By Hedieh Mirahmadi
I am so excited to share my transformation in Christ with you! I know the question on everyone’s mind is HOW?? I have described it in 3 main principles that set faith in Christ apart from Islam.
Salvation is a FREE gift!
For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith–and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God– Ephesians 2:8
In Islam, you never really know if your good deeds are enough to enter God’s Heaven. On the Day of Judgement, God will decide if we were “good enough” and that terrified me. What if there was one big sin He could not forgive despite my hundred acts of obedience? It was very unsettling to live every day, wondering whether I would spend eternity in hellfire.
Then I learned that God would guarantee a place in His eternal Heaven if I put my trust in Christ as God incarnate. I needed to accept that Jesus was God wrapped in flesh, who came to earth and died on the cross, then rose again from the grave to pay for MY sins. As my daughter says, “well that’s a no brainer!” How could I not accept that free gift of salvation? All Muslims believe Jesus was born of a virgin birth, ascended to Heaven, and returns in the Last Days. It was actually quite logical that He was God incarnate when He has those miraculous qualities. It was so comforting to believe God loved me so completely that He would give His only Son for me to be saved.
The one true God is LOVE.
He does not hate us nor has vengeance, but He is also just. That means the price of every sin must be paid. Solution? He gave his only Son to pay the price for all of our sins so we can be forgiven and have eternal life. The rest is about unconditional love.
In over 20 years of being a devout Muslim, I NEVER heard God referred to as being love or commanding us to love others. We are taught that God was merciful [arabic word “rahman”] and benevolent [arabic word “rahim”]. Though that could be stretched to be extremely merciful or nurturing like a parent, it is still not the word love. So I was worshipping and sacrificing for a God that did not tell me He loved me? It was depressing.
Compare that to the Bible, God’s infallible living Word. He says He is love.
And so we know and rely on the love God has for us. God is Love. Whoever lives in love lives in God, and God in them. 1 John 4:16
He is the originator and fulfiller of everything we know and experience of love. Jesus also teaches us that the MOST important commandment for us as believers is to love God and love other people!
Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’ The second is this: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no commandment greater than these.” Mark 12:30-31
The foundation of our faith is love. How beautiful and enriching that is. Being loved unconditionally and loving others the same way has brought me extraordinary joy. Unconditional love has improved my relationships beyond my wildest expectations.
Receiving the Holy Spirit
In Islam, God is said to be closer to you than the veins on your neck, but he will not speak directly to you. In fact, it is said that it is not befitting of God to do so. This meant that prayer was a one-way communication. I had no way of knowing whether he heard me or even accepted my prayers and repentance. There was no conversation between us.
So when I first was saved and got baptized, I was excited for what would happen next. I kept asking my mentor, so now what? She would lovingly but persistently keep saying, “wait to hear from the Lord”. I had NO idea what she meant by that. I did not know how to talk with God, and I surely did not expect Him to talk back! It wasn’t until I studied what it meant to receive the Holy Spirit that it made sense.
If you love Me, keep My commandments. And I will pray to the Father, and He will give you another Helper, that He may abide with you forever—the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees Him nor knows Him; but you know Him, for He dwells with you and will be in you. I will not leave you orphans; I will come to you. John 14:15-18
However, when He, the Spirit of truth, has come, He will guide you into all truth; for He will not speak on His own authority, but whatever He hears He will speak; and He will tell you things to come. John 16:13
What an amazing and exciting reality. Jesus tells the believers that the Holy Spirit, the third member of the triune [the third reality of God], would be inside each of us! I no longer needed to ask another person’s advice about God’s plan for me or be wandering aimlessly not knowing God’s plan for my life. God would tell me directly. The Holy Spirit inside of me would direct my path. If I listened well enough, I could avoid making misguided choices that I would make if left to my own desires or thoughts. Receiving the Holy Spirit and communion with Him has radically transformed how I make decisions and has led to the most awe-inspiring experiences of my life.
I could go on endlessly describing how these three principles have changed my life forever; but, I will save that for another day. I hope this information has helped my Muslim friends appreciate why I have so boldly and wholeheartedly become a Christ-follower. I pray that you will consider these principles and will ask God to reveal His reality to you. I firmly believe He will meet you where you are!
For my Christian brothers and sisters, please educate Muslims about the Gospel with love so that it will plant seeds of faith. Focus on the real power within all three manifestations of God– the loving Father, the redeeming Son, and the support of the Holy Spirit. We trust God will do the rest.
God Bless You!