Here is an article from muslimmatters.org that is worth reading. It deals with the Ahl al-Kitab, (أهل الكتاب), “the People of the Book,” which in the Qur’an, depending on context, is a reference to Christians, Jews, or Christians and Jews. I.e., monotheists who possess the Scriptures that Allah sent down before the Qur’an. It is good to listen to the Muslims as they speak amongst themselves. You learn more than when you only concentrate upon what they say to those outside their community. Note the conclusion of the paper:
Part of conveying the message properly is to make sure that the dialogue concludes without any ambiguity. In this vein, there are two ayaat in particular that lay out the ultimate choice for the People of the Book.
They are reminded with censure of their previous transgression while at the same time being given hope of a good reward should they accept the message,
And if only the people of the Scripture had believed (in Muhammad and warded off evil and had become pious, We would indeed have blotted out their sins and admitted them to Gardens of pleasure (in Paradise).
It is up to them to choose the path of success,
Those who follow the Messenger, the unlettered prophet, whom they find written in what they have of the Torah and the Gospel, who enjoins upon them what is right and forbids them what is wrong and makes lawful for them the good things and prohibits for them the evil and relieves them of their burden and the shackles which were upon them. So those who have believed in him, honored him, supported him and followed the light which was sent down with him – it is those who will be the successful.
If they still reject the message though, then the blame lies on their shoulders in the Hereafter,
Verily, those who disbelieve from among the people of the Scripture and the polytheists will abide in the Fire of Hell. They are the worst of creatures.
Final Advice to the Believers and the People of the Book
And to Allah belongs all that is in the heavens and all that is in the earth. And verily, We have recommended to the people of the Scripture before you, and to you (O Muslims) that you (all) fear Allah, and keep your duty to Him, But if you disbelieve, then unto Allah belongs all that is in the heavens and all that is in the earth, and Allah is Ever Rich (Free of all wants), Worthy of all praise.
33 Ma’idah:65 34 A’raaf:157 35 Bayyinah:6 36 Nisaa:131