(Read the entire article HERE!)
[…] Jesus told us that we would know false prophets by their fruits (Matt 7:15-20). Wherever Islam goes it produces in almost every one of its adherents, the same opposition to the cross that we find in the Bible with regard to Satan.
And He [i.e. Jesus] began to teach them that the Son of Man must suffer many things and be rejected by the elders and the chief priests and the scribes, and be killed, and after three days rise again. And He was stating the matter plainly. And Peter took Him aside and began to rebuke Him. But turning around and seeing His disciples, He rebuked Peter and said, “Get behind Me, Satan; for you are not setting your mind on God’s interests, but man’s.” (Mark 8:31-33)
From a human standpoint, what Peter said to Jesus was quite reasonable. Crucifixion is a cruel way for anyone to die. In this regard, Peter could be regarded as being compassionate. Crucifixion is also meant to humiliate the person being crucified. In this regard, Peter could be regarded as seeking to uphold Jesus’ honor. What Peter did not realize is that his “advice” to Jesus was actually Satan speaking through him. As Satan spoke through the serpent in the Garden of Eden (Gen 3:1-5; Rev 12:9; 20:2), he now spoke through Peter. Satan exploited Peter’s earthly fondness for Jesus and became the means through which Satan tempted Jesus to not die on the cross.
If Jesus had succumbed to this temptation, sin would have remained an ongoing barrier between God and humanity (e.g. Isa 59:1-2). It is only through the cross that sin was properly dealt with by God so that He “would be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus” (Rom 3:26). The cross is the very reason why Jesus came (e.g. Matt 20:28; John 12:23-33). Satan does not want people to be forgiven of their sin and reconciled to God. He is opposed to all that is good (his very name means, “adversary” or “opponent” see 1 Pet 5:8; cf. Zech 3:1).
[…] Muslims Need the Preaching of the Cross (and our patience!)
How then should we respond to Muslims? Jesus’ dealings with Peter are quite instructive. After Jesus gave His devastating, but necessary rebuke to Peter, He continued to disciple him. Jesus did not remove Peter from being the leader of the apostles nor did he lose his apostleship. Jesus did not expel Peter as a false disciple. Jesus continued to love him by being patient with him and forgiving him. In the same way, if we want Muslims to be evangelized and saved from their sin, we must be patient and forgiving, even when they repeat Satan’s hateful lie that denies Jesus’ loving death on the cross.
Muslims, like all people, are created in God’s image (Gen 1:26-27; 5:1; 9:6; Jam 3:9). As such, they can be saved from sin. Jesus said:
“Therefore I say to you, any sin and blasphemy shall be forgiven people, but blasphemy against the Spirit shall not be forgiven. “Whoever speaks a word against the Son of Man, it shall be forgiven him; but whoever speaks against the Holy Spirit, it shall not be forgiven him, either in this age or in the age to come. (Matt 12:31-32)
Peter’s example shows us that speaking a lie from Satan is not necessarily synonymous with blaspheming the Holy Spirit. He who in a moment of weakness yielded to Satan and would later deny Jesus three times, would finally be saved, his call upheld by Jesus, be filled with the Holy Spirit, and be the leader of the Apostles (e.g. Luke 24:34, John 20:19-23; 21:15-22; Acts 1-2; Gal 2:7-8). As Jesus dealt with Peter (not to mention us – see Titus 3:3-7), let us follow His example when ministering to Muslims.
The cross to which Muslims are opposed is the only thing that can save them from their sin. Even if they repeat the lie that Jesus did not die on the cross, our task is clear:
to open their eyes so that they may turn from darkness to light and from the dominion of Satan to God, that they may receive forgiveness of sins and an inheritance among those who have been sanctified by faith in Me [i.e. Jesus].’ (Acts 26:18)
© 2018 Biblical Missiology
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