The Arabic name for God is ‘Allah’ which literally means ‘the God’. Although in name alone, this may be true. The major distinction comes from who Allah is understood to be by his attributes and Characteristics. In this article we will look at the fundamental differences in how God Justifies and saves mankind.
The first major difference between Islam and Christianity is the respectful holy proper name of God. Christians believe it is ‘YHWH’ and pronounced ‘Yahweh’. Arab Christians will say Allah-Alab which means “God The Father”. Islam believes the only proper name is ‘Allah’.
The older form of the ‘four letters’ which is ‘God’, is represented by ‘YHVH’ that expresses the self-existence of God (Exodus 3:14); found in an old 650BC manuscript (over 1,000 years before Islam). There is a debate on how exactly this was originally pronounced. Jews were so concerned with mispronouncing the holy name of God they quit saying it out loud in fear of blaspheming it (Leviticus 24:16). Vowels were later inserted for a the pronunciation ‘YaHWeH’ which came the name ‘Yahweh’ (800 years before Islam). The vowels came from Adonai (“Lord”) or Elohim (“God”). It was then later translated as ‘Jehovah’ or ‘LORD’ (500 years before Islam). This is also problematic for the Jehovah’s Witnesses religion.
The Triune God is denied by Islam. Even Muhammad mistakenly understand Christianity and thought Christians were referring to three separate gods. They deny the existence of The Holy Spirit and The Son as God. Although the Godhead is difficult to understand scripture is clear there are 3 distinct persons with in God himself.
Islam relies heavily on the works of man to earn Allah’s mercy. Where salvation is based on the works of man and not on the total Grace of God. But without the person of The Son, salvation is impossible. Without The Holy Spirit, being made holy and sanctified is impossible (Romans 8:6; 2 Corinthians 3:17). Christians can trust completely in God for salvation and being made holy (Hebrews 10:22) but Muslims have to trust in their own works to earn God’s mercy. Some even become comfortable in trusting in their religious routine and habits to justify their perceived earned mercy.
Can You Work Hard Enough?
For Christians, the person and works of Jesus’ selfless sacrifice on the cross is enough and credited to them by faith. Can man work hard enough? No, Jesus makes clear the standard for man is too high; the standard of perfection (Matthew 5:48). Clearly, no one can be perfectly holy and righteous in their whole life; thus man is not able to meet this standard. This is why Jesus’ life is required on mans behalf. He is the perfect life that we can not live (Hebrews 10:10; Romans 8:1–8). Which is why everyone, Christian and Muslim is called to repent and believe in Jesus (Mark 1:15). Where anyone who receives Jesus as THEIR life and THEIR sacrifice can then be children of God and true worshipers of God (John 1:12).
Allah, according to Muhammad, offers no such thing. Instead they must work hard to earn Allah’s mercy. This profound and impossible hard work is why Muslims are extremely devout because they fear if they are not, they will be receive mercy.
Islam actually enslaves peoples minds and hearts to believe they can work hard to earn God’s impossible standard (2 Corinthians 4:4). Christians recognize they can not possibly meet God’s perfect standard and understand they need someone outside of themselves. Islam keeps the burden of being holy on unholy imperfect people. Christianity puts the burden of holiness and perfection on someone who is holy and perfect; God himself in Jesus Christ.
Also read Do Christians, Jews, Muslims, and Mormons Worship The Same God?
Responding to Muslims
Christians must pray for Muslims; for The Holy Spirit to reveal the truth of their perpetual hopelessness in their own imperfect efforts. And pray that God leads them to know the true freedom of mercy and forgiveness through the person and work of Jesus Christ (2 Timothy 2:24–26). It is important to understand that Muslims and all those who depend in their own efforts are actually victims of their sinful hearts and of spiritual blindness. Christians need to be compassionate, forgiving, gentle, and gracious toward all people in the hope that God leads them to truly know and worship God himself in an intimate personal fatherly way. And not as some distant spiteful god named Allah who will not show them mercy for not being able to work hard enough to meet some perfect holy standard.
Muslims fear Allah’s wrath if they do not merit his mercy; Christians desire God’s Grace because they understand their imperfect nature and deeply appreciate his forgiveness and trust him through Jesus Christ in which he has saved them.
We see that the god of Muhammad does not solve the fundamental problem of meeting and maintaining a perfect and holy standard. Muslims trust in their efforts as some kind of individual point system to win God’s mercy out of fear of his Judgement. The singular Truine God takes that burden off imperfect man and places it on his perfect and holy Son through our fundamental faith in Jesus Christ.
Muslims: trust in personal efforts for possible salvation which depends on them through works.
Christians: trust in the person Jesus Christ for absolute salvation which depends on Jesus Christ through faith.
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