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09. COMAPRISONS BETWEEN CHRISTIANITY AND ISLAM
Comparisosns 4 - The Ten Commandments
4.13 - Conclusion: The Law and the Gospel
A religious teacher once asked Jesus, “What is the greatest commandment in the law?“ Jesus answered with two verses from Deuteronomy 6:5 and Leviticus 19:18 and said, “Love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your might, and love your neighbor as yourself.“
With these words, Jesus summarized the ten commandments precisely. While the first part of the Ten Commandments describes our relationship to God and acknowledge Him as our Creator, Savior, and Comforter, the second part shows our relationship to our human brother and points out clearly our service to him.
Jesus didn't give an embarrassing negative answer to the question of this godly man. He didn't talk about what we should avoid doing. Rather, He guided him joyfully to a positive fulfillment of the law. He stated concisely what we all need to do. Both commandments can be summarized in one motto: love God and people with pure love. Let us examine ourselves and see how much we love God and how actually we love our friends and even our enemies. At this point we can see to what extent we fulfill the Ten Commandments.
4.13.1 - Do We Love God?
Love for God is the most comprehensive and pressing commandment so that no portion of our time, money and planning would remain for ourselves if we truly love God. We received spirit, soul and body from Him; our desires, will and hope are formed and filled with His love. Let the holy Creator and redeeming Savior be the focus of our lives. Nothing is important apart from Him. He is a jealous God who expects our undivided, complete love for Him. He is not willing to let another share this. Therefore, we have to face up to this question: Do we love God just as He loved us and still loves us? How much do we really love Him? Do we love Him emotionally, in thought, meditating on His Word thoroughly so that we know His Will and seek to fulfill it with His help? Let our entire being praise Him for His grace in granting us the new life which we live. Let us honor Him in what we do and what we refrain from doing, thanking Him for the complete forgiveness of our manifold sins through the atonement provided freely in Christ Jesus. Let us praise Him for the joy, peace and comforting spirit which He poured out into our hearts. Our love is not sufficient. We do not always love God with all our heart and soul. Therefore we need the help of our Lord even to love Him as we ought. The apostle Paul shows us how God has answered our prayers, “The love of God has been poured into our hearts by the Holy Spirit given to us“ (Romans 5:5b). Our heavenly Father has granted us His own love so that we can truly love Him. His love fills our hearts as the Holy Spirit dwells in us.
4.13.2 - Do We Love Our Brother as Ourselves?
The Spirit of love enables us to see the people around us through the eyes of God. Let us therefore witness the grace of Jesus to them, explaining His redeeming love for sinners. We will pray for them and serve them if we really love them as we love ourselves. If we get hungry we do everything possible to find food. If we are afraid, we try to find an escape. If we grow tired, we fall asleep. Likewise, the love of Christ guides us to feed the hungry, deliver the depressed and provide means of comfort to the weary. Jesus so loved everyone that He made Himself equal with us. He became one of us. He has shown us beforehand what He, the King of kings, will ask His followers on the Day of Judgment: “Then the King will say to those on His right hand, `Come, you blessed of My Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world: for I was hungry and you gave Me food; I was thirsty and you gave Me drink; I was a stranger and you took Me in; I was naked and you clothed Me; I was sick and you visited Me; I was in prison and you came to Me.' Then the righteous will answer Him, saying, `Lord, when did we see You hungry and feed You, or thirsty and give You drink? When did we see You a stranger and take You in, or naked and clothe You? Or when did we see You sick, or in prison, and come to You?' And the King will answer and say to them, `Assuredly, I say to you, inasmuch as you did it to one of the least of these My brethren, you did it to Me'“ (Matthew 25:34-40).
Jesus combines in His person the love of God and love of man. If we ask Jesus, He will confirm us in His love so that we can serve God as well as the needy. We will not serve Him in order to save ourselves, but because we have already been saved we serve God and people gratefully and willingly. Our love is not based on self-righteousness through our good works as Muslims think, but on the salvation accomplished for all in Christ Jesus.
4.13.3 - A More Profound Meaning
The gospel of salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ guides us to grasp the profound meaning of the Mosaic law. In other words, the Ten Commandments prevent us from destroying ourselves and secure our happiness. Jesus said to the rich man, “Keep the commandments and you shall inherit eternal life.“ Undoubtedly, the nation which walks in God's commandments and lives by them will experience abundant blessings in every way.
But if we meditate on the law it will shake our pride and question our piety. The law is not mere guide-lines but aims at our total surrender to God and total separation from sin. The Lord often said, “Be holy, for I am holy.“ God is not satisfied with pretentious godliness or natural religiosity as presented by other religions. Instead, He wants to change us and restore us from our rebelliousness to His own image, in word and action. Jesus commanded us, “Be perfect, for your Father in heaven is perfect.“ He was referring especially to loving our enemies and having mercy on the destitute, just as our heavenly Father acts towards us.
4.13.4 - Does the Law Cause Our Destruction?
If someone understands the demands of the holy God and tries to obey them faithfully, he might tremble and ask, “What mortal can love just as God loves? And who is holy as God is holy?“ The law reveals our secrets; it puts the mirror of holiness in front of our faces and reveals our sinfulness. The law disciplines complacent sinners and wakes them up out of their slumber. The judgement of God involves eternal punishment for everyone. If someone keeps the entire law and stumbles in one point he has become a criminal in all things.“
If someone examines his life in the light of the Ten Commandments, seeing the small and big idols in his daily life, thinking how often he abused the name of the Lord and defiled the Sabbaths, he will realize that he has been sentenced to eternal death by God a long time ago. If someone would measure himself against the purity of Christ, he will be crushed, concluding that the purpose of the law is the destruction of all people.
The law reveals our uncleanness in order to lead us to continuous repentance. The law breaks our self-righteousness and our pride. However, we stand trembling before a holy God, and know that we are not judged on the basis of our self-righteousness but because of His great compassion. We can accept the root sense of the law only because we are no longer under the law as Christians, but in the grace of Jesus!
Jesus came to John the Baptist and made disciples out of those who confessed their sins and were baptized in the Jordan River. He didn't choose disciples from among those who claimed to keep the law and showed off their godliness. Instead He chose those who confessed their sins and tried to escape the just judgement of God, who denied their old nature, and put it to death in the water of baptism. Jesus was able to build them up spiritually and bring them out of the condemnation of the law. Now that they really repented He took them up to the mountains of Galilee and brought them into fellowship with Himself. The law had completed its task. Now the Law-giver personally arrived and carried away the guilt of His followers away. Jesus fulfilled the requirements of the law, which leads those who follow Jesus to praise Him. God is with us. The Perfect One came to the imperfect ones. The Judge became the Savior who stooped down to rescue the sinner.
4.13.5 - The Law Fulfilled by Jesus
What did Jesus do with the Law of Moses? He completely fulfilled it in a way that no one else could. He remained humble and content. He did not allow money to rule Him. He always glorified His Father. Jesus mentions the supreme name of the Father more than 168 times. In the Gospel the Father is the sole focus of His life. The love of the Father and the love of the Son has been established in unity as Jesus said, “I and the Father are one. The Father is in Me, and I in the Father.“ The Father's love and holiness are incarnate in Jesus who said, “He who has seen Me has seen the Father.“
Jesus loved and obeyed His mother all the time He was with her, as the Quran explains in Sura Maryam 19:32.
Jesus loved His enemies and did not slander them but spoke the truth to them. He did not marry like David or Muhammad. He ate with sinners and tax collectors and led them to repentance. He did not own a horse, and He had to ask His friend to lend Him a donkey to ride when He entered Jerusalem. He lived a sinless, holy life in word and deed. No lie, lust, desire or ulterior motive ever corrupted the holiness and perfection of Jesus. He remained sinless, loved His enemies and all people so that He made Himself equal to them. He knew He would give His life as a ransom for many. His redemptive death for all sinners meant the final fulfillment of the law: “Greater love has no one than this, than to lay down one's life for his friends“ (John 15:13).
Jesus was born of the Holy Spirit of God, to fulfill the requirements of the law on behalf of all people. He was willing to die as the perfect Lamb of God. He took away sin completely, and so Jesus became the consummation of the law as Paul wrote, “For Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to everyone who believes“ (Romans 10:4). The law does not accuse those who are redeemed by His vicarious death, for they are free from the constraint of the law. They died with Him to the law. Now, if the Son sets someone free, He is indeed free and the wrath of the holy God does not fall on him. His followers are already justified and will pass blameless through the awesome judgement on the last day. By only one offering Christ has perfected His own sanctified ones.
Those who reject Christ will stand before Him on the day of judgment and say to the mountains “fall on us and hide us from the face of Him who sits on the throne and from the wrath of the Lamb“ (Revelation 6:16; Luke 23:30). Whoever rejects being justified by the Lamb of God remains under the law and will be judged by the law.
Even Muhammad could not provide any assurance of going to paradise for himself and his followers, but he felt the wrathful judgment of God as he confessed that every Muslim must enter hell and spend a certain period of time in the scorching flames, according to his good deeds (Sura Maryam 19:71). There is no hope of salvation for any Muslim, for their hope is built on the law and none of them could keep it perfectly. Jesus still says, “He who believes in the Son has everlasting life; and he who does not believe the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God abides on Him“ (John 3:36).
What about Christians? Are they better than Muslims and all others who are lost? Christians have confessed all their sins and regretted them bitterly. They are broken spiritually and will not forget who and what they were. Their pride is overcome by the shed blood of the Son of God whereby they received eternal life from Him.
4.13.6 - The Law of Christ in Us
Praise the Lord! Jesus, the Fulfiller of the law, took compassion on His disciples and wrote the divine law on their minds and put His Holy Spirit into their hearts. Having been justified, they do not live without law nor do they remain slaves under the law. It is Jesus who has put the new order into the hearts of His followers as He said to them, “A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another; as I have loved you that you also love one another. By this all will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another.“ In this commandment Jesus summarized the Ten Commandments and made them realizable. In Romans 13:10 Paul writes, “Love does no harm to a neighbor; therefore love is the fulfillment of the law.“
The unique commandment of Jesus was never a reason for the disciples to fear since Jesus granted them the spiritual power to fulfill it. Paul, a scholar of the Torah, reveals this truth, “For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has made me free from the law of sin and death“ (Romans 8:2). The Spirit of God produces divine fruit in the followers of Jesus: love, joy, peace, long-suffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness and self-control. The power of Christ is evident in the children of light, “in every goodness, righteousness and truth“ (Galatians 5:22; Ephesians 5:9). Christians are no longer under the law. They are not lawless people, because the law of Christ abides in them and, at the same time, provides the power to fulfill it.
4.13.7 - He Stresses Preaching Christ
The love of Christ guides those saved by grace no longer to live for themselves, but to exhibit the righteousness of Christ freely to all men. Telling people about Jesus, along with praise and service, is one of the first results of the love of Jesus in us. His disciples have gone to the entire world preaching the law and the Gospel. The law proves man's sinfulness that deserves judgment and damnation while the Gospel portrays Jesus before the eyes of our heart. The Gospel assures us that the grace of Jesus saves us from the judgment of the law. Jesus fulfilled the requirements of divine justice in our place and granted us His own righteousness out of His unlimited compassion. Therefore, we go to the lost and the despairing gratefully to offer them everlasting hope. We approach Muslims as well as Jews and encourage them, “Do not be grieved, for the joy of the Lord is your strength“ (Nehemiah 8:10). Comprehend and know that your salvation is ready for you! Just receive it! You will no longer be in despair as those living under the curse of the law, and hell has no power over the one who believes in Christ. Jesus has taken every curse and accusation, and the wrath of God upon Himself. “The Lord is our righteousness“ (Jeremiah 23:6). Come to Him! Believe in Him! Be united with Him! He is the incarnate law. His blood cleanses us from all our sin. He grants us His reviving love and gives us His strength to love God and all people faithfully. “Love is the fulfillment of the Law“ (Romans 13:10).
4.13.8 - QUIZ
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