Sunday 14 November 2021

A Letter to My Muslim Friends – IV

Dear Friends,

Once my neighbor, Bro. Alam, invited one Wali sahib, and few other people who knew Koran, at his residence to hold discussion with me about certain issues on which the Moslem and the Christian views differ from each other.

After we were introduced to one another, the discussion started. It began with my asking the elderly Wali sahib about what Islam said about Isa (Jesus). He said that he was one of the prophets. I asked him about the purpose for which God sent him into the world. Wali sahib said that it was to present the world with the Book of love. I asked him, “Do you have that book of love?” He explained that the book of love didn’t literally mean a book but a message of love. I asked him what was that message of love? “To love one another,” he said. I asked him why God saw the need to send Isa with this book since this message was already preached by countless people before Him. Was there anything unique about this message of love that Isa brought into this world? He said, “No.” Here, he stressed the specificity of the mission, not the message.

Clearly, he didn’t know anything about that message of love that God sent Jesus with into the world. There were many other issues that we discussed on that day. I propose to deal one by one with them through different blogs. Just now I would like to talk to you about that message of love that Jesus had to convey to the world. It is exactly this:

“For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son (Jesus), that whoever believes in Him (Jesus) should not perish but have everlasting life.” – John 3:16

The reason why we would have perished had God not shown His love in this way is exactly this:

“In this is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins.” – 1 John 4:10

We were sinners. In other words, we were against God. The very meaning of sin is to disobey God. To disobey God is surely not the expression of love and honor. It is dishonoring God to commit sin. We have all committed this sin. We disobey God one way or the other.

But God is Holy and Just forever…That, exactly, was the reason why our sins brought about separation between God and us. God can never, never compromise with justice and righteousness. In order to compromise with justice and righteousness, He has to change Himself – the thing that He cannot do; simply because He is God and not human like us. This is the point that God stressed in Malachi 3:6:

“For I am the Lord, I do not change;

Therefore you are not consumed, O sons of Jacob.” – Malachi 3:6

Now, here is a question: If God cannot change, it means that our condition is hopeless! Because we are sinners, and we deserve punishment, and the punishment for sin is nothing less than death. It is written in Romans 6:23:

“For the wages of sin is death…”

It is we humans who view sin as big or small; God sees it for what it is, that is, rebellion against Him. People who rebel against God, rebel against all that is good. Remember, God is good and the source of all that is good.

Therefore, the Just God, when He sits on His judgment seat, is bound to mete out death penalty to the entire human race. That would have destroyed all of them…Then, why God says in Malachi 3 that because He does not change the sons of Jacob are not consumed? The fact that He does not change should have rather destroyed them all…destroyed us all!

If we are to use human logic, in spite of the fact that God loved us, His sense of justice should sacrifice His love for the sake of Divine justice, isn’t it? This is because if He forgives a sinner, it means a sinner will not receive the just punishment that he deserves for his sins. And if God is to punish a sinner, it simply means that the sinner is not going to receive grace from Him.

Well, it is absolutely interesting the way Divine wisdom has solution for each and every situation. It found out a way that would exact Divine justice without sacrificing His love for the mankind. God decided that He would put the punishment of our sins on Jesus (His Son) so that we don’t have to die for our sins.

In order to put upon Him our punishment, it was must for Him to take on a flesh-and-blood existence. Again, many people may not understand why God the Son should take on a flesh-and-blood existence in order to bear the punishment for our sins. Therefore, it is relevant for me to answer this question from the Book of Romans. It is written in Romans, Chapter 7, that sin dwells in our body which is made up of flesh and blood. Whenever we want to be good or to do good, this sin becomes active and fights against our will and forces us to do what is evil. Therefore, we want to do good, but we end up doing what is bad.

In other words, we naturally do what we don’t want to do! And we don’t do what we want to do! St. Paul makes it amply clear when he says that this situation is there because there is one law working in our flesh-and-blood and another in our spirit. The law that works in our flesh-and-blood is the law of sin.

In other words, when we commit sin, it is not we who commit sin but the sin that dwells in our body. Sin works itself out with our body. Therefore, it was important for God to destroy the body that was exposed to all sorts of sinful passions and replace it with a glorified body that wouldn’t be exposed to sinful passions. Because the glorified body is not exposed to sinful passions, Sin cannot dwell in it and live through it.

The destruction of the body in which Sin made its abode was to take place on the cross. The body of Jesus represented the body of the entire mankind.

So, Jesus (God the Son) did take flesh-and-blood existence and took birth through Mother Mary (Mariam) into this world. He took upon Himself the punishment for our sins on the cross; He shed His holy and precious blood on the cross to atone for our sins; and He died in our place. He was buried in the grave but rose to life on the third day and lived on earth for 40 days in the midst of His followers, proving in many ways that He was the same Jesus who died on the cross. Now, the thing that remained for Him to do in order to fulfill the divine plan for the fallen humanity was to ascend to Heaven to His Father. So He did right before the eyes of His followers.

It was necessary for Him to ascend to His Father because if He would go to the Father, He would be able to send the Holy Spirit on earth. The Holy Spirit is the Spirit of God. The coming of the Holy Spirit was a very important event because it marked a new phase in the plan of God.

In this phase, the Spirit of God helps the humanity to develop in the spiritual realm to which we were introduced when we received salvation of our spirit. For this purpose, the Spirit of God both dwells with us and within us. He imparts to us the knowledge of God and this knowledge brings about the necessary changes in our personality. The task of the Holy Spirit is to prepare us in such a way that we are ready for the final phase of the salvation that started with our spiritual salvation. This final phase includes Jesus’ appearance in the sky and the believers in Jesus seeing Him face to face. This appearance of Jesus in the sky concerns the event that is called THE RAPTURE. At due time, we shall talk about it. For now, we shall limit ourselves to the topic we are dealing with.

Something unimaginable happens at this time. When the believers see Jesus face to face, in that very instant they undergo change in the twinkling of an eye and they are transformed into the image of Jesus. They acquire ‘glorified body’, which is called the salvation of the body in the Bible.

With the salvation of the body, the process of salvation is concluded. They pass onto the divine plane from the human. Now they are in the possession of a divine nature that cannot be assailed by sin and death. This is because this nature is not sinful. It is righteous. And, it is immortal. Now the believers are ready to accompany Jesus to Heaven and be able to live in the presence of God for eternity.

In biblical terminology, with the salvation of the body, we pass from human dimension into the divine! And we shall be granted the status of ‘adopted’ children of God – adopted because actually we were not part of the family of God but out of His grace He included us into His family so that we may have share in all that is His.

Just consider what it means to be the sons and daughters of God! It means just as the children of men and women are bound to be men and women, the children of God are bound to be gods! This difference between God and gods must be understood. It is an altogether different topic for which this short blog does not provide enough room. I will certainly deal with it in a different blog. What I would like to underline here is the fact that we shall be in Heaven with God forever.

Therein lies God’s happiness – and also ours. In that state He would be able to give us all the blessings that He intends to give us. When we will talk about the nature of our existence in the presence of God in Heaven, we shall also discuss what He wants to bless us with. If anyone has any question to ask about this blog, please feel free to get in touch.

My email ID is:

No comments:

Post a Comment