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Did Christ Willingly Accept Crucifixion?

If you were to ask the Muslim why he does not believe that Christ was actually crucified he would reply: Because he was one of the foremost prophets and it would have been impossible for God to deliver his worthy servant to vile Jews to put him to death on the cross in such a horrible fashion. The Muslim has forgotten a verse in his Qur'an about God permitting something like this to happen, as we see in Sura al-Nisa' 4:154, So for their breaking the compact, and disbelieving in the signs of God, and slaying the Prophets without right.

In Sura al-Baqara 2:82, And whensoever there came to you a Messenger with that your souls had not desire for, did you become arrogant, and some cry lies to, and some slay? Even Muhammad himself confessed that he died of poisoning by the treachery of a Jewish woman (as we see in the history of Almaghazi, and the biographies by Mohammad Ibn Ishaq, and the hadiths). In addition, the Torah, the Psalms and the Gospel have declared that Christ's crucifixion was voluntary, as God had ordained from the beginning. Christ himself said plainly that the purpose of his coming was to complete the work of redemption; that is, to offer himself up as a sacrifice on the Cross. When one of his disciples told him, Never, Lord! This shall never happen to you, Jesus rebuked him saying, Get behind me, Satan! You are a stumbling block to me; you do not have in mind the things of God, but the things of men (Matthew 16:23). Also when one of his disciples wanted to defend him from the Jews who came to arrest him Jesus said to him, Put your sword back in its place, for all who draw the sword will die by the sword. Do you think I cannot call on my Father, and he will at once put at my disposal more than twelve legions of angels? But how then would the Scriptures be fulfilled that say it must happen in this way?

Some of our Muslim brethren say, How can God punish Christ by crucifixion for the sins of others, since it says in 2 Kings 14:6: 'Yet He did not put the sons of the assassins to death, in accordance with what is written in the Book of the Law of Moses where the Lord commanded: Fathers shall not be put to death for their children, nor children put to death for their fathers; each is to die for his own sins.'  I would reply that God did not condemn Christ to death for the sins of mankind, but rather Christ, out of love for us, volunteered to offer himself in our place. This is the ultimate expression of love and deserves glorification. However, if I volunteer to pay that debt, what can he say but commend and praise such action?

When the Jews seized Christ to crucify him he said, Am I leading a rebellion, that you have come out with swords and clubs to capture me? Every day I sat in the temple courts teaching, and you did not arrest me. But this has all taken place that the writings of the prophets might be fulfilled. Then all the disciples deserted him and fled (Matthew 26:55,56). Christ was not crucified because he had committed an offence. The Jews could find no fault in either his character or his actions, but he was crucified to be our sacrifice, taking our place in judgement and standing in our stead. Therefore, he was made a curse for us, not because he deserved it but, because he willingly agreed to lay down his life in place of the guilty sinner who deserved the curse. So you see from the foregoing that God permits the killing of his prophets for noble purposes and that Christ died willingly, out of love for us, to redeem us from the curse of the law, satisfy divine justice and grant us salvation and eternal life. Therefore, apart from Christ Jesus, God does not forgive the believer, or have mercy on him.

This is the only way which God ordained for the salvation of believers whereby he demonstrates his justice and mercy simultaneously. As for Islamic Law it does not harmonise God's justice and his mercy and neither in the Qur'an nor the Traditions (Hadith) do we find an effective way to deal with judgement, reckoning and forgiveness. The verses which our Muslim brethren quote on the subject of judgement are, Whether you publish what is in your hearts or hide it, God shall make reckoning with you for it. He will forgive whom he will, and chastise whom he will (Sura al-Baqara 2:284).

If God settled accounts with men on the basis of this verse there would be no indication either of his justice or his mercy. While it is true he can do as he pleases, yet he would not will what denies his original attributes and his divine law. Supposing the judge pardoned your brother's murderer after his crime was proved, then went on to forgive him. Would you regard him as being just? Not at all! You would regard him as unjust because he violated the law. This is unthinkable with God for it does not reflect his decrees. Furthermore, it contradicts sound thinking.

The weighing that day is true; he whose scales are heavy -they are the prosperous, and he whose scales are light -- they have lost their souls (Sura al-A'raf 7:7,8). This verse shows the reckoning system to be simple, and it is the one used by the ancient Egyptians and the Magi, whereby God places a man's good deeds on one side of the scales and his sins on the other. If the side of good is the heavier he will be delivered and prosper, but if the evil deeds tip the scales he will be among the losers who will spend eternity in hell. This cannot be true because heaven or paradise, which men aspire to enter, is a pure spot where only the purified and those made righteous can enter. Thus he who commits one sin has transgressed and become unclean. In that condition it is impossible for him to enter paradise. I shall give an example to make the matter clearer.

Suppose a Muslim is dressed in a white robe and while on his way to prayer a speck of dirt fell on his robe or person. Wouldn't he be considered unclean? If that was his state wouldn't he have to return and purify himself to be able to start prayer? This is the state of man towards God in respect to purity and impurity. Therefore it is impossible for the believer to enter paradise before complete purification and renewal of heart. For if he were cleansed from sins and forgiven his transgressions, yet the germ of evil remained entrenched in his heart, he would remain wicked and unfit for heaven. Also, if the Muslim believes he can atone for his sins in the fire, Not one of you there is, but he shall go down to it; that for thy Lord is a thing decreed, determined. Then we shall deliver those that were godfearing; and the evildoers We shall leave there, hobbling on their knees (Sura Maryam 19:72,73). Without a man's corrupt heart and inclinations being changed, he too would not be fit for heaven nor heaven for him. Likewise, neither punishing the thief by imprisonment nor cutting his hand nor flogging the adulterer changes the inclination of the first to theft or the second to adultery. Rather, the punishment might aggravate them and make them worse as Sura Yusuf 12:53 says, Surely the soul of man incites to evil. The Christian faith or more accurately the Holy Bible (the Torah and Gospel), has ordained a way which cannot be objected to because it is God's provision. By it the believer can attain purity and forgiveness by means of Christ's sacrifice and obtain renewal or a change of heart through the Holy Spirit. In that way the believer becomes fit to enter paradise and happy to do so.

Surely God shall not wrong so much as the weight of an ant; and if it be a good deed He will double it (Sura al-Nisa' 4:44). This verse presumes on God's favour, because it indicates that he will double a man's good deeds, and you yourself know that doubling these is not fair.

And every man -- We have fastened to him his bird of omen upon his neck; and We shall bring forth for him, on the Day of Resurrection, as book he shall find spread wide open (Sura al-Isra' 17:14,15). This verse shows that for every man there is a book to be opened at the Resurrection. He will read it and judge himself. However, it is not clear what the method of writing this book is, nor how man will judge himself and what rule he will follow.

...surely the good deeds will drive away the evil deeds. That is a remembrance unto the mindful (Sura Hud 11:116). This verse shows that one good deed cancels an evil deed. If the good ones exceed the evil, the person will be saved; otherwise perdition is inevitable. Muslim scholars have said, No one can complain that God did not reward him for his good deeds; because the wicked whose bad deeds overweigh are rewarded on earth for their good deeds. It is said if the account is reckoned and every man's deeds are weighed justly, all creatures will start exacting their wrongs, that is, giving their adversary his deserts. Thus every oppressed person will obtain redress from his oppressor. This is what Muslims call disputing and requiting injustices. Accordingly, angels will take from the merits of the oppressor a portion equal to his injustice and add them to the merits of the oppressed. If the merits of anyone outweighs his demerits even by a grain, God will double them out of mercy, so he would enter paradise. If one's merits are cancelled and he is left with the unrequited sins, God will add to him an equal amount of the burdens of those he wronged. He will cast him in hell to be punished for his sins and theirs. All this is not justice.

Don't you see that all these things do not achieve the required end, namely to purify the heart from the pollution of sin and uproot the germ of evil desires from it to make it fit for God's pure presence in a spotless heaven?

There is no doubt that the way God provided and appointed in the Torah and Gospel for man's salvation is the ideal way. We have to follow it in order to receive pardon and heart cleansing and enter paradise to live there eternally.

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