Question Text: How would you explain God sending some one like Gandhi to hell for not accepting Christ, when Jesus said you shall know them by their fruit?
Answer Text: You have posted an excellent question. Good people in hell can be understood by the fact that they are dead in spirt and therefore lived a life separated from God here and will do so hereafter.
The Bible doctrine that no man is good stands unchallenged (Ps.14:3). Your statement that we can know them by their fruit was made by our Lord in the context of false teachers (Mt.7:20). Your assumption that Gandhi’s fruit was good is to a great extend agreeable though in his autobiography Gandhi confesses to have lied on occasions. Yet, he was known as the Mahathma which literally means a ‘great soul’.
Gandhi was indeed a great soul with out a doubt. But his spirit was dead and was separated from God. The Bible teaches that man is a tripartite being. Man has a body, soul and spirit (1The.5:3). The spirit in man is that part of man by which man could be in contact with God. When Adam committed sin, he became dead in spirit. Which means Adam lost His fellowship with God as he was separated from God by sin. In Adam all die (1Cor.15:22). This means all men are born in this world being separated from God. Unless a regeneration takes place every man born on earth is born and lives being separated from God. A natural man is lead by his soul element in him (1Cor.2:14). The original word for ‘natural man’ in 1Cor.2:14 is ‘psuchikos’ which means a ‘soulish (man)’. Until some one accepts Christ, he is lead by his soul and he remains separate from God.
When some one accepts Christ, a reversal takes place. A death takes place (2Cor.5:14) and a new life begins (Eph.2:1). He dies to self (soul) and he is made alive in spirit. Now a child of God is to be lead by the spirit (Rom.8:14). Tragically there are occasions when a child of God also is lead by the soul like ordinary men (1Cor.3:3). Thus they become carnal Christians. The important thing to note is that soul and spirit are identical twins and we really can not identify them or separate them and indeed, we would not have even known about these two different elements in man if the Word of God had not made it clear to us (Heb.4:12).
Gandhi being a ‘great soul’ produced fruit very similar to that of the fruit of the spirit as taught in Gal.5:22. But surely, it was the fruit of his soul and not of the spirit. His spirit being separated from God is not capable of producing the fruit of the spirit.
It is God’s desire that all men should be with Him in heaven (1Tim.2:4). God has done every thing possible for every man to be saved. Now it is man’s duty to make the choice whether to be found with God or with out Him. We know from the biographies of Gandhi that he was clearly exposed to the gospel of Christ. In fact Gandhi liked the Sermon on the Mount so dearly that he read it almost regularly.
Yet, Gandhi chose not to accept Christ as his Lord and savior and remained a soulish man and never became linked to God in a practical way in his spirit. God of love does NOT force any one to accept Him. If Gandhi does not want to be with God in heaven, God is helpless and God can not and will not take him to heaven.
To me, hell also is a sign of God’s loving nature, being unwilling to force any man in to His mould with out man’s clear permission and decision. So if there is any truth in the Bible, Gandhi can not be in heaven because he did not choose to be in link with God while here on earth through Christ who said no one can come to the Father but by me (Jn.14:6). It is not a question of God sending any one to hell, it is a question of people choosing to live with out God here and now which will be their fate all through eternity as well. I hope this clarifies your question.