The Sinner’s Prayer: Fact or Fable?

Is someone who prays the sinner’s prayer definitely saved?

One of the scariest passages in the Bible is Matthew 7:21–23: “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only he who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. Many will say to me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and in your name drive out demons and perform many miracles?’ Then I will tell them plainly, ‘I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!'”

Jesus was saying that there were people who claimed to be Christians and did things for Jesus, but still ended up in hell. In other words, they weren’t really true followers of Christ. 

When we accept God’s gift of salvation, we are a new creation in Christ (2 Corinthians 5:17). But exactly what is a “new creation”—and how do we know we are one? We should be showing evidence that we’re Christians by bearing the fruit of:

  • Repentance (Matthew 3:8) 
  • Thanksgiving (Hebrews 13:15)
  • Good works (Colossians 1:10)
  • The Spirit (Galatians 5:22–23)
  • Righteousness (Philippians 1:11)

We should all check to see if our lives are in fact producing that fruit. If someone isn’t bearing that fruit, but they’ve prayed the sinner’s prayer, is he or she saved? According to the Bible, if the individual continues in a lifestyle of sin, he or she is of the devil (1 John 3:8). In other words, the conversion was false, and that person is headed for hell.

Jesus spoke extensively about false conversions. He discussed it in the parables of the sower and the seed (Mark 4:1-20), the wheat and the tares (Matthew 13:24–30, 36-40), the good and bad fish (Matthew 13:47–50), the wise and foolish virgins (Matthew 25:1-14). If he spoke about it so many times, isn’t it important for us to understand?

People don’t get saved by simply reciting the sinner’s prayer. They get saved by repenting from a life of sin and putting their faith in Jesus. This requires much more than a few words; it requires a change of heart, attitude, and direction in life, including submitting to the lordship of Jesus Christ. It should result in a life that, while not perfect, constantly seeks to obey and glorify God.

2 Corinthians 13:5 says, “Examine yourselves to see whether you are in the faith.” I encourage you to ask yourself: Do I feel confident that I am going to heaven merely because at one point I prayed a sinner’s prayer, or have I truly allowed God to change my heart and life as a Christ-follower?

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20 Responses to The Sinner’s Prayer: Fact or Fable?

  1. ummadam says:

    Yes, that would be a scary verse to me as well. It would scare me, because I would be afriad that I had placed my faith in the wrong thing (worshipping Jesus along with The Creator). Is it possible that Jesus (peace be upon him) was warning people of the dangers of worshipping him? He will tell the people who called him Lord, that he never knew them? A study of the Christian scriptures reveals that Jesus (pbuh) never claimed divinity. In fact there is not a single unequivocal statement in the entire Bible where Jesus (pbuh) himself says, “I am God” or where he says, “worship me”. In fact the Bible contains statements attributed to Jesus (pbuh) in which he preached quite the contrary. Have you ever considered that, Jesus (pbuh) can not be god, and he himself never claimed to be a god and never asked anyone to worship him but only “the Father,” therefore God Almighty is the only one who must be worshipped (John 17:3, John 4:2, John 4:23, Matthew 7:21, Matthew 22:37..etc.)?

  2. billphillips says:

    Ummadam,

    I’m not sure which Bible you’re reading.

    It is clear that Jesus is Lord, and claimed to be so. (John 1:1-5, 10:30-33)

    Jesus accepted worship from Thomas (John 20:28). He was also worshipped in Matthew 2:11, Matthew 8:2, Matthew 9:18. He was even worshipped by the angels in Hebrews 1:6. There are many examples of people worshiping Christ. At no time did He tell them to stop, but He always accepted their worship.

    Philippians 2:9-11 says, “Therefore God exalted him to the highest place and gave him the name that is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.”

    You need to make sure that you understand Jesus and the trinity. 1 John 2:23 says, “No one who denies the Son has the Father; whoever acknowledges the Son has the Father also.” If you don’t believe Jesus is God, you’re not going to go to heaven.

    Bill

  3. ila says:

    Dear ummadam,

    I’m wondering if in your quest to search the Christian Scriptures you have come across the following verses:

    “All things have been committed to me by my Father. No one knows who the Son is except the Father, and no one knows who the Father is except the Son and those to whom the Son chooses to reveal him” (Luke 10:22)

    If God the Father chose to commit all things to the Son (Jesus), to put the Son in charge of revealing the Father, and to entrust the Son as the only one who truly knows the Father, doesn’t that make you wonder if Jesus is in fact God?

    Also, consider these texts:

    In John 10:36-38, Jesus said, “What about the one whom the Father set apart as his very own and sent into the world? Why then do you accuse me of blasphemy because I said, ‘I am God’s Son’? Do not believe me unless I do what my Father does. But if I do it, even though you do not believe me, believe the miracles, that you may know and understand that the Father is in me, and I in the Father.”

    And Jesus said in John 10:30: “I and the Father are one.”

    If you believe the Bible is true, I urge you to seriously consider these words of Jesus and of the Bible and their implications for your life. In other words if Jesus is God, and he died for your sins, what should be your response? It should be one of repentence (admitting you have broken God’s law and changing your lifestyle to follow him) and faith in Jesus Christ as the one who saves you from eternal damnation and enables you to live a righteous life.

    One final note: Christians do not worship more than one God. They worship one God, who has three distinct persons: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. If we choose to reject one of these persons, we are choosing the reject God entirely.

    But don’t believe me: Read the Bible and ask God sincerely if this is true.

  4. astudent says:

    Well, I gotta laugh. Looks like this has turned into a discussion about the trinity!
    It didn’t start that way…
    Just so I don’t get left out- Jesus died for our sins. If you understand death (it is separation, not the end of life), then it should be apparent that Jesus was God, because He has been separated in our place. I posted this on my blog (Bible study by a student) complete with verses, so please read it and think about it before you start throwing rocks.
    astudent

  5. ummadam says:

    Bill and Ila, I’ll address you togther because you raised the same points, basically.

    One simple argument is that Jesus cannot be equal to God because Jesus says “My father is greater than I” John 14:28

    This alone should be proof of the falsity of the doctrine. However, here’s more:

    1. GOD IS ALL KNOWING…..BUT JESUS WAS NOT

    When speaking of the Day of Judgement, Jesus clearly gave evidence of a limitation on his knowledge when he said, “But of that day and hour knoweth no man, no, not the angels which are in Heaven, neither the son, but the father.” (Mark 13:32, and Matt. 24:36) But God knows all. His knowledge is without any limitations. That Jesus, of his own admission, did not know when the day of judgement would be, is clear proof that Jesus is not all-knowing, and that Jesus is therefore not God.

    2. GOD IS ALL-POWERFUL…..BUT JESUS WAS NOT

    While Jesus performed many miracles, he himself admitted that the power he had was not his own but was derived from God when he said, “Verily, verily I say unto you, the Son can do nothing of himself, but what he seeth the father do…” (John 5:19) Again he said, “I can of mine own self do nothing: As I hear I judge, and my judgement is just because I seek not mine own will but the will of the Father which has sent me.” (John 5:30) But God is not only All-Powerful, He is also the source of all power and authority. That Jesus, of his own admission, could do nothing on his own is clear proof that Jesus is not all-powerful, and that therefore Jesus is not God.

    3. GOD DOES NOT HAVE A GOD…..BUT JESUS DID HAVE A GOD

    God is the ultimate judge and refuge for all, and He does not call upon nor pray to any others. But Jesus acknowledged that there was One whom he worshipped and to Whom he prayed when he said, “I ascend unto my Father and your Father, and to my God and your God.” (John 20:17) He is also reported to have cried out while on the cross, “My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?” (Matt. 27:46) If Jesus were God, then couldn’t this be read, “Myself, myself, why hast thou forsaken me?” Would that not be pure nonsense? When Jesus prayed the Lord’s Prayer (Luke 11:2-4), was he praying to himself? When in the garden of Gethsemane he prayed, “O my father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me: Nevertheless, not a s I will but as thou wilt.” (Matt. 26:36-39) Was Jesus praying to himself? That Jesus, of his own admission and by his own actions, acknowledged, worshipped, and prayed to another being as God is clear proof that Jesus himself is not God.

    4. ACCORDING TO THE BIBLE GOD IS AN INVISIBLE SPIRIT…. BUT JESUS WAS FLESH AND BLOOD

    While thousands saw Jesus and heard his voice, Jesus himself said that this could not be done with God when he said: “No man hath seen God at any time.” (John 1:18) “Ye have neither heard His voice at any time nor seen His shape.” (John 5:37) He also said in John 4:24: “God is a spirit and they that worship Him must worship Him in spirit and in truth.” That Jesus would say that no one had seen or heard God at any time, while his followers both saw and heard him, is clear proof that Jesus was not God.

    5. NO ONE IS GREATER THAN GOD AND NO ONE CAN DIRECT HIM…. BUT JESUS ACKNOWLEDGED SOMEONE GREATER THAN HIMSELF WHOSE WILL WAS DISTINCT FROM HIS OWN

    Perhaps the clearest indication we have that Jesus and God are not equal, and therefore not one and the same, come again from the mouth of Jesus himself who said in John 14:28: “My Father is greater than I.” When someone referred to him as good master in Luke 18:19, Jesus responded: “Why callest thou me good? There is none good but one, that is God…” Furthermore, Jesus drew clear distinctions between himself and God when he said, “I proceeded forth and came from God, neither came I of myself but He sent me.” (John 8:42) Jesus gave clear evidence of his subordination to God, rather than his equality with God, when he said in Luke 22:42, “not my will but Thine be done” and in John 5:30, “I seek not mine own will but the will of the Father which has sent me.” That Jesus would admit that he did not come into the world on his own initiative but was directed to do so, that he would acknowledge another being as greater than himself, and that he would negate his own will in deference to affirming the will of another, give clear proof that Jesus is not the Supreme One and therefore Jesus is not God.

    CONCLUSION

    The Church recognises the Bible as the primary source of knowledge about God and Jesus. But since the Bible makes it clear that Jesus is not the Supreme Being and the Supreme Being is not Jesus, upon what basis have you come to believe otherwise? The belief that the Supreme Being is a Trinity is false and completely inconsistent with the words of Jesus as presented in the Bible. God is one, not three. He is a perfect unity. If you are interested in the truth about God and your relationship to Him, you are invited to investigate the religion of Islam.

  6. billphillips says:

    The basis for the trinity:

    Principle 1-There is only one God. (Isaiah 44:6)

    Principle 2-There are 3 divine persons.
    -The Father is God. (2 Thessalonians 1:2)
    -The Son is God. (John 1:1-5, 10:30-33, 20:28)
    -The Holy Spirit is God. (Acts 5:3-4, 2 Corinthians 3:17).

    Principle 3-The Persons Are Co-Equal and Co-Eternal.
    -the Father is the Lord of lords (Deuteronomy 10:17, Psalm 136:3).
    -Jesus is the Lord of lords (1 Timothy 6:15, Revelation 17:14, 19:16).
    -the Father is the first and the last (Isaiah 44:6).
    -Jesus is the first and the last (Revelation 22:13).
    -the Father created the universe (Genesis 1:1).
    -Jesus created the universe (John 1:3, Colossians 1:16, Hebrews 1:2,10).
    -the Father is unchanging and eternal (Psalm 90:2, 102:26-27, Malachi 3:6).
    -Jesus is unchanging and eternal (John 8:58, Colossians 1:17, Hebrews 1:11-12, 13:8).

    If those foundations are true, the trinity must be true. All of the objections you have to this are easily explained.

    Islam is a religion where you can earn your way into heaven. If you keep the 5 pillars, Allah will forgive you. Why would Allah forgive you? If you’ve committed a serious crime, and you’re standing in front of the judge, only an evil judge would let you go free. In order for Allah to just forgive you, he must be bribed by your keeping of the five pillars, and then he is unjust enough to let you into heaven.

    You think you’re a good person, but you haven’t kept God’s law. If you’ve ever lied, you’re a liar. The Bible says that all liars will have their part in the lake of fire (Revelation 21:8). If you’ve ever stolen you’re a thief. Jesus said that if you’ve ever looked at someone with lust, you’ve committed adultery with them in your heart. No thief or adulterer can enter the kingdom of heaven (I Corinthians 6:9-10).

    God is infinitely holy and just, and he won’t be bribed with our good works. He will punish sin wherever it is found.

    You will declare that Jesus is Lord someday, and you will glorify God when He throws you into hell. All of creation will praise him for punishing someone who lived a life of rebellion.

    When God lets me into heaven, all of creation will praise God for His mercy. He so kindly provided a way for a scumbag sinner like me to get into heaven.

    Bill

  7. Kullervo says:

    By the way, bill, it’s a totally false analogy to keep repeating that “if you’re in front of a human judge” spiel. For starters, in some legal systems, that judge would in fact set you free for bribing him. Not in ours, no, but that’s because we have a specific legal and social system. Is God a judge on the eighth federal circuit? I don’t think so. God is not subject to our laws, and he certainly is not going to judge people according to the American Rules of Criminal Procedure. Your analogy may illustrate your point, but it does not have the weight that you seem to be placing in it.

    Plus, you sound like a broken record since you use that analogy over and over again.

    Why not just use pure scripture? It will be much more convincing. you can back it up with an analogy, sure, but don;t use the same one all the time. In any case, don;t you think that the scripture itself is much more convincing than a little illustrative story?

  8. billphillips says:

    Kullervo,

    You bring up a lot of valid points. A human judge can be corrupted and bribed. God is not going to be bribed or corrupted; He is perfect and holy, and will make sure that justice is carried out.

    Also, while God won’t use American rules of justice, He doesn’t ‘grade on a curve’ like most religions say. The Bible is clear that even one sin is worthy of our spending eternity in hell, because we’ve sinned against an infinitely holy God.

    I like this analogy, and as soon as you repent and put your faith in Jesus, I’ll start using a new method to present the gospel. I certainly don’t think there was any shortage of Scripture cited in my last comment. I sincerely hope that you will repent and put your faith in Jesus, and I hope that Ummadam does also.

    Thanks,
    Bill

  9. Kullervo says:

    “The Bible is clear that even one sin is worthy of our spending eternity in hell, because we’ve sinned against an infinitely holy God.”

    I challenge that assertion. I find it fundamentally ludicrous and unreasonable, and I don’t believe that God is ludicrous of unreasonable.

    http://www.ebonmusings.org/atheism/infinitepunishment.html

  10. billphillips says:

    Kullervo,

    That’s because you don’t understand how holy God is. Maybe you’ve heard me explain this before, too, but it’s the best way I can think of.

    If you lie to a stranger, there’s nothing they can do to you. If you lie to a friend, they can stop being your friend. If you lie to your boss, he can fire you. If you lie while you’re under oath in a court of law, you can go to jail for perjury. If you lie to the U.S. government, under the right circumstances, you can be hung for treason. The same sin has differing levels of punishment, becuase of the stature of the one you’ve lied to.

    If you lie to an infinitely holy, righteous and just God, the penalty is infinite.

    The Bible is clear about hell:
    -Shame and everlasting contempt (Daniel 12:2).
    -Everlasting punishment (Matthew 25:46).
    -Weeping and gnashing of teeth (Matthew 24:51).
    -Fire unquenchable (Luke 3:17).
    -Indigation and wrath, tribulation and anguish (Romans 2:8-9).
    -Everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord (2 Thess. 1:9).
    -Eternal fire…the blackness of darkenss forever (Jude 7:13).
    -He shall be tormented with fire and brimstone..the smoke of their torment ascended up forever and ever: and they have no rest day or night (Revelation 14:10-11).

    Go to http://www.tenthousanddollaroffer.com. You can go through each of the Ten Commandments, and hopefully you’ll realize that you deserve to go to hell along with everyone else.

    Thanks,
    Bill

  11. Kullervo says:

    First, once agan your analogy is faulty. If you lie to a stranger, there’s lots he can do. It depends on the context. If your lie is fraud, or intentinoal breach of contract (a contract is a promise exchanged for a promise), then you can be civilly or criminally liable And the stranger can tell everyone he knows to not do business with you.

    Lying under oath is not an issue of who you have lied to- it doesn’t matter whether you lie to the judge or opposing counsel or anyone else. You might be prosecuted for perjury, and you might just have your testimony impeached. Police officers lie (or stretch the truth) all the time under oath, and pretty much nothing happens to them.

    Lying to the government is not treason- it would have to be in a context where you were actually betraying the government to an enemy with your lie. The lie isn’t what you go down for; it’s the betrayal. and it’s not a statement of natural law or anything; it’s practical. The government is handing out the punishment so they get to decide what the punishment is. Anyway, if you lie to Congress the worst that will happen is a contempt of congress charge, which wil land you no more than a fine. Furthermore, “the government” is not a person you can lie to.

    What you are saying is that a crime is worse depending on the status of the person you commit it against, and that is simply not the case. First-degree murder doesn’t turn on who you murdered. Nor does burglary turn on the idenity of the person whose home you have burgled. Your analogy is completely flawed.

    And it’s flawed for other reasons, too. Again, it assumes thatyou can extrapolate principles of dealing with God from the American legal system. And you have nothing to base that on, other than the hope that your listener is either uninformed, easily convinced, or they already agree with you.

    It still doesn’t show why sinning against God means you deserve infinite punishment in hell.

    “Some apologists have put forth a defense against this argument, claiming that because God is infinitely good, a person who chooses to defy him is committing an “infinite crime” and therefore deserves an infinity of suffering as punishment. But consider: What does it mean to commit a crime against someone? Does the essence of a crime not lie in harm? Not all harm done to a person rises to the standard of a crime, but it cannot be said that you have committed a crime against someone if they have not been harmed in any way. But God, by his nature, can never be harmed. According to the monotheistic religions, God is omniscient, omnipotent, and perfect; he lacks nothing, he needs nothing, and certainly he cannot be injured or diminished in any way by anything a human being could ever do. Therefore, it is impossible to commit any crime against him at all, much less an infinite one. We may harm ourselves, or other people, but we can never harm God, and it defies justice to pay back an act that causes zero harm with an act that causes infinite harm.

    The apologist argument of disbelief as an infinite crime can be refuted in another way. For justice to be served, the punishment for a crime should be set not only by considering the consequences of the act, but also by considering the intent and level of understanding of the person who commits it. This is why, for example, most societies punish minors less harshly than they would adults who committed the same crime, or why they generally treat rather than punish people who commit a crime while operating under a sense of diminished capacity that makes them less able to tell right from wrong.

    The relevance is this. In God’s sight, compared to God’s mind, are we adults or are we minors? Do theists believe that people who reject God understand exactly what they are doing? Is it possible for anyone with a finite mind to fully comprehend the repercussions of such an act? It is said that rejection of God is an infinite crime, but can a human being really commit a crime that great even if they want to, even if they think they mean it at the time? While Hell-believing theists will undoubtedly answer “yes” to these latter three questions, I suggest that those answers arise from their a priori beliefs rather than a rational and objective evaluation of the situation. Such an evaluation is far more likely to come to the opposite answer.

    This becomes even more acute when one considers that the length of the afterlife, in most major religious traditions, is believed to be eternity. The human mind is finite and thus, by definition, cannot fully comprehend such a span of time. How can it be fair to force beings as limited as us to make decisions that will influence our fate for an infinity thereafter and only allow us an infinitesimally short length of time to choose? This would be analogous to parents deciding how they will relate to their child for the rest of his life based on his behavior up until the age of two years old. If at some point during those first two years the child threw a tantrum and screamed “I hate you” at his parents, would the appropriate response be for them to throw him out of the house, disown him completely and never speak to him again for the rest of his life? Just as no two-year-old child could possibly be expected to have the perspective to make decisions that would be best for the rest of his finite life, so too could no finite human being be fairly expected to be able to make the best decisions for the rest of an infinite life. The conclusion remains the same: only an infinite being can commit an infinite crime.

    Even assuming none of the preceding holds true, another question remains to be answered: Why can’t you repent in Hell and be released? What happens if one of the damned says, “I can’t take this anymore. I understand now that I sinned and I’m sorry. God, please forgive me and let me out of here”? Will this work? If not, why not? If there’s a rule that says it’s too late to repent once you’re in Hell, who made that rule and why?

    Some theists might say that God does not allow this because, in this case, people would be repenting just to escape further punishment, not because they were genuinely sorry. If this is the case, then shouldn’t he also condemn people who repented on Earth only because they were afraid of Hell? Shouldn’t he also condemn people who repented on Earth because of some personal tragedy or catastrophe that befell them? Yet no religions I am aware of teach that God will do this; if anything, most monotheistic religions teach that such occurrences are very salutary in bringing people closer to God and making them realize their dependence on him. If God wants everyone to be saved, if he accepts repentance motivated by personal catastrophe on Earth, and if he accepts repentance motivated by fear of Hell while on Earth, then a declaration that God will not forgive anyone once they are in Hell cannot be seen as anything other than arbitrary and irrational. Such a declaration would be motivated not by any real reason or logical necessity, but by the desire of that religion to secure earthly power by coercing and frightening people into allegiance. ”

    That’s from the link I posted above. not that I think you will even read any of this comment. You’ll probably just read three sentences, assume what I’m going to say, and then come up with some lame analogy that doesn’t even apply.

  12. ila says:

    Hi Kullervo,

    You may believe what you like, but what Bill says above is not something he made up. It’s what the Bible—a book, by the way, that millions of people believe to be true—says. Check it out:

    “For whoever keeps the whole law and yet stumbles at just one point is guilty of breaking all of it.” (James 2:10)

    The good news is, it doesn’t end there: “Mercy triumphs over judgment!” (James 2:13)

    So, if you’re willing to see that you have wronged a holy God, you may also be willing to see that he offers you a holy sacrifice to cover your sin. Until then, though, I imagine you have no need for a way to enter heaven if you believe you are good enough to get there yourself.

    Just wanted you to know where this is all coming from. And I hope you take some time to think about it a bit instead of discounting it entirely.

  13. Kullervo says:

    You make a lot of assumptions. I’ve read the Bible, all the way through, more than once.

    Even if I have wronged a holy god, it is completely unreasonable to assert that I deserve eternal hell for it. It just makes no sense. What you’re doing is accepting at point blank what you think the Bible says, and then you’re trying to fashion external logic to support your a priori decision to adhere to yout textual interpretation.

    Your logic only stands if you begin by assuming the Bible to be 1. true, 2. literally infallible, and 3. that it says what you think it says. If I start out by rejecting all three of those assumptions (at least in part), then your logic looks ridiculous.

    And who says there’s even such a thing as heaven? You? Bill? the Bible? Why should I believe any of those, especially when I think they are all three unreaosnable, illogical, irrational, and most importantly, unreliable.

  14. ummadam says:

    Billphillips said:
    “Islam is a religion where you can earn your way into heaven. If you keep the 5 pillars, Allah will forgive you. Why would Allah forgive you? If you’ve committed a serious crime, and you’re standing in front of the judge, only an evil judge would let you go free. In order for Allah to just forgive you, he must be bribed by your keeping of the five pillars, and then he is unjust enough to let you into heaven.”

    ~~~~~~~

    “Also, while God won’t use American rules of justice, He doesn’t ‘grade on a curve’ like most religions say. The Bible is clear that even one sin is worthy of our spending eternity in hell, because we’ve sinned against an infinitely holy God.”

    ~~~~~~~~

    “If you lie to a stranger, there’s nothing they can do to you. If you lie to a friend, they can stop being your friend. If you lie to your boss, he can fire you. If you lie while you’re under oath in a court of law, you can go to jail for perjury. If you lie to the U.S. government, under the right circumstances, you can be hung for treason. The same sin has differing levels of punishment, becuase of the stature of the one you’ve lied to.

    If you lie to an infinitely holy, righteous and just God, the penalty is infinite.”

    There is an important point to consider here: While pondering over His justice, do not compare it with the human concept of justice, for a faithless person, while passing judgment, may well comply with his whims and desires, remain under the influence of his feelings, or forget what has been done. Most importantly, one never knows what is in the other party’s mind. But Allah, never errs or forgets. Allah says that He does not compare in any way to any part of His creation. He tells us that He is “All Hearing, All Seeing, All Compassionate, All Loving, All Mighty, etc.” He is far above what ever you have tried to compare to Him in anyway. Allah tells us that He is Pure, Loving, and absolutely Just in every respect. He says that He is the Best of Judges. There is nothing like unto Him, nothing that is equal or comparable to Him or that can rival Him. He is far above any resemblance to any created being. Whatever crosses the mind of the son of Adam with regard to his Lord, He is greater than that. No creature can encompass Him, may He be glorified and exalted.

    You ask, “why would Allah forgive you?” The essence of falsehood is the claim that God cannot deal with and forgive His creatures directly. By over-emphasising the burden of sin, as well as claiming that God cannot forgive you directly, false religions seek to get people to despair of the Mercy of God. Once they are convinced that they cannot approach God directly, people can be mislead into turning to false gods for help. These “false gods” can take various forms, such as saints, angels, or someone who is believed to be the “Son of God” or “God Incarnate”.

    The Quran teaches that Allah is a Judge and He also punishes, but Allah is not bound to punish. The justice of Allah, according to Quran is that Allah does not and will not inflict undue punishment on any person. He will not ignore the good of any person. But if He wishes to forgive any sinner, He has full freedom to do that. His mercy is unlimited and His love is infinite.

    There are many verses in the Quran and sayings of the Prophet -peace be upon him- on the love, mercy and forgiveness of Allah. In one of the prayers that the Prophet taught, he said, “O Allah, You are most Forgiving One, You love to forgive, so forgive me.”(reported by al-Trimidhi and Ibn Majah). We need Allah’s mercy and forgiveness all the time. It is wrong to assume at any time that one will find eternal salvation without the forgiveness of Allah.

  15. Kullervo says:

    If his mercy and love are infinite, then why does he punish anyone, ummadam?

  16. billphillips says:

    Kullervo,

    You’re right in saying that if you reject the Bible, all of this seems silly. You can believe you’re a pretty good guy, and the big man upstairs will wink and nod and say, “boys will be boys,” and let you into heaven if one exists. But if you throw out the Bible, you’re relying on some other book, or your own logic. There’s zero basis for anything you believe. Your heart is desperately wicked (Jeremiah 17:9).

    If someone raped your wife and slit her throat, and left her to die, you would be enraged. I hesitate to write that, because it makes me mad, and I have no idea who your wife is. Would you care that the murderer was brought to justice? Does God care?

    If you woke up one morning, and your house was ransacked by a thief, would you care that the thief was brought to justice? Would God care?

    If you had an affair on your wife, would your wife care? Would she just forgive you, and allow you to continue in your affair? Would God care about your wife’s sorrow?

    If God loves people, he hates murder. If God loves honesty and truth, He hates lying and stealing. If God loves sex inside the bounds of marriage, He hates adultery. He’s going to bring murderers, adulterers and thieves to justice. You may be cool with that, because you’ve never done that, but Jesus said that if you’ve ever looked at a woman with lust, you’ve committed adultery with her in your heart (Matt. 5:27-28). If you’ve hated someone, you’re a murderer-at-heart (1 John 3:15). If you’ve ever done those things, you’ve broken God’s law.

    The Bible is so clear on this. You can reject it if you choose, but if it’s true there will be consequences. You don’t have to understand it or think it’s fair.

    Bill

  17. billphillips says:

    Ummadam,

    What does Allah do with bad people? How many lies do you have to tell before you’re a liar? Are liars good people? How many murders do you have to commit before you’re a murderer? Have you ever hated someone (1 John 3:15)?

    Dictionary.com Unabridged (v 1.1) –
    good
    –adjective 1. morally excellent; virtuous; righteous; pious: a good man.

    Are you really morally excellent?

    Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” (John 14:6).

    Bill

  18. ila says:

    Kullervo,

    You’re right. I do accept “at point blank” what the Bible says. I don’t take that as an insult. This may seem practically prehistoric to you, but here’s my choice: I believe it—or I don’t.

    How do you explain a God who is, as you believe, good and loving enough to just let you—and apparently anyone else—into heaven, but who is deceitful enough to write a Bible that is “unreaosnable, illogical, irrational, and most importantly, unreliable” (as am I, apparently)? Why would he fill the Bible with so many half-truths? Is he simply out to confuse the entire human race? To leave us wondering in our religious musings?

    If I believe that every verse in the Bible is true (including the ones that claim the Bible to be truth), then, yes, I am going to believe in a heaven, and in a hell. I am going to believe in perfect justice by a Holy God who cannot accept sin in his presence. (You are correct in saying we cannot “harm” God in any way—but that does not change his hatred of sin.) I am going to believe in a perfect sacrifice that covered my sin completely so that God can accept me as righteous. Sure, there are theological issues that I might “think I understand.” But these things are laid out in black and white in the Bible, over and over again.

    I’m sure you’re aware that the Bible has weighty archeological and historical backing. But it also requires faith. And believing something (whether religious or otherwise)—or deciding against believing it—doesn’t necessarily happen overnight for everyone, of course.

    I applaud your apparent open-mindedness to seek God, or truth, or however you may see it.

  19. ummadam says:

    Kullervo Says:

    “If his mercy and love are infinite, then why does he punish anyone, ummadam?”

    Because some people DESERVE a punishment. However, it’s pretty straightforward how one can be forgiven:

    “And verily, I am indeed forgiving to him who
    1) Repents
    2) Believes
    3) Does righteous good deeds
    4) And then remains constant in doing them.”
    The Holy Qur’an, Chapter 20, Verse 82.

    Allah is the All-Just and All-Wise. All mankind is called to submit to Him Alone. He does not intend confusion for His creation: He does not tell different nations in any place and at any time to worship creation in any form or shape. He wants mankind to free itself from worshipping other than Him. This is the meaning of Islam and it represents the natural inclination on which man is created. On the Day of Judgment, people will be judged according to their acceptance or rejection of Allah’s Command which came in the Last Revelation, the Qur’an.

    billphillips Says:


    “Ummadam,

    What does Allah do with bad people? How many lies do you have to tell before you’re a liar? Are liars good people? How many murders do you have to commit before you’re a murderer? ”

    Whatever Allah does He does, and I will never accept that He had a son (which is beneath Him) and that He then killed His son in order to forgive mankind for their sins. He is God, for Christ sake (pun intended)! Why would He need to do such a thing? There are no free rides in Islam, we are responsible for our own sins.Why is it so diificult for you to fathom that God can forgive whomever He pleases?

    “That is the grace of Allah which He bestows on whom He pleases. And Allah is the Owner of Great Bounty.” [57:21]

    Thus, in Islam, salvation is universally attainable and not confined to any people, place or time. Eternal happiness is not obstructed by notions of reincarnation, blind leaps of faith, or the meditation of priests or so-called holy men. Those who deny their Lord, work evil and are unrepentant, will enter Hell: a place of real pain and suffering meant to dissuade man from wrong-doing.

    billphillips Says:
    Are you really morally excellent?

    No, ALL of the children of Adam are sinners. Every single one of us and the best of them are those who repent. Since God is the Owner and Sustainer of everything, as well as the only one who can provide true and complete forgiveness, it is completely futile to try to approach Him through anyone else. According to the teachings of Islam, praying to or worshipping anything or anyone besides Almighty God is the greatest sin a person can commit. Even though other religions believe in God, they nullify this belief by making the grave mistake of not always approaching Him directly. Some religions even go so far as to say that human beings, due to their sinfulness, cannot approach God without an intermediary — which mistakenly implies that God is unable or unwilling to forgive human-beings directly. Islam teaches that Almighty God has the power to do all things and that no one should ever despair of His mercy. According to the teachings of Islam, God is always ready to bestow His abundant Grace and Mercy on anyone who turns to Him in repentance. Even people who used to commit the worst sin of worshipping others besides God will be forgiven if they realize what they are doing is wrong and repent. Having a direct relationship with God, and understanding that He alone deserves worship and praise, goes hand-in-hand with the Islamic concept of God. This is because once a proper concept of God is established in the heart and mind, submission to God and complete reliance on Him alone comes naturally.

  20. billphillips says:

    Ummadam,

    You said, “He is God, for Christ sake (pun intended)!”

    That is taking the Lord’s name in vain (using His name disrespectfully), which is also known as blasphemy. The Bible says that God will not hold him guiltless who takes His name in vain. (Exodus 20:7).

    You said Allah requires good deeds, but the Bible says your good works are like filthy rags to God (Isaiah 64:6), since you’re doing them to earn His favor or forgiveness.

    You also said, “submission to God and complete reliance on Him alone comes naturally.” That certainly contradicts the Bible. Romans 3:11-12 says, “There is no one who understands, no one who seeks God. All have turned away, they have together become worthless.”

    Blood is required for the forgiveness of sins (Exodus 30:10, Leviticus 5:9, 16:15, Matthew 26:28, Hebrews 13:11). Whose blood is being shed for the forgiveness of your sins?

    Your god is idolotrous, and completely contradictory to the Bible. I hope you can do enough good works to gain Allah’s favor.

    Bill

    P.S. “But whoever rejects the Son will not see life, for God’s wrath remains on him.” John 3:36

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