Fundamentals of the Christian Faith in the Light of the Gospels
by Maulana Sadr-ud-Din
Salvation Depends on Obedience to Divine Commandments: Sinful Life Leads into Hell
Just as noble and virtuous living gains life eternal for man, in the same way a sinful and vicious life generates the fire of hell. In this connection Gospel texts read:
“Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! … ye are the children of them which killed the prophets…. Ye serpents, ye generation of vipers, how can ye escape the damnation of hell?” (Matthew, 23:29–33).
“The kingdom of God shall be taken from you, and given to a nation bringing forth the fruit thereof” (Matthew, 21–43).
“They [the angels] shall gather out of his kingdom … 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).
“So shall it be at the end of the world [just as from among the good fish the bad ones are cast away]: the angels shall come forth, and sever the wicked from among the just, and shall cast them into the furnace of fire: there shall be wailing and gnashing of teeth” (Matthew, 13:49–50).
“O generation of vipers, how can ye, being evil, speak good things? for out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaketh. A good man out of the good treasure of the heart bringeth forth good things: and an evil man out of the evil treasure bringeth forth evil things. But I say unto you, That every idle word that men shall speak, they shall give account thereof on the day of judgement. For by thy words thou shalt be justified, and by thy words thou shalt be condemned” (Matthew, 12:34–37).
“A woman of ill-repute came and poured perfumed ointment on Jesus’ head and feet, whereupon Jesus said: Wheresoever this gospel shall be preached in the whole world, there shall also this, that this woman hath done, be told for a memorial of her” (Matthew, 26:13; Mark, 14:9; Luke, 7:37–39).
When a poor widow contributed two mites which made a farthing, to be spent in the way of God, Jesus said unto his disciples:
“Verily I say unto you, That this poor widow hath cast more in, than all they which have cast into the treasury” (Mark, 12:43).
These verses throw a flood of light on some very vital questions, affirming that salvation depends on leading a righteous and honest life. Even the smallest good is acceptable to and has its reward with the Most High God. The doctrine of Atonement, in the face of this great truth, appears opposed to the word of God, and therefore loses ground. The following verses run in the same strain:
“Then shall he say also unto them on the left hand, Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels” (Matthew, 25:41).
“Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven…. And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity. Therefore whosoever heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them, I will liken him unto a wise man…. And everyone that heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them not, shall be likened unto a foolish man, which built his house upon the sand” (Matthew, 7:21–26).
“Verily I say unto you, There is no man that hath left house, or brethren, or sisters, or father, or mother, or wife, or children, or lands, for my sake, and the gospel’s. But he shall receive an hundredfold now in this time” (Mark, 10:29).
“And ye shall be hated of all men for my name’s sake: but he that shall endure unto the end, the same shall be saved” (Mark, 13:13).
“A Samaritan took mercy on an afflicted man. Jesus appreciated and admired him, saying that he acted up to the Divine Commandment which said: Love thy neighbour as thyself” (Luke, 10:33–37).
It can be easily gathered from these clearly-worded verses of the Gospel that the Most High God thinks well of and requires noble deeds. His Law, in this respect, is one and the same for a Christian, a Samaritan, and any other non-Christian. People who call themselves Christians, but act not in conformity with Jesus’ teachings, shall be turned out of the kingdom of God; for lip-profession has no value, no atonement will come to their rescue.