(by The Rev. Dr. Curtis I. Crenshaw, Th.M., Th.D.)
Muslims constantly put down the Christian view of atonement, saying that their god Allah just forgives our sins without atonement, without justice being fulfilled. But if Allah forgives without justice, we have a compromised god, one that forgives based on what? The Muslim view is that forgiveness is based on human works. But how can a finite human satisfy the justice of an infinite God, and if that justice does not need satisfying, why do Muslims say that people go to hell? Is there justice after all?
Moreover, their god is not even a person in any meaningful sense so how could one be reconciled to him/it? Only persons can be reconciled. One is not reconciled to a chair or nondescript being.
One wonderful aspect of the Holy Trinity is that He is three persons, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, and one Person (Son) can establish both justice and mercy for us with another Person (the Father, three persons in one being). We can (and do) have a relationship with the Father through the merits of the Son by the power of the Holy Spirit. Since one man sinned that brought death (Adam), so one Man died to kill sin and bring us life and righteousness (Last Adam, 1 Cor. 15:45, 47). Moreover, the Christian atonement is a free gift, not something we earn, if we could. Here is what the Bible says:
being justified freely by His grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, whom God set forth as a propitiation by His blood, through faith, to demonstrate His righteousness, because in His forbearance God had passed over the sins that were previously committed, to demonstrate at the present time His righteousness, that He might be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus. (Romans 3:24-26)
Notice the highlighted words. WHOM God the Father set forth, which means a person (Son of God) was offered to a person (God the Father). Our justice and mercy is a Person, the Son of God. PROPITIATION is upholding justice, taking the punishment, which a Person (Son of God) did by voluntarily giving His life’s blood for us. DEMONSTRATE HIS RIGHTEOUSNESS, which refers to the Second Person of the Holy Trinity, the Son of God, upholding the Father’s infinite righteousness by dying in our place, taking our judgment. And my favorite statement in the Bible is THAT HE MIGHT BE JUST AND THE JUSTIFIER OF THE ONE WHO HAS FAITH IN JESUS! Christians receive both justice and justification! We receive justice in Jesus, who took our judgment, and we receive justification by faith in Jesus, who imputes to us His justice or justification. At the Cross where Jesus died, mercy and justice kiss one another (Psalm 85:10). We, as sinful persons, are accepted by God through the justice/justification of Jesus, the Lamb of God!
Why do Christians offer other people and other religions peace and love while people like Al Qaeda and ISIS murder everyone? They murder other Muslims, Christians, and all religions different from their brand of Islam. And when I say murder, I mean decapitating people, crucifying Christians, raping and brutally chopping women to pieces, giving Christians one opportunity to convert to Islam or be killed, murdering children, and so on. They continually offer blood atonement to their angry god; and since it does not satisfy, they keep offering it. The only sure way for them to go to heaven is to offer to Allah their own blood in a jihad as a self-atonement while murdering a non-Muslim.
We now have thousands of them doing just that to untold thousands of Christians and other Muslims in Iraq, Syria , against the Jews in the Gaza Strip, whom they vow to “wipe [Israel] off the map,” etc. They are as evil as anyone in history, including the Romans who crucified millions, especially Christians, and the Barbarians. The only difference between them and Hitler is the degree to which they have murdered people, but they are gaining on Hitler. Their approach in kind is the same—kill all Jews and Christians–only the degree of mayhem is less, for now. Is it any wonder they deny the Holocaust: they are repeating it and don’t want the identification.
But know for sure that Muslims believe in atonement; it is just not done by their god but by themselves to a god who only knows how to give commandments, not one who knows how to love. (See my next blog on Islam and the Love of God.)
We become like what we worship, and those Muslims who worship an angry god who only gives commands, become like him/it: full of wrath, judgment, anger, death, and full of commands and demands. Here is what we read of such false religions:
The thief does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy. I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly (John 10:10).
Christians offer life, love, and mercy; Muslims offer death, hate, and slaughter, each according to his God. The fruit reveals the root. AMEN.