Many who claim obedience to requirements as an essential element in salvation point to
Jesus' words in John 14:15 If ye love me, keep my commandments. Normally though what we hear taught as to the specific requirements for salvation are ritualistic things like repentance, confession, and baptism. It should be obvious to even a casual reader of the Bible that Jesus taught many things which are not included in the list above or in the average Sunday sermon. When pointing out this verse, one should logically be ready to address the question as to what are the commandments of Jesus.
Of course, the verse in John does not speak directly of salvation, per se, but the implications of Christian theology would certainly be that if one does not love Jesus, you can't be a Christian. Therefore, the connection between the commandments of Jesus and salvation are generally understood as a given.
So, we come right back to the obvious issue- what commandments? If one concludes that some commandments are essential and others inapplicable to salvation, then there should be a clearly stated rationale for excluding some commandments.
Significantly, Jesus spoke directly to the matter of commandments when he summed up the law in two requirements- Love God and love your neighbor- in response to a question from a certain lawyer (see Luke 10). Quite naturally, the questioner then wanted to know who qualified as his neighbor. In answering, Jesus told the story of the good Samaritan, showing that Jesus considered every man to be the questioner's neighbor, even those despised by his religious group.
Salvation by obedience has always been problematic in this respect. Who determines what commandments apply and which don't? And what is the basis for concluding such?
How did church rituals come to be more important than Christ's distillation of the law. Paul certainly repeated the very same principles in Romans 13, further reinforcing the words of Jesus. If Jesus' commandments are essential, the two greatest would seem to be at the top of the list.