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Towards Orthodoxy

“You have to go through Jesus,” Hafiz said. “If you want to get close to God, you have to go through Jesus.”

 

My Muslim friend Hafiz and I had been studying the life of Jesus together. We had already worked our way through His earthly ministry and His betrayal, crucifixion, and burial. In our last meeting we had studied Christ’s resurrection.

 

This time we were looking at several verses from John about being born again and about Jesus’ identity as Lamb of God and the way to the Father.

 

We read the verses then retold them in our own words.

 

“What do you learn from this?” I asked Hafiz.

 

He reflected a moment, then recited John 14:6.

 

“Jesus said, I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me… That is the most important part—no one can come to the Father except through Jesus.”

 

He gazed out the window and pointed to the stairs that lead to the roof of his house. “If you want to get to the top of my house, there is only one way. You have to go up those stairs. You can try other ways, but it will be very difficult, and, in the end, you will fail. But if you go to the roof by means of the stairs, you will succeed.”

 

“It’s the same way with anyone who wants to come close to God and enter paradise,” Hafiz continued. “You have to go through Jesus.”

 

I pointed back to John 1:29, about the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world. “Do you see any connection with this verse?”

 

 


 

Hafiz looked up and said, “I need to be born again.”


 

 

“Jesus is the sacrifice of God who takes away our sins,” he said. Hafiz continued that we can’t come near to God because we are covered in the filth of our sins. We need to be cleansed, and it is impossible to get fully clean by our own efforts. “God provided the way for us to be cleansed—Jesus. We can only go to God through Jesus, because Jesus is the only one who takes away our sins.”

 

Hafiz looked up and said to me, “I need to be born again.”

 

My heart started to race with joy. “How do you do that?” I asked, careful not to sound overeager.

 

“I think it’s a spiritual thing,” he said. “It means accepting the release from sins that comes as a gift from God. That’s being born again.”

 

We were going in the right direction, but I knew he needed to make it even more practical, more personal. “How do you plan to do that?” I pressed him.

 

"Maybe we should pray," he suggested.

 

What followed wasn’t a guided prayer. I didn’t have him repeat after me. Hafiz prayed simply and sincerely, "God, I accept your gift. I won't try to clean myself anymore. Thank you for making the sacrifice through Jesus. Amen."

 

“Amen,” I agreed as we wiped away the tears that had welled up in our eyes.

 

Where is Hafiz on his faith journey? He is leaning towards orthodoxy—towards right belief—although it is not yet complete (is it complete for any of us, really?). He still regards Muhammad as a prophet. He has yet to discover the divinity of Jesus. We will get there in due time. Meanwhile we can rejoice that he has embraced the truths about Jesus that he has discovered thus far, and pray in faith for the discovery to come.

 

 

Hafiz continues to grow in his belief in Jesus as he studies Scripture with Frontiers’ long-term worker in his city. Hafiz now leads other groups through the same stories he has been studying, and these groups are also beginning to multiply.

 

 

**This account comes from a Long-Term worker. Names have been changed for security.**