Answering Islam - A Christian-Muslim dialog

Jesus: Salvation = Loving Him As God
And Trusting in His Sacrifice Pt. 2

Sam Shamoun

We continue from where we left off.

What Luke actually teaches concerning Christ and salvation

It is rather ironic that Williams would quote Luke 10:25-37, and yet ignore all of the verses which immediately precede it!

For instance, this is the same chapter which has Jesus sending out his disciples to perform miracles and cast out demons in his name:

“After this the Lord appointed seventy-two others and sent them on ahead of him, two by two, into every town and place where he himself was about to go. And he said to them, ‘The harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few. Therefore pray earnestly to the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into his harvest. Go your way; behold, I am sending you out as lambs in the midst of wolves. Carry no moneybag, no knapsack, no sandals, and greet no one on the road. Whatever house you enter, first say, “Peace be to this house!” And if a son of peace is there, your peace will rest upon him. But if not, it will return to you. And remain in the same house, eating and drinking what they provide, for the laborer deserves his wages. Do not go from house to house. Whenever you enter a town and they receive you, eat what is set before you. Heal the sick in it and say to them, “The kingdom of God has come near to you.”’” Luke 10:1-9


“The seventy-two returned with joy, saying, ‘Lord, even the demons are subject to us IN YOUR NAME!’ And he said to them, ‘I saw Satan fall like lightning from heaven. Behold, I HAVE GIVEN YOU authority to tread on serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy, and nothing shall hurt you. Nevertheless, do not rejoice in this, that the spirits are subject to you, but rejoice that your names are written in heaven.’” Luke 10:17-20

This wasn’t the only time that Jesus sent them out to preach the Gospel and perform supernatural signs and wonders in his glorious name:

“And he called the twelve together and gave them power and authority over all demons and to cure diseases, and he sent them out to proclaim the kingdom of God and to heal.” Luke 9:1

Nor were the disciples the only ones performing miracles and casting out demons in Jesus’ name!

“John answered, ‘Master, we saw someone casting out demons IN YOUR NAME, and we tried to stop him, because he does not follow with us.’ But Jesus said to him, ‘Do not stop him, for the one who is not against you is for you.’” Luke 9:49-50

Does Williams really want us to believe that these statements are compatible with Islam which teaches that Jesus is a human prophet like Muhammad? Could Williams be so kind as to quote a text from either the Holy Bible or the Quran where individuals are shown to have performed miracles in the name of other prophets such as Moses, or even his own prophet Muhammad?

Unlike Williams, even the demons knew who Jesus was:

“When Jesus had stepped out on land, there met him a man from the city who had demons. For a long time he had worn no clothes, and he had not lived in a house but among the tombs. When he saw Jesus, he cried out and fell down before him and said with a loud voice, ‘What have you to do with me, Jesus, Son of the Most High God? I beg you, do not torment me.’ For he had commanded the unclean spirit to come out of the man. (For many a time it had seized him. He was kept under guard and bound with chains and shackles, but he would break the bonds and be driven by the demon into the desert.) Jesus then asked him, ‘What is your name?’ And he said, ‘Legion,’ for many demons had entered him. And they begged him not to command them to depart into the abyss.” Luke 8:27-31

Remarkably, these unclean spirits knew that Jesus is the Son of God who has the power to torment them, even though this was their first earthly encounter with Christ. This indicates that the demons must have seen Jesus before, in the heavenly realm where they would have originally come from, which explains why they knew so much about him. As such, the response of these evil spirits points to Christ’s prehuman existence, i.e. Jesus came down from heaven in order to become man, which is why these demons recognized him, since they had seen him there.

This is further seen from the instructions that Jesus gives to this demoniac right after delivering him from his possession:

“‘Return to your home, and declare how much God (ho theos) has done for you.’ And he went away, proclaiming throughout the whole city how much JESUS had done for him.” Luke 8:39

Jesus tells the man to proclaim to the people what God had done for him, and yet he goes around telling everyone what Jesus had done for him! This indicates that the God who had done such great wonders is none other than the Lord Jesus Christ!

And not only does Jesus possess absolute sovereignty over unclean spirits, he also has perfect authority over the elements:

“One day he got into a boat with his disciples, and he said to them, ‘Let us go across to the other side of the lake.’ So they set out, and as they sailed he fell asleep. And a windstorm came down on the lake, and they were filling with water and were in danger. And they went and woke him, saying, ‘Master, Master, we are perishing!’ And he awoke and rebuked the wind and the raging waves, and they ceased, and there was a calm. He said to them, ‘Where is your faith?’ And they were afraid, and they marveled, saying to one another, ‘Who then is this, that he commands even winds and water, and they obey him?’” Luke 8:22-25

The astonishment of the disciples is understandable when we keep in mind that Jesus displayed an authority which the OT says belongs to Yahweh alone!

“You answer us with awesome and righteous deeds, God our Savior, the hope of all the ends of the earth and of the farthest seas, who formed the mountains by your power, having armed yourself with strength, who stilled the roaring of the seas, the roaring of their waves, and the turmoil of the nations. The whole earth is filled with awe at your wonders; where morning dawns, where evening fades, you call forth songs of joy.” Psalm 65:5-8

“Who is like you, Lord God Almighty? You, Lord, are mighty, and your faithfulness surrounds you. You rule over the surging sea; when its waves mount up, you still them.” Psalm 89:8-9

“Some went out on the sea in ships; they were merchants on the mighty waters. They saw the works of the Lord, his wonderful deeds in the deep. For he spoke and stirred up a tempest that lifted high the waves. They mounted up to the heavens and went down to the depths; in their peril their courage melted away. They reeled and staggered like drunkards; they were at their wits’ end. Then they cried out to the Lord in their trouble, and he brought them out of their distress. He stilled the storm to a whisper; the waves of the sea were hushed. They were glad when it grew calm, and he guided them to their desired haven. Let them give thanks to the Lord for his unfailing love and his wonderful deeds for mankind. Let them exalt him in the assembly of the people and praise him in the council of the elders.” Psalm 107:23-32

That’s not all. In the very same chapter that Williams quoted from, Jesus claims to be an incomprehensible, omniscient Being:

“In that same hour he rejoiced in the Holy Spirit and said, ‘I thank you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, that you have hidden these things from the wise and understanding and revealed them to little children; yes, Father, for such was your gracious will. All things have been handed over to me by my Father, and no one knows who the Son is except the Father, or who the Father is except the Son and anyone to whom the Son CHOOSES to reveal him.’” Luke 10:21-22

Not only does Jesus affirm that all things belong to him, he even makes the astonishing claim that only the Father truly knows him. This basically means that Christ is making himself out to be incomprehensible, which is why the Father is the only One who knows the Son truly and completely, e.g. it requires someone with an infinite mind to truly understand who or what Jesus is.

As if this weren’t mind-blowing enough, Christ then asserts that no one knows the Father except himself, which essentially means that Jesus is making himself out to be omniscient. After all, only someone who is omniscient can fully know God, especially in the same way and to the same extent that God knows him!

The Holy Bible is emphatic that God is beyond the ability of any creature to know him completely and exhaustively:

Can you fathom the mysteries of God? Can you probe the limits of the Almighty? They are higher than the heavens above—what can you do? They are deeper than the depths below—what can you know? Their measure is longer than the earth and wider than the sea.” Job 11:7-9

“Oh, the depth of the riches of the wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable his judgments, and his paths beyond tracing out! ‘Who has known the mind of the Lord? Or who has been his counselor?’” Romans 11:33-34 – cf. Psalm 139:1-6

And yet Jesus says that he knows the Father to the same extent that the Father knows him, which is why he alone is qualified to make him known (along with the Holy Spirit [cf. 1 Corinthians 2:10-12])!

Since all of this contradicts the Quran which denies that God is the Father, or that Jesus is his divine Son who knows him fully and comprehensively (cf. Q. 5:116; 9:30; 19:88-93), this means that the words of Christ in the very same chapter, which Williams perverted by wrenching it out of its immediate and overall context, end up exposing Muhammad as a false prophet and the god of the Quran as a false deity!

Now as far as the message of salvation is concerned, Luke is pretty clear that Jesus is the Savior whom God has sent to grant repentance and forgiveness of sins to all who would turn to him and believe in his name:

“And the angel said to them, ‘Fear not, for behold, I bring you good news of a great joy that will be for all the people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord.” Luke 2:10-11

“He said to them, ‘This is what I told you while I was still with you: Everything must be fulfilled that is written about me in the Law of Moses, the Prophets and the Psalms.’ Then he opened their minds so they could understand the Scriptures. He told them, ‘This is what is written: The Messiah will suffer and rise from the dead on the third day, and repentance for the forgiveness of sins will be preached IN HIS NAME to all nations, beginning at Jerusalem.’” Luke 24:44-47

This is the same message which the disciples preached wherever they went:

“When the people heard this, they were cut to the heart and said to Peter and the other apostles, “Brothers, what shall we do?’ Peter replied, ‘Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. And you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. The promise is for you and your children and for all who are far off—for all whom the Lord our God will call.’” Acts 2:37-39

“The next day the rulers, the elders and the teachers of the law met in Jerusalem. Annas the high priest was there, and so were Caiaphas, John, Alexander and others of the high priest’s family. They had Peter and John brought before them and began to question them: ‘By what power or what name did you do this?’ Then Peter, filled with the Holy Spirit, said to them: ‘Rulers and elders of the people! If we are being called to account today for an act of kindness shown to a man who was lame and are being asked how he was healed, then know this, you and all the people of Israel: It is by the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, whom you crucified but whom God raised from the dead, that this man stands before you healed. Jesus is ‘the stone you builders rejected, which has become the cornerstone.’ Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to mankind by which we must be saved.’” Acts 4:5-12

“God exalted him at his right hand as Leader and Savior, to give repentance to Israel and forgiveness of sins. And we are witnesses to these things, and so is the Holy Spirit, whom God has given to those who obey him.” Acts 5:31-32

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

“Of this man's offspring God has brought to Israel a Savior, Jesus, as he promised… Let it be known to you therefore, brothers, that through this man forgiveness of sins is proclaimed to you, and by him everyone who believes is freed from everything from which you could not be freed by the law of Moses. Acts 13:23, 38-39

“He then brought them out and asked, ‘Sirs, what must I do to be saved?’ They replied, ‘Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved—you and your household.’” Acts 16:30-31

And this is precisely what Jesus is depicted as doing all throughout Luke’s Gospel, namely, forgiving and saving everyone who turns to him in faith, since his mission was to seek and save the lost:

“He entered Jericho and was passing through. And there was a man named Zacchaeus. He was a chief tax collector and was rich. And he was seeking to see who Jesus was, but on account of the crowd he could not, because he was small of stature. So he ran on ahead and climbed up into a sycamore tree to see him, for he was about to pass that way. And 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.’ So he hurried and came down and received him joyfully. And when they saw it, they all grumbled, ‘He has gone in to be the guest of a man who is a sinner.’ And Zacchaeus stood and said to the Lord, “Behold, Lord, the half of my goods I give to the poor. And if I have defrauded anyone of anything, I restore it fourfold.’ And Jesus said to him, ‘Today salvation has come to this house, since he also is a son of Abraham. For the Son of Man came to seek and TO SAVE the lost.’” Luke 19:1-10

The reason why salvation had come to Zacchaeus’s house is because the Savior had come to personally save him who had been lost. And:

“On one of those days, as he was teaching, Pharisees and teachers of the law were sitting there, who had come from every village of Galilee and Judea and from Jerusalem. And the power of the Lord was with him to heal. And behold, some men were bringing on a bed a man who was paralyzed, and they were seeking to bring him in and lay him before Jesus, but finding no way to bring him in, because of the crowd, they went up on the roof and let him down with his bed through the tiles into the midst before Jesus. And when he saw THEIR FAITH, he said, ‘Man, your sins are forgiven you.’ And the scribes and the Pharisees began to question, saying, ‘Who is this who speaks blasphemies? Who can forgive sins but God alone?When Jesus perceived their thoughts, he answered them, ‘Why do you question IN YOUR HEARTS? Which is easier, to say, “Your sins are forgiven you,” or to say, “Rise and walk”? But that you may know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins’—he said to the man who was paralyzed—‘I say to you, rise, pick up your bed and go home.’ And IMMEDIATELY he rose up before them and picked up what he had been lying on and went home, glorifying God. And amazement seized them all, and they glorified God and were filled with awe, saying, ‘We have seen extraordinary things today.” Luke 5:17-26

Christ both heals and forgives the paralytic because of the faith that he and his friends had in Jesus. Astonishingly, Jesus is depicted as doing the very things that OT Scriptures teach only Yahweh can do, i.e. forgive sins, heal all diseases, and know what people are thinking within themselves:

“then hear in heaven your dwelling place and forgive and act and render to each whose heart you know, according to all his ways (for you, you only, know the hearts of all the children of mankind)… If they sin against you—for there is no one who does not sin—and you are angry with them and give them to an enemy, so that they are carried away captive to the land of the enemy, far off or near, yet if they turn their heart in the land to which they have been carried captive, and repent and plead with you in the land of their captors, saying, ‘We have sinned and have acted perversely and wickedly,’ if they repent with all their mind and with all their heart in the land of their enemies, who carried them captive, and pray to you toward their land, which you gave to their fathers, the city that you have chosen, and the house that I have built for your name, then hear in heaven your dwelling place their prayer and their plea, and maintain their cause and forgive your people who have sinned against you, and all their transgressions that they have committed against you, and grant them compassion in the sight of those who carried them captive, that they may have compassion on them.” 1 Kings 8:39, 46-50

“Bless the LORD, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits, who forgives all your iniquity, who heals all your diseases, who redeems your life from the pit, who crowns you with steadfast love and mercy,” Psalm 103:2-4

Nor is this the only time that Jesus forgave someone who had placed his/her faith and trust in him:

“One of the Pharisees asked him to eat with him, and he went into the Pharisee's house and took his place at the table. And behold, a woman of the city, who was a sinner, when she learned that he was reclining at table in the Pharisee's house, brought an alabaster flask of ointment, and standing behind him at his feet, weeping, she began to wet his feet with her tears and wiped them with the hair of her head AND KISSED HIS FEET and anointed them with the ointment… Then turning toward the woman he said to Simon, ‘Do you see this woman? I entered your house; you gave me no water for my feet, but she has wet my feet with her tears and wiped them with her hair. You gave me no kiss, but from the time I came in she has not ceased to kiss my feet. You did not anoint my head with oil, but she has anointed my feet with ointment. Therefore I tell you, her sins, which are many, are forgiven—for she loved much. But he who is forgiven little, loves little.’ And he said to her, ‘Your sins are forgiven.’ Then those who were at table with him began to say among themselves, ‘Who is this, who even forgives sins?’ And he said to the woman, ‘YOUR FAITH has saved (sesoken) you; go in peace.’” Luke 7:36-38, 44-50

Here, Jesus forgave the woman her sins because of her great love for Christ.

Jesus would also go around healing everyone who had faith in him:

“… As Jesus went, the people pressed around him. And there was a woman who had had a discharge of blood for twelve years, and though she had spent all her living on physicians, she could not be healed by anyone. She came up behind him and touched the fringe of his garment, and immediately her discharge of blood ceased. And Jesus said, ‘Who was it that touched me?’ When all denied it, Peter said, ‘Master, the crowds surround you and are pressing in on you!’ But Jesus said, ‘Someone touched me, for I perceive that power has gone out from me.’ And when the woman saw that she was not hidden, she came trembling, and falling down before him declared in the presence of all the people why she had touched him, and how she had been immediately healed. And he said to her, ‘Daughter, YOUR FAITH has saved (sesoken) you; go in peace.’” Luke 8:42b-48


“On the way to Jerusalem he was passing along between Samaria and Galilee. And as he entered a village, he was met by ten lepers, who stood at a distance and lifted up their voices, saying, ‘Jesus, Master, have mercy on us.’ When he saw them he said to them, ‘Go and show yourselves to the priests.” And as they went they were cleansed. Then one of them, when he saw that he was healed, turned back, praising God with a loud voice; and he fell on his face at Jesus' feet, giving HIM thanks. Now he was a Samaritan. Then Jesus answered, ‘Were not ten cleansed? Where are the nine? Was no one found to return and give praise to God except this foreigner?’ And he said to him, ‘Rise and go your way; YOUR FAITH has saved (sesoken) you.’” Luke 17:11-19


“As he drew near to Jericho, a blind man was sitting by the roadside begging. And hearing a crowd going by, he inquired what this meant. They told him, ‘Jesus of Nazareth is passing by.’ And he cried out, ‘Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!’ And those who were in front rebuked him, telling him to be silent. But he cried out all the more, ‘Son of David, have mercy on me!’ And Jesus stopped and commanded him to be brought to him. And when he came near, he asked him, ‘What do you want me to do for you?’ He said, ‘Lord, let me recover my sight.’ And Jesus said to him, ‘Recover your sight; YOUR FAITH has saved (sesoken) you.’ And immediately he recovered his sight and followed him, glorifying God. And all the people, when they saw it, gave praise to God.” Luke 18:35-43

{Sidenote: The word sesoken is the noun form of the verb sozo and means salvation. It is often used in relation to a person being saved from various things, whether from sin or diseases. At times, it is meant to include both, i.e. a person who is healed from his/her disease also receives forgiveness of sins.}

In light of the foregoing, it is quite clear that the message of Luke isn’t that a person can actually be saved by observing the Law of Moses. Rather, Luke is emphatic that salvation and forgiveness of sins come from turning to and believing in the Lord Jesus Christ.

What, then, did Jesus mean when he told the scribe that he wasn’t far from the kingdom of heaven for his response that loving God wholeheartedly and one’s neighbor as one’s self is essential for eternal life?

With the foregoing in perspective, we can now take a closer look at the text itself in order to clearly see the point Jesus was trying to make:

“On one occasion an expert in the law stood up to test Jesus. ‘Teacher,’ he asked, ‘what must I do to inherit eternal life?’ What is written in the Law?’ he replied. “How do you read it?’ He answered, ‘“Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind”; and, “Love your neighbor as yourself.”’ ‘You have answered correctly,’ Jesus replied. ‘DO THIS and you will live.’” Luke 10:25-28

Note the words of Christ carefully. He expressly says to the man that he must DO these things in order to live. Christ doesn’t tell the man that he should TRY to do what God requires, but that he must actually DO them, i.e. the man is expected to carry out God’s commands perfectly, just as the following OT passages demonstrate:

“When Abram was ninety-nine years old, the Lord appeared to him and said, ‘I am God Almighty; walk before me faithfully AND BE BLAMELESS.’” Genesis 17:1

“You must be blameless before the Lord your God.” Deuteronomy 18:13

“Lord, who may dwell in your sacred tent? Who may live on your holy mountain? The one whose walk IS BLAMELESS, who DOES what is righteous, who speaks the truth from their heart; whose tongue utters NO SLANDER, who does NO WRONG to a neighbor, and casts NO SLUR on others; who despises a vile person but honors those who fear the Lord; who keeps an oath even when it hurts, and does not change their mind; who lends money to the poor without interest; who does not accept a bribe against the innocent. Whoever DOES THESE THINGS will never be shaken.” Psalm 15:1-5

“Blessed are those whose ways ARE BLAMELESS, who walk according to the law of the Lord. Blessed are those who keep his statutes and seek him with all their heart—THEY DO NO WRONG but follow his ways. Psalm 119:1-3

“The Lord detests those whose hearts are perverse, but he delights in those whose ways ARE BLAMELESS.” Proverbs 11:20

The Lord Jesus himself proclaimed this same truth:

BE PERFECT, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect.” Matthew 5:48

However, as the OT Scriptures testify, the Israelites utterly failed to carry out God’s commands to God’s satisfaction, which is why God constantly punished them, and even sent them into exile and had the Temple and Jerusalem subsequently destroyed.

As such, the Law became a yoke that none of the Israelites could carry, since instead of bringing them life, it brought them disaster and destruction, due to their inability to perfectly implement it as God himself demanded.

The Law, therefore, served the purpose of exposing the corrupt, sinful nature of man and his desperate need of the grace of the Lord Jesus to save him. As the Apostle Peter explains:

“But some men came down from Judea and were teaching the brothers, ‘Unless you are circumcised according to the custom of Moses, you cannot be saved.’… But some believers who belonged to the party of the Pharisees rose up and said, ‘It is necessary to circumcise them and to order them to keep the law of Moses.’ The apostles and the elders were gathered together to consider this matter. And after there had been much debate, Peter stood up and said to them, ‘Brothers, you know that in the early days God made a choice among you, that by my mouth the Gentiles should hear the word of the gospel and believe. And God, who knows the heart, bore witness to them, by giving them the Holy Spirit just as he did to us, and he made no distinction between us and them, having cleansed their hearts by faith. Now, therefore, why are you putting God to the test by placing a yoke on the neck of the disciples that neither our fathers nor we have been able to bear? But we believe that we will be saved THROUGH THE GRACE OF THE LORD JESUS, just as they will.” Acts 15:1, 5-11

Christ himself affirmed that man is evil by nature,

“If you then, WHO ARE EVIL, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will the heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him!” Luke 11:13

And, therefore, incapable of doing the Law to God’s satisfaction:

“The world cannot hate you, but it hates me because I testify about it that its works are evil… Has not Moses given you the law? Yet none of you keeps the law. Why do you seek to kill me?” John 7:7, 19

In the words of the blessed Apostle Paul:

“What then? Are we Jews any better off? No, not at all. For we have already charged that all, both Jews and Greeks, are under sin, as it is written: ‘None is righteous, no, not one; no one understands; no one seeks for God. All have turned aside; together they have become worthless; no one does good, not even one.’ ‘Their throat is an open grave; they use their tongues to deceive.’ ‘The venom of asps is under their lips.’ ‘Their mouth is full of curses and bitterness.’ ‘Their feet are swift to shed blood; in their paths are ruin and misery, and the way of peace they have not known.’ ‘There is no fear of God before their eyes.’ Now we know that whatever the law says it speaks to those who are under the law, so that every mouth may be stopped, and the whole world may be held accountable to God. For by works of the law no human being will be justified in his sight, since through the law comes knowledge of sin.” Romans 3:9-20

This is why Paul rightly concluded that salvation is a work of grace which a person receives by faith in the risen Lord Jesus Christ, not by works of the Law:

“But now the righteousness of God has been manifested apart from the law, although the Law and the Prophets bear witness to it—the righteousness of God through faith in Jesus Christ for all who believe. For there is no distinction: for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and are justified by his grace as a gift, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, whom God put forward as a propitiation by his blood, to be received by faith… For we hold that one is justified by faith apart from works of the law.” Romans 3:21-25a, 28

“We who are Jews by birth and not sinful Gentiles know that a person is not justified by the works of the law, but by faith in Jesus Christ. So we, too, have put our faith in Christ Jesus that we may be justified by faith in Christ and not by the works of the law, because by the works of the law no one will be justified." Galatians 2:15-16

Paul was merely echoing the very teachings of his sovereign Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, as well as the rest of the Apostles since, as our examination here demonstrated, they all taught this very same message of salvation.

To summarize the teachings of Luke. Jesus is the divine, unique Son of God who came specifically to save people from their sins since no person is capable of meriting eternal life through obedience to the Law due to their sinful condition, which causes them to break God’s commands. A person must, therefore, repent and believe in the Lord Jesus Christ in order to receive the forgiveness for sins that results in obtaining eternal life.

So much for Williams’ butchering of the Gospel of Luke.