The Way of Truth
Study 12: becoming a child of Allah
We are nearing the end of this course and come now to the most important material we shall cover. Through our study of Allah’s word we have learned much. We have seen how sin first entered the world and the human race. We saw how, from Adam, sin passed to all men. All men came under Allah’s curse and face the penalty of eternity in hell. We studied the law and how Allah gave man various laws at various times. Yet, since no one can keep the law no one can be saved by it. Rather, it helps men see their sin and points them to Allah’s grace. We then looked at how at various times Allah made special temporary grace arrangements for men. Allah’s grace was available to those to put their faith in Allah’s promise and accepted it. Those who did not believe Allah nor accept his grace arrangement were destroyed. They received the just punishment for their sins. We looked at Allah’s blessing on Ibrahim and how it was to extend to all men for all time. We then saw that in Qurban Allah provided the means by which to fulfill his promise to Ibrahim. We also saw how the Qurban of Musa was a sign or symbol pointing to the coming of a final perfect Qurban for all men. We saw that, just as Allah provided an animal for Ibrahim to sacrifice in place of his son, so now Allah has provided a sacrifice for us in the death of Isa. According to the Injil, Isa is ” the Lamb of Allah who takes away the sins of the world”. We have seen in Isa’s life, death and resurrection how prophecy was perfectly fulfilled. Finally, we saw that of all men only Isa is alive in heaven interceding before Allah for his disciples. Now we come to the most important question of the course. How can I become a disciple of Isa and be sure of going to heaven?
Prophets Ibrahim and Musa were considered righteous by Allah because of their faith (Iman)
It will help our understanding if we look again at the life of Ibrahim. Let us see what the Injil says about how Ibrahim was made righteous in Allah’s sight, and how we too can receive this blessing of Ibrahim. It is written,
Consider Ibrahim: “He believed Allah, and it was credited to him as righteousness.” Understand, then, that those who believe are children of Ibrahim. The Scripture foresaw that Allah would justify the Gentiles by faith, and announced the gospel in advance to Ibrahim: “All nations will be blessed through you.” So those who have faith are blessed along with Ibrahim, the man of faith. All who rely on observing the law are under a curse, for it is written: “Cursed is everyone who does not continue to do everything written in the Book of the Law.” Clearly no one is justified before Allah by the law, because, “The righteous will live by faith.” The law is not based on faith; on the contrary, “The man who does these things will live by them.” Masih redeemed us from the curse of the law by becoming a curse for us, for it is written: “Cursed is everyone who is hung on a tree.” He redeemed us in order that the blessing given to Ibrahim might come to the Gentiles through Masih Isa, so that by faith we might receive the promise of the Spirit. (Galatians 3:6-14)
It is evident from this passage that Ibrahim was considered righteous in Allah’s sight because of his faith. Instead of trying to justify himself through his own good work, Ibrahim depended on Allah’s grace and trusted in Allah’s promises. The same is true of the followers of Musa. They recognized they were condemned before Allah through the law. Thus, they admitted their sin and guilt to Allah, and sought his grace. When Allah said his grace was available through Qurban they believed him and obeyed. According to his command, they sought perfect animals and offered them according to Allah’s rules. We are in the same position today. Like Ibrahim and Musa we cannot hope to be saved by obeying the law. Even though the law is good, we as sinners, cannot obey it and hands only bring down its curse. Therefore, we must follow the example of Allah’s people of the past by following the steps below.
How we can also be considered righteous before Allah
- Admit to Allah that you are a sinner and cannot keep his perfect and holy law.
- Recognize that by your disobedience you deserve only death and eternity in hell.
- Accept Allah’s final grace arrangement, that is,
- Choose Isa as your perfect Qurban, the one who fulfilled Allah’s blessing and promise to Ibrahim.
- Believe and accept Allah’s promise that Isa died to take away your sins.
- With Allah’s help and strength seek to live a life pleasing to Allah according to the teachings of Isa. In your own power you can never please Allah, but through trust and dependence on Allah’s strength and forgiveness you can seek to live according to his will.
The above may seem difficult to understand at first. Perhaps an illustration would help. Imagine you are standing on a riverbank and want to get to the other side of the river. You cannot swim and you have no boat, so what can you do? First you must find out if there is a bridge. Once you know there is a bridge and where it is, then you must cross over the river using the bridge. Some bridges are sturdy, but others are not very well built. When you see the bridge, you must decide whether or not you will trust the bridge to hold your weight and not collapse. However until you put your trust in the bridge and use it, it does you no good.
Getting to heaven is like crossing that river. Through Scripture we learn that Isa is the only bridge to heaven. By trusting in Isa we can get to heaven. You might understand that and even be able to explain it to someone else. However, have you ever actually used that bridge to Allah? Until you do, it will do you no good. Have you put your faith in Isa and accepted his sacrifice as the covering for your sins? Allah offers you the gift of eternal life through the Qurban of Isa, but you must accept it. You can accept it now by praying to Allah sincerely and humbly, and telling him you accept Isa as the covering for your sins.
Through faith we are set free from slavery to sin
The four steps given may seem very simple to you at first. However, if one really understands them and in sincerity follows them, one’s life will never be the same. As the Injil says,
Therefore, if anyone is in Masih, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come! (2 Corinthians 5:17)
One’s life will be transformed. Instead of continuing to live as a child of this wicked age one becomes a child of Allah. As it is written,
Yet to all who received him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of Allah– (John 1:12)
Instead of being a slave to your own sins and lusts, Allah gives you the strength to seek to please him and live a holy life. It is written,
What then? Shall we sin because we are not under law but under grace? By no means! Don’t you know that when you offer yourselves to someone to obey him as slaves, you are slaves to the one whom you obey–whether you are slaves to sin, which leads to death, or to obedience, which leads to righteousness? But thanks be to Allah that, though you used to be slaves to sin, you wholeheartedly obeyed the form of teaching to which you were entrusted. You have been set free from sin and have become slaves to righteousness. I put this in human terms because you are weak in your natural selves. Just as you used to offer the parts of your body in slavery to impurity and to ever-increasing wickedness, so now offer them in slavery to righteousness leading to holiness. When you were slaves to sin, you were free from the control of righteousness. What benefit did you reap at that time from the things you are now ashamed of? Those things result in death! But now that you have been set free from sin and have become slaves to Allah, the benefit you reap leads to holiness, and the result is eternal life. For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of Allah is eternal life in Masih Isa our Lord. (Romans 6:15-23)
This is an amazing thing that deserves closer attention.
Through faith we can obey Allah
Surprising as it may seem at first sight, we who have been saved by Allah’s grace apart from the law are now set free to obey the law. Far from looking down on Allah’s law and disregarding it, we, who have been saved by faith in ‘Isa al-Masih, are set free from bondage to sin. We are given the power by Allah to obey his good and holy law. Thus, for example, when asked what the greatest commandment was Isa answered,
One of them, an expert in the law, tested him with this question: “Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?” Isa replied: “`Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: `Love your neighbor as yourself.’ All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.” (Matthew 22:35-40)
Far from being set free from Obedience to this law, by faith in Isa we are now for the first time set free to obey it. We can for the first time love Allah with all our hearts and obey him. We are set free from slavery to our own desires and through Allah’s strength are able to love others as ourselves. Amazing as it seems, those who have been saved by faith apart from The Law are the only ones able to obey The Law. All those who attempt to be righteous before Allah through the law through their own works and efforts, are bound by their own sin. Much as they may hate it, they are prevented by their own pride and selfishness from living in true obedience to the law. The outward action may be correct, but their inner thoughts (that only Allah knows) condemn them. But now, we who have been set free from slavery to pride and selfishness are able to worship Allah in holiness and purity.
Isa is the second Adam
We have just seen that when a person in sincerity, humility, and brokenness admits his sin to Allah and places his faith in Isa as Allah’s way of forgiving sins, the person is made new by Allah. Destructive effects of Adam’s sin are corrected. Pride, lust, selfishness, jealousy, and fear that were created in man’s life through the sin of Adam is corrected and wiped away. By Allah’s power and mercy, man has the potential to be the beautiful creation he once was before the sin of Adam. He has the potential to live once again in a personal and loving relationship with Allah just as Adam and Hawa did before they fell. Isa corrected what was destroyed by Adam. In this way Isa the Messiah is a kind of second Adam. Through the first Adam all men became centers and guilty before Allah. Through Isa, the second Adam, man has the potential to enter again into the relationship with Allah he had before the fall. This is explained very clearly in the Injil,
But Masih has indeed been raised from the dead, the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep. For since death came through a man, the resurrection of the dead comes also through a man. For as in Adam all die, so in Masih all will be made alive. (1 Corinthians 15:20-22)
Therefore, just as sin entered the world through one man, and death through sin, and in this way death came to all men, because all sinned–
For if, by the trespass of the one man, death reigned through that one man, how much more will those who receive Allah’s abundant provision of grace and of the gift of righteousness reign in life through the one man, ‘Isa al-Masih. Consequently, just as the result of one trespass was condemnation for all men, so also the result of one act of righteousness was justification that brings life for all men. For just as through the disobedience of the one man the many were made sinners, so also through the obedience of the one man the many will be made righteous. The law was added so that the trespass might increase. But where sin increased, grace increased all the more, so that, just as sin reigned in death, so also grace might reign through righteousness to bring eternal life through ‘Isa al-Masih our Lord. (Romans 5:12, 17-21)
We find the same concept brought out in the Quran,
The similitude of Isa before Allah is as that of Adam; he created him from dust, then said to him: “Be”: and he was. (Surah al-Imran 3:59)
By faith we partake in the blessings of Ibrahim
We, then, who by faith and accepted Allah’s grace arrangement, the Qurban of Isa, become partakers in the blessing of Ibrahim. Just as Scripture says about Ibrahim, so we too are counted righteous in Allah’s sight because of our faith. Through our faith in Isa, we become Allah’s children and friends of Allah. In fact, it is written,
And this is the testimony: Allah has given us eternal life, and this life is in his Son. He who has the Son has life; he who does not have the Son of Allah does not have life. I write these things to you who believe in the name of the Son of Allah so that you may know that you have eternal life. (1 John 5:11-13)
We who have become partakers in the blessing of Ibrahim by faith are assured of eternal life. We know we are saved and will spend eternity in Allah’s presence in heaven. This may be difficult to understand at first. The reason we can be certain is that our certainty rests on Allah, not us. If we were trying to be saved through obedience to Allah’s law then we could never be certain. Even if by some miracle, we had kept it perfectly in the past we would always live in fear and uncertainty of the future. At any time we could be led astray by Satan or by our own desires and lose all hope of salvation. However, those who have been saved by Allah’s grace through faith do not live in fear and uncertainty. Their salvation rests on what Allah has done not what the individual person has or has not done. It is Allah who planned and executed our salvation. It is his grace, his work, not ours. It is all his and we, by faith in him and his promises, can only accept or reject it. Those who accept it live in peace and security while those who reject it live in uncertainty and fear. In the next lesson we shall be looking at the results of acceptance and rejection in more detail.
1. Give the four steps required to partake in the blessing of Ibrahim.
2. What similarity is there between Allah’s grace arrangement through Isa and a bridge?
3. Those who have been saved from their sins through faith apart from the law,
A. No longer live in obedience to Allah’s law
B. Are given the power to obey the law by Allah
C. Must live in opposition to the law
4. How can Adam and Isa be compared?
A. Isa, the second Adam, restored what was destroyed by the first Adam.
B. Isa, the second Adam, repeated what the first Adam did and created greater problems.
C. Isa had no relation to Adam.
5. Those who place their faith in Allah’s promises and accept Isa as their own covering for sin,
A. Hope that they will someday be saved.
B. Face temporary uncertainty about salvation.
C. Are certain they have been saved.
6. Because the follower of Isa the Messiah knows that his salvation depends on Allah’s work and not man’s,
A. He can live in security and trust in Allah.
B. He must live in fear.
C. He must live in uncertainty.
7. Describe your personal response to the truths raised in this lesson.