Do Muslims and Christians Worship the Same God - page 7

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Do Muslims and Christians Worship the Same God?
by Andy Bannister, Director and Lead Apologist for RZIM-Canada

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Mercy and Justice

But there’s one last difference between the God of the Bible and the Allah of the Qur’an that’s important to mention; it concerns mercy and justice.

God’s mercy and God’s justice is an idea at the heart of many religions. God’s mercy and justice is certainly something the Bible and the Qur’an both talk about.

But have you noticed something? There’s a problem, because “mercy” and “justice” conflict. Think about this: mercy is always executed at the expense of judgment and justice. You stand before the judge, guilty of the crime. If he sentences you to the punishment your crime deserves, he has been just but not merciful. Conversely, if he lets you off, he has been merciful but he has not been just.

Mercy is always exhibited at the expense of justice, and the same applies to God. If God executes justice and we get what we deserve, hope fails. But if God does not execute judgment, justice fails. This is a contradiction in most religions, including Islam.

The simple fact is that mercy and justice contradict each other, and thus there is no hope for the future, for us or the world, unless we can resolve this tension. I believe that only in Christianity is this problem solved, because in Christianity God does not exercise mercy at the expense of justice, but through His justice, through the justice of the cross, where judgment and mercy meet. The Bible says that God stepped into history in the person of Jesus Christ, and Jesus offers to make Himself one with those who trust Him. When we trust in Jesus, our sin, our rebellion, becomes His sin; He takes the injustice we have done into Himself and He pays the price. At the cross, every sin was punished. Every penalty paid in full. Justice was upheld, not ignored. The law was fulfilled. At the cross, Jesus paid for us and only because of that is mercy possible.

The Bible says that God will judge the world, and everything that has taken place will be revealed and brought into the light: every injustice, every sin, every crime, every evil, every secret thing. Every wrong will be punished. If we are forgiven and welcomed into heaven, it won’t be because God says “your wrongdoing doesn’t matter.” It will be precisely because it does matter; in the cross, God passed judgment on it, said it’s worthy of death, and then, if we are one with Jesus Christ, He takes our place. We are forgiven because sin matters; it matters so much that Jesus paid a high price to deal with it. If we accept Christ, we are forgiven because He has paid. If we reject Him, we will be judged and we will pay. Either way, the price of justice has to be paid.

If I lend you my new iPad and you break it, and I say to you, “Don’t worry about it; I’ll take care of it,” you’ve been forgiven. But that doesn’t mean that nobody pays, it means I have to pay. Jesus Christ pays for us. God’s justice is fulfilled and His mercy is extended because of the cross and because of His love.

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