What must it be like to live as a Muslim?
by Adam Jones–
What must it be like to live as a Muslim?
It is also a widespread belief that each Muslim has been assigned a set of angels, one to record bad deeds and one to record good deeds. This score is crucial. It is the difference between these numbers, once applied to a set of heavenly scales, that determines a Muslim’s path to heaven.
I have been so impressed with technology, especially in the last 10 years. We literally have everything at our fingertips. Everything. However, as advanced as Apple and Samsung are, they have yet to be able to design an app for people to check their bad-deed to good-deed ratio. I don’t mean to make fun of this belief system, but that is why it is hard for me to imagine what it feels like to be a Muslim.
If I were a Muslim, I would constantly worry. Did I say enough prayers? Did I walk in with my right foot? Did I bless my prophet every time I said his name? Did I do enough? Can you imagine the pressure someone who lives in this system must feel?
I had a chance to share the Gospel of Jesus [the Christian message] with one of my Muslim friends here in Dearborn. I tried to explain to him the power of grace and mercy. However, he could not truly accept it and then explained to me the logic of Islam.
He said this to me: When you go to school, you don’t receive the diploma the first day of school. You get your diploma after you have completed all your classes and passed all your tests. For my friend, life makes up these tests and classes, and heaven is your diploma. I must admit, that is actually solid logic!
However, the Holy Spirit helped me communicate that the Bible has taught us a very important lesson: These are tests and classes that you cannot pass. Because of our flesh, the odds are stacked against us. The law was never meant to be a code you could crack or a challenge you could complete. It was meant to be a roadmap back to the grace and mercy of God.
The Jews encountered similar circumstances to modern day Muslims. William Barclay writes about the Jewish law in this way: ‘The law laid down exactly how far a man could walk on the Sabbath. It was laid down that he must not lift a burden that weighed more than 2 dried figs. No food was to be cooked on the Sabbath. In the event of sickness, measures could be taken to prevent a patient from getting worse, but not better.’ It goes on and on. If life is a test, you cannot pass it on your own.
The Apostle Paul takes this even further. He writes in his letter to the Romans that “the law was added so that the trespass might increase” (Romans 5: 20). If anything, the law was given to lead us back to the only who could cancel the debt our sin has caused. Our sin is too great for us to ‘pay back.’ So, the only one who could cancel this debt is the one to whom it is owed, God Himself.
Knowing that God is just, He cannot simply cancel a debt owed. That would be really nice, but not just. So, He himself came in the form of a man (Jesus), to be the final sacrifice to pay all debts that sin has caused. The law was not canceled; it was fulfilled through Jesus. If life is a series of tests and classes, and we are completely unable to pass them, God didn’t cancel the requirements. He, instead, finished the tests for us.
Paul says it this way later on in the book of Romans of the Injeel: “Since they (The Jews) did not know the righteousness that comes from God and sought to establish their own (self-) righteousness through the law, they did not submit to God’s righteousness (grace and mercy). Christ is the end of the law so that there may be righteousness for everyone who believes” (Romans 10:3-4).
Christ is the end of the attempts for man to make right what our sinful nature has and will continue to make wrong. We can ultimately find enough ‘good deeds’ on our scale because Jesus (God in the form of flesh), though sinless, took the punishment of the cross to satisfy the bad deeds for all of humanity. Christ is the end of the law.
If you believe that, you can be saved from punishment and separation from God. However, if you believe that today, what do you do tomorrow? The Bible teaches us that once we accept the truth that only God could take our punishment, we will then live in a way that both pleases him (holiness) and as a model for others (witness).
Accepting the sacrifice of Jesus doesn’t mean that we can now go out and sin as much as we want. No, a true acceptance of this gift means that we will want to live in ways that are pleasing to Him and that we will do all we can to tell others of the Good News of Jesus.
It far to easy for even Christians to believe they can be good enough on their own, thus eliminating the need for Jesus’ death and resurrection. It is also easy for Christians to take this canceled debt and live as if nothing really occurred. However, once we truly understand the magnitude of what God did for us (since we are incapable of doing it on our own) and the magnitude of what it saved us from (hell and eternal separation from God), we will want to live in ways that are loving, joyful, peaceful, patient, kind, good, faithful, gentle and self-controlled (Galatians 5:22-23).
It is my belief in truly following Jesus, you do not lose righteous living (see the Fruit of the Spirit as mentioned above) and you gain security in knowing that you are saved (through Jesus’ death and resurrection). Following Jesus is the complete package! For my Muslims friends out there, I pray that they will truly see the fullness that exists in a life with Jesus!