The Mystery of Grace

By Kari V.

“Kari, I am telling you, I will convert to Christianity if it really will make my life better,” a young and engrossed Muslim repeated to me several times, during only our second encounter in downtown Vancouver.  Ali’s interest and enthusiasm in seeking the truth was astonishing to me.  Only weeks earlier at our first encounter had he been totally opposed to the doctrines of Christianity, but after a follow up series of emails and questions battering back and forth, his interest in the subject had grown.

Christianity, unlike Islam, doesn’t offer a rule book for living one’s life, but rather it offers a relationship with our perfect Saviour.   A common misconception among even Christians is the idea that our lives will be perfect with Christ on our side; however, a good look at the Bible shows us many examples of Biblical men and women suffering for their faith.   Paul, a popular example, is a man who suffered to no ends because of his faith in Christ, eventually ending up a martyr.  How then do I “sell” Christianity to someone? “Join and have a life of scorn, ridicule, and suffering?” I was unsure how to respond to Ali’s question.

After conversations with a professor at my Bible College, and an email from my Pastor, I was able to attempt some answers for some of these challenging questions.  Though Christianity doesn’t systematically organize one’s life as Islam does, with faith in God and faith in the death and resurrection of his son, it offers us the security of eternal salvation.  This idea, I believe, enticed Ali to dig deeper into Christianity in the first place.  Islam doesn’t assure anyone of salvation, rather it is a gift that is earned to those whom live as good people.  Though using Christianity’s “assurance of salvation” as a means to convince one to convert, it still doesn’t always seem to work.  At times I felt frustrated and angry that my words were not getting across to Ali.  Here I had a man, willing to denounce his family and his faith to trust in a new religion, and I just couldn’t sell the faith that I believe in so strongly.  Why hadn’t my words converted him yet?

During this time I was encouraged and reminded by a fellow DRIME member that if I stay faithful to God, he will use me.  Though I would love to have the power to convert someone to Christianity, it is only by the will of God he allows his Holy Spirit to work in one’s heart.  I am only a mere harvester.  He uses some of us to plant the seed, others to water, and again other to bring that crop to fruit.  I have witnessed firsthand the change in heart Ali has taken over these past few months we’ve kept in contact.  Though sometimes discouraged he has not come to full compliance with the faith, I am blessed to know I am being used in this discipling process.  I’ve learned that Christianity is not a religion to be sold or earned, rather it is a gift given to those whom have accepted by faith.  I have never been so grateful to have personally understood this gift of grace until now.  I continue to pray for Ali that with this ongoing follow up, and through experiences and encounters in the future, that his heart will completely transform.  As you read this, I ask that you too pray for Ali as well as our fellow Muslim neighbours.  Pray that they will have the opportunity to know Christianity not as an organized way of living but as a deep and loving relationship between us and our Lord Jesus Christ.

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