by Matt Slick
The Gospel of Jesus is Good News. That is what "gospel" means in Greek, the original language of the New Testament. It is the good news because Jesus has fulfilled the requirements of keeping the Law so that, through Jesus, we can receive the complete forgiveness of our sins. By Jesus keeping the Law of God the Father perfectly and by him dying and rising from the dead as proof that his good life was acceptable to God, Jesus has made it possible for people to receive the free and complete gift of salvation by faith.
Our father Abraham believed God, and it was counted to him as righteousness (Gen. 15:6). It was his faith in God that made Abraham righteous before God--not keeping the law and not keeping the commandments. He couldn't do it perfectly.
The Law of God is perfect because God is perfect. The Law is a reflection of the character of God. It is wrong to lie because lying is against God's character. It is wrong to steal because stealing is against God's character. That is why the Law tells us what is wrong. The Law is a based on God's holy character. This is why God's law is not arbitrary. It is there for a reason. Though the Law is good and perfect, no man can keep it perfectly.
Jesus taught us that to even look on a woman with lust in your heart is to commit adultery with her (Matt. 5:27-28). You see, the Law of God is not simply to govern actions. It is for our hearts and attitudes. Purity of heart is what God wants from us--purity of heart down to the deepest part of our being. Why? Because God's heart is the Purest and Most Holy of all. And since the Law was spoken by Him and came from Him, the Law is Perfect and Holy. That is the level of perfection you must have when trying to keep the Law. You must be perfect and without sin in order to stand before an infinite and holy God.
However, we are not able to keep the Law. We sin. We fail. The Law says do not lie but shows us where we lie--in our very hearts. It says do not commit adultery but shows us where we commit adultery--in our hearts. The Law of God is perfect. We are not. God is perfect and Holy. We are not. We are not able to keep the Law of God because we are finite, limited, and affected by sin. So we have to ask how can anyone ever hope to please God through keeping the Law? How can anyone ever hope to please God and attain heaven by doing good deeds? It is not ourselves that we must please but a Holy and Pure God.
The Good News
The Good News is that you do not have to try to keep the Law of God in order to please Him and go to heaven. You do not have to try to raise yourself to the level of God's Perfection by trying to keep His Holy and Perfect Law. You cannot do that. If you thought you could, then your heart is full of pride and sin since you would be thinking you are as perfect and good as God's holy character. You cannot keep God's law perfectly. This is impossible, but what is impossible with us is possible with Jesus. He kept all the Law perfectly and never sinned (1 Pet. 2:22).
Jesus said that "Greater love has no man than this, that he lay his life down for his friends." (John 15:13). Jesus laid his life down for his friends. Jesus performed the greatest act of love. He died for our sins. He paid the penalty of breaking the Law, which is death. Remember, sin brings damnation. But, Jesus took our sins and took death upon himself. In other words, he took our place; and in doing this, he also bore our sins in his body on the cross as it says in 1 Pet. 2:24. This great act of love is unsurpassed in all the world. It is unsurpassed in Islam because in the Koran, the greatest act of love, dying for another, is not performed by God. But in the Bible, it is. Jesus is God in flesh, the second person of the Trinity, who became one of us, suffered at the hands of sinful men, died on the cross, and rose from the dead. Therefore, the promise of God is that all who trust in Jesus will, like Abraham, be made righteous before God by faith (Gen. 15:6).
In the Quran it says in Surah 23:101-103, "Then when the Trumpet is blown, there will be no more relationships between them that Day, nor will one ask after another! 102Then those whose balance (of good deeds) is heavy, they will attain salvation: 103 But those whose balance is light, will be those who have lost their souls, in Hell will they abide."
Are you tired of trying to keep all the Laws in Islam as you strive to do more good deeds than bad deeds in the hope that on the Day of Judgment your good deeds will outweigh your bad? You see, because you earn in large part your salvation by your works, you cannot know whether or not you will be saved. If you are tired of trying to be perfect and of trying to obtain Paradise through your efforts and you realize that you are not good enough, then you need Jesus. Jesus said, "If any of you are heavy laden, come to me, and I will give you rest." (Matt. 11:28).
Jesus forgave sins in Luke 5:20 and 7:48-49. He walked on water (Matt. 14:25). He rose from the dead (Matt. 28:6). Have you done more than Jesus in keeping the Law or performing miracles? Has even the Prophet Muhammad done more than Jesus? No, he has not.
The Good News is that you, like Abraham, can be made righteous by faith. Do you want the righteousness that is by faith? Or, do you want to earn Paradise through your deeds? Can you earn it? Have you done it so far? Have you been doing enough good to be saved?
- that He gives eternal life, (John 10:28-30).
- that He received all authority in heaven and earth, (Matt. 28:18).
- that He is the Way the Truth and The Life, (John 14:6).
- that He will resurrect people on the Last Day, (John 6:40, 44, 54).
- that the Holy Spirit bears witness of Him, (John 15:26).
Do you want to try to please God through keeping the Law of Allah or by the grace of Christ? Again, Jesus said that the greatest act of love is to die for another. Is it the greatest act of love to ask you to earn heaven through good deeds that perhaps, if Allah wills, you might be saved? In which is the greatest act of love shown to us?
If you want the eternal life that Jesus can give you, then trust what He did on the cross and do not rely on your own works to please God. Trust Jesus by faith. It is not Muhammad who forgives sins. Jesus does that (Luke 5:20; 7:48-49). It is not Muhammad who died and rose from the dead. Jesus did that. It was not Muhammad who said, "Come to me and I will give you rest." Jesus said that. And, Jesus also said, "Believe in God. Believe also in me." (John 14:1).
Like Abraham, be righteous in God's eyes . . . by faith.