Karma and Gospel

Question: Has Muktinath ended the karmic cycle and exchanged our bad karmas with His Good Karma (imputed Righteousness is in my mind and the substitutionary Sacrifice or bali or yajna of Muktinath)?

One time while I was sharing the gospel with my father, after listening carefully he said, “If another person can die for my sins so that I need no more to face the consequences of my karma, this seems very odd. I have to pay for my karmas and nobody else can bear the fruits of my karma.  If this is so then you all have made salvation very cheap.”

In my response I never mentioned sin but said that Bhagavan Muktinath took all my past karmas (Sanchita karmas) and the fruits of my good karmas (kriyamani karma) goes to him as I do everything offering to him (Nishkamya karma—offering everything to god Gita 2:47). In the case of any bad karma that I do, if I honestly confess to him, he is capable of removing them to forgive me. Therefore karma has no more binding on me.

After listening to this response my father kept quiet and didn’t say anything.

But karma is a complicated subject and it is not very easy to handle as related to Muktiveda. At the same time we should understand that Muktinveda also talks a lot about karma.  I often say that faith is nothing but a kind of karma waiting patiently to receive the grace of God every time in our lives.

Though we can say that the karmic effect as samsara (karmic cycle) has ended for me, it is a bit theologically complicated to claim that Muktinath has exchanged his good karma (imputed righteousness) because he need not earn any good karma to exchange it with our bad karma.  Here comes the problem of relating one (religious) worldview with another one which stands poles apart theologically.

Similarly the substitutionary sacrifice also has various interpretations about which Dr. Hoefer has written one excellent paper which you should read to know all about the later developments in the course of theological development in the early era of church history.  According to him:

The Orthodox theological tradition has an entirely different approach to the concept of salvation. They do not emphasize the crucifixion, but the Incarnation and the Resurrection. I find that tradition much more insightful and refining. I think it makes much more sense in a context of Hindu sensibilities. I’ve attached an article I wrote some years ago (published in Missiology, Oct. 2005, pp. 435-50).  It describes the origin of the Western tradition of sacrificial atonement and critiques its limits.