This is a continuation of a multi-post article. You can read the first post here. You can also find the previous post here. This is also part of a larger series called "The Koran from a Christian perspective." You can find other posts in this series here.The Koran places greater weight upon what one believes in their heart verses what they confess with their mouths.
"Whoso disbelieves in [denieth] God, after he has believed -- excepting him who has been compelled [forced to it], and his heart is still at rest [remain steadfast] in his belief [shall be guiltless]" (Koran 16:108)This verse gives Muslims the permission to hide their true beliefs and motives, confessing what is not true, when they believe that the situation demand it and, when doing otherwise, would not be profitable, or might even be harmful, to them. However, Muhammad did not understand what Jesus taught when He said, "The good man out of the good treasure of his heart brings forth what is good; and the evil man out of the evil treasure brings forth what is evil; for his mouth speaks from that which fills his heart." (Luke 6:45) God makes no distinction between what one believes in their heart and what they confess with their mouth, for they are one in the same. What one confesses is what one truly believes.
The power of confession is shown in its efficacy in salvation. "For with the heart a person believes, resulting in righteousness, and with the mouth he confesses, resulting in salvation." (Romans 10:10) In the heart, one believes and obtains righteousness before God, but it is in their confession that they find salvation, not just eternal salvation, but salvation in every area of their lives.
Jesus warned us about our confession, especially our confession regarding Him. "Therefore everyone who confesses Me before men, I will also confess him before My Father who is in heaven. But whoever denies Me before men, I will also deny him before My Father who is in heaven." (Matthew 10:32-33) This became the standard for christian confession through the early centuries of persecution, often resulting in the death of the confessors. Men, women, and children maintained their true confession of Jesus in spite of the hateful persecution by the mighty Roman system. Many of them persisting in their confession through torture and into death. However, it was through their confession that they glorified God and received for themselves the glory of martyrdom and their abundant entrance into heaven. It was unto this confession that Paul exhorts us, "Fight the good fight of faith, lay hold on eternal life, to which you were also called and have confessed the good confession in the presence of many witnesses. I urge you in the sight of God who gives life to all things, and before Christ Jesus who witnessed the good confession before Pontius Pilate, that you keep this commandment without spot, blameless until our Lord Jesus Christ's appearing." (1 Timothy 6:12-14 NKJV) It is to this confession of God, even the confession that Jesus confessed on His way to death, that Paul calls us to hold fast and to maintain even in the face of difficulty and certain death.
As believers, it is not enough to only confess when it is easy or convenient. God is not looking for those who will follow and believe in Him only when the sun shines. God is looking for true believers, those who will confess the truth and their hope in God regardless of what the world may throw at them. This does not mean that one who denies God cannot find forgiveness through confession and repentance, but it does mean that those who trust in God ought to do so with their whole heart and as being "all in"; not having one foot in the Kingdom and one in the world. Such people are the true believers in God, not the believers of convenience that Muhammad teaches.