Monday, August 02, 2010

A Muslim admits that one who dies for his enemies has greater love

The Grandverbalizer19, a Muslim, quoted John 15:13 and tried to denigrate it; and accused the NT of making Jesus a liar.  (no longer available - his web-site got hacked.)

"Greater love has no man than this that a man lay down his life for his friends." John 15:13

“Actually there is a greater love than this. A greater love than this is that a man lay down his life for his enemies. It is not something difficult to ask one to lay down their life for their friends and beloved ones; however it takes more self sacrifice and love to lay down one's life for their enemy.” The Grandverbalizer19

What he didn’t realize is that other passages in the Bible say just that: Romans 5:6-11

Romans 5:6-11 (New American Standard Bible)
6 For while we were still helpless, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly.
7 For one will hardly die for a righteous man; though perhaps for the good man someone would dare even to die.
8 But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.
9 Much more then, having now been justified by His blood, we shall be saved from the wrath of God through Him.
10 For if while we were enemies we were reconciled to God through the death of His Son, much more, having been reconciled, we shall be saved by His life.
11 And not only this, but we also exult in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received the reconciliation.

The Bible teaches this “greater love” that the Muslim longs for in his heart, – Romans 5:6-11 – Jesus died for His enemies – rebel sinners. Dying for sinners, enemies, rebels, helpless, ungodly and then changes them into His friends. Since both is true, Jesus died for sinners that are enemies and changes them from enemies to friends, then both are true and you are wrong on this. The Bible is vindicated from your attacks.

This Muslim directly admitted that dying for enemies is greater love. Since Christ also died for His enemies (Romans 5:6-10); then by principle, he has admitted that Christ dying for His enemies is greater love.

The Qur'an only says "Allah loves those who love him; Allah does not love his enemies or unbelievers." (see below)

Later on, when I pointed out what Romans 5:6-10 teaches, this Muslim admitted, “It was clever I'll have to admit.”

The GV19 was just clearly wrong in his judgment on John 15:13. God changes us from enemies into new creatures ( 2 Cor. 5:17) from death to life (Ephesians 2:1-9) from children of wrath to children of God, from enemies to friends. It still stands. John 15:14-17 - Again, read the verses around it. Jesus no longer calls us "slaves", but "friends"; because He changes our sinful rebellious hearts by grace. He pours out His grace first on us. He loved us when we were enemies and changes us and makes us His friends. We have a loving friendship with Christ. We are no longer slaves - we are not just slaves in a cold, unfriendly, unloving way, "Do what I say!"; "submit!", like a Darth Varder or the way Allah acts in Islam; rather we are voluntarily servants of God ( we want to serve and obey God) because we have been changed from rebels to friends and sons/daughters. (Many seeds, much fruit)

John 15:14-17

14 You are my friends if you do what I command. 15 I no longer call you servants, because a servant does not know his master's business. Instead, I have called you friends, for everything that I learned from my Father I have made known to you. 16 You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you to go and bear fruit—fruit that will last. Then the Father will give you whatever you ask in my name. 17 This is my command: Love each other.

It is very interesting that this Muslim admits that Christ dying for His enemies is greater love. We have this in the Bible - Romans 5:6-10 - Christ died for us, sinners, ungodly, enemies, helpless. By fighting against John 15:13, the GV19 has caused a problem for himself in his own Islamic Scriptures, since in the Qur'an it only says "Allah loves those who love him; Allah does not love his enemies or unbelievers." (see Qur’an Surah 3:31-32 and other references at the end of this article.)

"God demonstrates His own love toward us in that while we yet sinners, Christ died for us." Romans 5:8

Romans 5:10 God calls us enemies; Christ died for us, His enemies, and changed us into His friends. (John 15:13)

But the Qur'an never says that; it only says, "Allah does not love sinners; Allah only loves those who love Him". (see Qur’anic references at the end.) The Bible says the opposite, "we love, because God first loved us." I John 4:10, 19

"This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins.” I John 4:10

GV19 reveals something of the image of God within him, a heart longing for that connection and relationship with a pure loving God, who loves sinners, enemies (which he has admitted is a greater love). Romans 5:6-10 clearly teaches this. Jesus illustrated it on the cross: "Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they do." Luke 23:34

GV19 has indirectly admitted that Christianity is true because it has greater love; and Islam is false, because it does not have that at all; because in the Qur'an and Hadith, Allah does not love His enemies, (see Qur’an references at the end of this article). He makes war against them and will do qatal (fight to the death) and jihad (strive against the unbelievers) and make harb (war) against them all. (as in Surah 9:5; 9:29; 8:39)

But we must go deeper into John 15:13-17. Obedience is the result of being changed and being a true friend of Christ. Jesus does not mean that one must obey first in order to become a friend of His, (as if one could by the strength of the flesh), but rather that obedience proves and demonstrates that one is a true friend, it shows that one has been changed by the grace of God first; it shows that true faith is there first. This the same argument of James 2:14-26; professed faith without good works and change and fruit is dead and not real faith. Good works and obedience prove that that faith has justified that person.

We are slaves of Christ, servants of God, because our hearts have been changed first, by His grace. It is voluntary now because our wills have been changed. This is before our wills were freed - John 8:34 - "Every one who commits sin is the slave of sin." Genesis 6:5 ". . . every imagination of the thoughts of man's heart is only evil continually."

See Ezekiel 36:26-27
"I will take away your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh and cause you to walk in My statutes."

Romans 6:22
But now having been freed from sin and enslaved to God, you derive your benefit, resulting in sanctification, and the outcome, eternal life.

Romans 6:23
For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord."

See also
John 8:31-36
Galatians 4:6-7

Is John 15:13 a condition before one is regenerated / changed/converted/born again, or is he describing the results of true conversion, the results of true faith?. A consistent hermeneutic with Galatians and Romans and the rest of the NT requires that Jesus means that obedience proves you are His friend, not conditions in order to be His friend, as if someone was working for his acceptance by obedience.

All are slaves of sin (John 8:34) and dead in sin (Ephesians 2:1-3) and no one truly seeks after God. (Romans 3:9-23)

Only when our wills are changed do we then truly want God to be ruler and king over our hearts and lives. Then, Christians are voluntary servants of Christ and God the Father - Romans 6:22. See all of chapter 6 for larger context.

Contrast this with Islam, who says not to take enemies for friends and do not love them. Where is the “greater love” in Islam that the Grandverbalizer19 longs for?
Do not love the enemies, in fact Allah says "My enemies" - The Qur’an, Surah al-Mumtahanah 60:1

“The concept of loving one's enemy is quite hard for a Muslim to understand. In Muslim teaching, loving an infidel (kafir) is seen as going against God since God does not love the infidel. “

See (look under L and Love)

Most of the remainder of the information in this article is take from this article on love in the index to Islam, under L; at

But Jesus said:
"But I tell you : Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, that you may be sons of your Father in heaven. He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous. If you love those who love you, what reward will you get? Are not the tax collectors doing that? And if you greet only your brothers, what are you doing more than others? Do not even pagans do that? Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect.'' (Matthew 5:44-48)

• Allah loves those who are pure and clean al-Baqarah 2:222 (specifically taking about women being clean from their menstruation period).
• Allah loves those who do good al-Baqarah 2:195; Âl 'Imran 3:134
• Allah loves those who keep faith and act rightly Âl 'Imran 3:76
“In all the examples above, the love of God is conditional upon the believer being good or clean. If the believer should turn back from God, Allah does not love him any more (Âl 'Imran 3:32).”

If you love Allah, then Allah will love you. Qur’an Al Imran 3:31
Allah does not forgive those that ascribe partners to Allah; Allah only forgives who he wants to forgive. Surah 4:48
Allah does not love those who reject Faith, Âl 'Imran 3:32
Allah does not love the arrogant, the vainglorious, an-Nisa' “Women” 4:36
Allah does not love the ungrateful or wicked, al-Baqarah 2:276
Allah does not love transgressors, al-Baqarah 2:190
Allah does not love wrongdoers, Âl 'Imran 3:57,140


Pilgrimsarbour said...

Here's another excellent example of why we need to compare Scripture with Scripture. The two statements, that Christ alludes to dying for His friends and Paul later speaks of Christ dying for His enemies, appear on the surface to be contradictory. If one never goes beyond the surface to reconcile the two statements, one is likely to conclude (with the unbeliever) that the Bible contradicts itself. Of course, the Arminian says that Christ died for every single person, friend and enemy of Christ alike. In this way, I suppose, the statements can be reconciled, but that would be an erroneous way of going about.

However, none of us, including the elect, is a "friend" of God until our hearts are regenerated by the Holy Spirit. Jesus is right to call His disciples "friends" in anticipation of His final work on the cross which sealed their redemption. They were elect, so He could speak that way of them or anyone else who would become a member of the body of Christ.

My challenge and my prayer for the non-Christian would be that he ask God to show him how these types of statements are to be reconciled in the one glorious unfolding mystery of Jesus Christ.

Thanks, Ken, for this excellent post.

John Lollard said...

It's amazing how much Muslims can know just from God's common grace! Imagine if they had the whole of it?

Anonymous said...

It really is amazing how little one knows about what our experience is suppose to be with regard to these things once we are indeed born again and maturing in the knowledge and grace of Christ, the will of God by the work of the Holy Spirit washing, sanctifying and justifying the elect chosen out of this fabric of flesh humanity!

For instance. Indeed Christ died for all humanity. But, his death renders different results to the one an outcome that is not the same as to others; see John 16:8-12.

His death results in a forensic relationship between us, the Elect with the non-elect and Satan and his angels.

Indeed Christ died for the Elect that they would be delivered from this present evil age, whichever age you were born into and passed from to Glory. These Words have been completed in all generations and all suffer one or the other result:

Luk 20:16 He will come and destroy those tenants and give the vineyard to others." When they heard this, they said, "Surely not!"
Luk 20:17 But he looked directly at them and said, "What then is this that is written: "'The stone that the builders rejected has become the cornerstone'?
Luk 20:18 Everyone who falls on that stone will be broken to pieces, and when it falls on anyone, it will crush him."
Luk 20:19 The scribes and the chief priests sought to lay hands on him at that very hour, for they perceived that he had told this parable against them, but they feared the people.

Indeed, there is none righteous, no not one. You will either be broken to pieces or you will be crushed. Those Words are real and existential for every human, no ifs, ands or buts about it!

That verse, Romans 5:7 and the word "righteous" in the Aramaic/English is translated "wicked". Let me render it that way:

NASB: 7 For one will hardly die for a righteous man; though perhaps for the good man someone would dare even to die.

Aramiac: hardly would any man die for the sake of the wicked, but for the sake of the good, one might be willing to die

Why the word "wicked" and not "righteous"? Because Aramiac and Hebrew are very very similar languages when written. The distinction between the words "righteous" and "wicked" is one simple mark or "jot" in the word and some have concluded that the "jot" was missing from the manuscript when that verse was written so as to render the word "righteous" and not "wicked" when translated into the English equivalent.

Seeing the issue is Christ died for a group of people to save them from eternal damnation and all groups of people are not righteous but under wrath and condemnation from birth, I like the full force of the Aramiac/English rendering in this regard when addressing this subject.

One needs to separate and parse the variety of Words we translate into English, "life" to fully grasp and understand the experience of "loving" others.

I believe once you have it clear in your mind understanding will come to you to understand what the Holy Spirit intends for us to understand when we are to love others in this life.

Until then, we are but children foolishly going about immaturely loving without understanding and in some instances that can be evil and when you sow evil you reap it!

Ken said...

Thanks Pilgrimsarbour for your comments!

Thanks to the others also who commented.

I was surprised that this post only got 3 comments.