Loving Our Neighbour

Law Or Grace?

The tenth of a series of articles examining how we can respond to Muslims in the UK

‘Why aren’t you a Muslim?’

Anyone working among Muslims will face this question before long. Often it is asked with genuine concern – a concern for your soul.

When a sincere Muslim asks me this question, I sometimes take them into the history of God’s dealings with mankind. Moses was given God’s law. He brought it to a nation which was given every advantage. They were separate from nations who worshipped idols. They had God’s prophets and priests. Yet even in perfect surroundings they could not keep God’s law. The law made it clear that they were sinful – that we are all sinful; that if we are to be good, we need something more than law.

But the law does something else: it helps us to recognise the sinless One who came into the world. He opened a way for us to receive a new heart and a new spirit. He fulfilled the law by keeping it perfectly and enabling His people to desire to please God from the heart

For the law was given through Moses; grace and truth came through Jesus Christ. (John 1:17, NIV).

Mohammed came some 600 years after Jesus, and his message was one of law. As followers of Jesus we ask: ‘Why would God reveal more law after the law had been fulfilled?’

Outside and Inside

Law and Grace are two very different principles. The Muslim seeks to keep God’s laws. Halal food, correct clothing, praying at particular times and so on – the externals of his faith are things to strive for, for himself and for society at large. It can be a sign of love, not merely a desire to dominate, which leads Muslims to push for such things, and for the political power to enable their implementation.

As Christians, such externals mean little to us; what counts is the heart. But faced with Islam’s desire to change our culture, we need to know how to respond. The Bible clearly leads us to love and concern for minority groups, and to a sensitivity to their needs. But we should not sacrifice our own culture and beliefs in order to accommodate them. In particular, we must resist any attempts to restrict freedom of speech, if that would mean that the Gospel of Jesus is restricted. For it is the message of grace which frees mankind from the slavish need to follow law – law which has already been fulfilled.

Written by AWM UK’s former Ministry Team Co-ordinator and edited, with permission, for the website.

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