By Hedieh Mirahmadi
Most of my adult life I spent engrossed in Muslim devotions because I wanted God’s forgiveness and acceptance into His Heaven. The requirements were physically demanding– the prayers, ritual washing, fasting and meditation, but not transformative. Despite over two decades of practice, I did not sense any change in my spiritual being or my character. The requirements NEVER got easier and in fact, became progressively harder to maintain. As a result, when I stopped the rituals, the flood of sin came rushing back into my life. I felt like a bird whose master left a crack in the door of the cage. I escaped. I escaped right back into the cycle of sin and emptiness. It wasn’t until I read the Bible that I understood why.
For by the works of the law no person will be declared righteous before him, for through the law comes knowledge of sin. Romans 3:20
Paul explains though God’s law may be entirely spiritual and holy, it provokes desire and that desire leads to sin. The more law you know, the more knowledge of sin you have and the more you are held accountable for following that law. Without justification through Christ and the indwelling of the Holy Spirit, you have NO tools to combat the desire for disobeying those laws, leaving you at the mercy of your own will power. It is a terrible cycle of guilt, sadness, and bursts of obedience. It felt like God was impossible to please and I had no way of knowing if He actually was.
Without salvation, we are inevitably drawn into a life filled with sin, which leads eventually leads to death.
Since God is ultimately just with all his creation, he can’t exact a penalty for sin against some people and not for others. The solution– He sent Jesus as a ransom for the penalty of sin. The result– anyone who believes in Jesus as their Lord and Savior is FREE from that penalty and weight of sin. Now that I trust in Christ with my salvation rather than my deeds, I experience true joy, peace and contentment in everyday life. I no longer have to perform for God or fail to perform and live in fear of damnation. For those that do not or have not accepted Jesus, they will owe the penalty for all their sins. That burden is felt in this life through depression, addiction, and other forms of debauchery. The flesh without grace is drawn to sin, it’s the fallen nature of man. GOD offers Heaven as a free gift to those who accept his Son and I accepted the free gift wholeheartedly! Nowadays, I hear people say God is love and will forgive everyone. Are you prepared to take that chance with eternity? I surely am not.
There is no difference between Jew and Gentile, 23 for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, 24 and all are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus. 25 God presented Christ as a sacrifice of atonement, through the shedding of his blood—to be received by faith. He did this to demonstrate his righteousness, because in his forbearance he had left the sins committed beforehand unpunished—26 he did it to demonstrate his righteousness at the present time, so as to be just and the one who justifies those who have faith in Jesus. Romans 3:21–2