The Way, The Door, and The Sheppard Versus the Path:
The context of New Testament Scripture, however, does not declare that there is any such gradual ‘path’ to salvation. On the contrary, the Lord Jesus Christ, Who is a Living Person and not a religion, calls Himself “The Way.”
[A way = a certain direction; an invisible feature, an abstract aspect, a manner, sense, or style; or a certain character to follow through continual behavior.
A way is also a door or direct opening leading into, or providing immediate access to or from somewhere, i.e.: I came in the front way, and now I am inside.]
One reason why Jesus is The Way and not a path, is that all of humanity is born under a state of sin and cursedness; “none are good; none are righteous, none are acceptable to God, no, not even one!” Humankind’s sin is a cursed position, state, or a dreadful place of lostness without God, from which humankind can do absolutely nothing at all to contribute to their salvation and blessing, (Gal. 3:10-14; Rom. 3.) Muslims, as all other religionists, seemingly know nothing about the fallen ‘heart’ (spirit) and corrupt soul (mind) of humankind. Religionists do not see sin as an evil disposition or condition of lostness, cursedness, lovelessness, darkness, and eternal damnation from which humankind, by themselves, have absolutely no escape.
It is therefore no coincidence that Jesus also called Himself “The Door to the Father.”
In order to be saved and blessed, spiritually dead and cursed humankind needs to be reborn into spiritual life and a position of blessedness. This can only be achieved through sincere faith in, acceptance of, and reliance on THE Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ.
Jesus Alone can be The Christ, or Savior, because only Jesus fulfilled the entire Law, in the place of all humankind by becoming a curse for them and bearing the punishment for their entire state of sin. (That is the entire law and all its precepts: the ceremonial/ritual as well as the Moral law of the Old Testament.)
Moreover, the spiritual rebirth through faith in Christ is definitely not a prolonged process. Just as natural birth, spiritual birth is an instant, momentarily event. During the spiritual rebirth, the Holy Spirit moves the sincere believer, who truly accepts Jesus’ complete atonement in his or her place, from the spiritual clutches of damnation and darkness, and brings him or her through The Door of God’s Atonement into God’s spiritual light. From the banishment of spiritual death into the acceptance of spiritual life; from damnation to salvation, and from cursedness to complete blessedness in Christ!
Praise God, we cannot, and do not have to follow a prolonged ‘path of enlightenment.’ The moment we truly accept Jesus as our personal Lord and Savior, we HAVE complete enlightenment, because our personal Savior, Jesus The Door to the Father, IS the Light, and the Only Light of the world!
The idolatrous spirit of a Religious path versus the loving Spirit of The Way:
In essence, then, a path is a long-drawn-out, outward, formulated method we use to try to work out our own salvation (or some aspects of our salvation,) in order to earn merits for ourselves with a distant god over a period of time.
A way is a heart-led decision to deny our sinful selves and to trust completely in the salvation and blessing which Jesus has earned in our place, so that we can live with Him in a personal relationship all the days of our lives, (Gal. 3:10-14.) We can never serve or follow Jesus according to some method, formula, or ceremony. God hates such self-reliant, self-righteous formulas. He calls them “idolatry” – doing things according to the learned repetitions of human philosophies and not in loving reverence of Him as our Personal Father-God, (Col. 2:6-15!)
When the rude, legalistic Samaritans refused to receive Jesus in their town, His disciples, in all legalistic sincerity, asked Jesus’ permission to destroy them with fire.
“But Jesus rebuked them and said, ‘You do not know what manner of spirit you are of. For the Son of Man did not come to destroy men’s lives but to save them. And they went to another village,” (Lu. 9:51-56.)
Most often, our zeal for God is not love but legalism, which neatly hides the self-righteous spirit of vengeance and destruction, (aptly revealed through the murderous Christian crusades during medieval times.) But Jesus, not being the Author of evil, does not desire the ruin of physical lives, much less of eternal souls - for Jesus did not come preaching eternal salvation only, but also, physical healing for our broken bodies and distraught human souls.
God’s only prerequisite to instant, inward salvation, however, is that we enter into His Kingdom through the correct Door - His Son, the Lord Jesus Christ. From that moment on, Jesus Christ Himself, (through His indwelling Holy Spirit and the full context of His written Word,) will be our Personal Sheppard, Who will lead us through the darkness of this dimension to eternal life in heaven - if we continue to “abide” in a consistent, repentant, whole-hearted relationship with Him, of course, (Jn. 10:1-29; 1 Cor. 6:17-20; Mt. 24:13; 7:21-23!)
So, in following our Sheppard Jesus — God’s Way, Truth, and Life; we do not follow a path of ritual or ceremonial laws; we follow a Person in Godly Morality, (or through the precepts of the Moral Law of Love,) Whom we sincerely trust and deeply love. Most importantly, in our ‘walk’ with Him, we growingly and continually forsake doing things according to the methodology of the religious path, and learn to do things God’s Way. The Bible calls these Godly, behavioral changes “repentance,” brought about by ‘the renewal of our minds,’ so that we can ‘know what is that perfect will of God’ to DO it, (Rom. 12:1-2; Jam. 1:21-27.)
For this cause Paul wrote in Rom. 8:14, “For as many as are LED by the Spirit of God, these are the children of God.” The Holy Spirit will always lead us according to the full context of Scripture, which is spirit and life, or Jesus, the Living Word Himself, (Jn. 1:1-2.) Paul, as all the other writers of Scripture, commanded us to follow the Spirit in heart-led obedience to His inward Moral Law, which is according to the character of Jesus, God’s Way. We cannot, and – thank God! – do not have to (eventually) get to the Father by following a long ceremonial and ritual path; we enter directly into His throne room through Jesus, the Door. Jesus and Only Jesus is The Way to God the Father.
In following The Way, true believers of the Lord Jesus will never attempt to earn anything from Him. His life is a free gift; Jesus’ blessing is a free gift and eternal salvation through His complete atonement in our place will always remain a gift as free as the wind.
To accept Jesus as our personal Way, but to turn aside to follow some religious Christian path according to manmade doctrines, is rejecting The Light of the world and returning to idolatrous religious independence from God, in order to become yet another slave of the death and darkness of religion, (Gal. 5:1-15!)
THE FIVE PILLARS OF ISLAM VS BIBLICAL FAITH AND SALVATION:
Every religion on earth is based on the unsure foundation of a mere hope of salvation by immense legalistic effort.
For Muslims, the hope of salvation by works centers on the 5 pillars of Islam.
Firstly, faith: Their faith is not our saving, inward faith in the Savior, (adhering to, trusting in, and relying on Jesus our Lord under all circumstances,) but the very diligent and constant confession that “there is no god but Allah, and Mohammed is his prophet.” The more they recite and declare their ‘confession of faith,’ the more they ‘prove’ their faith in Allah; the more they earn confessional merit with him, the more devoutly they follow his Islamic path.
Secondly, prayer: The Islamic pillar of prayer consists of 5 ritual prayers a day, which they have to, quite paradoxically, say with real sincerity, although they can never know Allah personally or even think of having a personal relationship with him! Regardless where a devout Muslim might be, he has to do his ritual prayers by kneeling on his face. On Fridays, they have to attend a mosque at noon for collective, ritual prayer called ‘Jumaa Prayers.’
Muslim prayer, as all other forms of legalistic prayer, contradicts our born again, personal, anytime, ‘anyhow’ prayer of inward relationship-faith by simply speaking to God from a sincere heart. Jesus rebuked all legalistic forms of prayer by commanding, ‘Do not use vain repetitions as the heathen do. For they think that they will be heard for their many words.’ He also warned in Isa. 29:13, “These people draw near with their mouths and honor Me with their lips, but have removed their hearts far from Me and their fear toward Me is taught by the commandment of men…”
The third pillar of Islam is ritual fasting during the month of Ramadan. They must then abstain from food and drink during daylight, but at nighttime, they may eat and drink as much as they like. This fast cannot be related to Jesus’ commandment that our fasting must be seen only by God, (Mt. 6:16-18.) God described the meaning of fasting in Isa. 58:5-12, “Is this not the fast that I have chosen: To lose the bonds of wickedness, to undo the heavy burdens, to let the oppressed go free, and that you break every yoke [of sin?] If you take away the yoke from your midst, the pointing of the finger, and speaking wickedness…” The Spirit Filled Bible comments, “The yoke refers to all forms of social [and personal] injustice. The pointing finger refers to falsely accusing people with fear tactics. Speaking wickedness refers to stirring up trouble.” As a result, the true Biblical meaning of fasting is not seated merely in prayer, but in radical repentance from all forms of sin and oppression.
The forth pillar is the giving of alms to the poor, which consist of 2½% of capital income. As all legalistic ‘tithing’ and ‘offering,’ that giving of alms does not relate to Jesus’ commandment, ‘When you do a charitable deed, do not sound a trumpet before you as the hypocrites… but do not let your left hand [fellow believers and other people] know what your right hand is doing,’ that your charitable deed may be seen only by God, (Mt. 6:2-4.)
The fifth pillar is the pilgrimage to Mecca, known as the ‘hajj.’ The hajj earns Muslims extra credit to enter into the Islamic paradise. Sadly, the hajj can and does relate to Christian crusades and other futile religious pilgrimages; even modern ‘crusades’ such as ‘Bible’ tours to the ‘holy land’ of Israel in search of ‘deeper’ spirituality, while neither Jesus nor His disciples mentioned such a thing. Our God is omnipresent. Even the Old Testament psalmist rejoiced in Ps. 139:7-10, ‘Where can I go from Your Spirit? Or where can I flee from Your presence? If I ascend into heaven, You are there; if I make my bed in hell, You are there. If I take the wings of the morning and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea, even there Your hand shall lead me, and Your right hand shall hold me…’
Muslims, sadly, need to adhere earnestly to the 5 pillars of Islam while none of these religious acts guarantees them salvation. According to their doctrine of predestination, Allah has already made his up his mind concerning the individual Muslim’s eternal destiny. Chances are, everything the poor diligent Muslim sacrifices for Allah will be in vain!
We can undoubtedly say that the Muslim’s non-surety of salvation, despite all human effort, is one of the major differences between religions such as Islam, Buddhism, Hinduism – even religious Christianity – and the Scriptural Way of being born again into a relationship with the Father through the complete atonement of His Son Jesus Christ, (Rom. 3:21-26; Jn. 1:12-13.)
However, many born again believers simply do not fully appreciate the indescribable gift of unmerited salvation, which God had entrusted to us through His Son Jesus Christ. And so, slowly and subtly, in the course of their diligent church devotions, even sincerely born again believers are in danger of leaving their inherited position of grace in Christ to join the cursed position of thousands upon thousands of Christian religionists, (Gal. 3:10-14; 5:1-6)
Others, misinterpreting their freedom in Christ, abuse their liberty and believe it their ‘right’ to live eternally in the salvation and blessing of God without ever repenting from personal sin, false doctrine, or disobedience to the New Testament commandments of Jesus, (Gal. 5:13.) Consequently, they revert to the doctrine of ‘unconditional salvation’ in the so-called ‘unconditional love of God,’ and cling to the dangerous once-saved-always-saved fallacy. They conveniently forget that Jesus Himself uttered these bone-chilling words in Mt. 7:21-24, “Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven. Many will say to Me in that day, ‘Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Your Name, cast out demons in Your Name, and done many wonders in Your Name?’ Then I will declare to them, I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness! Therefore, whoever hears these saying of MINE and DOES them, I will liken him to a wise man who built his house on the rock…” Of course, that Rock is Jesus Himself, as He revealed Himself through the full context of His eternal Word, (Rom. 5:20b – 6:14.)
Often, we become so used to the peace of God in our hearts and His protection over our lives, we actually begin to believe the most comfortable and most popular interpretations of Scripture, instead of “enduring to the end” in loving obedience to our Savior; striving for and clinging to the truth of our Lord. As we defile our minds with false teaching, we begin to make up our own personal doctrines; we derive our own truth from God’s holy Word, thus forfeiting our concern for our own salvation, and especially our concern for the redemption of the lost and dying world!
Gradually, we begin to believe that hell cannot be real. Somehow, we convince ourselves that everlasting punishment cannot pertain to willfully disobedient believers in Christ; neither does hell affect the unbelieving world that seriously at all. Surely, a God of grace, Who ‘loves us unconditionally,’ will ‘judge everyone according to the degree of light which they themselves have chosen to receive?’
Some simply fail to realize that God does not view the world in terms of dusk or dawn.
God looks at every human heart in terms of darkness or light – as lost in sin and dead in unbiblical religion, or saved in Jesus Christ and enduring in loving obedience to Him until the end of our lives in this world!
ISLAMIC/CHRISTIAN DOCTRINE OF PREDESTINATION:
The Muslim doctrine of ‘double’ predestination teaches that most of humanity is damned and only a small number are predestined or foreordained to enter into heaven. Muslims believe that Allah alone decides who goes to hell and who doesn’t; no matter what they do or neglect to do, they have absolutely no say in the matter.
Some deviations from Judaism do teach predestination, while most Jewish rabbis believe that predestination conflicts with the God-given free will, and personal responsibility of humankind. But dejectedly, that Muslim doctrine of ‘double’ predestination belongs to Christianity as well.
Gleaned from paganism and incorporated into the Roman Catholic Church by their so-called ‘saint’ Augustine of Hippo, ‘double’ predestination is another serious heresy, which Protestants John Calvin, Martin Luther, and their followers inherited from the Catholic Church. The Catholic ‘church father’ Augustine and Protestant ‘church father’ John Calvin both believed that God alone decides the eternal destination of every individual without respecting any of man’s personal choices.
Louis Berkhof described the doctrine of ‘double predestination’ as, “The eternal decree of God whereby He has determined to pass some men by with the operations of His special grace, [without allowing them any choice in the matter,] and to punish them for their sins, to the manifestation of His justice.”
Brian G. Mattson wrote, “Lutherans, on the other hand, teach single predestination; that while God in eternity past did indeed elect a people for himself whom he would actively save in the outworking of history, he did not decree that the rest of mankind would absolutely be lost and reprobate them to eternal hell. That is, while affirming election, Lutherans reject reprobation [or Divine rejection.] God refrained from electing some men to salvation, but at the same time did not actively decree their continuation in sin, and ultimate suffering as a consequence.”
Scripturally, however, the doctrine of single predestination is also a fallacy, because John declared in 3:16, “For God SO loved the [WHOLE] world that He gave His only begotten Son, that WHOEVER believes in Him should not perish but have eternal life.”
John Calvin actually taught particular atonement, which means that Jesus died only for the ‘elect;’ the so-called ‘chosen’ members of Calvinism, or the ‘chosen’ members of the Dutch Reformed Church and her affiliates. Calvinist membership, and not solely the Biblical blood-atonement of Jesus Christ, gives adherents of this religion a chance to enter into heaven – but their god had to decide beforehand either to choose the individual to inherit eternal life or to damn him to eternal punishment in hell!
Sadly, adherents of predestination never know for sure what will happen to them at the moment of death, even though they had been devout Muslims, Catholics, Calvinists, or Lutherans.
· Predestinating Allah even chooses the measure of sin which man has to commit:
“Verily Allah has fixed the very portion of adultery which a man will indulge in, and which he of necessity must commit (or there would be no escape from it).” – [Sahih Muslim Book 033, Number 6421, 6422 or The Kitab-ul-Qadr, the Book of Destiny, Book 003, Chapter 5, no. 6421/22.]
As in Augustinian/Calvinist double predestination, this actually means that, as the god of religion forces his disciples to sin morally, immorality is not the personal responsibility of the religionist and has nothing to do with his salvation. In fact, in their personal lives, adherents of Islamic and Christian double predestination believe they may live morally whichever way they choose, as long as they adhere to the ritual path of their religion! While modern Catholicism teaches single predestination, most Catholics live according to the principle of double predestination without even realizing it. As a result, these religionists never meditate on their condition of sin or their responsibility to repent from personal sin.
· Predestinating Allah created the black race from his left side:
The Islamic writing Mishkat al-Masabih, vol. 3, p. 117 also states that in predestinating Providence “Allah created Adam and stroked his right shoulder and took out a white race as if they were seeds. He stroked his left shoulder and took out a black race as if they were coals. He then said to those who were on his right side: ‘Towards paradise and I don’t care.’ He said to those on his left side: ‘Towards hell and I don’t care.’”
Some Muslim scholars interpret this not a “race” as it is clearly written, but as the bad ‘hearts’ and good ‘hearts’ of people. Someone rightfully asked, “What are Muslims doing in Africa if black people are predestined for hell - and then Muslims still call Islam ‘the religion for black people!’”
The True God of the Bible desires that all men should be saved by a saving knowledge of the Lord Jesus Christ, and His Name is NOT Allah! “For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world THROUGH HIM might be saved. He who believes in Him is not condemned; but he who does not [personally] believe is condemned already, because he has not [chosen to] believe in the Name of the only begotten Son of God,” (Jn. 3:16-19.)
In Islam, eternal life does not relate to the Biblical heaven at all. To those who have been ‘lucky’ enough to have been predestined by Allah, eternal life will mean ‘paradise’ or ‘the gardens;’ a place that overflows with material luxuries such as delicious food, wine - and numerous perpetual virgins. Some believe there will be 70 virgins for each man, [Surah 55:54-74; 56.21-22.]
Predestined Muslim women, who remained patient and steadfast in the path of Islam, might also have a chance of entering Paradise, but they will have the heavenly pleasure to only have eyes for their continual fornicating husbands!
“In Mt. 27 and 28:1, your Bible says that Jesus was in the grave for only two nights and one day!”
ON THIS PAGE:
· 1. The Path of Religion VS the Way, the Truth, and the Life
· The Five Pillars of Islam VS Biblical Faith and Salvation
· The Islamic/Christian Doctrine of Predestination
· Predestining Allah even chooses their measure of sin
· Allah created the black race from his left side
· Islamic Paradise