Fundamentals of the Christian Faith in the Light of the Gospels

by Maulana Sadr-ud-Din

Jesus did not Teach the Doctrine of Atonement: Jesus and the Doctrine of Atonement

Jesus has taught in the clearest terms that just as it is in the nature of man to forgive and forget, in like manner it is also the glory of the Most High God to forgive sins. And it is for this reason that he has laid utmost emphasis on this teaching that it is proper and meet for a person to forgive him who has offended against him or, in other words, who has committed a sin against him. Jesus has taught us to pray: O God! forgive us our sins, as we forgive them who have sinned against us. He has also warned us, saying, if we forgive not them who have trespassed against us, the Most High God, too, will not forgive us for our tres­passes. Let us ponder over the words of his prayer:

“After this manner therefore pray ye: Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread. And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors. And lead us not into temptation…. For if ye forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you: but if ye forgive not men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses” (Matthew, 6:9–15).

The same teaching has been reiterated in the following verses:

“Then came Peter to him, and said, Lord, how oft shall my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? till seven times? Jesus saith unto him, I say not unto thee, Until seven times: but until seventy times seven. Therefore is the kingdom of heaven likened unto a certain king, which would take account of his ser­vants … Then the lord of that servant was moved with compassion, and loosed him, and forgave him the debt…. And his lord was wroth [with another servant who had not forgiven his brother’s debt of an hundred pence], and delivered him to the tormentors, till he should pay all that was due unto him. So like­wise shall my heavenly Father do also unto you, if ye from your hearts forgive not every one his brother their trespasses” (Matthew, 18:21–35).


“Or what man is there of you, whom if his son ask bread, will he give him a stone? Or if he ask a fish, will he give him a ser­pent? If ye then, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children, how much more shall your Father which is in heaven give good things to them that ask him? Therefore all things whatsoever ye would that men should do to you, do ye even so to them: for this is the law and the prophets” (Matthew, 7:9–12).

This teaching which constitutes real good tidings is in perfect unison with human nature and is readily accepted.