video message broadcasted before his recent visit to Egypt, Pope Francis said that he hoped that his visit will be “a message of fraternity and reconciliation to all children of Abraham, particularly in the Islamic world.”
Abraham had two children, Ishmael and Isaac. Isaac is the father of the Israelites. Islamic traditions consider Ishmael to be the ancestor of Arab people. But is there any spiritual advantage of being a descendant of Abraham?
John the Baptist rebuked his hearers, “Do not presume to say to yourselves, ‘We have Abraham as our father,’ for I tell you, God is able from these stones to raise up children for Abraham” (Mt 3:9). Being a descendant of Abraham will not get you an inch closer to heaven.
Who then are the real children of Abraham? The Apostle Paul states that it is “those of faith who are the sons of Abraham … those who are of faith are blessed along with Abraham, the man of faith” (Galatians 3:7-9).
He explains further that no-one is justified by the works of the law; indeed the law curses us because of our disobedience. Jesus Christ, the Son of God, redeems those who believe in him from that curse by his death on the cross (Please read Galatians 3 and 4:4-5).
Sadly Islam denies the cardinal truths of our precious faith. Muslims do not believe that Jesus is the Son of God. Most Muslims even deny that he died on the cross, let alone understand the redemptive significance of his death.
When the Pope calls Arab Muslims “children of Abraham” he is speaking as a diplomatic politician but not as a herald of the gospel. I grieve for the millions of Muslims who need to hear the good news more than the air that they breath.
We Christians must reach out to them in love. Dear Muslims please listen to the Bible’s message: Jesus is the Son of God. Believe in him. You too can be justified through faith in him and become children of Abraham and heirs of the promises of God.