If you’ve gotten to a point in your relationship where your Muslim friend seems to have a genuine interest in your faith, then this blog post is for you! Once the door to have spiritual conversations has been opened, there are some important things that you need to address as your Muslim friend begins to open up to a relationship with Jesus.
Words and their meanings
We all bring our belief system into any conversation we have. This includes our assumptions about what things mean and how things interact; for example, when you say you “fear God” you are talking about a healthy respect for the power of the Lord of the universe. But when your Muslim friend says that, they are coming from the perspective of a fear-based relationship, where they are always unsure of where they stand with Allah.
As you talk about salvation and accepting Christ as your Savior, there are certain beliefs you will need to “correct” or redefine in your Muslim friend’s understanding– essentially meanings that they must unlearn and relearn new ways to understand what you are saying.
Redefining what salvation means for your Muslim friend
When we as Christians talk about salvation, we are talking about reconciliation with God through Jesus Christ, eternal relationship with God starting here on earth, and rescue from the eternal punishment for our sins. We know that salvation is only gained through Christ’s sacrifice because He was a sinless human being who paid the price for all of humanity’s sins by dying on the cross. Only when we accept Christ as our Savior and repent of our sins are we saved– by the grace of God, not by works!
Once we are covered by the blood of Christ, there is no undoing of our salvation. It is not something that we gain or work for, it is a gift freely given that we cannot lose.
Your Muslim friend will not know any of this when you talk about salvation, so you need to explain to them what it means to you. In order to best explain it to them, you should also understand what they think salvation means!
Salvation in Islam
Essentially, a Muslim is never sure whether they are saved. They are told that there are a few ways to secure it, such as dying as a martyr to defend or expand Islam. However for the rest of the Muslims who do not do this, they must live in fear of their bad deeds someday outweighing their good deeds as well as Allah simply not giving them his favor to enter into paradise.
In fact, even if a Muslim does gain access to paradise, that does not mean they are saved from the punishment of their sins. There is a purgatory period that they go through, which can last hundreds of years before they are delivered to paradise.
How to talk about salvation with your Muslim friend
Never assume that your Muslim friend is on the same page as you when you are talking about salvation. If you have grown up as a Christian your whole life or spent a lot of time in Christian circles, it is easy to assume that when you use phrases like “paid the price for our sins” or “salvation through grace” that everyone understands them the same way. This could be the first time your Muslim friend has ever heard of these things!
Don’t forget to ask your friend how they define a word. When they tell you what they believe salvation, grace, or sin are, then you know exactly what you need to redefine so you can have meaningful conversations.
Always over-communicate what you’re talking about, and continuously ask your Muslim friends questions about what you’ve said. In real life this will look something like this:
Christian: “Jesus died for my sins so I do not have to pay the price myself. Have you ever heard it said that the price of sin is death?”
Muslim friend: “No, I have not. I believe that as long as my good deeds outweigh my bad deeds, I will be saved.”
Christian: “In the Bible, in the book of Romans, chapter 6 and verse 23, God says, ‘For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord,’ which means that we do not have to worry about earning eternal life, but it is a gift!”
In your explanations of what salvation truly means, always make sure that you point to the Bible as your source of definitions. This will ensure that your Muslim friend is given a biblical foundation for their future relationship with Christ.
Prayer for a beneficial conversation
Dear Lord, thank you for the gift of salvation. Please grant me a spirit of discernment for my conversations with my Muslim friend. Open up my eyes to see where they need to hear the truth about how You have saved us! Amen.