The Way of Truth
Study 6: GRACE ARRANGEMENTS
The Law condemns us and points us to Allah’s grace
In the last lesson we studied the law. According to Allah’s Scripture the law is good. It shows us how to live and act as Allah desires. However, as sons of Adam we cannot obey the law. All men are sinners. We therefore cannot gain salvation through the law. Rather, through the law we all fall under the condemnation of Allah because of our disobedience. Because we do not keep the The Law perfectly the curse of the law falls on us. Thus, the law helps us to see our sin. It points us to Allah’s grace. When we read Allah’s law we understand that without Allah’s grace we face eternity in hell. The Law teaches us that salvation must be by grace. As the Scripture says,
Consider Ibrahim: “He believed Allah, and it was credited to him as righteousness.” (Galatians 3:6),
Clearly no one is justified before Allah by the law, because, “The righteous will live by faith.” (Galatians 3:11),
For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith–and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of Allah–not by works, so that no one can boast. (Ephesians 2:8, 9).
We sinners have no other choice than to seek to the grace of Allah the almighty, the merciful.
Allah provides special grace arrangements to save men from the law’s curse
As we studied in a lesson 3, Allah created man from the dust of the ground. As his creation Allah loves man. He does not want us to be destroyed. Thus, at different times for different groups of people Allah provided special grace arrangements. When people disobeyed Allah’s law and faced his punishment, Allah provided a means, through his grace, so that they could be saved. We will look in this lesson at some of those grace arrangements as recorded in the Scriptures.
Allah’s grace to Adam and Hawa
We have already seen the first grace arrangement. When Adam and Hawa sinned they immediately realized the evil of what they had done. They felt great shame. They also realized that they were naked. This was a tremendous shame for them. How terrible for them, a young man and woman, with nothing to cover their nakedness. Yet Allah, in his mercy, provided for them by killing an innocent animal and clothing them with the animal’s skin. They had disobeyed Allah’s law and were facing the consequences–terrible shame. Yet, Allah the merciful saved them from their fate.
Allah’s grace to Prophet Nuh and his family
Not long after Adam and Hawa the descendants of Adam and Hawa forgot all about Allah and his mercy. They cared nothing for Allah’s law. Their only thought was to follow their own desires. As it is written in the Taurat,
The LORD saw how great man’s wickedness on the earth had become, and that every inclination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil all the time. (Genesis 6:5)
Because of their disobedience Allah determined to destroy mankind, by a flood. They had not kept his law and they deserved death. Yet, because Allah loved man he provided a means of salvation. He revealed his grace arrangement to Prophet Nuh (pbuh). He told Nuh (pbuh) to build a huge ship and to bring all different kinds of animals into the ship. Allah said he was going to send a flood. Yet, only Nuh believed Allah. Only Prophet Nuh and his family had faith in Allah’s words. Everyone else made fun of Nuh for building such a huge ship. Allah’s grace arrangement was open to whoever had faith in Allah, yet only Nuh and his family had faith. Finally, one day Allah commanded Nuh and his family to enter the ship. Allah himself shut the door. The floods came and all people on earth except the eight people of Nuh’s family died. They all received the just punishment for breaking Allah’s law. Yet, Nuh, because he had faith in Allah’s grace arrangement and accepted it, was saved through Allah’s grace.
Allah’s grace to Prophet Ibrahim and Lut
We find another of Allah’s grace arrangements given during the time of Prophet Ibrahim (pbuh). Ibrahim’s nephew Lut was living with his family in the city of Sodom. The people of Sodom were living in terrible wickedness. So bad, in fact, that Allah once again determined to judge them then and there. He determined he would send down fire from heaven and destroy the city and everyone in it. However, once again Allah, in his mercy, decided he would provide a special grace arrangement for those who had faith. Allah told Lut to leave the city immediately and to warn others so that they also might escape. Lut tried to warn the people but, as in the case with Nuh, they only thought he was crazy. They had no faith in Allah and did not believe what Allah had told Lut. Thus, only Lut, his wife and two daughters fled from the city. They only had faith in Allah and were willing to accept his grace arrangement. Everyone else refused Allah’s grace arrangement. Everyone else died.
Allah’s grace to Prophet Musa (pbuh) and Bani-Israel
We see Allah’s grace arrangements again many years later during Prophet Musa’s time. Musa (pbuh) had led the people of Israel (Bani-Israel) out of slavery in Egypt. He was taking them to a land Allah had promised them. We looked earlier at the law Allah gave Musa to guide the people. However, the people of Israel began to forget Allah. They followed their own desires and disobeyed Allah’s holy law. Once again Allah determined to to give them the just punishment for their disobedience. He sent a plague of poisonous snakes among them to destroy them. However, in his mercy he provided a special grace arrangement for them. He commanded Musa to hang a metal snake on a pole. He said anyone bitten by a snake who looked at the metal snake would not die. Those who had faith in Allah and believed in his grace arrangement looked and were saved. Those who did not perished.
Allah’s grace to the inhabitants of the city of Nineveh
The last of Allah’s special grace arrangements we shall look at in this lesson concerns the people of the city of Nineveh. Nineveh was the main city of the Assyrian empire and one of the most important cities of its time. However as in the time of Prophet Nuh, the people completely forgot Allah and lived according to their own lusts. As a result, Allah’s anger was aroused and he determined to destroy the city. However, in his mercy, Allah determined to provide a grace arrangement that they might be saved. Allah commanded the prophet Yunus (pbuh) to go to Nineveh and order the people to repent. If the people had faith in Allah and accepted his grace arrangement he would spare them, otherwise they would all be destroyed. At first Yunus did not want to go in warn them. He tried to escape on a ship. Allah, however, sent a big fish to swallow Yunus alive. He was in the fish’s belly for three days and three nights when the fish finally vomited him up on shore. Yunus then obeyed Allah, went to Nineveh, and ordered them to repent. As it is written in the book of the prophet Yunus,
The Ninevites believed Allah. They declared a fast, and all of them, from the greatest to the least, put on sackcloth. (Yunus 3:5)
On seeing the faith the people had and their repentance, Allah spared the city. They were saved because they put their faith in Allah and his mercy and grace.
We have seen in every case that people failed to keep Allah’s law. They sinned and so were deserving of Allah’s judgment and punishment. In fact, their sin was so great that Allah determined to destroy them immediately. Yet, Allah the merciful in each case provided a special grace arrangement for the sinners. Anyone who had faith in Allah and accept his grace arrangement was spared. Those who rejected it perished. This raises an important question. As we know, we also have not kept Allah’s law perfectly. As law breakers one day Allah’s judgment and punishment will rightly fall on us. Our only hope of escaping our deserved punishment and receiving salvation lies in Allah’s grace. Yet, what sort of grace arrangement as Allah made for us? We have seen various arrangements he made for different people at different times. What arrangement as Allah made for us so that we might receive his grace? This is the most important question of our lives. Our hope of salvation depends on the answer. Without his grace we will perish. We will go on incoming lessons to see what Allah’s word says concerning Allah’s grace arrangement for us today.
1. According to Scripture, Ibrahim the friend of Allah was saved by,
A. Faith in Allah
B. Obedience to the law
2. The first recorded grace arrangement was for who?
3. How did Allah decide to destroy mankind in Nuh’s time?
4. How many accepted Allah’s grace arrangement and were saved in Prophet Nuh’s time?
5. When Lut (pbuh) tried to urge others to accept Allah’s grace arrangement and have faith in Allah what did they do?
6. Was Prophet Yunus always totally obedient to Allah?
7. Why were the people of Nineveh spared?
8. In each example why did Allah decide to judge and punish the men involved?
9. In each example what happened to those who rejected Allah’s grace arrangement?
10. How important do you feel finding Allah’s grace arrangement is for us today?