LESSON EIGHT - CLEAN/UNCLEAN
Lesson Goal: Our
goal in this lesson is to better understand from Allah's perspective what
clean and unclean really means.
our daily lives we can put our emphasis on externals or on internals.
Thus, the person who focuses on externals will, when being introduced to
someone he has not met before, pay particular attention to such things as
the clothes they wear, their hair style, and other external elements of
the person they are meeting. The person concerned with internals, however,
will notice such things as the person's attitude - is he proud or humble -
and will evaluate what they say as being wise or not, and whether their
words agree with their actions.
In the same way, in the religious area we
are able to focus on either of these two extremes. Thus, in thinking about
prayer, our focus can be on such things as the clothes worn when praying,
the place of prayer, the direction faced when praying, the physical
posture in prayer, the language used in prayer, etc. By contrast, another
person can think as follows: "I am going to be worshiping Allah in
prayer now. Thus, I had better examine myself to see whether there is any
pride or sin in my life that offends Allah and needs to be repented of. I
must make myself ready to worship Allah?" It is clear that of the two
described, the first is concerned with externals while the second with
In this lesson we are going to be looking
both at Allah's Word and at your own experience as we seek to determine
where the disciples of prophets , Isa, and Muhammad have their focus -
on the internal or the external.
1. THE DISCIPLES OF PROPHET MUSA
a. Glance briefly at the topics covered in
Leviticus 6:8-30--8 Allah said to
: 9 "Give and his sons this command: `These are the
regulations for the burnt offering: The burnt offering is to remain on the
altar hearth throughout the night, till morning, and the fire must be kept
burning on the altar. 10 The priest shall then put on his linen clothes,
with linen undergarments next to his body, and shall remove the ashes of
the burnt offering that the fire has consumed on the altar and place them
beside the altar. 11 Then he is to take off these clothes and put on
others, and carry the ashes outside the camp to a place that is
ceremonially clean. 12 The fire on the altar must be kept burning; it must
not go out. Every morning the priest is to add firewood and arrange the
burnt offering on the fire and burn the fat of the fellowship offerings on
it. 13 The fire must be kept burning on the altar continuously; it must
not go out. 14 " `These are the regulations for the grain offering:
's sons are to bring it before Allah, in front of the altar. 15 The
priest is to take a handful of fine flour and oil, together with all the
incense on the grain offering, and burn the memorial portion on the altar
as an aroma pleasing to Allah. 16 and his sons shall eat the rest of
it, but it is to be eaten without yeast in a holy place; they are to eat
it in the courtyard of the Tent of Meeting. 17 It must not be baked with
yeast; I have given it as their share of the offerings made to me by fire.
Like the sin offering and the guilt offering, it is most holy. 18 Any male
descendant of may eat it. It is his regular share of the offerings
made to Allah by fire for the generations to come. Whatever touches them
will become holy. ' " 19 Allah also said to , 20 "This is
the offering and his sons are to bring to Allah on the day he is
anointed: a tenth of an ephah of fine flour as a regular grain offering,
half of it in the morning and half in the evening. 21 Prepare it with oil
on a griddle; bring it well-mixed and present the grain offering broken in
pieces as an aroma pleasing to Allah. 22 The son who is to succeed him as
anointed priest shall prepare it. It is Allah's regular share and is to be
burned completely. 23 Every grain offering of a priest shall be burned
completely; it must not be eaten." 24 Allah said to , 25
"Say to and his sons: `These are the regulations for the sin
offering: The sin offering is to be slaughtered before Allah in the place
the burnt offering is slaughtered; it is most holy. 26 The priest who
offers it shall eat it; it is to be eaten in a holy place, in the
courtyard of the Tent of Meeting. 27 Whatever touches any of the flesh
will become holy, and if any of the blood is spattered on a garment, you
must wash it in a holy place. 28 The clay pot the meat is cooked in must
be broken; but if it is cooked in a bronze pot, the pot is to be scoured
and rinsed with water. 29 Any male in a priest's family may eat it; it is
most holy. 30 But any sin offering whose blood is brought into the Tent of
Meeting to make atonement in the Holy Place must not be eaten; it must be
1) The passage deals with different kinds
2) In this passage, all the details of
offerings are set forth - when they are to be given, how, where, etc.
Are these matters that relate to externals or internals?
b. Look at Leviticus chapter 11-- Allah
said to Musa and Harun, 2 "Say to the Israelites: `Of all the animals
that live on land, these are the ones you may eat: 3 You may eat any
animal that has a split hoof completely divided and that chews the cud.
4 " `There are some that only chew the cud or only have a split hoof,
but you must not eat them. The camel, though it chews the cud, does not
have a split hoof; it is ceremonially unclean for you. 5 The coney, though
it chews the cud, does not have a split hoof; it is unclean for you. 6 The
rabbit, though it chews the cud, does not have a split hoof; it is unclean
for you. 7 And the pig, though it has a split hoof completely divided,
does not chew the cud; it is unclean for you. 8 You must not eat their
meat or touch their carcasses; they are unclean for you.
9 " `Of all the creatures living in the water of the seas and the
streams, you may eat any that have fins and scales. 10 But all creatures
in the seas or streams that do not have fins and scales--whether among all
the swarming things or among all the other living creatures in the
water--you are to detest. 11 And since you are to detest them, you must
not eat their meat and you must detest their carcasses. 12 Anything living
in the water that does not have fins and scales is to be detestable to
13 " `These are the birds you are to detest and not eat because they
are detestable: the eagle, the vulture, the black vulture, 14 the red
kite, any kind of black kite, 15 any kind of raven, 16 the horned owl, the
screech owl, the gull, any kind of hawk, 17 the little owl, the cormorant,
the great owl, 18 the white owl, the desert owl, the osprey, 19 the stork,
any kind of heron, the hoopoe and the bat.
20 " `All flying insects that walk on all fours are to be detestable
to you. 21 There are, however, some winged creatures that walk on all
fours that you may eat: those that have jointed legs for hopping on the
ground. 22 Of these you may eat any kind of locust, katydid, cricket or
grasshopper. 23 But all other winged creatures that have four legs you are
24 " `You will make yourselves unclean by these; whoever touches
their carcasses will be unclean till evening. 25 Whoever picks up one of
their carcasses must wash his clothes, and he will be unclean till
26 " `Every animal that has a split hoof not completely divided or
that does not chew the cud is unclean for you; whoever touches the carcass
of any of them will be unclean. 27 Of all the animals that walk on all
fours, those that walk on their paws are unclean for you; whoever touches
their carcasses will be unclean till evening. 28 Anyone who picks up their
carcasses must wash his clothes, and he will be unclean till evening. They
are unclean for you.
29 " `Of the animals that move about on the ground, these are unclean
for you: the weasel, the rat, any kind of great lizard, 30 the gecko, the
monitor lizard, the wall lizard, the skink and the chameleon. 31 Of all
those that move along the ground, these are unclean for you. Whoever
touches them when they are dead will be unclean till evening. 32 When one
of them dies and falls on something, that article, whatever its use, will
be unclean, whether it is made of wood, cloth, hide or sackcloth. Put it
in water; it will be unclean till evening, and then it will be clean. 33
If one of them falls into a clay pot, everything in it will be unclean,
and you must break the pot. 34 Any food that could be eaten but has water
on it from such a pot is unclean, and any liquid that could be drunk from
it is unclean. 35 Anything that one of their carcasses falls on becomes
unclean; an oven or cooking pot must be broken up. They are unclean, and
you are to regard them as unclean. 36 A spring, however, or a cistern for
collecting water remains clean, but anyone who touches one of these
carcasses is unclean. 37 If a carcass falls on any seeds that are to be
planted, they remain clean. 38 But if water has been put on the seed and a
carcass falls on it, it is unclean for you.
39 " `If an animal that you are allowed to eat dies, anyone who
touches the carcass will be unclean till evening. 40 Anyone who eats some
of the carcass must wash his clothes, and he will be unclean till evening.
Anyone who picks up the carcass must wash his clothes, and he will be
unclean till evening.
41 " `Every creature that moves about on the ground is detestable; it
is not to be eaten. 42 You are not to eat any creature that moves about on
the ground, whether it moves on its belly or walks on all fours or on many
feet; it is detestable. 43 Do not defile yourselves by any of these
creatures. Do not make yourselves unclean by means of them or be made
unclean by them. 44 I am Allah your God; consecrate yourselves and be
holy, because I am holy. Do not make yourselves unclean by any creature
that moves about on the ground. 45 I am Allah who brought you up out of
Egypt to be your God; therefore be holy, because I am holy.
46 " `These are the regulations concerning animals, birds, every
living thing that moves in the water and every creature that moves about
on the ground. 47 You must distinguish between the unclean and the clean,
between living creatures that may be eaten and those that may not be
1) What is the topic of this chapter?
2) Are verses 24 and 25, for example,
dealing with externals or internals?
c. Look at Leviticus chapter 13--1
Allah said to Musa and Harun, 2 "When anyone has a swelling or a rash
or a bright spot on his skin that may become an infectious skin disease,
he must be brought to Harun the priest or to one of his sons who is a
priest. 3 The priest is to examine the sore on his skin, and if the hair
in the sore has turned white and the sore appears to be more than skin
deep, it is an infectious skin disease. When the priest examines him, he
shall pronounce him ceremonially unclean. 4 If the spot on his skin is
white but does not appear to be more than skin deep and the hair in it has
not turned white, the priest is to put the infected person in isolation
for seven days. 5 On the seventh day the priest is to examine him, and if
he sees that the sore is unchanged and has not spread in the skin, he is
to keep him in isolation another seven days. 6 On the seventh day the
priest is to examine him again, and if the sore has faded and has not
spread in the skin, the priest shall pronounce him clean; it is only a
rash. The man must wash his clothes, and he will be clean. 7 But if the
rash does spread in his skin after he has shown himself to the priest to
be pronounced clean, he must appear before the priest again. 8 The priest
is to examine him, and if the rash has spread in the skin, he shall
pronounce him unclean; it is an infectious disease.
9 "When anyone has an infectious skin disease, he must be brought to
the priest. 10 The priest is to examine him, and if there is a white
swelling in the skin that has turned the hair white and if there is raw
flesh in the swelling, 11 it is a chronic skin disease and the priest
shall pronounce him unclean. He is not to put him in isolation, because he
is already unclean.
12 "If the disease breaks out all over his skin and, so far as the
priest can see, it covers all the skin of the infected person from head to
foot, 13 the priest is to examine him, and if the disease has covered his
whole body, he shall pronounce that person clean. Since it has all turned
white, he is clean. 14 But whenever raw flesh appears on him, he will be
unclean. 15 When the priest sees the raw flesh, he shall pronounce him
unclean. The raw flesh is unclean; he has an infectious disease. 16 Should
the raw flesh change and turn white, he must go to the priest. 17 The
priest is to examine him, and if the sores have turned white, the priest
shall pronounce the infected person clean; then he will be clean.
18 "When someone has a boil on his skin and it heals, 19 and in the
place where the boil was, a white swelling or reddish-white spot appears,
he must present himself to the priest. 20 The priest is to examine it, and
if it appears to be more than skin deep and the hair in it has turned
white, the priest shall pronounce him unclean. It is an infectious skin
disease that has broken out where the boil was. 21 But if, when the priest
examines it, there is no white hair in it and it is not more than skin
deep and has faded, then the priest is to put him in isolation for seven
days. 22 If it is spreading in the skin, the priest shall pronounce him
unclean; it is infectious. 23 But if the spot is unchanged and has not
spread, it is only a scar from the boil, and the priest shall pronounce
24 "When someone has a burn on his skin and a reddish-white or white
spot appears in the raw flesh of the burn, 25 the priest is to examine the
spot, and if the hair in it has turned white, and it appears to be more
than skin deep, it is an infectious disease that has broken out in the
burn. The priest shall pronounce him unclean; it is an infectious skin
disease. 26 But if the priest examines it and there is no white hair in
the spot and if it is not more than skin deep and has faded, then the
priest is to put him in isolation for seven days. 27 On the seventh day
the priest is to examine him, and if it is spreading in the skin, the
priest shall pronounce him unclean; it is an infectious skin disease. 28
If, however, the spot is unchanged and has not spread in the skin but has
faded, it is a swelling from the burn, and the priest shall pronounce him
clean; it is only a scar from the burn.
29 "If a man or woman has a sore on the head or on the chin, 30 the
priest is to examine the sore, and if it appears to be more than skin deep
and the hair in it is yellow and thin, the priest shall pronounce that
person unclean; it is an itch, an infectious disease of the head or chin.
31 But if, when the priest examines this kind of sore, it does not seem to
be more than skin deep and there is no black hair in it, then the priest
is to put the infected person in isolation for seven days. 32 On the
seventh day the priest is to examine the sore, and if the itch has not
spread and there is no yellow hair in it and it does not appear to be more
than skin deep, 33 he must be shaved except for the diseased area, and the
priest is to keep him in isolation another seven days. 34 On the seventh
day the priest is to examine the itch, and if it has not spread in the
skin and appears to be no more than skin deep, the priest shall pronounce
him clean. He must wash his clothes, and he will be clean. 35 But if the
itch does spread in the skin after he is pronounced clean, 36 the priest
is to examine him, and if the itch has spread in the skin, the priest does
not need to look for yellow hair; the person is unclean. 37 If, however,
in his judgment it is unchanged and black hair has grown in it, the itch
is healed. He is clean, and the priest shall pronounce him clean.
38 "When a man or woman has white spots on the skin, 39 the priest is
to examine them, and if the spots are dull white, it is a harmless rash
that has broken out on the skin; that person is clean.
40 "When a man has lost his hair and is bald, he is clean. 41 If he
has lost his hair from the front of his scalp and has a bald forehead, he
is clean. 42 But if he has a reddish-white sore on his bald head or
forehead, it is an infectious disease breaking out on his head or
forehead. 43 The priest is to examine him, and if the swollen sore on his
head or forehead is reddish-white like an infectious skin disease, 44 the
man is diseased and is unclean. The priest shall pronounce him unclean
because of the sore on his head.
45 "The person with such an infectious disease must wear torn
clothes, let his hair be unkempt, cover the lower part of his face and cry
out, `Unclean! Unclean!' 46 As long as he has the infection he remains
unclean. He must live alone; he must live outside the camp.
47 "If any clothing is contaminated with mildew--any woolen or linen
clothing, 48 any woven or knitted material of linen or wool, any leather
or anything made of leather-- 49 and if the contamination in the clothing,
or leather, or woven or knitted material, or any leather article, is
greenish or reddish, it is a spreading mildew and must be shown to the
priest. 50 The priest is to examine the mildew and isolate the affected
article for seven days. 51 On the seventh day he is to examine it, and if
the mildew has spread in the clothing, or the woven or knitted material,
or the leather, whatever its use, it is a destructive mildew; the article
is unclean. 52 He must burn up the clothing, or the woven or knitted
material of wool or linen, or any leather article that has the
contamination in it, because the mildew is destructive; the article must
be burned up.
53 "But if, when the priest examines it, the mildew has not spread in
the clothing, or the woven or knitted material, or the leather article, 54
he shall order that the contaminated article be washed. Then he is to
isolate it for another seven days. 55 After the affected article has been
washed, the priest is to examine it, and if the mildew has not changed its
appearance, even though it has not spread, it is unclean. Burn it with
fire, whether the mildew has affected one side or the other. 56 If, when
the priest examines it, the mildew has faded after the article has been
washed, he is to tear the contaminated part out of the clothing, or the
leather, or the woven or knitted material. 57 But if it reappears in the
clothing, or in the woven or knitted material, or in the leather article,
it is spreading, and whatever has the mildew must be burned with fire. 58
The clothing, or the woven or knitted material, or any leather article
that has been washed and is rid of the mildew, must be washed again, and
it will be clean."
59 These are the regulations concerning contamination by mildew in woolen
or linen clothing, woven or knitted material, or any leather article, for
pronouncing them clean or unclean.
1) What is the main topic of this
2) Is this chapter focused on externals
We see from the above that in the law of
there was a strong focus on external matters.
d. Read Hosea 6:6-- For I desire mercy, not sacrifice, and
acknowledgment of Allah rather than burnt offerings.
1) What does Allah prefer to sacrifice?
2) Are mercy and the knowledge of Allah
external or internal matters?
e. Read Amos 5:21-24-- "I
hate, I despise your religious feasts; I
cannot stand your assemblies. 22
Even though you bring me burnt offerings and grain offerings,
I will not accept them. Though
you bring choice fellowship offerings, I
will have no regard for them. 23
Away with the noise of your songs! I
will not listen to the music of your harps. 24
But let justice roll on like a river, righteousness
like a never-failing stream!"
In this section we see that Allah refuses
to accept the offerings and sacrifices of Israel because of their
oppression and injustice.
1) Is righteousness and justice
external or internal? To answer, reflect on the fact that if a person
is just and righteous, it will certainly have ramifications in his
external actions and behavior. However, what is the crucial matter -
his internal attitudes or the external actions growing out of those
2) Which would you say is more
important to Allah, external or internal matters?
f. 1) According to the above passages,
which matter(s) were important for the disciples of ?
a) Only the external.
b) Only the internal.
c) Both the internal and external.
d) Neither the internal nor the
2) Even though both the internal and
the external were important for the disciples of , considering
such passages as Hosea 6:6, which would you say was more important?
2. THE DISCIPLES OF ISA
a) Read Mark 7:1-23-- 1
The Pharisees and some of the teachers of the law who had come from
Jerusalem gathered around Isa and 2 saw some of his disciples eating food
with hands that were "unclean," that is, unwashed. 3 (The
Pharisees and all the Jews do not eat unless they give their hands a
ceremonial washing, holding to the tradition of the elders. 4 When they
come from the marketplace they do not eat unless they wash. And they
observe many other traditions, such as the washing of cups, pitchers and
kettles. ) 5 So the Pharisees
and teachers of the law asked Isa, "Why don't your disciples live
according to the tradition of the elders instead of eating their food with
`unclean' hands?" 6 He
replied, "Shaya was right when he prophesied about you hypocrites;
as it is written: " `These
people honor me with their lips, but
their hearts are far from me. 7
They worship me in vain; their
teachings are but rules taught by men.' 8
You have let go of the commands of Allah and are holding on to the
traditions of men." 9 And
he said to them: "You have a fine way of setting aside the commands
of Allah in order to observe your own traditions! 10 For Musa said, `Honor
your father and your mother,' and, `Anyone who curses his father or mother
must be put to death.' 11 But you say that if a man says to his father or
mother: `Whatever help you might otherwise have received from me is Qurban'
(that is, a gift devoted to Allah), 12 then you no longer let him do
anything for his father or mother. 13 Thus you nullify the word of Allah
by your tradition that you have handed down. And you do many things like
that." 14 Again Isa called
the crowd to him and said, "Listen to me, everyone, and understand
this. 15 Nothing outside a man can make him `unclean' by going into him.
Rather, it is what comes out of a man that makes him `unclean.' "
17 After he had left the crowd and entered
the house, his disciples asked him about this parable. 18 "Are you so
dull?" he asked. "Don't you see that nothing that enters a man
from the outside can make him `unclean'? 19 For it doesn't go into his
heart but into his stomach, and then out of his body." (In saying
this, Isa declared all foods "clean.") 20
He went on: "What comes out of a man is what makes him `unclean.' 21
For from within, out of men's hearts, come evil thoughts, sexual
immorality, theft, murder, adultery, 22 greed, malice, deceit, lewdness,
envy, slander, arrogance and folly. 23 All these evils come from inside
and make a man `unclean.' "
1) In this passage were the Pharisees
concerned with external or internal issues? (See vss. 3 & 4)
2) According to Isa's teaching, how does
a person become unclean? (See Vss. 17-23)
3) Thus, does a person become unclean
through external or internal pollutions?
b) Read Acts 10:1-29-- 1
At Caesarea there was a man named Cornelius, a centurion in what was known
as the Italian Regiment. 2 He and all his family were devout and
God-fearing; he gave generously to those in need and prayed to Allah
regularly. 3 One day at about three in the afternoon he had a vision. He
distinctly saw an angel of Allah, who came to him and said, "Cornelius!" 4
Cornelius stared at him in fear. "What is it, Lord?" he asked.
The angel answered, "Your prayers and
gifts to the poor have come up as a memorial offering before Allah. 5 Now
send men to Joppa to bring back a man named Simon who is called Peter. 6
He is staying with Simon the tanner, whose house is by the sea."
7 When the angel who spoke to him had
gone, Cornelius called two of his servants and a devout soldier who was
one of his attendants. 8 He told them everything that had happened and
sent them to Joppa. 9 About
noon the following day as they were on their journey and approaching the
city, Peter went up on the roof to pray. 10 He became hungry and wanted
something to eat, and while the meal was being prepared, he fell into a
trance. 11 He saw heaven opened and something like a large sheet being let
down to earth by its four corners. 12 It contained all kinds of
four-footed animals, as well as reptiles of the earth and birds of the
air. 13 Then a voice told him, "Get up, Peter. Kill and eat."
14 "Surely not, Lord!" Peter
replied. "I have never eaten anything impure or unclean."
15 The voice spoke to him a second time, "Do not call anything impure that Allah has made clean." 16 This
happened three times, and immediately the sheet was taken back to heaven.
17 While Peter was wondering about the
meaning of the vision, the men sent by Cornelius found out where Simon's
house was and stopped at the gate. 18 They called out, asking if Simon who
was known as Peter was staying there. 19
While Peter was still thinking about the vision, the Spirit said to him, "Simon, three men are looking for you. 20 So get up and go
downstairs. Do not hesitate to go with them, for I have sent them."
21 Peter went down and said to the men, "I'm the one you're looking for. Why have you come?" 22
The men replied, "We have come from Cornelius the centurion. He is a
righteous and God-fearing man, who is respected by all the Jewish people.
A holy angel told him to have you come to his house so that he could hear
what you have to say." 23 Then Peter invited the men into the house
to be his guests. The next day
Peter started out with them, and some of the brothers from Joppa went
along. 24 The following day he arrived in Caesarea. Cornelius was
expecting them and had called together his relatives and close friends. 25
As Peter entered the house, Cornelius met him and fell at his feet in
reverence. 26 But Peter made him get up. "Stand up," he said,
"I am only a man myself." 27
Talking with him, Peter went inside and found a large gathering of people.
28 He said to them: "You are well aware that it is against our law
for a Jew to associate with a Gentile or visit him. But Allah has shown me
that I should not call any man impure or unclean. 29 So when I was sent
for, I came without raising any objection. May I ask why you sent for
1) According to verse 28, the Jews
believed that the Gentiles (i.e. non-Jewish people) were and therefore would not enter
2) The Apostle Peter also initially
believed that Cornelius was unclean. He believed so because Cornelius
was not a Jew, but rather a .
3) However, according to verse 2, what
kind of character did Cornelius have?
4) Thus, was Cornelius unclean in Allah's
5) Peter learns in this passage that
Allah considers which more important - the external or the internal?
c) Read Romans 14:1-8-- 1
Accept him whose faith is weak, without passing judgment on disputable
matters. 2 One man's faith allows him to eat everything, but another man,
whose faith is weak, eats only vegetables. 3 The man who eats everything
must not look down on him who does not, and the man who does not eat
everything must not condemn the man who does, for Allah has accepted him.
4 Who are you to judge someone else's servant? To his own master he stands
or falls. And he will stand, for the Lord is able to make him stand. 5 One
man considers one day more sacred than another; another man considers
every day alike. Each one should be fully convinced in his own mind. 6 He
who regards one day as special, does so to the Lord. He who eats meat,
eats to the Lord, for he gives thanks to Allah; and he who abstains, does
so to the Lord and gives thanks to Allah. 7 For none of us lives to
himself alone and none of us dies to himself alone. 8 If we live, we live
to the Lord; and if we die, we die to the Lord. So, whether we live or
die, we belong to the Lord.
1) Are there any strict rules given in
the passage about what food is ritually clean and what days are
2) Whatever we do, we should do it as
3) Is the stress in this passage on the
external or internal?
d) In Lesson 7 on "True Worship,"
you studied Isa's teaching in Matthew 6 on religious works. In that
passage did Isa stress external activities or internal attitudes as most
3. THE PHARISEES. You have read
about the Pharisees in the . Reflect back over what they
considered important and were concerned about. Where do you think their
stress was placed, on the internal or the external?
4. Where do you feel the followers of
Muhammad (PBUH) place their stress in religious matters - on the external
or the internal? Give some examples.
5. Read Philippians 3:5,6--circumcised
on the eighth day, of the people of Israel, of the tribe of Benjamin, a
Hebrew of Hebrews; in regard to the law, a Pharisee; 6 as for zeal,
persecuting the ummah; as for legalistic righteousness, faultless.
a) In this passage the Apostle Paul
describes his own condition before becoming a follower of Isa. How zealous
and faithful in following the law of was Paul?
b) Paul here describes his earlier zeal for
keeping the external aspects of the law. He says that he was faultless.
Thus, would you say that a person is able to follow external religious
rules and regulations in his own strength - things such as fasting, doing
prayers, ritual cleansing, etc.? Why or why not?
6. Read 1 Timothy 1:14-16--
The grace of our Lord was poured out on me abundantly, along with the
faith and love that are in al-Masih Isa. 15
Here is a trustworthy saying that deserves full acceptance: al-Masih Isa
came into the world to save sinners--of whom I am the worst. 16 But for
that very reason I was shown mercy so that in me, the worst of sinners,
al-Masih Isa might display his unlimited patience as an example for those
who would believe on him and receive eternal life.
a) In this passage, Paul states that
before receiving Allah's grace he was what kind of a sinner?
b) We find here an amazing fact. Before
coming to faith in Isa, Paul had been extremely zealous in following all
the external rules of the law of . However, despite being
'faultless' in keeping all those rules, he eventually came to realize
that he was the worst of sinners. What, then, would you conclude his sin
was related to, his external religious activities or his internal
attitudes and motives?
c) Before coming to faith, Paul had been
a Pharisee. From what is written of the Pharisees in the ,
what was their most notable characteristic - humility or pride?
d) Reflecting on the above, what do you
think might have been the basic nature of Paul's sin as a Pharisee for
which he calls himself "the worst of sinners"?
e) Paul said he had been faultless in
keeping external rules and regulations. The same is true today of
someone who desires to keep the external rules of the Shariah. Howver,
do you think a person is also able to be faultless before Allah in the
matter of internal attitudes and motives? Why or why not?
If a person desires, he may do salat and other religious activities regularly. In fact, those who are especially zealous like the Apostle Paul
was while still a Pharisee are able to keep an enormous number of external
rules and regulations faultlessly. However, no one in their own strength
is able to keep their own mind and attitudes pure and blameless. As Isa
described, inside each person dwells such things as anger, jealousy,
pride, resentment, selfishness, etc. And it is those things that makes
people unclean before Allah.
In Lesson Five we studied about the Holy
Spirit. We saw that one of the works of the Holy Spirit is to convict men
of their sins. And when a person repents of his sin and comes to believe
in Isa as his savior, the Holy Spirit takes up residence in that person's
life. The Holy Spirit then directs the person and gives him the strength
needed to be cleansed and internally transformed. (2 Corinthians 3:18)
Now we are in a position to understand why
Isa was able to place a greater stress on the internal than had been done
by earlier prophets. Apart from the Holy Spirit's help, no one is able to
control and cleanse their heart and mind. Yet, before Isa's coming, the
Holy Spirit did not dwell with any believer permanently. He came into
people's lives for specific purposes and for specific periods only. And
thus, in order to maintain order and control, external rules such as are
found in the Law of , were necessary.
Now, however, as disciples of Isa, we have
the Holy Spirit living inside us permanently. And since He is able to give
us direction and strength, the external rules are no longer of such
significance. It is not that such outward actions and behavior are not
important - they are. Rather, as Isa taught his disciples, we can now
place our focus on the even more important matter of internal attitudes
and motives. And when the internal attitudes and motives are right and
pure, the external actions will always follow.
7. Think now briefly about your own life. Is
the Holy Spirit directing your life? Are the fruits of the Holy Spirit
(Galatians 5:22,23) evident in your life? What receives the most attention
in your life, external matters or internal matters?
TO MEMORIZE - MARK
20 He went on: "What comes out of a
man is what makes him `unclean.' 21 For from within, out of men's
hearts, come evil thoughts, sexual immorality, theft, murder, adultery,
22 greed, malice, deceit, lewdness, envy, slander, arrogance and folly.
23 All these evils come from inside and make a man `unclean.' "