Hope is what fuels our zest for living.
Martin Luther said, “everything that is done in this world is done by hope.”
If you think about it, everything that we do is for the hope and joy of something that we are looking forward to. We go to school for years with the hope and expectation that we can get a degree to help us in our adult life. For us women who have kids, we go forward and face childbirth with the hope and joy that we will have a healthy baby. A great example of this is our Lord Jesus Christ. He was willing to go through an unfathomable amount of suffering so that He could provide a path of salvation for humanity.
We read in Hebrews 12:2,3
“fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer, and perfector of faith. For the joy set before Him, He endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider Him who endured such opposition from sinners, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.”
Why did Jesus do what he did on the cross? He did it for the joy that was set before Him. He voluntarily went through all that suffering to provide a path of salvation that is attainable by anybody regardless of their condition or their situation in life. This is an amazing Truth. This is what we call the Good News of the Gospel. He went through all of that so we can be confident of our salvation independent from our works, but rather solely based on our faith and belief in the finished work of Jesus Christ on the cross.
That is why we read in Romans 10:9-11:
“if you declare with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord”, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is with your heart that you believe and is justified, and it is with your mouth that you profess your faith and are saved.”
The kingdom of heaven is like a precious fine pearl that we as Christians have and that many Muslims seek and are willing to sell all that they have to be able to purchase it and guarantee their entry into paradise. In Islam, the only way one can be certain of ending up in paradise is by sacrificing themselves in an act of Jihad.
We read in Surah 47: 4b-6:
“…But those who are slaying in the way of Allah, he will never let their deeds be lost. Soon will he guide them and improve their condition and admit them to the garden which he has announced for them.”
For other Muslims who don’t sacrifice themselves for the cause of Allah, the path to paradise consists of three parts.
1-Observing the religious rituals of Islam
2-Being a good person and doing good deeds.
3-Hoping in Allah’s forgiveness and mercy to cover the deficit.
As you can see 2 out 3 of those parts are totally up to a person, and the third is not certain.
We read in Surah 23: 102-104:
“ Those whose good deeds weigh heavy in the scales shall triumph, but those whose deeds are light shall forfeit their souls and abide in hell forever. The fire will scorch their faces and they will writhe in anguish.”
So on judgment day, one’s good deeds plus one’s obedience in following the Islamic rites will be put on one side of the scale and all the bad deeds will be on the other side of the scale. Depending on which side weighs more one will end up in heaven or hell. Now there is a possibility that Allah would give a pass if the bad deeds are heavier, but no one can be certain of it.
We read in Surah 9:102:
“ …others there are who have confessed their sins. Their good works have been intermixed with evil. Perchance God will turn to them in mercy. God is forgiving and merciful”
There is no security in Islam when it comes to one’s salvation and eternal life.
We read in Surah 70:19-28:
“Indeed, mankind was created anxious … The worshipers… Believe in the day of reckoning and dread the punishment of their Lord (for none is secure from the punishment of their Lord)”
In Islam, this is by design. The anxiety and uncertainty and fear are the tool of Allah to encourage his followers to be obedient.
On the other hand, in the Bible we read:
“ therefore there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.”
Romans 8:38, 39
“ for I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor any other created thing, will be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord”
In Christianity, we can be certain of our salvation as well as God’s love toward us. Not so in Islam where the love of Allah is conditional.
Surah 3:31, 32
“ Say “if you love God, follow me. God will love you and forgive you your sins. God is forgiving and merciful. Say: obey God and apostle. If they pay no heed, then, surely, God does not love the unbelievers.”
“ But God demonstrates his own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.
“…Allah bears no love for the impious and the sinful.”
In conclusion, we can see in Islam hope is dependent on the outcome of judgment day. They cannot be secure in their acceptance by Allah in this lifetime. Their hope is more like a wish. It is not founded in certainty, but uncertainty; and as we saw, that is by design.
But a Christians’ hopefully rests on the finished work of Jesus Christ. There is nothing that we need to do to improve it. It is complete and finished. Hope is like “looking forward to” or “anticipating” an event with assurance and certainty, and that is also by design.
Noushi is a native Iranian who grew up as a Muslim. After a few decades as a Christian worker and leader in an American church, God called her to minister to Muslims, and in particular to Iranians. She has co-led a Persian home church in Farsi since 2015. To learn more about Noushi, visit the website https://www.thetruthcollective.org/ where this article was published originally. The Truth Collective is an organization that seeks to invite Christian women to know, belief, and share what is True so that Muslim women will encounter the healing power of Immanuel.
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