How to Get to Paradise
My Muslim friend, have you read the scriptures that came before the Quran from Moses, the prophets, David and Jesus? Do you know what they teach about getting to Paradise? Here are some of the things the Quran states about these scriptures…
- They are God’s Perfect Word
“Say ye: ‘We believe in God, and the revelation given to us, and to Abraham, Ismail, Isaac, Jacob, and the tribes, and that given to Moses and Jesus, and that given to all Prophets from their Lord: We make no difference between one and another of them.” (Surah 2:136)
- They are Consistent with the Quran
“And this is a Book [the Quran] which we have sent down, bringing blessings, and confirming the revelations which came before it…” (Surah 6:92, cf. 46:12, 16:123, 3:95, 3:1-4, 10:94, 46:12) “Nothing is said to thee that was not said to the apostles before thee.” (41:43) “I am no bringer of new-fangled doctrine among the apostles” (46:9
- God Would Never Allow His Word to Be Corrupted
It is evil to say that an all-powerful, all-knowing God would allow His holy Word to be corrupted! “There is none that can alter the words of God.” (Surah 6:34, cf. 3:23, 6:115, 10:64, 18:27, 40:53-54, 45:16)
- God Condemns Those Rejecting These Scriptures
“Believe in God and His Apostle, and the scripture which He hath sent to His Apostle and the scripture which He sent to those before. Any who denieth God, His angels, His Books, His Apostles, and the Day of Judgment, hath gone far astray.” (Surah 4:136, cf. 2:285)
- God Commands Us to Believe the Gospel
“We sent Jesus the son of Mary, confirming the Law that had come before him: We sent him the Gospel: therein was guidance and light, and confirmation of the Law that had come before him: a guidance and an admonition to those who fear God. Let the People of the Gospel judge by what God hath revealed therein. If any do fail to judge by the light of what God hath revealed, they are no better than those who rebel.” (Surah 5:46-47, 68, 57:27)
Conclusion on What the Quran Teaches About the Scriptures that Came Before it:
- The scriptures were still intact and unaltered, uncorrupted and unchanged at the time of Muhammad.
- The scriptures were to be read and obeyed by all Muslims, Jews and Christians.
- If there were any need to clarify doctrinal issues, the earlier scriptures were the ultimate authority.
- People of the Book (those claiming to be followers of the Bible) must judge the truth by what God has revealed in the gospel and cling to it.
Corruption of the Bible- Is it Possible?
There are over twenty thousand ancient transcripts of the New Testament written before the time of Muhammad in dozens of languages with thousands in the original Greek language dating within 300 years of when Jesus lived. Imagine the New York Times trying to change a paragraph in last week’s newspaper after the newspaper has been in circulation for a week without the change being detected- that would be impossible- so too would it be impossible to alter the Bible and not have evidence of it- not to mention that God is more than capable of making sure that no one corrupts His holy word! Why would Christians and Jews desire to collaborate a plot to corrupt their scriptures and how could they possibly do it? Some complain about the vast number of English translations as if this were evidence that the Bible has been corrupted. This is irrelevant since ancient Greek is a well studied language today with scholars, dictionaries and study aids readily available.
A Simple Test:
Here’s a simple test as to whether a scripture is God’s word…Everything in the book is a fulfillment of the previous revelations of God with no contradictions or errors.
Jesus acknowledged the truth of all the scriptures that came before him: “Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law [of Moses] or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them.”  Did the scriptures that came before Jesus say anything about the future? Here’s a prophecy from the prophet Isaiah 700 years before Jesus was born of the virgin Mary- can you tell me about this prophecy: Who is God’s Servant and what did he do?
13 Behold, My Servant shall deal prudently; He shall be exalted and extolled and be very high. 14 Just as many were astonished at you, so His visage was marred more than any man, and His form more than the sons of men; 15 So shall He sprinkle many nations. Kings shall shut their mouths at Him; for what had not been told them they shall see, and what they had not heard they shall consider.
“1 Who has believed our report? And to whom has the arm of the LORD been revealed? 2 For He shall grow up before Him as a tender plant, and as a root out of dry ground. He has no form or comeliness; and when we see Him, there is no beauty that we should desire Him. 3 He is despised and rejected by men, a Man of sorrows and acquainted with grief. And we hid, as it were, our faces from Him; He was despised, and we did not esteem Him.
4 Surely He has borne our griefs and carried our sorrows; yet we esteemed Him stricken, smitten by God, and afflicted. 5 But He was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our iniquities; the chastisement for our peace was upon Him, and by His stripes we are healed. All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned, every one, to his own way; and the LORD has laid on Him the iniquity of us all.
7 He was oppressed and He was afflicted, yet He opened not His mouth; He was led as a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before its shearers is silent, so He opened not His mouth. 8 He was taken from prison and from judgment, and who will declare His generation? For He was cut off from the land of the living; for the transgressions of My people He was stricken. 9 And they made His grave with the wicked- But with the rich at His death, because He had done no violence, nor was any deceit in His mouth.
10 Yet it pleased the LORD to bruise Him; He has put Him to grief. When You make His soul an offering for sin, He shall see His seed, He shall prolong His days, and the pleasure of the LORD shall prosper in His hand. 11 He shall see the labor of His soul, and be satisfied. By His knowledge My righteous Servant shall justify many, for He shall bear their iniquities. 12 Therefore I will divide Him a portion with the great, and He shall divide the spoil with the strong, because He poured out His soul unto death, and He was numbered with the transgressors, and He bore the sin of many, and made intercession for the transgressors.”
I’ve asked many Muslims who the Servant is, and almost all say that it is Jesus and that the prophet Isaiah says Jesus died for our sins.
What did Jesus Say About Entering Paradise?
Jesus gave us God’s minimum standard of goodness to enter paradise: “Be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect.”  Jesus also said, “No one is good- except God alone.”  Jesus affirmed that the standard of goodness that we will be judged by is the Ten Commandments that God gave Moses. Jesus said, “Whoever breaks one of the least of these commandments…shall be called least in the kingdom of heaven.”  Jesus made clear the full meaning of these commandments. He explained how God sees murder, “You have heard that it was said to those of old, ‘You shall not murder, and whoever murders will be in danger of the judgment.’ But I say to you that whoever is angry with his brother without a cause will be subject to judgment… whoever says to his brother… ‘You fool!’ will be in danger of the fire of hell.”  Have you ever been guilty of speaking harmful words to another person or thinking vengeful or hateful thoughts about another? Then you are according to Jesus a murderer at heart. To be perfect in this regard, Jesus said, “Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, and pray for those who spitefully use you.”  Have you perfectly kept that commandment?
Have you ever lusted after a person of the opposite sex? Jesus said that is adultery of the heart. Have you ever felt guilty for lying (which includes exaggerating and not keeping a promise)? Jesus commanded us to be people of complete integrity, keeping our promises and not lying, “Let your ‘yes’ be ‘yes’ and your ‘no’ be no. Anything else comes from the evil one (Satan).”  Have you ever desired in your heart what didn’t belong to you- a car, a house, a piece of jewelry or clothing, another person’s position, another person’s spouse or girlfriend/boyfriend? Have you ever been jealous or envious of another person, not content with what you have? Jesus warned, “Take heed and beware of covetousness, for one’s life does not consist in the abundance of the things he possesses…do not worry about your life, what you will eat; nor about the body, what you will put on…But seek first the kingdom of God, and all these things shall be added to you.”  Have you coveted?
Have you ever disobeyed your parents? Then at that moment you were rebellious. Has God always been first in your life- Jesus said that we’re to love God with all our heart, mind, soul and strength- have you always perfectly loved God? Idolatry is whenever something or someone is more important that obedience to God in our decisions and affections. What do you find yourself thinking about most when you have time to daydream? If it isn’t God and His plans, then it is an idol in your life. Jesus spoke of how God hears our words and looks at our hearts when He judges us, “Those things which proceed out of the mouth come from the heart, and they defile a man. For out of the heart proceed evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false witness, blasphemies. These are the things which defile a man.”  If there were a device that recorded your every thought and word you spoke for a week and it played your thoughts and words on a movie screen for all to see, would you feel comfortable with that movie? Listen to the voice of your conscience- on Judgment Day, would you be innocent or guilty before a holy God who knows and sees your every thought, motive, word and deed? Would you deserve paradise or hell?
But I Hope God Will Have Mercy
Let’s say a man robbed a bank with a gun and was brought to court by the police. The judge asked him, “How do you plead?” And he said, “Judge, I ask you not to sentence me, but have mercy on me, for I do many good things. I’m a good Muslim who believes in Allah. I pray five times a day, I fast during Ramadan, I give alms to the poor and I’ve gone to Mecca on the Hajj. I also love my family and my neighbors and everyone knows I’m a good person.” What would the judge say? He’d say, “That is not relevant to the case at hand. I must sentence you for you have violated the Law.” In the same way your good deeds will not justify you before a Holy God, for you have broken His Law and the price must be paid. God cannot compromise His justice by giving mercy. If God gives us mercy, it must not be at the expense of His justice, for if He waives His justice, He would be a corrupt Judge.
So How Can God Be Both Merciful and Just Toward Me at the Same Time?
If a judge sentenced a man to 10 years in prison or a fine of $100,000 and the man didn’t have the money, he’d have to go to jail (justice). However, if someone walked into the courtroom and paid his fine (mercy), the man would be free to go and the court would be satisfied that justice had taken place. That’s what Jesus did for us- we deserved to be punished in hell for violating God’s Laws, but God paid the punishment in our place by becoming a man and taking our sin upon Himself, because He loves us and because it glorifies the character of God to be so merciful to people who don’t deserve it. By paying for our sins, God’s justice is met. God’s mercy cannot contradict God’s holiness, justice and wrath. God is not corrupt. In His infinite mercy, grace, love, righteousness, holiness and wrath, God accomplished the amazing by paying for our sins in our place on the cross.
Who Did Jesus Claim to Be?
- Jesus claimed to live a perfect life, and was the only person who ever did: “Can any of you prove Me guilty of sin?”  Because He lived a perfect life, He alone is able to pay for our sins.
- Jesus claimed He would rise from the dead, and was the only person who ever did: “I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in Me will live, even though He dies; and whoever lives and believes in Me will never die.” 
- Jesus claimed to exist from eternity past, “Before Abraham was, I Am” 
- Jesus claimed to be our Good Shepherd
Jesus has unique understanding into the needs of every man and woman and is able to meet those needs. We truly are like sheep. The Bible says, “When Jesus saw a large crowd, He had compassion on them, because they were like sheep without a shepherd.”  Do you ever feel like a sheep without a shepherd, wandering through life like the rest of sheep, and realizing you have no security about your eternal destiny? Jesus said, “I tell you the truth, I am the gate for the sheep…whoever enters through Me will be saved. He will come in and go out, and find pasture…I am the Good Shepherd. The Good Shepherd lays down His life for the sheep…I know My sheep and My sheep know me- just as the Father knows Me and I know the Father- and I lay down my life for the sheep. I have other sheep that are not of this sheep pen. I must bring them also. They too will listen to My voice, and there shall be one flock and One Shepherd. The reason My Father loves Me is that I lay down my life- only to take it up again…My sheep listen to My voice; I know them, and they follow Me. I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; no one can snatch them out of My hand. My Father, who has given them to Me, is greater than all; no one can snatch them out of My Father’s hand. I and the Father are One.” 
Jesus is calling you to follow Him as your Good Shepherd and find your security forever in Him. Do you realize you’re just like a sheep? Sheep are defenseless animals- they cannot save themselves. You and I are the same- we cannot save ourselves. We need the Good Shepherd to save us, to forgive us and to protect us- and Jesus is that Good Shepherd.
- Jesus claimed to be our Judge on Judgment Day, “For the Father judges no one, but has committed all judgment to the Son, that all should honor the Son just as they honor the Father. He who does not honor the Son does not honor the Father who sent Him. Most assuredly, I say to you, he who hears My word and believes in Him who sent Me has everlasting life, and shall not come into judgment, but has passed from death into life.” 
Jesus, the “Son” of God? What Does that Mean?
Being the ‘Son of God’ doesn’t speak of Jesus’ origin or birth, but rather speaks of His position- the Bible is clear that Jesus didn’t have an earthly father and always existed as One with the Heavenly Father and willingly became a man, “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning. Through Him all things were made; without Him nothing was made that has been made. In Him was life, and that life was the light of men…the Word became flesh and made His dwelling among us. We have seen His glory, the glory of the One and Only.” 
How Can I Be Saved from Judgment?
The Bible teaches that Jesus, in fulfillment of all the prophesies, was God become man who died on the cross for our sins and rose again. When we confess and turn from our sins and place our trust in Him as our Lord and Savior and follow Jesus as He is revealed in the Bible, we will be forgiven of all our sin and the Holy Spirit of God will come into our hearts to give us eternal life. Jesus called this miraculous event being “born again”. Jesus used birth as an illustration of how we enter into God’s kingdom through faith. When a baby is born into the world, there is a drastic change of environment. Likewise, when we trust in Jesus, He comes into our hearts, forgives us and adopts us into His kingdom- it is a miracle where He changes our very nature, giving us new spiritual life, bringing us peace with God and filling us with God’s power to live for God and please Him.
God’s Amazing Grace
Imagine you were a starving orphan child that was picked up out of the gutter by a husband and wife who cleaned you up, clothed you, fed you, housed you and lavished love on you. Imagine you turned around and gave them all you had- two copper coins, to help earn their free gift. This would be an insult to their generosity! Instead, the couple would be honored by you receiving their gift with thankfulness and expressing your generosity by your response to the gift. It is the same with God- God offers His salvation as a gift, but so often people try to bribe God by earning their way into paradise with their good deeds, all the while saying that they hope God will be merciful. We cannot earn mercy- it’s a gift! We cannot work for it- you don’t work for gifts! The Bible says that even our best deeds are like filthy rags before a holy God,  for God sees that our hearts and motives aren’t pure. In the same way, we cannot offer God anything towards our salvation- for we don’t deserve it and we cannot pay for it. The Bible says, “To him who does not work but believes on Him [Jesus] who justifies the ungodly, his faith is accounted for righteousness.”  Thus we can stand before God on Judgment Day as righteous, even though we have been lawbreakers- God’s gift of paradise makes us justified before a holy God. The Bible states this about our salvation, “For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not by works, lest anyone should boast. For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them.”  Salvation can’t be earned, for we are all wicked and undeserving. If salvation could be earned, then in paradise people would be able to boast about how good they are- however, paradise is all about boasting, worshipping and knowing God, not boasting of ourselves. We simply receive the gift of salvation by trusting in Jesus and following Him as our Lord and Savior- it’s kind of like signing over the title deed of your car, only in this case, you are signing over your life to follow Jesus. Once Jesus comes into our heart by your faith in Him, you become His work- He will change you from the inside out. He will replace your wicked heart with new desires. He will give you a mission- good works that He has prepared for you to do to bring glory, honor and worship to Him.
A Warning from the Good Shepherd:
If you decide to follow Jesus as your Lord and Savior, He has a warning for you: often the worst trouble comes from our own family- are you willing to follow Jesus Christ even if it means trouble from your family- even if it leads to death? Jesus said, “Do not think that I have come to bring peace on earth. I did not come to bring peace but a sword. For I have come to set a man against his father, a daughter against her mother…a man’s enemies will be those of his own household. He who loves father or mother more than Me is not worthy of Me. And he who loves son or daughter more than Me is not worthy of Me. And he who does not take his cross and follow after Me is not worthy of Me. He who finds his life will lose it, and he who loses his life for My sake will find it.”  In every trouble, Jesus will be your Good Shepherd who will carry you through. Jesus said, “If the world hates you, you know that it hated Me before it hated you… A servant is not greater than his master. If they persecuted Me, they will also persecute you…These things I have spoken to you, that in Me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world.” 
Choose to Trust and Follow Jesus for Paradise
Because God is a just judge, all sin is a horrendous crime against God and must be condemned. Our good works can’t help out our situation, for we are guilty. God can’t be merciful at the expense of His justice- He must judge sin or He would be a corrupt Judge. Jesus the Righteous One offered to pay the price for our sins by dying in our place. This is the greatest expression of God’s love: “God demonstrates His own love for us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.”  We have nothing that we can offer God for forgiveness and entering paradise except to believe in Him, trust in the gift He has given us and make a choice to follow after Jesus as a response to this free gift. Jesus was asked, “What shall we do, that we may work the works of God?” and Jesus replied, “This is the work of God, that you believe in Him whom He sent [Jesus].”  Confess your sin before God and believe in the Lord Jesus Christ and His payment for your sin on the cross. The Bible says, “If we confess our sins, He [Jesus] is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us of all unrighteousness.”  Confess your sins to God and acknowledge before God and the world your new allegiance to Jesus Christ: “If you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved…for whoever calls upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.” 
How sure can you be sure that you will go to Paradise? God promises this: “This is the testimony: that God has given us eternal life, and this life is in His Son. He who has the Son has life; he who does not have the Son does not have life. These things I write to you who believe in the name of the Son of God, that you may know that you have eternal life.” 
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