Crucial Differences   3 comments

An acquaintance, Afshin Ziafat, was raised a faithful Muslim in the United States and accepted Jesus as Savior as a senior in high school. He tells the story of how during a basketball game in a public high school, he said “Jesus Christ” to express his frustration at what might have been an illegal check. One of the other players shot back “Stop! That’s my Savior you’re dragging through your foul mouth.” Afshin shot back “You mean, your prophet.” And, the other student said “No, I mean my Savior and my God.” Ashin demanded to know where he’d gotten that idea and the other student said “The Bible.”

God touches people when they are ready for His touch and that set Afshin on about a year-long search for proof that Jesus was nothing more than a prophet and that his classmate (or his classmate’s religion) was making it up. Instead, he convinced himself that Jesus Christ is Savior and God. His wealthy father disowned him and he had many other struggles because of this life-changing event, but he is still a faithful Christian with an international ministry to Muslims.

Afshin learned something that the atheist in this video has not.  There is a substantial difference between faiths. While this woman would like to lump all religions together, they are not the same. There are huge differences between Islam and Biblical Christianity, between Hinduism and Biblical Christianity, between various Christian-like cults and Biblical Christianity and, for that matter, between “Christianity” and Biblical Christianity.

And, those difference matter!

Let’s start off with very basic differences between Islam and Biblical Christianity.

The God of the Bible is not Allah and Allah is not the God of the Bible.

The Qur’an describes Allah as a vengeful, angry god who demands the total obedience of his followers and even then, they may not make it into paradise. “Allah is a long way away and you do good deeds in hope of getting closer to Allah, and hope for the best,” Afshin says. “If Allah wills, you go to paradise, but you never know.”

Allah offers no peace, even for the faithful Muslim. Good deeds don’t guarantee a ticket to paradise, but even asking questions about confusing ideas in the Qur’an could, because Muslims are not allowed to question Allah, who is a far distant god, a being to be feared, who is always ready to punish wrongdoers.

Contrast that with the God of the Bible. NOTE: I said the God of the Bible, not the Christian God. Many sects have redefined God in their own image, but the God of the Bible is still discoverable through that book.

God created the universe and the first man and woman as an act of love and He immediately sought a relationship with them in a world that provided all that they needed for life.

Adam and Eve chose to alienate themselves from God, with tragic results, because the one thing we need for life more than the garden could provide is Him. We are the inheritors of that choice to violate the human-divine relationship. It means we sin (disobey God) and it means that we can never be good enough to reestablish that lost relationship throughout our own power. Fortunately, what we cannot do, God can.

The Old Testament foretold a Messiah who would come to bless mankind. That Messiah is Jesus Christ! God took on human flesh to step down into our messy world, live and die to restore that relationship. God as Jesus offers peace and forgiveness to the people of this world. Those who have asked Christ for forgiveness have agreed to restore that relationship and share His message of restoration and peace. (2 Corinthians 5:19-20). When Christians share the gospel, we are speaking for Christ, Who is giving you every opportunity to restore that relationship.

The most awesome truth in the world is that while all people have sinned, God still loves us so much that He personally make it possible for us to be forgiven so that we can have a relationship with Him. While Allah is distant and angry, the God of the Bible is personal and loving.

But, unlike Islam (and some other isms), God does not force anyone to come to Him who does not want to come to Him. It is your choice to reestablish that relationship. Biblical Christians can tell you about the gift of salvation, but they cannot (nor should they) force you to accept. God can love you and provide you with the door way to a restored relationship, but He will not force you to walk through it. It’s always your own decision.

While Islam is a religion that involves doing things, saying prayers, keeping rituals in the uncertain hope of appeasing an angry god, Biblical Christian faith is a restored relationship with a loving, forgiving God Who says that once you’ve entered that relationship you will always be restored, even if you are not always the ideal Christian.

3 responses to “Crucial Differences

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  1. Great writing!

    Like

  2. Reblogged this on That Mr. G Guy's Blog.

    Like

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