It is right to continually give praise to the Father that He gave us His Son to redeem us from our prideful natures, the “original wound.” In the end we are not saved by Our Savior’s dynamic words, but by His passion, death and resurrection. But Christ’s obedient self-sacrifice must be responded to by repentance and conversion on our part. As Peter Kreeft has written, this new life in Christ “comes into us by faith, through us by hope, and out of us by the works of love…but many Catholics think we’re saved by good intentions, or being nice, … or doing a sufficient number of good deeds.”
And what does true discipleship, our new life in Him, save us from? Hell. Unless we are saved from the kingdom of darkness by faith through grace working in love, this state of hell will become stronger and in time everlasting: “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to the whole creation. He who believes and is baptized will be saved; but he who does not believe will be condemned.”
In our day, when some modern theologians tell us that people may find their way even if we fail to announce Jesus as the Way, let us not forget Vatican II’s teaching on the conditions necessary for our salvation:
Those also can attain to salvation who through no fault of their own do not know the Gospel of Christ or His Church, yet sincerely seek God and moved by grace strive by their deeds to do His will as it is known to them through the dictates of conscience. Nor does Divine Providence deny the helps necessary for salvation to those who, without blame on their part, have not yet arrived at an explicit knowledge of God and with His grace strive to live a good life. Whatever good or truth is found amongst them is looked upon by the Church as a preparation for the Gospel. She knows that it is given by Him who enlightens all men so that they may finally have life. But often men, deceived by the Evil One, have become vain in their reasonings and have exchanged the truth of God for a lie, serving the creature rather than the Creator. Or some there are who, living and dying in this world without God, are exposed to final despair. Wherefore to promote the glory of God and procure the salvation of all of these, and mindful of the command of the Lord, "Preach the Gospel to every creature", the Church fosters the missions with care and attention.
Being lukewarm in the preaching of the Gospel is thus forbidden, lest there come about a time wherein “although they knew God they did not honor him as God or give thanks to him, but they became futile in their thinking and their senseless minds were darkened. Claiming to be wise, they became fools, and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images resembling mortal man….” Our Lord spoke often and bluntly about Hell, where we all drift unless we put on Christ, let Him dwell in our hearts, let His thoughts be our thoughts: “The gate is wide that leads to destruction, and those who enter it are many.” In my years in Catholic education, I have witnessed close up a veritable silence on Hell as a reality for those who reject the Good News, rendering the teaching of Jesus Christ false, and eliminating a powerful motive for evangelization.