through all time and provide complete forgiveness: God. “And we have seen and testify that the Father has sent His Son to be the Savior of the world” (1 Jn 4:14). Praise God!
Certain Islamic teachings make it very difficult for Muslims to accept the ways of Yahweh. In particular:
- One person cannot die for another person’s sin.
- Prophets are blameless and successful. God never could or would insult and humiliate a good prophet like Jesus by subjecting Him to death on a cross.
- Jesus didn’t die. He was taken up to heaven and someone else was substituted for Him on the cross.
- At the end, Jesus will be a witness against Jews and Christians for believing He died on the cross.
Before praying, if you feel comfortable, celebrate communion (“Eucharist” or Thanksgiving).
The Islamic call to prayer (adhan) includes the words, “Come to worship! Come to worship! Come to success! Come to success!” Pray that throughout Passover week and through Ramadan (April 13-May 12), Muslims’ spiritual ears will hear, “Come to Jesus! Come to Jesus!”, over the sound of the adhan.
Pray Muslims would have Holy Spirit conviction about how God regards their sin and Holy Spirit revelation of the efficacy of Jesus’ blood. Pray the Holy Spirit would lead them to online Passion Week Christian presentations of the crucifixion and resurrection. Pray for breakthrough in their understanding of God’s ways!
Don’t worry – next week, we celebrate the Good News!