Answering Islam - A Christian-Muslim dialog

Jesus Christ – God’s Salvation Has Come!

Sam Shamoun

Muslim polemicist Paul Williams is at it again with his jihad against the Christian faith by his shameless butchering of God’s Word, the Holy Bible. In one post (“Luke 19: ‘Today salvation has come to this house.’”), Williams quotes the story of Jesus visiting a Jewish tax collector named Zaccheus collector in Luke 19:1-10 to prove that Jesus didn’t need to die for this man’s sins in order for him to be saved.  He writes:

“The significance of this passage lies in Jesus’ declaration of the availability of salvation “today”, long before his alleged death for man’s sins. NT scholars have long noticed that for Luke salvation and forgiveness of sin does not depend of Jesus’ atoning death. Rather, like an Old Testament prophet Jesus calls the people of Israel to sincere repentance and faith in the One God. Jesus as such is not the object of his proclamation, a fact that is curiously ignored by many Christians today. These Christians do not follow the religion of Jesus but the religion about Jesus. Luke 19 is a key text to understand Jesus’ soteriology:”

What makes this rather ironic is that Williams conveniently overlooks the fact that this very same passage actually proves the opposite point that Williams is trying to make, since it confirms that salvation is found only in Christ!

Note carefully what the following verses say: 

“When Jesus came to the place, he looked up and said to him, ‘Zacchaeus, hurry and come down; for I MUST STAY AT YOUR HOUSE TODAY.’… ‘TODAY SALVATION HAS COME TO THIS HOUSE, because he too is a son of Abraham. FOR THE SON OF MAN CAME TO SEEK OUT AND SAVE THE LOST.’” Luke 19:5, 9-10

As can be seen from the context, Jesus was clearly referring to himself as the very Salvation that had personally come to Zacchaeus’ house, since he is the Son of Man who seeks after the lost in order to save them! How in the world could Williams have possibly missed this fact? 

That it is Jesus himself who is God’s Salvation for mankind is further seen from all the places in Luke-Acts where Christ is identified as the Savior who was sent to save and forgive:

“Then an angel of the Lord stood before them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. But the angel said to them, ‘Do not be afraid; for see—I am bringing you good news of great joy for all the people: to you is born this day in the city of David A SAVIOR, who is the Messiah, the Lord.” Luke 2:9-11

“God exalted him at his right hand as Leader and SAVIOR that he might give repentance to Israel and forgiveness of sins.” Acts 5:31

“All the prophets testify about him that everyone who believes IN HIM receives forgiveness of sins through his name.” Acts 10:43

“When he had removed him, he made David their king. In his testimony about him he said, ‘I have found David, son of Jesse, to be a man after my heart, who will carry out all my wishes.’ Of this man’s posterity God has brought to Israel A SAVIOR, Jesus, as he promised… Let it be known to you therefore, my brothers, that through this man forgiveness of sins is proclaimed to you; by this Jesus everyone who believes is set free from all those sins from which you could not be freed by the law of Moses.” Acts 13:22-23, 38-39

“After there had been much debate, Peter stood up and said to them, ‘My brothers, you know that in the early days God made a choice among you, that I should be the one through whom the Gentiles would hear the message of the good news and become believers. And God, who knows the human heart, testified to them by giving them the Holy Spirit, just as he did to us; and in cleansing their hearts by faith he has made no distinction between them and us. Now therefore why are you putting God to the test by placing on the neck of the disciples a yoke that neither our ancestors nor we have been able to bear? On the contrary, we believe that we will be SAVED through the grace of the Lord Jesus, just as they will.’” Acts 15:7-11

“Then he brought them outside and said, ‘Sirs, what must I do to be SAVED?’ They answered, ‘Believe on the Lord Jesus, and you will be SAVED, you and your household.’” Acts 16:30-31

And since Jesus is the Savior he could therefore save anyone and everyone who would believe in him even before his crucifixion, since from God’s perspective Christ’s death for sinners was an assured reality, having been foreordained beforehand with no possibility of anything or anyone stopping it from coming to pass:

“Then he took the twelve aside and said to them, ‘See, we are going up to Jerusalem, and everything that is written about the Son of Man by the prophets WILL BE ACCOMPLISHED. For he will be handed over to the Gentiles; and he will be mocked and insulted and spat upon. After they have flogged him, they will kill him, and on the third day he will rise again.'” Luke 18:31-33

“For I tell you, this scripture MUST BE FULFILLED IN ME, ‘And he was counted among the lawless’; and indeed what is written about me is being fulfilled.” Luke 22:37

“Then he said to them, ‘These are my words that I spoke to you while I was still with you—that everything written about me in the law of Moses, the prophets, and the psalms MUST BE FULFILLED.’ Then he opened their minds to understand the scriptures, and he said to them, ‘Thus it is written, that the Messiah is to suffer and to rise from the dead on the third day, and that repentance and forgiveness of sins is to be proclaimed IN HIS NAME to all nations, beginning from Jerusalem.’” Luke 24:44-47

“You that are Israelites, listen to what I have to say: Jesus of Nazareth, a man attested to you by God with deeds of power, wonders, and signs that God did through him among you, as you yourselves know—this man, handed over to you ACCORDING TO THE DEFINITE PLAN AND FOREKNOWLEDGE OF GOD, you crucified and killed by the hands of those outside the law. But God raised him up, having freed him from death, because it was impossible for him to be held in its power.” Acts 2:22-24

“For in this city, in fact, both Herod and Pontius Pilate, with the Gentiles and the peoples of Israel, gathered together against your holy servant[a] Jesus, whom you anointed, to do WHATEVER YOUR HAND AND YOUR PLAN HAD PREDESTINED TO TAKE PLACE.” Acts 4:27-28

“Concerning this salvation, the prophets who prophesied of the grace that was to be yours made careful search and inquiry, inquiring about the person or time THAT THE SPIRIT OF CHRIST WITHIN THEM INDICATED WHEN IT TESTIFIED IN ADVANCE TO THE SUFFERINGS DESTINED FOR CHRIST AND THE SUBSEQUENT GLORY. It was revealed to them that they were serving not themselves but you, in regard to the things that have now been announced to you through those who brought you good news by the Holy Spirit sent from heaven—things into which angels long to look!… You know that you were ransomed from the futile ways inherited from your ancestors, not with perishable things like silver or gold, but with the precious blood of Christ, like that of a lamb without defect or blemish. HE WAS DESTINED BEFORE THE FOUNDATION OF THE WORLD, but was revealed at the end of the ages for your sake.” 1 Peter 1:10-12, 18-20

This now ends up backfiring against Williams. Seeing how the context of Luke 19 affirms that Jesus himself is the Salvation of God for everyone who chooses to believe in him, this means that Williams has once again proven that Muhammad was a false prophet for contradicting the testimony of the very biblical texts that he himself appealed to in a failed attempt to undermine the Christian Gospel!

So much for Williams’ post.

All Scriptural references taken from the New Revised Standard Version (NRSV) of the Holy Bible.