So today is Wednesday and as I sat and rested on my brown (faux) leather sofa in my living room I was reflecting on a bible study I had just given to a Muslim student yesterday.
This particular student, we’ll call him Tobias, was relating to me his experiences with Christianity that led to a mistrust of Christian theology. His mistrust of Christians as a Muslim was not unexpected, but what I didn’t expect were his reasons why. He started tell me about the many conversations he had been having with many Christians since he began college and a picture was painted for me as he spoke.
The fact that Tobias spoke to many Christians about their beliefs and doctrine automatically told me that this was someone who was genuinely interested in the Bible and what Jesus has to offer (grace, mercy, love, pardon, purpose, etc), but never found a satisfactory answer as to why he should consider putting his faith and life in Jesus’ hands. Here’s why…
You see, Tobias comes from a Muslim family and, in Islam, there are things that a Muslim can never do i.e. eat unclean foods, disrespect parents, worship things other than God, etc. Basically, they are required to keep the Law of God.
Of course there are differences between the Law of Muhammad in the Qur’an and the Mosaic Law that is found in the Bible, but the principle of staying true to the Law is the same. As Tobias talked to more and more Christians, he found that a lot of the Christians don’t keep the Law that was given to Moses by God that can be found in the Pentateuch (Genesis through Deuteronomy).
The very first thing he asked me when he met me, verbatem, was
“Why do you Christians say you love Jesus when you don’t follow the Law of God?”
Is that a loaded question or what? Immediately I got defensive and almost a bit offended but then I realized what he was asking. Interestingly enough, Tobias knew the Bible better than a lot of people because when I asked him what he meant, there was an instant flow of verses and logic that even the best preachers behind the pulpits could ever hope to attain and here it was from the mouth of someone from a different faith. In one simple paragraph Tobias beautifully painted a picture of the Law of God and why Christians should adhere to it if they really love Jesus and claim He is God.
Starting with Leviticus 11, Tobias began to explain his grievances toward Christianity and moved quickly to the system of Catholic Confession and Absolution and finally, to my surprise, the Seventh-Day Sabbath. He then finished with this question:
“If Jesus said in Matthew 5:17 ‘ Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfill’, why don’t Christians follow the law?”
I gave a sort of half-laugh, half-sigh and if he had a questioning look on his face before, it was downright confused now. It was clear that he expected some rebuttal to all of this and the age old argument saying how Jesus died and we’re no longer bound to the law and free to do what we please, but what he got amazed him: agreement.
Once I informed my Muslim friend that I eat halal (kosher [clean as stated in Lev. 11]) and that I believe Jesus is the only human ever to walk the earth with the power to forgive sins, and that I keep the Sabbath from Friday sundown to Saturday sundown, he realized he found something different. He realized that he found a source of truth that could only come from God. Something that was in harmony with the Law as stated and with the words of Christ.
Needless to say, he was very interested in studying the bible with me and I’ve been blessed by the whole experience. It taught me why the Law is important and the necessity of following it, not because we have to, but because we want to. We want to because Jesus did and has made it possible for us to do the same.
So the question I have for you, reader, is this: Was the law abolished by Christ and done away with? Or accepted by Christ as a way in which we are to follow His example?