"One can never be sure that he will get into heaven," Yusuf said.
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His comment was something I had come to expect, but it was still striking all the same. I had asked Yusuf, as I had asked dozens of other Muslims, if he was sure that God would allow him into heaven because of his Islamic faith. And just as with Yusuf, time after time the answer had come back the same: No, a man could never be sure that he was approved by God -- a holy God, a God of unrelenting justice; there's always another good deed to be done, always another sin to be repented of, always another religious obligation to be observed. Perhaps, when the time comes, Yusuf will not measure up to God's dizzyingly high standards, as he told me. As even the great Muslim figure Abu Bakr reportedly lamented, he couldn't trust that God would accept him at the end "even if I had one foot in paradise."
It was against this backdrop that I replied to Yusuf, "What if I told you that you could be certain of God's love and your salvation, and that not because of your good deeds, but because of the Gospel of Jesus Christ?" Yusuf was skeptical; he had heard of Christians and was prepared for something along these lines. So, to put his fears at rest, I asked, "Don't you, as a Muslim, believe that Jesus is a prophet?" Yusuf did. "And don't prophets speak the truth?" They did, Yusuf agreed. "So when Jesus spoke about Himself, about who He was and what He was about, didn't He speak the truth?"
Hesitantly, Yusuf nodded. This then led into a discussion of Jesus's claims of divine authority, the atonement on the cross, and the reliability of the Bible in which all these wonderful, merciful truths are vouched safe to us.
The conversation unfolded in much the same way it had a dozen times before with other Muslims. Sometimes my interlocutors will accept a printed list of Jesus's own claims of divinity; sometimes they accept an Arabic translation of the New Testament. It's a good ministry, one that I'm glad to be a part of, and one I hope to continue.
But here's the twist: I'm not a missionary with the International Mission Board. I'm a pastor. And these conversations aren't taking place in Morocco or Jordan or Pakistan, they're taking place in California at a nearby college campus. And most amazing of all, I didn't even approach these Muslim students; they came to me looking for a conversation about Jesus.
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SOURCE: Baptist Press