1 March 2010

God's Final Word

(Gospel e-Letter - March 2010)

What is God’s ultimate message to the world?

In the past God spoke to his people by the prophets; ultimately he spoke to us by his Son. “This is my beloved Son;” declared the voice from heaven, “Listen to him.” The Lord Jesus reveals the Father because he is the living Word, the perfect image of the invisible God.

Thus when the disciples asked Jesus to show them the Father, Jesus answered: “Whoever has seen me has seen the Father. How can you say, 'Show us the Father'?” (John 14:9). Whereas he warned the Jews who refused to believe in him that they did not really know God. “You know neither me nor my Father. If you knew me, you would know my Father also” (John 8:19).

This then - our attitude to Christ - is the dividing line between Christianity and the heretical sects and other religions. Christians believe in the eternal Son of God who also became man for our salvation; we therefore entrust our souls to his care and worship him with the Father and the Holy Spirit. Whereas non-Christians deny the Deity of our Lord and refuse to bow down before him.

Islam claims that God’s final word was given by the prophet Mohammed some 600 years after Christ. Therefore Islam must deny the unique dignity of Jesus as the Son of God so that it won’t be seen as a regression from God’s final revelation. Indeed the Qur’an says that Jesus is just another prophet, and it specifically denies that he is the Son of God. “The Messiah, Jesus son of Mary, was only a messenger of Allah … Far is it removed from His Transcendent Majesty that He should have a son” (Sura 4:171). [1]; “The Christians say: The Messiah is the son of Allah; these are the words of their mouths; they imitate the saying of those who disbelieved before; may Allah destroy them” (Sura 9:30). [2]

Clearly Jesus and Mohammed could not be both correct. If Jesus is not the Son, than he is a liar, a false prophet, and he is not worthy of any honour but the cross. But if Jesus is the Son of God, then Islam defames and blasphemes him.

On one occasion the Lord asked his disciples what the people thought of him. Some people, they answered, thought that he was another prophet. But when Jesus asked the disciples what they believed, Peter uttered that inspired declaration, “You are the Christ, the Son of the Living God” (Matthew 16:16). Jesus blessed Peter for his faith, as he blesses all those who confess him as the Son of God.

Following the teaching of the Qur’an, Muslims pray that Allah destroys Christians because we worship Jesus as the Son of God. Another translation renders the same text, ‘God fight them!’ [3] and yet another translation, “God's curse be on them.” [4]

We are convinced that the vast majority of Muslims have been misinformed about Jesus. They may curse us, but we, following the teaching of our Master, we bless them, pray for them, and seek every opportunity to proclaim the truth of the Gospel of salvation by grace through faith in Christ, the Son of God. For he is the only hope for Muslims, as well as for us all, and the rest of sinful humanity. “Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life; whoever does not obey the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God remains on him” (John 3:36).

All depends on our attitude to the Son.