From Islam to Christianity: The Mark Gabriel Story

By Dr. David R. Reagan

From The Christ in Prophecy Journal, >http://www.lamblion.us/2011/05/from-islam-to-christianity-mark-gabriel.html
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What happens when a Muslim converts to Christianity?

I had the opportunity to ask this and many other questions of Dr. Mark Gabriel, an Egyptian and former professor of Islamic history at Al-Azhar University in Cairo. He was also an imam who had the entire Quran memorized by the time he was 12 years old. His questioning of Islam led him to endure intense persecution, but to find his salvation in Jesus Christ. This is his story.

Islamic Upbringing
Mark Gabriel: I was born in the south part of Egypt, and my family moved to Cairo when I was almost 14 years old. My parents were strict Muslims and very devout, not the secular type of Muslim that we often encounter in this country.
I had an uncle who was mostly a cleric and an imam also. He was the one who first began to inspire me to memorize the Quran. He took me when I was five years old, and he started helping me in memorizing the Quran. By the time I was 12 years old I had the entire Quran memorized. I spent almost seven years exactly to finish memorizing the entire book. The size of the Quran is exactly like the size of the New Testament. By the time I was 12 years old I had memorized it by heart in the classical Arabic, because the language of the Quran is classic Arabic and not dialect Arabic — the Arabic you speak on the streets.
It wasn’t until after I had finished my secondary school and started high school that I began to understand the meaning of the verses and teachings of the Quran. But, it was a development you see from the time I finished the Quran when I was 12 years old until I finished my bachelor’s degree. It was a development taking place in understanding the meaning of this book. But, when I finished my bachelor degree, I finally then had the proper understanding of the meaning of this book.
Dr. Reagan: Now, why was it important for you to memorize the Quran as a child? Why did anybody put any importance on that? Is that something important in Islamic society?
Mark Gabriel: Mainly, it’s Islamic culture, and it hasn’t been just from the past ten years or fifty years. It’s a part of Islamic culture from the very earliest time of the first century of Islam. Muslims started to take care to pass the Quran from generation to generation by memorizing the book by heart.
Dr. Reagan: Were you ever exposed to any Christians while you were growing up, either missionaries or Coptic Christians, who represent the basic Christianity of Egypt?
Mark Gabriel: Absolutely. I saw Christians living in my neighborhood and country of Egypt as a minority. The Christians of Egypt don’t have really any power to influence Muslims. This is the reason why I wasn’t influenced by this type of Christianity during my life, because the Christianity in Egypt is so traditional. More than 90% of Egyptian Christians are traditionally a very liturgical type.
But, there was one incident that happened when I was a child of 15 with a Christian Coptic priest from that church. What happened at that time really left a huge influence over my spiritual life.
I became really upset and very angry at Christians and Jews because of the teachings I had started to receive everyday in my school, especially when I was in my secondary school at Al-Azhar Islamic Institute. One day I found a Christian priest in that church who was using the road outside of my house, going from his place to his monastery everyday. And so, I would stand in front of my house and I began to hit him with stones. I injured him in his head terribly and they took him to the hospital.

This priest when he got out of the hospital, he came to find out what was going on with me and why I was treating him that way. He came back and found me because he knew my house and he even knew my family. This man did not come for revenge or to treat me in the same way, but he came to advise me that there is a fire inside me, and he said that fire was going to burn me before burning others. He also came to tell me that he forgave me even though I injured him, and he just came to show me that he loved me. He forgave me when he said, “There is no reason for you to hate me or treat me that way.” This really influenced my spiritual life even after I grew up and became one of the best students at my university.

Islamic Reaction to Questioning Islam
Dr. Reagan: You were basically sitting on top of the world as a professor of Islamic history at Al-Azhar University. You were also a Muslim imam at a mosque in Giza, right?
Mark Gabriel: Yes, Giza City.
Dr. Reagan: You had all the academic prestige in the world, and yet one day you made a comment recorded in your book Jesus and Mohammed that you were a person who questioned things, and you were told at the university, “you don’t question.” Yet, you kept on questioning, and one day in a conversation with colleagues you made this statement: “We say the Quran is directly from Allah, but I doubt it. I see in it the thoughts of man and not the words of God.
Mark Gabriel: This is what happened in the meeting between me and the other professors from the university. They had just met with me to discuss what was going on and what they had heard from the students. They were thinking that I was under the pressure of some former Christian influence. They just wanted to find out why I am doubting Islam, so I made that statement to them. They became very upset with me and they kicked me out of the university. The university fired me.
On that same day in the evening time I was kidnapped by Egyptian secret police because they accused me of having converted from Islam. They put me in a little cell in the headquarters of the Egyptian secret service in the center of Cairo. They put me in there for three days with no food or water.
On the fourth day they started to interrogate me. They took me to one of the offices, maybe on the sixth or seventh floor, and interrogated me during the day. On the fourth day they started giving me food and water again because they wanted to stimulate me and get whatever information they could. They found out during that time that they could not get what they were looking for. They started interrogating me during the evening time which was a time of torture. They burned me with cigarettes on different places on my body like on my hand. They beat me. They put me in cold water. They put me in a little tank filled with water and they put hungry rats inside that tank with me. All night the rats were just swimming over the water around my head, though the rats didn’t bite. The next day they took me out and I was surprised that I was still alive. I did not know what was next.
Next, the interrogators put me in a little cell with a vicious, hungry dog. After they put me in the room and closed the door and I just sat in the middle of the room thinking that I was going to be eaten by the dog. I was so surprised when the dog came up and just sat at my right hand side and began licking me on my ears.
Dr. Reagan: They must have thought that you were *satan or something to have such power.
Mark Gabriel: They said that! They said, “Is this a human being or something else?” They believed that there was some spirit or some ancient power in me.
Dr. Reagan: At that point didn’t they decide to turn you over to some guys in a cell and tell them that you had renounced Islam and let them kill you?
Mark Gabriel: Yes. Their understanding was that I had been questioned by professors at the university and I had been fired by the university. To them it meant that this guy was just out of Islam and had converted. In fact, they wanted to find out what missionary had converted me, though I hadn’t been converted. I had no idea about Christianity at that time, or about Christ. I never even discussed Christianity, but in Egypt when someone decides to leave Islam they will automatically accuse him that he came under pressure of the Church or some Christian, and say he converted you to Christianity.
Dr. Reagan: How in the world did you get out of that situation without losing your life?
Mark Gabriel: I was crying to the God who created me at that time. I didn’t know who he was. After 15 days, my uncle who was working as the Vice President of Egyptian Parliament and was visiting Russia at that time, when came back he heard about my kidnapping. He then came with permission from the government and he came with his car and he took me out of the prison.

Family Reaction to Questioning Islam
Mark Gabriel: One year after I got out of prison and back home my father tried to kill me. I had been searching for God and trying to find out who God was. I had received a Bible from a Christian pharmacist. When I started reading the Bible, I started to find out the truth about Christ. After I gave my life to the Lord, I lived for one whole year as a secret believer. When my father heard about my conversion, he shot at me with his own gun. He tried to kill me. He felt that there would be a shame that was going to be over him, his life, the family and even the community.
After my father shot at me and tried to kill me for what he saw as me running away from his faith, I went to my sister. At my sister’s house I put the whole situation in front of the Lord, and the Lord led me to get out of Egypt. That same evening my sister helped me by bringing my passport and other stuff.

On the Run From Islam
Mark Gabriel: I fled from my family to South Africa by road traveling from Cairo to South Africa. It took three months over the road. I was the first Egyptian who did an overland journey between Cairo and Johannesburg.
In South Africa I met with many Christians and many churches there started to hear about my story. The public media in South Africa published articles about my story. After I wrote my first book while in South Africa, my activity became very well known and the Muslim community felt threatened by my activity there and by my book being released in Johannesburg in 1996. They tried to end my life there three times.
Dr. Reagan: So, just because you questioned Islam, this “religion of peace” kidnaps you, tortures you, tries to kill you, and even sends assassins to kill you in South Africa. That’s some “religion of peace” isn’t it?
Mark Gabriel: Yes, this is how the world has been really deceived by the secular world media. Islam is not a religion of peace.

The Appeal of Christianity
Dr. Reagan: What appealed to you about Christianity?
Mark Gabriel: Before I met Christ, I lived for 34 years under Islam, believing in Islam, serving Islam, learning about Islam, teaching about Islam. I lived another year without faith after I found myself out of Islam. So, I lived for 35 years searching for peace, searching for the true God, who was going to show me that he loves me more than anything in this world. Through the Quran, through the teaching of the prophet of Islam, I never experienced something like that.
Before I was given a Bible from the doctor of a pharmacy, I had lived for a whole year searching for God and asking myself who God could be. I had terrible headaches. Everyday I went to the doctor at the pharmacy to get headache tablets. She finally gave me a Bible along with the headache tablets. I took the Bible in one hand and headache tablets in the other hand.
When I started reading the Bible, I met the Lord Jesus Christ face to face through the Sermon on the Mount in Matthew chapter five. He was telling me about love. I was to love my enemy, not kill my enemy. The word of the Bible, the word of Jesus Christ, that evening came to me just like a beautiful rain. I began to find the peace and forgiveness that had eluded me all those years. I felt for the first time that my sins had been forgiven, and I had been justified by the *Blood of Jesus.
You see, I had lived for 35 years with the guilt of my sin, the guilt of living as a lost person. In Islam I didn’t know who was going to forgive my sin. I didn’t know who was going to rescue me from the punishment of Allah. I had no assurance that I could be in a right place to live there eternally. In Islam you never really know for sure whether you are saved or not. Muhammad didn’t know whether he was saved or not. Isn’t that something?

Testifying to Islam for Christ
Mark Gabriel: When I finally made it to the United States, I was given religious asylum in this country. I had a remarkable experience in Washington D.C. after somebody told me that there was going to be a Muslim imam who would be speaking at George Mason University. I went there and found out this man had been a Baptist pastor from Texas. He had converted to Islam and he was now preaching for Islam at George Mason University by sharing his testimony.
After the pastor turned imam finished his speech, he requested that if there was anyone who had a question to raise his hand. I found that my hand was the first hand up. First of all I identified myself as a former professor of Islamic history at a university. The imam was so impressed by that he said something like, “Oh, honored professor, please come up here and take over the podium.” The next thing I knew, I was on the stage at the podium in charge of the whole meeting and asking him the questions.
I asked him, “Sir, when did you make that decision to leave Christianity to become a Muslim?” He answered, “Eight years ago.” I thought, “This is like myself.” My next question was, “Since you converted to Islam and you left Christianity, were any churches or any Christians ordered to kill you because the Bible said that the penalty of Christian apostasy is death?” He replied, “No.” I asked, “Did the F.B.I. persecute you here, or arrest you here, or torture you here because you left Christianity to become a Muslim?” He confirmed, “No.” I said to him, “Sir, I am a human being like you, and I have the right to make a decision to change my religion or my faith like you, and I was a Muslim like you. I was an imam, as you were a pastor, and I made the same decision you made, but the difference between me and you is how I was treated by Islam. I was fired from my university. I was kidnapped by the secret police. I was tortured. I lost my family. I lost my country. The sword of Islam is on my neck wherever I go. Why? Because the Quran says that the penalty for Muslim apostasy is death.” He was shocked.
Dr. Reagan: Isn’t it amazing how the Lord works! You showed him immediately the differences between Christianity and Islam in that if he leaves Islam every Muslim will try to kill him and kick him out of his family. When he left Christianity, none of that happened to him. And yet, Islam is supposed to be the “religion of peace.”
Mark Gabriel: The imam is still enjoying his life in America because of the freedom brought to this country through the Christian and the biblical principles.
Dr. Reagan: I’m struck by the point that you made a few moments ago about no one in Islam knowing for sure whether they are ever saved or not. Unless they die as a martyr, they have no assurance of salvation.
Mark Gabriel: Yes, that is absolutely true.
Dr. Reagan: There is no assurance, and again, even Mohammed did not know for sure whether he was saved or not?
Mark Gabriel: Yes.
Dr. Reagan: That is a horrible thing to think you have to earn your salvation. No matter how hard you work, you still don’t know.
Mark Gabriel: Exactly.
Dr. Reagan: What a glorious thing it is for a person living under works to encounter the grace of God.
Mark Gabriel: Absolutely! I was questioning the doctor of pharmacy who had given me the Bible after Muslim fanatics in Egypt attacked a Christian church. I was so upset by the attack. I was such a baby Christian. I asked her, “Why can’t your people defend your church and your people?” What she said to me was, “Mark, I want to say something to you. Our God, He is not in need for us to defend him, or to kill others to defend him, or to defend His church. Our God is strong enough to defend Himself, His name, and His people.

[Editor’s Note: This interview has been edited for publication. …]

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Why are there two Qur’ans?

The Qur’an is Islam’s most holy book. While Muslims believe Allah has revealed many written works, including the Old and New Testaments, these revelations ended with the Qur’an, which supersedes all others.

For all practical purposes, Muslims accept only the Qur’an as the Word of God. They believe Jews and Christians have corrupted Allah’s earlier revelations in the Bible, although they honor the writings of Moses, who was given the Tawrat (Torah); David, the Zabur (his Psalms); and Jesus, the Injil (Gospel).

Where the Qur’an and the Bible disagree with one another, Muslims embrace the Qur’an as true and reject the Bible as tainted.

But what happens when the Qur’an contradicts the Qur’an, as it sometimes does?

A brief look at history and the doctrine of “abrogation” sheds light on the Muslim view of divine revelation.

Mecca and Medina

According to Islamic sources, Muhammad received his first revelation in Mecca in 610 A.D. As the angel Gabriel delivered the messages, Muhammad committed them to memory and began preaching a new brand of monotheism to his polytheistic countrymen.

These early “Meccan” passages mostly were peaceful and religious in tone. “Let there be no compulsion in religion,” urges Surah 2:256. Further, Jews and Christians are called “people of the book,” meaning they are recipients of Allah’s earlier revelations.

But something changed when Muhammad fled for Medina a decade later. Bill Warner, in The Life of Muhammad, explains: “He preached the religion of Islam for 13 years in Mecca and garnered 150 followers. He was forced to move to Medina and became a politician and warrior. During the last 9 years of his life, he was involved in an event of violence on the average of every 6 weeks. When he died, every Arab was a Muslim. [Muhammad] succeeded through politics, not religion.”

The later “Medinan” passages, sometimes called the “second Qur’an,” bear evidence of this change. Jews are compared to apes and pigs (2:65; 5:60; 7:166), while those who believe in Jesus as the Son of God are cursed (9:30).

After Muhammad’s death, his followers compiled the Meccan and Medinan recitations into a single, unified volume. The Qur’an is organized into 114 surahs, or chapters, from the longest to the shortest. The absence of context and chronology makes understanding the Qur’an difficult unless read with the Sunna, consisting of the Sira (Muhammad’s life) and the Hadith (a collection of Muhammad’s words and deeds).

Even so, when Muslims read the Qur’an and come to conflicting passages, how are they resolved?
Abrogation to the rescue

The answer is the Muslim doctrine of abrogation. This simply means that when two passages contradict, the more recent passage “abrogates,” or overrides, the earlier one.

But this doctrine creates more problems than it solves. For example, one verse in the Qur’an affirms the doctrine of abrogation (2:106), but an earlier verse says, “No change can there be in the words of God” (10:64).

A second, and larger, problem is that the Medinan passages promote hatred of and violence toward non-Muslims, particularly Jews and Christians. One could argue that those persecuting “kafirs,” or infidels, in Islamic states are true believers, while those living in peaceful coexistence are less faithful to the cause.

Some Muslims may respond by saying the Bible also promotes abrogation. For example, the Law of Moses commands an adulterer to be stoned (Lev. 20:10). Yet Jesus sets free a woman caught in the very act (John 8:2-11).

The answer lies in the nature of Scripture. Unlike the Qur’an, the Bible is God’s progressive revelation. Each verse, chapter, and book builds upon the others until we have the complete written revelation of God in the 66 books of the Christian canon.

Difficult passages, which some mistakenly call contradictions, are resolved when we consider context, genre, purpose, perspective, and sense (literal vs. figurative language).

As for the adultery issue cited above, Paul Copan provides insight in his excellent book, Is God a Moral Monster? “The law of Moses is not eternal and unchanging…. Old Testament sages and seers themselves announced that the law of Moses was intentionally temporary…. So let’s not think that we’re talking about the universal application of all Old Testament laws for post-Old Testament times.”

Jesus could uphold the Law and forgive the woman caught in adultery because He understood the Law’s true intent – to be our guardian until He returns so that we may be justified by faith (Gal. 3:24).

As the Creator, Sustainer, and Savior of the world, Jesus has the sovereign authority to forgive sins because He is sin’s remedy – which the two Qur’ans tragically deny.

*This column first appeared July 29, 2014, in The Pathway, the news journal of the Missouri Baptist Convention.

Testimony

Growing up Baldwin:
Stephen

Stephen Baldwin’s life was centered around money, fame, success, and ultimately himself as an actor. But God wanted more for his life. Watch his video >https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CdctQJHvpkI< and read his story to learn his inspirational story of God placing people in his life to bring him to faith.

As a former Hollywood bad boy now on fire for Jesus, Stephen Baldwin personifies the “unusual suspect” – the last person in the room you’d suspect of being a sold-out, hard-core Christian.
The youngest of the renowned Baldwin brothers acting family, Stephen has appeared in over 65 films and dozens of television roles. According to Stephen,
“growing up Baldwin was like the Brady Bunch on a whole bunch of espresso.”
In his early days as an actor and model in New York, he earned a reputation as the life of the party.
“He was one of the great playboy nightlife people in the annals of Manhattan nightlife,” says his oldest brother Alec. “He was like having a panther for a pet – he was just this exotic animal who was so beautiful and everyone loved him.”
“I never really did anything too bad,” Stephen counters. “I didn’t commit any crimes that anyone was able to…convict.”
With his Baldwin-good-looks, an incredible singing voice and a broad acting range, Stephen soon established himself in the New York acting community. He met the girl of his dreams, Kennya, on a Manhattan bus.
“I said, I just met the girl I’m going to marry and she’s gonna have our kids.” he says. “And what we never could have known then that we understand now is that it was all part of God’s plan.”
He did marry the stunning Brazilian beauty (he and Kennya now have two young daughters), but he also encountered another risk of the show business culture – an addiction to drugs and alcohol. His pastor, John Carter, says:
“He had a lot of stuff in his life that was messing him up and even though he had fame and he’s a handsome guy…he had a beautiful wife…all the things that everybody thinks you gotta have…he still wasn’t happy inside.”
Kennya issued an ultimatum:
“(I told him) I needed somebody who was going to be straight and who was not going to be lying to me and…living a double life,” she says. “I realized it wasn’t working and it wasn’t okay.”
Stephen entered a 12-step program and has been sober for 16 years. He recognizes now that God had plans for the two of them.

Looking back in retrospect – (it was) all totally the hand of God orchestrating a series of events and scenarios that would lead to who I am today,” he says.
The Baldwins moved out west to Arizona when Stephen landed a role on a television series called The Young Riders. Long days on the set, combined with the demands of a young family, compelled them to hire a Brazilian housekeeper named Agousta. The woman, an outspoken and joyous Christian, told Kennya (in Portuguese) that she was definitely NOT there simply to clean their house. As Stephen remembers it:
“So my wife comes to me and says ‘uh, you know, honey, I was talking to Agousta and she says that someone in her church in Brazil said she should come to America and work for a couple who will become born-again Christians and be involved in Christian ministry.’ What do you think of that?”
“I mean, you know, I was dialing 9-1-1,” he says.

First, it was Kennya who was curious about her housekeeper’s faith.
“Agousta would always talk about Jesus and I said to her ‘I want to know about this Jesus. Who is this Jesus?’” she asked. “I dealt with my hang-ups, with my fears, with my arrogance, my pride. There was so much in me that God showed me I had to change.”
At first, Stephen was an observer as his wife began her new walk in Christ.
“I was cool with it, and at some point it registered in me somewhere that it was genuine,” he says. “Something was changing in her, and it was real. Then 9-11 happened.”
“It was a day and an event where, for me, the impossible became possible.”
Very soon after 9-11, Stephen Baldwin dedicated his life to Christ.

"When I decided to become a Christian, it was a full-on, gloves-off, throw-down, kick-boxing match between me and God.”
It’s been a wild ride since that decision day – from the creation (with Kevin Palau) of the Livin It action sports ministry to White House prayer sessions to the National Republican Convention. His first film for PalauFest Productions –Livin It – became one of the most successful action sports DVD’s ever produced in the genre: the sequel, Livin It L.A., was released in mid-2006. He’s developing printed outreach tools as well, from graphic novels to testimony anthologies to his own autobiography.
Coming from an outspoken family better known for their liberal views, he’s at peace with his brothers and rock solid in his purpose.
“My whole family, including my brothers, from a spiritual perspective has been very supportive of me.” he says. “Now, when my faith-based motivations led me to support the re-election of the president at the Republican National Convention….let’s just say the boys were a little concerned.”
His mother Carol points out:
“When Stephen was inside speaking at the Republican Convention, his brother Billy was out on the sidewalk protesting.”
He’s developed a special respect and appreciation for the action sports athletes – and their legions of young fans and followers – that are an integral part of his Livin It films and national tours.
“I really feel that these are the people that God has called me to relate to,” he says. “The Livin It skateboarders and BMX’ers are hard core, but God has gifted them to communicate the Good News, especially to kids.”
“Who I am today – and I hope this doesn’t sound too hokey – I am the guy that I couldn’t become on my own. I couldn’t become the man that I wanted to until I gave my life to Jesus Christ. I am in no way perfect but I’m a far better husband and father. I’m a person who understands what their purpose is.”++++

Would you like to know how to have a personal relationship with Jesus?

Is Jesus The Only Way To God?

So who will be there for you and me in our hour of need? Who will be there for us in our final hour as we near death? Who can we trust with our future? The priest Ravi used to say we can’t know. Oprah’s many ways to God won’t help us either. But Jesus conquered death, and paved the way for us to live eternally with Him.

As Ravi discovered, Jesus alone promises to be with us now, and to be there for us when life ends. He who claimed to be, “the way, the truth, and the life,” is the very one holding out his arms saying, “Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.”
He (Jesus) invites you and me to do just that. The choice is ours to believe and accept Jesus Christ as our Saviour and Lord.****

Jesus is Lord!

SALVATION

What Must I Do To be Saved
1: First admit you are a sinner, you can’t do it yourself, you need Jesus to save you. When you admit that you can’t save yourself and you trust in Jesus and believe in him, you have repented…….” NO Works will save you”
2: Believe that Jesus Christ is the son of God and was Crucified on the cross, died and rose again on the third day for all of our sins.
Ephesians 2:8-9
For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God:
Not of works, lest any man should boast.
Acts 16: 30-31
And brought them out, and said, Sirs, what must I do to be saved?
And they said, Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved, and thy house.
Romans 10:9-13
That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved.
For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.
For the scripture saith, Whosoever believeth on him shall not be ashamed.
For there is no difference between the Jew and the Greek: for the same Lord over all is rich unto all that call upon him.
For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.
John 3:16
For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.
Salvation is simple!!!

John 3:16
For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.

You’ve Heard God’s Word… Now What?

by Ken Puls
One of the great benefits of gathered worship with the church is that it keeps us regularly under the preaching and teaching of God’s Word. As God’s people we must give attention to God’s Word. We must be diligent to listen as it is taught. We must be willing to place our lives in its light and ask God to shine upon us.
As the Word of God shines on us, exposing our sin, we are to respond with repentance. God’s Word has a penetrating gaze into the life of the believer. It is like a light that shines into a room. When the light is dim, the room may not look too bad. It may look rather pleasant. But as it shines more brightly, we begin to notice spills and stains, dirt and dust—messes we never even knew were there.
This is what Christ does through His Word each week as we sit under the preaching and teaching of truth. He comes into our lives and opens drawers, and goes through closets, and looks behind our cherished possessions. He exposes our darkness and smashes our idols. He makes us aware of our sinfulness, and we begin to realize just how dark and deep our sins really go. Our repentance deepens as we learn to confess sin, fight sin, flee temptation and turn away from sin.
But for us to have hope, repentance must be accompanied by another response in worship. Though we must see ourselves in light of God’s Word, we must look even more intently at Christ. As the Word of God shines on Christ, revealing Him as the way of salvation, we must respond with faith. In ourselves we have no hope. But in Christ there is mercy and forgiveness. In our sinfulness we face fear and condemnation. But in Christ we find joy and redemption. We must put our hope and trust in Christ alone. We turn away from sin, but we turn to Jesus.
Because of Christ our faith is strengthened, even as our repentance grows deeper. Our sin is great; our need is certain. But our Savior is greater, and the promise of the gospel is more certain. As we look to Christ by faith we realize more and more just how precious He is, how much we need the gospel, how much we need His perfect righteousness to clothe us. This is why we so need the gospel—even after we have professed faith in Christ. We never outgrow the gospel. We must day by day learn to walk in faith and repentance.
Faith, like repentance, is not something we can find or create in ourselves. Faith is a gift of God rooted in His grace.
For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: not of works, lest any man should boast. For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them.
(Ephesians 2:8–10).

By faith we believe the gospel and walk in its light, trusting that all God has said in His Word will certainly come to pass. Faith allows us to lay hold of the promises of God, though we have not yet seen the final outcome.
Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.
(Hebrews 11:1).
We have every reason to trust God and rest in Him. Over and over the Bible exhorts us: Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on thee: because he trusteth in thee.
Trust ye in the Lord for ever:
for in the Lord JEHOVAH is everlasting strength:
(Isaiah 26:3–4)
Trust in the Lord, and do good;
so shalt thou dwell in the land, and verily thou shalt be fed.
Delight thyself also in the Lord;
and he shall give thee the desires of thine heart.
Commit thy way unto the Lord;
trust also in him; and he shall bring it to pass.
And he shall bring forth thy righteousness as the light,
and thy judgment as the noonday.
(Psalm 37:3–6)
Trust in him at all times;
ye people, pour out your heart before him:
God is a refuge for us. Selah.
(Psalm 62:8)
Trust in the Lord with all thine heart;
and lean not unto thine own understanding.
In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths.
(Proverbs 3:5–6)

Even in times of trials, the promises of God remain true. Trials, as Peter teaches us, can be God’s means to increase and test our faith, that Christ would be magnified in our lives: Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, which according to his abundant mercy hath begotten us again unto a lively hope by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to an inheritance incorruptible, and undefiled, and that fadeth not away, reserved in heaven for you, who are kept by the power of God through faith unto salvation ready to be revealed in the last time. Wherein ye greatly rejoice, though now for a season, if need be, ye are in heaviness through manifold temptations: that the trial of your faith, being much more precious than of gold that perisheth, though it be tried with fire, might be found unto praise and honour and glory at the appearing of Jesus Christ: whom having not seen, ye love; in whom, though now ye see him not, yet believing, ye rejoice with joy unspeakable and full of glory: receiving the end of your faith, even the salvation of your souls.
(1 Peter 1:3–9).

This is how we respond rightly to worship—trusting Jesus by faith.
As we go out from worship, we must go out into a life of faith, a life where we are not trying to sort things out on our own, but a life where we are committed to walking in the light of God’s Word and trusting in His promises. Responding rightly to worship is anchoring our hope and securing our faith in Christ alone.