Fundamentals of the Christian Faith in the Light of the Gospels

by Maulana Sadr-ud-Din

Salvation Depends on Obedience to Divine Commandments

Salvation depends upon a true belief in the existence of the Most High God, and complete obedience to His command­ments. Jesus said:

“And this is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou has sent” [as a prophet] (John, 17:3).

To repose faith in the One True God and to look upon Jesus as His apostle has been inculcated in this verse. And these two articles of faith, which are of fundamental importance, are the only factors that can create moral rectitude and purity in human actions. Just as it in necessary to believe in the One True God, in the same way it is also necessary to believe in the apostle who points to the ways and means of acquiring Divine pleasure, and who himself leads the life of an exemplar.

Emphasising the importance of doing good deeds, Jesus said:

“And why call ye me, Lord, Lord, and do not the things which I say? Whosoever cometh to me, and heareth my sayings, and doeth them, I will skew you to whom he is like: he is like a man which built an house, and digged deep, and laid the foundation on a rock: and when the flood arose, the stream beat vehemently upon that house, and could not shake it: for it was founded upon a rock. But he that heareth, and doeth not, is like a man that without a foundation built an house upon the earth; against which the stream did beat vehemently, and immediately it fell; and the ruin of that house was great” (Luke, 6:46–49).

Matthew reads to the same effect:

“And, behold, one came and said unto him, Good Master, what good thing shall I do, that I  have eternal life? And he said unto him, Why callest thou me good? there is none good but one, that is, God: but if thou wilt enter into life, keep the command­ments…. The young man saith unto him, All these things have I kept from my youth up: what lack I yet? Jesus said unto him, If thou wilt be perfect, go and sell that thou hast, and give to the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven” (Matthew, 19:16–21).

And again:

“There came one running, and kneeled to him, and asked him, Good Master, what shall I do that I may inherit eternal life? And Jesus said unto him, Why callest thou me good? there is none good but one, that is, God. Thou knowest the command­ments…. And he answered and said unto him, Master, all these have I observed from my youth…. Then Jesus … said unto him, One thing thou lackest: go thy way, sell whatever thou hast, and give to the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven” (Mark, 10:17–21).

“And they [the angels] shall gather out of his kingdom all things that offend, and them which do iniquity; and shall cast them into a furnace of fire: there shall be wailing and gnashing of teeth, Then shall the righteous shine forth as the sun in the kingdom of their Father” (Matthew, 13:41–43).

“And these [i.e. the evil-doers] shall go away into ever­lasting punishment: but the righteous into life eternal” (Matthew, 25:46).

“I say unto you, that except your righteousness shall exceed the righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees, ye shall in no case enter into the kingdom of heaven” (Matthew, 5:20).

“Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your  which is in heaven” (Matthew, 5:16).

From these verses it is clear beyond all doubt that Jesus, besides requiring the people to be chaste and pure, also brought home to them with great force and clarity that, without real and true righteousness, life eternal could never be achieved. Furthermore, it transpires from a study of these verses that the most desirable thing, as believed by Jesus, was that people should turn to and obey the Most High God, and adopt a life of God-fearing and good actions. This and this only is the way that pleases God and God’s people. The dogma of Atonement, there­fore, appears to be repugnant to the true teachings of Jesus Christ. This doctrine should therefore be renounced.