This quote comes from the the Qur’an. However, knowing this or even quoting this verse does not make one Muslim. True, the Qur’an is a crucial part in the Islamic tradition, but it takes more than being able to quote a verse or two from this book in order to be a faithful follower of Allah, such as performing the Five Pillars: saying the declaration of faith, prayer, giving alms, fasting during Ramadan, and making a pilgrimage to Mecca [if one is financially able to]. It takes more than knowing the Qur’an to be a Muslim, for anyone can memorize pages in a book.
It takes more than knowing the Bible, to be a Christian.
How often do we fall into the trap, “I confessed my sins, therefore I’m saved.” “I’ve been baptized, therefore I’m going to heaven.” “I know my Bible, therefore I’m a Christian.” Though each of these things are themselves vital to the Christian faith, they in themselves are not. Yes, you should confess your sins, but any common bloke can do that while he’s walking down the street, even if he be a Christian or not. Yes, you should get baptized, but the physical act of being dunked under the water is nothing new, a ritual used by other religions as well. (In fact, our English word “baptism” comes from the Greek verb βαπτίζω (baptizó), which was an everyday common verb, such as I could baptizó a cucumber.) And yes, you should read and study your Bible, yet there’s a difference between knowing it, and Knowing it.
One can know the Bible in their mind, but it’s another thing entirely to Know it in one’s heart. Just as being a Christian is more than one confessing his sins and being baptized. True, only God saves. Only our Lord can grant grace, as Paul writes in Ephesians 2:8-9, “For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast.” However, faith without works is dead, as James writes in James 2:14-17, “What good is it, my brothers, if someone says he has faith but does not have works? Can that faith save him? If a brother or sister is poorly clothed and lacking in daily food, and one of you says to them, ‘Go in peace, be warmed and filled,’ without giving them the things needed for the body, what good is that? So also faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead.”
We cannot earn our salvation. That steep price is too much for us to pay, and another has already done so. However, our actions should reflect our attitudes, our beliefs, what is truly within our hearts. Our works should be the fruit of our faith. Not caring for widows and orphans because we have to (James 1:27), nor feeding the hungry and quenching the thirsty merely because we’re commanded to (Matthew 25:31-46). We should strive to do these things because we want to, because we feel the need to, as we strive not to earn our place in heaven, but instead to become more like God (theosis), just as Jesus had become more like us (kenosis). Being a Christian and wanting to do good should walk hand in hand. It should be like a burning fire shut up in our bones that we cannot contain (Jeremiah 20:9).
Of course, we won’t always have this attitude, for we still fall short. And no, most of us don’t have this viewpoint when we’re first saved; however, I believe it should be a goal in which we strive for.
Atheists study the Bible. Sinners pray to the Father. And anyone can donate money to a hobo on the street. Therefore, what if–
And the Christian, with his Christian-feet ice cold in the snow,
Stood puzzling and puzzling: “How could it be so?
“It is more than Bibles! It is more than prayers!
“It is more than baptisms, church buildings, or cares!”
And he puzzled and puzzled till his puzzler was sore.
Then the Christian thought of something he hadn’t before!
“What if Christianity,” he thought, “doesn’t come from a bookstore.
“What if Christianity . . . perhaps . . . means a little bit more!”
(Conclusion inspired and edited from Dr. Seuss’, How the Grinch Stole Christmas!)