12/27/14 Amaan about 30
The Gospel is meant to be shared, and we don’t have to be a world-traveling missionary to share it. So while enjoying the low gas prices at a Speedway, I reached out to a fellow motorist with a ”million dollar” gospel tract, hoping it might help start a conversation. It did. After a laugh at the surprise of a “million dollars” I usually explain that it has a serious message on the back – “Will you go to heaven?” The man at the gas pump today said he believed he would, so I asked “Do you believe there is both a heaven and a hell?” “I do” he said, “I am Muslim” It was cold out, and I saw he had a baby in the car, so I knew we didn’t have much time to talk. Is it possible to share much of the Gospel with someone with very different religious beliefs in so little time? Actually, Islam and Christianity have many basic ideas about God in common, and I used these in helping to explain the Gospel. “The main difference between Christianity and Islam is that we Christians believe that Jesus is the Son of God” I began. “I can explain why that is so important to us.” He – Amaan – looked interested. “I’m sure you believe God is infinitely holy, as we do” I said. Amaan nodded, smiling. “And that when we break His laws we are not just offending others but we sin against God Himself.” I went on to explain how God is also just, and that His justice will not permit us to buy our way out of the infinite punishment we deserve for our sins against an infinitely holy God. “Yes, but we Muslims believe that God is also forgiving, and that we can be forgiven if we serve Him, even if we don’t deserve it” Amaan said, so I explained “But this would mean God has to compromise His justice when He shows mercy, and compromise His love when He punishes sin. As Christians we believe God is perfect in every way, so He does not compromise any part of His own character. If Jesus is God’s Son and died on our behalf, then God doesn’t compromise either His love or His justice. God forgives us and shows us perfect love and mercy, without compromising His justice, because Jesus is the perfect sacrifice. But if Jesus is just a man, like us, then that would be neither perfect justice nor love.” We talked for no more than five minutes or ten minutes, but it definitely caught Amaan’s interest, enough for him to tell me he would be glad to read what I had for him – a comparison of Christianity to other world religions including Islam. We don’t have to travel around the world to be a missionary – we may just need to reach out to the man on the other side of the gas pump!