What Happens on a Pilgrimage to Mecca?

Posted: October 1, 2010 by Amy Hall in Choosing My Religion, Jesus Changes Everything

I came across this short documentary (about 14 minutes) on what it’s like for a Muslim to go on a pilgrimage to Mecca, and it’s well worth watching. After the people perform a series of very specific rituals over a period of several days, it is announced:

You should be the happiest people on earth because your mission has been accomplished. And you are all new born. And Allah has erased and forgiven all your previous sins. This is reality. It’s not a dream anymore.

I’m always moved when I see people who feel the weight of their sin and are working to have their guilt removed. I’m moved because we know from Romans 3 that “by the works of the Law no flesh will be justified in His sight; for through the Law comes the knowledge of sin.” Having a high standard reminds us daily of our failures. And if the standard we hold is the only means we have of perfecting ourselves, we’re left in despair. We’ll never make it.

But chapter 4 of Romans removes all despair:

For the promise to Abraham or to his descendants that he would be heir of the world was not through the Law, but through the righteousness of faith. For if those who are of the Law are heirs, faith is made void and the promise is nullified; for the law brings about wrath, but where there is no law, there also is no violation. For this reason it is by faith, in order that it may be in accordance with grace, so that the promise will be guaranteed to all the descendants [physical and spiritual].

That’s one of my favorite passages in Romans. If we had to earn our forgiveness, our faith would not save us, and God could not promise us our salvation because it would rest on us–on worse than shaky ground, on a sinkhole! We would have nothing to look forward to but the wrath of God. But God wanted to guarantee our forgiveness, freedom, and salvation. This is why He decided to save us through the work of Christ by His grace alone, and not by our works. This is the good news.

But now apart from the Law the righteousness of God has been manifested…even the righteousness of God through faith in Jesus Christ for all those who believe.

I hope this documentary moves you to tell this truth to your Muslim friends.

  1. amy pineda says:

    Hi Amy! I’m an Amy too!

    It often feels like people are feeling like they have to earn the love of God when he’s communicated that he already loves and is faithful to us, even while we are hostile. For me, this is the grace of God, that his love, faithfulness to save us does not depend on our efforts, but his will to do it and see us through. Paul is able to attribute what he does to God doing it in Him. God had mercy on Him specificly because of his ignorance and let’s not forget his wicked heart that was killing Christians. God’s faithfulness, commitment to do the necessary work to change our heart is the only thing that guarantees our forgiveness and salvation. Paul is the perfect example of God’s mercy and faithfulness to save even the worst sinner. If it weren’t for God’s intervention in faithfully drawing us, since the sinful mind is hostile to God, even if Jesus had died for us, we might continue in ignorance, oblivious to the truth that can save us.

    Whereas the law was ineffective at changing our hearts, Jesus is! The truth of God’s unconditional love is transforming so as Romans 8:4 explains the righteous requirements of the law are fully met IN US. Why? Because we live according to spirit, not the sinful nature that is produced by a legalistic system of the law. We become, as a result of this grace, real slaves to righteousness as we obey Christ’s law, to love. We are not free from this law! We are slaves to God’s law, set free by his law to love! Real righteousness comes when as we place our faith in Jesus we fulfill his law to love! Love is the fulfillment of the law. The law, apart from God, brings wrath because it does not produce a real love in us. And this explains Rom. 2:13, “For it is not those who hear the law who are righteous in God’s sight, but it is those who obey the law who will be declared righteous.”

    And like Paul, we can give the credit to God for the work he has done in us. Real righteousness, comes from faith, an understanding of God’s grace, faithfulness to save us! It sure seems like a faith in God, that he is the one to help us come to truth, not ourselves, is what is vital for the character that God is wanting to produce. God, in communicating unconditional love on the cross, can produce in our hearts what the law and all it’s rules never could – a real heart change that comes through faith and not following all the external rules. They lack any real ability to change our heart the way grace can!

    No wonder God can guarantee that salvation will come to all descendants because he is faithful to make that happen by helping us to see the truth of who he is, whether through kindness or wrath that will come if we aren’t living in the knowledge of grace that helps us love and follow God’s law.

  2. amy pineda says:

    It seems some have erroneously concluded that since God has grace toward us, (which I would define as God’s faithful to save us – bring us to the truth because of his unconditional love as displayed in the cross), that then we are off the hook from needing to fulfill Christ’s law to love. This is not the message of the bible. The warnings are that if we are not fulfilling Christ’s law to love then we are not saved! The grace of God is intended for that very purpose, to change our heart. And it’s God that does this for all of us so that none of us can boast that we came to God on our own, as if some people never will because somehow their hearts are too hard that not even God crack them! He is the one that frees us and only in Him are we free! Until then we are slaves to sin, not the righteousness that comes from God. But thank God that he is faithful to make this happen through his kindess and even his wrath!

  3. amy pineda says:

    God is always faithful to us. He is faithful to give mercy and give wrath. Both are for the purposes of restoration. They have the same goal, our restoration. This is God’s sense of justice, that we be restored to him and live a life of love. Wrath in the old testament was poured out as a means of correction. In Ezekiel Ch. 16 it explains that Sodom and Gomorrah will be returned to what they were before.

    1 Corinthians 15:10
    But by the grace of God I am what I am, and his grace to me was not without effect. No, I worked harder than all of them—yet not I, but the grace of God that was with me.

    The purpose of grace is that it is not without effect and results in hard work. But, we are not to take credit for our serving God because this too is as a result of the grace of God. God’s faithfulness to save us, his unconditional love that has our best interest always at heart, is the good news!