This blog tries to explain current issues and misconceptions about Islam.
Salvation in Islam
Published on October 30, 2010 By survivalstory In Religion

I have often read in this blog, as in many others, about the Christian belief that Jesus died for humanity's sins. Frankly speaking, it sounds illogical to me. Really, what does this mean? Does this mean that Christian's sins have already been forgiven, or that they would and "should" be forgiven whatever they do? Does this mean that Man is not accountable for his deeds and that religion or life, as a whole, is that meaningless? Does this mean that a Christian can rape or murder, or the do the greatest evil without being accountable for this? Indeed Allah is is the most Compassionate, and is the most Forgiving, but this does not mean that I am allowed to do whatever I like just for the idea that Jesus had "died for my sins", which is not true (and as Jesus was neither crucified) To say such a claim is a denial to the fact, as Christians do believe (and which soundscontradictory) aboutlifebeing a passage towards eternal life.  Like Muslims, Christians do believe in life as passage towards eternity, but saying again that Jesus died for the sins of humanity would render us "unhuman" , and at the same time claiming that life is a passage towards eternity renders the notion of life itself bare and meaningless. "Life as a passage towards eternity" implies that life is a struggle for eternal blessing. Throughout the course of their lives, believers can make sins, but most of the time with the idea of paradise and hell in mind, they can also repent and struggle to correct the weaknesses of their human nature. The awareness about their being "responsible people" makes them struggle, not only for fogiveness, but most of all for being better people. Like any other human being, I can make mistakes in my daily life, but my awareness of the fatality of such deeds puts me in a kind of struggle against "theinnate humanlonging forsin".Only such struggles against lies, backbitting, anger reactions, and so many other bad deeds in human nature makes me feel a responsible person. These struggles are engendred within the believer most of all by the idea of Hell and Paradise. This is what really makes meaning to our "passage towards eternity", but just bearing in mind that Jesus (may God bless Him) has "died for my sins" would annihilate my struggle for perfection and would make "my passage" meaningless. Against such idea, I say that I am the only accountable for my evil deeds, and that Paradise is not that easy as Christians claim, but I have to struggle for it. I begin from the principle that I am not saved, but I have to save myself. Only this could make my "passage" a real story of struggle. However, while trying to understand to concept of salvation in Islam, one should not mistake that Paradise is a choice, but most of all a struggle backed up by the forgiveness and compassionofGod.

                                                   A. Siham


Comments
on Oct 30, 2010

Hello.

Thank you for writing yet another interesting article with lots of questions that no doubt will bring a robust discussion. 

Let be begin by explaining that unfortunately after the Protestant Reformation in the 1500's there have been many so called "Christian concepts of salvation" that have been developed.

I'm Catholic and therefore my comments and answers concerning Christ's Redemption, salvation, forgiveness of sins, etc. will be from over 2,000 years of constant Catholic Church teachings.

I have often read in this blog, as in many others, about the Christian belief that Jesus died for humanity's sins. Frankly speaking, it sounds illogical to me. Really, what does this mean?

It's true Jesus Christ died for humanity's sins and this Christian doctrine is called Christ's Redemption of the human race.  Christ died on the Cross and redeemed all mankind. 

 To properly understand Christ's Redemption we must go to the first Book of the Torah, Genesis.

In Genesis we learn that sin appeared in the world when Adam and Eve disobeyed Almighty God. As a result of their sin, they forfeited the friendship of God, the gates of Heaven were closed and they became enslaved to the Devil.

Then we learn from Genesis that Almighty God is Patient, Gracious and Merciful...before He drove Adam and Eve out of the Garden into the misery of the world, He promised them a Redeemer who would come and overcome death, sin and the devil and the gates of Heavenly paradise would be thrown open again.

Just as all the Old Testament prophets prophesized, the Christ came and by His death on the Cross, in which He became a substitional Victim for the whole human race, paid the price of our redemption,and by His satisfactions, He blotted out our sin that we all inherited from Adam, and by His merits He won for us the restoration to the grace and friendship of Almighty God.

So in a nutshell, the doctrine of Christ's Redemption of the human race comprises the element of an initial loss and a restoration at a price paid by Christ.

on Oct 30, 2010

Hello, your idea of salvation is counter to logic. if Jesus (peace be upon him) saved humanity from sin, the what is the point of living!!!!! no this is not true! it is only up to you to save yourself from Hell fire, it is your struggle in this life. Salvation comes through our struggle and good actions. another thing Adam and Eve have been initiated to the idea of good and evil in paradise, and God  redeemed them by giving them another chance for salvation...life is struggle, if Jesus died for my sins I would feel myself like an 'animal' wanting nothing but eat and sleep  and keep myself alive! no it is up to me to save myself and that is what makes us  humans...thanks for the input..

on Oct 30, 2010

Does this mean that Christian's sins have already been forgiven, or that they would and "should" be forgiven whatever they do?

No our sins have not already been forgiven at Christ's Redemption. Christ did His part and as St.Paul taught we must do our part...during our life's pilgrimage, we must work out our salvation in fear and trembling.

The Gospels teach that Jesus has the power to forgive sins and did so. "A paralytic man was brought to CHrist and when Jesus saw his faith, He said, Take heart my son, your sins are forgiven. The scribes saw this and said that Jesus was blaspheming. But Jesus knowing their thoughts said, "Why do you think evil in your hearts? For which is easier to say, Your sins are forgiven or to say Rise and walk?" But taht you may know that the Son of man has authority on earth to forgive sins, Jesus then said to the paralytic, "Rise, take up your mat and go home. ANd he rose and went home."

Scripture also teaches that Christ passed on the power ot forgive sins to the Apostles. First to Peter and then all the Apostles. He said, I will give to thee the keys to the kingdom of heaven and whatsoever you bind on earth it shall be bound also in Heaven, and whatsoever you shall loose upon earth, shall also be loosed in Heavan. Christ instituted the Sacrament of Penance when after His resurrection He appeared to His disciples and said, "Peace be with you. As the Father has sent Me, I also send you. When He had said this, He breathed on them and said to them, Receive ye the Holy Ghost, Whose sins you shall forgive, they are forgiven them; and whose sins you shall retain, they are retained." 

The Scriptures teach that during CHrist's life on earth and before He was ascended into Heaven, He gave us the means to do our part. He gave us His Chruch established upon Simon renamed Peter and He restores us to God's grace through the 7 Sacraments..the two of which have to do with this discussion are Christ's institutions of Baptism and Penance or Confession.

The forgiveness of sins is the effect of CHrist's Redemption. That is when Our Blessed Lord redeemed us, He applied the benefits of the Redemption in the Sacrament of Baptism.   At Baptism our sins are forgiven, but Our Lord saw that even after Baptism becasue we are weak and easily tempted, we go on sinning. How then could we be saved?

Our Good Lord in His kindness instituted another Sacrament by which we could once more be freed of our sins...it's called the Sacrament of Penance or Confession which I just described.  

 

on Oct 30, 2010

Hello, your idea of salvation is counter to logic.

Well, first, what I have been explaining concerning salvation is not MY idea. Authentic Christianity was revealed by Christ. Because Christ is God, His teachings we call Christianity are true. It is God's revelation to mankind. Hence proper understanding of it is of vital importance.  

if Jesus (peace be upon him) saved humanity from sin, the what is the point of living!!!!! no this is not true!

The Redemption of the human race was acomplished through a real Sacrifice of Christ. Christ freely offered Himself on the Cross. So it was that Christ substituted Himself for us, taking our punishment on Himself. He did not assume our guilt, rather He suffered and died for us, but not as us.

So we are accountable for our own sins and those we cause in others. You are correct...life is a struggle it is a constant battle between good and evil and has been so ever since the beginning when Adam and Eve sinned in the Garden of Paradise.

 

God redeemed them by giving them another chance for salvation.

Yes Almighty GOd did. But how did God atone for their (and our) sins?  By God becoming Incarnate man....by sending His only begotten Son, Jesus Christ, to buy us back with His Blood...to redeem us from the power of evil and give us a chance for salvation.  

 

on Nov 01, 2010

OK...moving on to other questions in your article.

Does this mean that Man is not accountable for his deeds ......? Does this mean that a Christian can rape or murder, or the do the greatest evil without being accountable for this?

The answer to your questions is NO.

First, the greatest evil in the world is sin because by sin we have offended God, the Supreme and Most amiable Good, and have lost Heaven and deserve Hell.

After this earthly life, a life will follow that is everlasting...that is one happy, without end in Heavenly Paradise with ALmighty God, the Angels and all the Saints, or the other unhappy, in Eternal Hell with the devils and the damned. All those who die with God's grace on their soul and have repented and done penance for their sins and remain in His friendship will be judged by CHrist and rewarded...they will go to Heaven. All those who die in grevious sin on their eternal soul God will punish ...they will go to Hell.  

Our eternal Salvation in Heaven is conditional upon each and everyone of us. From reading the Psalms, Wisdom and The Apocalypse one realizes that God does not abide unrepentant sinners. 

 Here are some of the Biblical passages that I was referring to.....

"Thou (GOD) hatest all the workers of iniquity...." Psalm 5:5 (in other versions 5:7).

"For behold they that go far from thee shall perish; Thou (GOD) hast destroyed all them that are disloyal to thee." Ps. 72:27 (73:27).

"Thou (GOD) hast despised all them that fall from Thy judgments; for their thought is unjust." Ps. 118:118 (119:118.

"But to God the wicked and his wickedness are hateful alike. For that which is made, together with him that made it, shall suffer torments." Wisdom 14:9-10.

 "There shall not enter into it (Heaven) anything defiled,..." The Apocalypse 21:27.

 

 

 

on Nov 01, 2010

Only such struggles against lies, backbitting, anger reactions, and so many other bad deeds in human nature makes me feel a responsible person. These struggles are engendred within the believer most of all by the idea of Hell and Paradise. This is what really makes meaning to our "passage towards eternity", but just bearing in mind that Jesus (may God bless Him) has "died for my sins" would annihilate my struggle for perfection and would make "my passage" meaningless.

No, it doesn't annihilate your struggle for doing and being good and against doing and being evil....rather that now that Christ has come and died for all mankind without exception and has risen again makes your perfection possible and opens the gate to Heaven to you.

As I have said, there are conditions...Acceptance of Christ as the crucified and acceptance of all He and His Cross stand for.

 Just before the Risen Christ ascended into Heaven, He said to His disciples,  "Go to all the world and preach the Gospel to the whole of creation. He who believes and is baptized will be saved; but he who does not believe will be condemned."  

 

on Nov 01, 2010

Against such idea, I say that I am the only accountable for my evil deeds, and that Paradise is not that easy as Christians claim, but I have to struggle for it.

Yea, we agree.

With the exception that Catholics believe we will be held accountable if we participate in evil of others...for example by voting for a pro-abortion political candidate that we know continues the evil of abortion.....or....by participating in an abortion....or encouraging someone to lie, etc. etc.     

on Nov 01, 2010

from your Post 2

.... it is only up to you to save yourself from Hell fire, it is your struggle in this life. Salvation comes through our struggle and good actions.

No and Yes.

No first.....

It is impossible to save ourselves and attain everlasting LIFE in Heaven without Christ. He said, "Without Me you can do nothing."

God demands that each one of us becomes justified or acceptable to Him in such a way s to be able to go to Heaven. But each of us is a sinner in thought, words and deeds. As sinners none of us can merit Heaven on his own. Only God can give salvation. God provides salvation to us in CHrist Jesus and be totally obedient to Christ and all of His commandments.

Speaking of Life, see how the Old Testament is completed (fulfilled by CHrist) in the New Testament.  

From Deuteronomy 30:19-20 the Lord God sets down His commandments and then says,  "I call heaven and earth to witness this day, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing. Choose therefore life, that both thou and thy seed may live. 20 And that thou may love the Lord thy God, and obey His voice, and adhere to Him, (for He is thy life and the length of thy days)..."

 The risen Christ told His apostles, "I am the Way, and the Truth, and the LIfe. No one comes to the Father but by Me."

In Almighty God's salvation plan, the path is narrow.

Jesus taught us, "Enter by the narrow gate; for the gate is wide and the way is easy that leads to destruction, and those who enter by it are many. For the gate is narrow and the way is hard that leads to life and those who find it are few."

Many think there are many gates to salvation in Heaven rather than only One.  Finding that one gate is the basic challenge that faces each and every one of us.

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