Thursday, July 26, 2007

Lessons from Turkey, part II

Our hope and God's goodness depend on his free grace.

Islam is essentially a works-based religion, i.e., being in a right relationship with God both now and forever is essentially a business transaction where we must do certain works, the “five pillars,” and life is lived as a tenuous “test.” I've met a number of students who waver under such an oppressive burden of perfection placed upon them. Many others don't care. None can have true hope in the goodness of God. Why? Because if God gives all good things but makes us earn him, then he withholds the greatest gift of all time—that is, if he is truly more beautiful and wonderful than all else. But I believe the God of the Bible is more awesome than all else. And so he is also the greatest Giver of all, bringing us to himself by unmerited favor apart from our deeds, and holding us near him in his hands for all our days (Isaiah 46:3-4; 55:1-2; Ephesians 2:1-9; Titus 3:3-7; 1 Peter 3:18). Furthermore, if God makes coming to him based upon our meritorious deeds, he is constrained by human will as to who will be saved, making him less than free. And if even God's plans are contingent upon human will, what sure hope can we have that we will overcome this world of chaos, evil, and death?


Halfmom, AKA, Susan said...

holding us near to Him... no matter what we do or how badly we act - that seems so unbelievable to me.

Halfmom, AKA, Susan said...

I also forgot to tell you that your last post is linked in my post of the 26st