Where do you feel you “weigh in?”
The practical difference has to do with the definition of “atonement” and how it applies to “righteousness.”
Atonement is one of those words that Christians are familiar with. At least it’s a word that’s been heard in many sermons about Jesus’ sacrifice for our sins. Righteousness is also a familiar concept.
Actually having some understanding of what the two words truly mean brings great peace of mind and heart.
Quick Definitions: <that are extremely important to the foundation of Christian faith>
In Israel, atonement is accomplished when the person who has caused the break in the relationship fulfills the restoration obligations demanded by the offended party. This involved a sacrifice. The kind of grievance determined the kind of sacrifice.
Atonement could be accomplished through the imposition of punishment (a thief can atone, for example, by repaying what he took plus twenty percent). But when God was the offended party in deliberate sin, final atonement had to be accomplished by God since the penalty included the death of the offender. God’s sacrifice is at the heart of the act of atonement.
In Islam, atonement is the act of a merciful god without the need for sacrifice. The word used for atonement implies the concealing or covering up of transgression, not the removal of transgression through the payment of the debt.
In Islam, forgiveness is a matter of white-washing the sin, not of cleansing it. The moral debt isn’t erased. It is swept under the carpet. Ethical and moral balance is never achieved. Holiness is not maintained. In the end, the sin remains, but Allah pretends it no longer matters as long as obedience to him is maintained.
Atonement is not an emotional issue. It’s a legal issue. A relationship has been broken. The restoration of that relationship requires legal satisfaction in a courtroom. Legally it doesn’t actually matter who initiates the payment of restoration. It’s all about the legal transaction.
In other words…the offended party could initiate the potential relationship reparations. If the thief agrees…case closed. Nothing more is required. The Law of Atonement is fulfilled.
Here’s where it starts to get good:
In Bible Faith Righteousness is a gift. (The offended party – God – made the payment, Himself)
<Quick side note that makes it even richer: Bible faith also uses the word “expiate.” Expiate is also translated “atonement.” That’s where there’s not only payment made from a vast resource but where the giver suffers the “pain of the penalty” in the process>
In Qu’ran Faith, righteousness is a loan. Since the sin actually still exists where it was swept under the “prayer rug”, it can be reactivated through disobedience to Allah. That’s why there is no real peace between man and Allah.
So the question: Where does your faith actually, factually, emotionally rest? Do you live as if you own your righteousness since it became yours as a gift – or – do you live as if your righteousness is on load based upon your obedience?
Don’t answer too quickly. What do you really believe?
I’d love to hear your comments. Please weigh in. Thanks! 🙂