Evil Life Condemns

Evil Life Condemns

Matthew 5:30: “And if your right hand causes you to sin, cut it off and cast it from you; for it is more profitable for you that one of your members perish, than for your whole body to be cast into hell.”

Matthew 10:28: “28 And do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. But rather fear Him who is able to destroy both soul and body in hell.”

Matthew 16:25: “For whoever desires to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake will find it.”

Mark 8:35-37: “35 For whoever desires to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake and the gospel’s will save it. 36 For what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world, and loses his own soul? 37 Or what will a man give in exchange for his soul?”

Mark 9:43-47: “43If your hand causes you to sin, cut it off. It is better for you to enter into life maimed, rather than having two hands, to go to hell, into the fire that shall never be quenched. 44 where ‘ Their worm does not die And the fire is not quenched.’ 45 And if your foot causes you to sin, cut it off. It is better for you to enter life lame, rather than having two feet, to be cast into hell, into the fire that shall never be quenched 46 where ‘ Their worm does not die And the fire is not quenched.’ 47 And if your eye causes you to sin, pluck it out. It is better for you to enter the kingdom of God with one eye, rather than having two eyes, to be cast into hell fire.”

Luke 12:47: “And that servant who knew his master’s will, and did not prepare himself or do according to his will, shall be beaten with many stripes.”

Luke 16:19-31: Rich man and Lazarus, obviously talking about heaven and hell. Message to those on earth: “19 “There was a certain rich man who was clothed in purple and fine linen and fared sumptuously every day. 20 But there was a certain beggar named Lazarus, full of sores, who was laid at his gate, 21 desiring to be fed with the crumbs which fell from the rich man’s table. Moreover the dogs came and licked his sores. 22 So it was that the beggar died, and was carried by the angels to Abraham’s bosom. The rich man also died and was buried. 23 And being in torments in Hades, he lifted up his eyes and saw Abraham afar off, and Lazarus in his bosom. 24 “Then he cried and said, ‘Father Abraham, have mercy on me, and send Lazarus that he may dip the tip of his finger in water and cool my tongue; for I am tormented in this flame.’ 25 But Abraham said, ‘Son, remember that in your lifetime you received your good things, and likewise Lazarus evil things; but now he is comforted and you are tormented. 26 And besides all this, between us and you there is a great gulf fixed, so that those who want to pass from here to you cannot, nor can those from there pass to us.’ 27 “Then he said, ‘I beg you therefore, father, that you would send him to my father’s house, 28 for I have five brothers, that he may testify to them, lest they also come to this place of torment.’ 29 Abraham said to him, ‘They have Moses and the prophets; let them hear them.’ 30 And he said, ‘No, father Abraham; but if one goes to them from the dead, they will repent.’ 31 But he said to him, ‘If they do not hear Moses and the prophets, neither will they be persuaded though one rise from the dead.'” [emphasis added]

John 3:18-21 “18He who believes in Him is not condemned; but he who does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God. 19 And this is the condemnation, that the light has come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil. 20 For everyone practicing evil hates the light and does not come to the light, lest his deeds should be exposed. 21 But he who does the truth comes to the light, that his deeds may be clearly seen, that they have been done in God.”

From The Writings – Evil Life Condemns

TCR 564 A person who has never repented, or looked into himself and examined himself, ends up not knowing what is the evil that damns him and what the good that saves him. Since so few people in the world of the Reformed Christians repent, it is necessary to add this point, that anyone who has not looked into or examined himself ends up not knowing what is the evil that damns him and the good that saves him. For he has no religious belief by which he can know this. The evil which a person does not see, recognize and acknowledge, lasts; and what lasts grows deeper and deeper roots until it blocks the interiors of his mind. This makes a person first natural, then sensual and finally bodily. In neither of these last two states does he recognize any damning evil or saving good. He becomes like a tree growing on hard rock, spreading its roots among the cracks in it, which ends up by withering for lack of moisture.


From the Writings

From the Writings

From the Writings – Life


Every man who has religion knows and acknowledges that he who leads a good life is saved, and that he who leads an evil life is damned; for he knows and acknowledges that the man who lives aright thinks aright, not only about God but also about his neighbor; but not so the man whose life is evil. The life of man is his love, and that which he loves he not only likes to be doing, but also likes to be thinking. The reason therefore why we say that the life is to do that which is good is that doing what is good acts as a one with thinking what is good, for if in a man these two things do not act as a one, they are not of his life.

DP 339. It is apparent now from this that all who think of salvation in terms of life think not of any instantaneous salvation out of mercy apart from means, but of the means of salvation into which and by which the Lord operates in accordance with the laws of His Divine providence, thus by which the Lord leads a person out of pure mercy.

On the other hand, people who do not think of salvation in terms of life, suppose there to be an instantaneous change in salvation and an absence of means in mercy, as those do who separate faith from charity (charity being life) and attribute an instantaneous change to faith, if not before, during the last hour of death. And those, too, do the same who believe that the forgiveness of sins is, without repentance, an absolution from sins and thus salvation, and go to Holy Supper. Likewise those who trust in the indulgences of monks, and in their prayers for the deceased, and in their dispensations by virtue of the power they claim to have over people’s souls.

AR 675 As for religion: Who can deny that religion consists in refraining from evil and doing good? Is there any religion where people are taught that faith alone saves, and not charity? Is there any religion where people are taught that charity emanating from people is nothing but moral and civic charity? Who does not see that in such charity there is no religion? Is there any deed or work in faith alone? And yet religion consists in doing.

From the Writings – Life/Mercy without Means

DP 338. Instantaneous salvation out of mercy apart from means is not possible. In the preceding discussions we showed that the operation of Divine providence to save a person begins at the person’s birth and continues to the end of his life, and afterward to eternity, and that this operation takes place unceasingly, through means, out of pure mercy. It follows from this that there is no instantaneous salvation, nor any mercy apart from means.

From The Writings – Natural Good Saves No One

AC 7761. A clear distinction must be made between spiritual good and natural good. As before said, spiritual good has its quality from the truths of faith, their abundance, and their connection; but natural good is born with the man, and also arises by accident, as by misfortunes, diseases, and the like. Natural good saves no one, but spiritual good saves all. The reason is that the good which is formed through the truths of faith is a plane into which heaven can flow, that is, the Lord through heaven, and lead man, and withhold him from evil, and afterward uplift him into heaven; but not so natural good; and therefore they who are in natural good can be as easily carried away by falsity as by truth, provided the falsity appears in the form of truth; and they can be as easily led by evil as by good, provided the evil is presented as good. They are like feathers in the wind.

From The Writings – Salvation as a Reward

AE 445 If a man is living according to the Lord’s commandments, it is permissible for him to think of eternal life, salvation, and heavenly joy; but it is not permissible for him to keep his mind intent upon reward, for if he does so he has reward as an end, and easily falls into the thought that by his life he deserves heaven and salvation, and this thought causes him to have regard to self in every particular, and such regard to self removes him from heaven; for so far as man looks to self in what he does, he does not look to heaven.


Life or Works

Life or Works

Matthew 3:7-12: “7 But when he [John the Baptist] saw many of the Pharisees and Sadducees coming to his baptism, he said to them, “Brood of vipers ! Who warned you to flee from the wrath to come? 8 Therefore bear fruits worthy of repentance, 9 and do not think to say to yourselves, ‘We have Abraham as our father.’ For I say to you that God is able to raise up children to Abraham from these stones. 10 And even now the ax is laid to the root of the trees. Therefore every tree which does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. 11 I indeed baptize you with water unto repentance, but He who is coming after me is mightier than I, whose sandals I am not worthy to carry. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire. 12 His winnowing fan is in His hand, and He will thoroughly clean out His threshing floor, and gather His wheat into the barn; but He will burn up the chaff with unquenchable fire.” “

Matthew 5:14-16: “14 “You are the light of the world. A city that is set on a hill cannot be hidden. 15 Nor do they light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a lamp-stand, and it gives light to all who are in the house. 16 Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven.”

Matthew 7:15-18: “15 “Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravenous wolves. 16 You will know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes from thorn bushes or figs from thistles? 17 Even so, every good tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit. 18 A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, nor can a bad tree bear good fruit.”

Matthew 7:19-20: “Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. 20 Therefore by their fruits you will know them.”

Matthew 7:21: “Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven.”

Matthew 7:24-25: “Therefore whoever hears these sayings of Mine, and does them, I  will liken him to a wise man who built his house on the rock: 25 and the rain descended, the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house; and it did not fall, for it was founded on the rock.”

Matthew 9:13: “But go and learn what this means: ‘I desire mercy and not sacrifice.’ For I did not come to call the righteous, but sinners, to repentance.” “

Matthew 10:5-11: “These twelve Jesus sent out and commanded them, saying: “Do not go into the way of the Gentiles, and do not enter a city of the Samaritans. 6 But go rather to the lost sheep of the house of Israel. 7 And as you go, preach, saying, ‘The kingdom of heaven is at hand.’ 8 Heal the sick, cleanse the lepers, raise the dead, cast out demons. Freely you have received, freely give. 9 Provide neither gold nor silver nor copper in your money belts, 10 nor bag for your journey, nor two tunics, nor sandals, nor staffs; for a worker is worthy of his food. 11Now whatever city or town you enter, inquire who in it is worthy, and stay there till you go out.” “

Matthew 10:39: “He who finds his life will lose it, and he who loses his life for My sake will find it.”

Matthew 12:7-13: “But if you had known what this means, ‘I desire mercy and not sacrifice,’ you would not have condemned the guiltless. 8 For the Son of Man is Lord even of the Sabbath.” 9 Now when He had departed from there, He went into their synagogue. 10 And behold, there was a man who had a withered hand. And they asked Him, saying, “Is it lawful to heal on the Sabbath?” that they might accuse Him. Then He said to them, “What man is there among you who has one sheep, and if it falls into a pit on the Sabbath, will not lay hold of it and lift it out? 12 Of how much more value then is a man than a sheep? Therefore it is lawful to do good on the Sabbath.” 13 Then He said to the man, “Stretch out your hand.” And he stretched it out, and it was restored as whole as the other.”

Matthew 12:33: “Either make the tree good and its fruit good, or else make the tree bad and its fruit bad; for a tree is known by its fruit.”

Matthew 12:36: “A good man out of the good treasure of his heart brings forth good things, and an evil man out of the evil treasure brings forth evil things.”

Matthew 12:50: “For whoever does the will of My Father in heaven is My brother and sister and mother.”

Matthew 13:23: “But he who received seed on the good ground is he who hears the word and understands it, who indeed bears fruit and produces: some a hundredfold, some sixty, some thirty.”

Matthew 16:25: “For whoever desires to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake will find it.”

Mark 8:35-37: “35 For whoever desires to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake and the gospel’s will save it. 36 For what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world, and loses his own soul? 37 Or what will a man give in exchange for his soul?”

Matthew 16:27: “For the Son of Man will come in the glory of His Father with His angels, and then He will reward each according to his works.”

Matthew 19:29: “And everyone who has left houses or brothers or sisters or father or mother or wife or children or lands, for My name’s sake, shall receive a hundredfold, and inherit eternal life.”

Matthew 21:31: ” “Which of the two did the will of his father?” They said to Him, “The first.” Jesus said to them, “Assuredly, I say to you that tax collectors and harlots enter the kingdom of God before you [the Pharisees].”

Matthew 21:43: “Therefore I say to you, the kingdom of God will be taken from you and given to a nation bearing the fruits of it.”

Matthew 25:31-46: “31 “When the Son of Man comes in His glory, and all the holy angels with Him, then He will sit on the throne of His glory. 32 All the nations will be gathered before Him, and He will separate them one from another, as a shepherd divides his sheep from the goats. 33 And He will set the sheep on His right hand, but the goats on the left. 34 Then the King will say to those on His right hand, ‘Come, you blessed of My Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world: 35 for I was hungry and you gave Me food; I was thirsty and you gave Me drink; I was a stranger and you took Me in; 36 I was naked and you clothed Me; I was sick and you visited Me; I was in prison and you came to Me.’ 37 “Then the righteous will answer Him, saying, ‘Lord, when did we see You hungry and feed You, or thirsty and give You drink? 38 When did we see You a stranger and take You in, or naked and clothe You? 39 Or when did we see You sick, or in prison, and come to You?’ 40 And the King will answer and say to them, ‘Assuredly, I say to you, inasmuch as you did it to one of the least of these My brethren, you did it to Me.’ [emphasis added] 41 “Then He will also say to those on the left hand, ‘Depart from Me, you cursed, into the everlasting fire prepared for the devil and his angels: 42 for I was hungry and you gave Me no food; I was thirsty and you gave Me no drink; 43 I was a stranger and you did not take Me in, naked and you did not clothe Me, sick and in prison and you did not visit Me.’ 44 “Then they also will answer Him, saying, ‘Lord, when did we see You hungry or thirsty or a stranger or naked or sick or in prison, and did not minister to You?’ 45 Then He will answer them, saying, ‘Assuredly, I say to you, inasmuch as you did not do it to one of the least of these, you did not do it to Me.’ 46 And these will go away into everlasting punishment, but the righteous into eternal life.” “

Mark 3:35: “For whoever does the will of God is My brother and My sister and mother.”

Luke 3:7-8: “Then he said to the multitudes that came out to be baptized by him, “Brood of vipers ! Who warned you to flee from the wrath to come? 8 Therefore bear fruits worthy of repentance, and do not begin to say to yourselves, ‘We have Abraham as our father.’ For I say to you that God is able to raise up children to Abraham from these stones.”

Jesus says to the sinful woman who washed His feet with oil at the Pharisee’s house, “Your faith has saved you. Go in peace.”

Luke 7:36-50: “36 Then one of the Pharisees asked Him to eat with him. And He went to the Pharisee’s house, and sat down to eat. 37 And behold, a woman in the city who was a sinner, when she knew that Jesus sat at the table in the Pharisee’s house, brought an alabaster flask of fragrant oil, 38 and stood at His feet behind Him weeping; and she began to wash His feet with her tears, and wiped them with the hair of her head; and she kissed His feet and anointed them with the fragrant oil. 39 Now when the Pharisee who had invited Him saw this, he spoke to himself, saying, “This Man, if He were a prophet, would know who and what manner of woman this is who is touching Him, for she is a sinner.” And Jesus answered and said to him, “Simon, I have something to say to you.” So he said, “Teacher, say it.” “There was a certain creditor who had two debtors. One owed five hundred denarii, and the other fifty. 42 And when they had nothing with which to repay, he freely forgave them both. Tell Me, therefore, which of them will love him more?” 43 Simon answered and said, “I suppose the one whom he forgave more.”  And He said to him, “You have rightly judged.” 44 Then He turned to the woman and said to Simon, “Do you see this woman? I entered your house; you gave Me no water for My feet, but she has washed My feet with her tears and wiped them with the hair of her head. 45 You gave Me no kiss, but this woman has not ceased to kiss My feet since the time I came in. 46 You did not anoint My head with oil, but this woman has anointed My feet with fragrant oil. 47 Therefore I say to you, her sins, which are many, are forgiven, for she loved much. But to whom little is forgiven, the same loves little.”  Then He said to her, “Your sins are forgiven.” And those who sat at the table with Him began to say to themselves, “Who is this who even forgives sins?” Then He said to the woman, “Your faith has saved you. Go in peace.”

Luke 10:25-28: “25 And behold, a certain lawyer stood up and tested Him, saying, “Teacher, what shall I do to inherit eternal life?” 26 He said to him, “What is written in the law? What is your reading of it?” 26 So he answered and said, ” ‘You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your strength, and with all your mind,’ and ‘your neighbor as yourself.’ 27 And He said to him, “You have answered rightly; do this and you will live.”

Luke 12:47: “And that servant who knew his master’s will, and did not prepare himself or do according to his will, shall be beaten with many stripes.”

After this Jesus spoke the parable of the barren fig tree, saying, “fertilize”:

Luke 13:6-9: “6 He also spoke this parable: “A certain man had a fig tree planted in his vineyard, and he came seeking fruit on it and found none. 7 Then he said to the keeper of his vineyard, ‘Look, for three years I have come seeking fruit on this fig tree and find none. Cut it down; why does it use up the ground?’ 8 But he answered and said to him, ‘Sir, let it alone this year also, until I dig around it and fertilize it. 9 And if it bears fruit, well. But if not, after that you can cut it down.'”

Luke 16:9: “”And I say to you, make friends for yourselves by unrighteous mammon, that when you fail, they may receive you into an everlasting home.” “

Luke 17:33: “Whoever seeks to save his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life will preserve it.”

Luke 19:1-10: Then Jesus entered and passed through Jericho. 2 Now behold, there was a man named Zacchaeus who was a chief tax collector, and he was rich. 3 And he sought to see who Jesus was, but could not because of the crowd, for he was of short stature. 4 So he ran ahead and climbed up into a sycamore tree to see Him, for He was going to pass that way. 5 And when Jesus came to the place, He looked up and saw him, and said to him, “Zacchaeus, make haste and come down, for today I must stay at your house.” 6 So he made haste and came down, and received Him joyfully. 7 But when they saw it, they all complained, saying, “He has gone to be a guest with a man who is a sinner.” 8 Then Zacchaeus stood and said to the Lord, “Look, Lord, I give half of my goods to the poor; and if I have taken anything from anyone by false accusation, I restore fourfold.” 9 And Jesus said to him, “Today salvation has come to this house, because he also is a son of Abraham; 10 for the Son of Man has come to seek and to save that which was lost.”

John 3:18-21 “18He who believes in Him is not condemned; but he who does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God. 19 And this is the condemnation, that the light has come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil. 20 For everyone practicing evil hates the light and does not come to the light, lest his deeds should be exposed. 21 But he who does the truth comes to the light, that his deeds may be clearly seen, that they have been done in God.”

John 4:35-36: “35…Behold, I say to you, lift up your eyes and look at the fields, for they are already white for harvest ! 36 And he who reaps receives wages, and gathers fruit for eternal life, that both he who sows and he who reaps may rejoice together.”

John 5:28-29: “Do not marvel at this; for the hour is coming in which all who are in the graves will hear His voice 29 and come forth those who have done good, to the resurrection of life, and those who have done evil, to the resurrection of condemnation.”

John 5:39-40: “You search the Scriptures, for in them you think you have eternal life; and these are they which testify of Me. 40 But you are not willing to come to Me that you may have life.”


Salvation is the Lord’ s Work

Salvation is the Lord’ s Work

Matthew 18:11: “For the Son of Man has come to save that which was lost.”

Matthew 18:14: “Even so it is not the will of your Father who is in heaven that one of these little ones should perish.”

Matthew 24:22: “And unless those days were shortened, no flesh would be saved.”

Mark 2:10: “But that you may know that the Son of Man has power on earth to forgive sins.”

Mark 10:27: “But Jesus looked at them and said, “With men it is impossible, but not with God; for with God all things are possible.”

Luke 9:56: “For the Son of Man did not come to destroy men’s lives but to save them.”

Luke 12:32: “Do not fear, little flock, for it is your Father’s good pleasure to give you the kingdom.”

Luke 19:10 “The Son of Man has come to seek and to save that which was lost.”

John 3:14-17: “14 And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of Man be lifted up, 15 that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have eternal life. 16 For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. 17 For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved.”

John 3:18-21 “18He who believes in Him is not condemned; but he who does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only  begotten Son of God. 19 And this is the condemnation, that the light has come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil. 20 For everyone practicing evil hates the light and does not come to the light, lest his deeds should be exposed. 21 But he who does the truth comes to the light, that his deeds may be clearly seen, that they have been done in God.”

Compare to John 8:12: “Then Jesus spoke to them again, saying, “I am the light of the world. He who follows Me shall not walk in darkness, but have the light of life.” “

Also compare to John 9:15: “Then the Pharisees also asked him again how he had received his sight. He said to them, “He put clay on my eyes, and I washed, and I see.” “

John 4:14: “But whoever drinks of the water that I shall give him will never thirst. But the water that I shall give him will become in him a fountain of water springing up into everlasting life.”

John 5:21: “For as the Father raises the dead and gives life to them, even so the Son gives life to whom He will.”

John 6:40: “And this is the will of Him who sent Me, that everyone who sees the Son and believes in Him may have everlasting life; and I will raise him up at the last day.”

John 6:44: “No one can come to Me unless the Father who sent Me draws him; and I will raise him up at the last day.”

John 6:47: “Most assuredly, I say to you, he who believes in Me has everlasting life.”

John 6:50-51: “50 This is the bread which comes down from heaven, that one may eat of it and not die. 51 I am the living bread which came down from heaven. If anyone eats of this bread, he will live forever; and the bread that I shall give is My flesh, which I shall give for the life of the world.

John 6:68: “But Simon Peter answered Him, “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life.” “

John 8:24: “Therefore I said to you that you will die in your sins; for if you do not believe that I am He, you will die in your sins.”

John 10:9: “I am the door. If anyone enters by Me, he will be saved, and will go in and out and find pasture.”

John 11:25: “Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in Me, though he may die, he shall live.” “

John 12:32: “And I, if I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all peoples to Myself.”

John 12:47-48: “47 And if anyone hears My words and does not believe, I do not judge him; for I did not come to judge the world but to save the world. 48 He who rejects Me, and does not receive My words, has that which judges him–the word that I have spoken will judge him in the last day.”

From the Writings – The Lord’ s Work of Salvation

DP 257 Divine providence has for its end nothing else than reformation and thus salvation. This is its continual operation in each individual. And salvation cannot be achieved except by acknowledgment of the Lord’s Divinity and confidence that the Lord accomplishes that salvation when a person lives according to His precepts.


These are the virtues in their order which the Lord makes effective in those who believe on Him, and who adapt and prepare themselves to receive Him and become His dwelling place. This is brought about by means of Divine Truth, and in the case of Christians, by means of the Word, as this is the only means by which a man approaches the Lord, and into which the Lord enters. for, as was said above, the Lord is the Divine Truth itself, and whatever proceeds from Him is Divine Truth. It is, however, Divine Truth from good that is to be understood, and this is the same as faith from charity, for faith is nothing but truth, and charity is nothing but goodness. By means of Divine Truth from good, that is, by means of faith from charity, a man is reformed and regenerated; then renewed, quickened, sanctified and justified; and according as those virtues progress end develop, he is also purified from evils: and purification from these is the remission of sins. However, all these several operations of the Lord cannot here be explained in detail, for each requires its exposition to be confirmed from the Word and rationally illustrated; and this does not belong to our present subject. The reader is therefore referred to later parts of this work which treat in due order of Charity, Faith, Free Will, Repentance, Reformation and Regeneration. It should be known that the Lord without ceasing renders effective those saving graces in every man, for they are the steps to heaven, and the Lord wills the salvation of all men; thus the salvation of all is the end He has in view, and He who wills the end wills also the means. The Lord’s Coming, His Redemption, and the Passion of the Cross, were all for the sake of man’s salvation, Matt. xviii. 11; Luke xix. 10; and as man’s salvation was, and eternally is, the end He has in view, it follows that the operations just mentioned are mediate ends, while salvation is the ultimate end.

The Need to be Conjoined with the Lord

John 6:53-54: “Then Jesus said to them, “Most assuredly, I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink His blood, you have no life in you. 54 Whoever eats My flesh and drinks My blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up at the last day.”

John 6:57-58, 63: “57 As the living Father sent Me, and I live because of the Father, so he who feeds on Me will live because of Me. 58 This is the bread which came down from heavennot as your fathers ate the manna, and are dead. He who eats this bread will live forever…63It is the Spirit who gives life; the flesh profits nothing. The words that I speak to you are spirit, and they are life.” [emphasis added]

John 12:32: “And I, if I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all peoples to Myself.”

The Word of the Lord Teaches Salvation

John 6:68: “But Simon Peter answered Him, “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life.” “

John 12:47-48: “47 And if anyone hears My words and does not believe, I do not judge him; for I did not come to judge the world but to save the world. 48 He who rejects Me, and does not receive My words, has that which judges himthe word that I have spoken will judge him in the last day.”


The Lord is Salvation Itself

The Lord is Salvation Itself

Luke 2:30: Simeon says of Jesus: “For my eyes have seen Your salvation.” Luke 3:6: “And all flesh shall see the salvation of God.”

John 10:9: “I am the door. If anyone enters by Me, he will be saved, and will go in and out and find pasture.”

John 11:25: “Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in Me, though he may die, he shall live.” “

John 12:12-13: “12 The next day a great multitude that had come to the feast, when they heard that Jesus was coming to Jerusalem, 13 took branches of palm trees and went out to meet Him, and cried out: ” Hosanna ! ‘ Blessed is He who comes in the name of the LORD ! The King of Israel ! ” “

John 12:50: “And I know that His command is everlasting life. Therefore, whatever I speak, just as the Father has told Me, so I speak.”

Compare I John 5:20 quoted in TCR 3

The name “Jesus” is a cognate of “the Lord Saves”

From The Writings – The Lord is Salvation Itself

TCR 150. Those who believe in the Lord Jesus Christ are to receive those spiritual benefits, because He Himself is salvation and everlasting life. He is salvation, because He is the Savior, for this is the meaning of His name Jesus; He is everlasting life, because those in whom He is, and who are in Him, have everlasting life. This is why He is called everlasting life in 1 John 5:20. Now since He is salvation and everlasting life, it follows that He is also every means which leads to salvation and everlasting life. Thus He is the whole of reformation, regeneration, renewal, quickening, sanctification and justification, cleansing from evils, and finally salvation. In the case of every single person the Lord confers these benefits, or rather, He attempts to impart them; and when a person makes himself ready and suitable to receive them, He does impart them. The activity of readying and making oneself suitable comes from the Lord too, but if the person does not receive them with spontaneity of spirit, then the Lord cannot go beyond the attempt to introduce them, and this attempt is constantly kept up.

AE 460 [2] “Salvation unto Him,” signifies that salvation is from Him, since He is salvation; for everything of salvation and of eternal life is from the Lord and is with man and angel; for all the good of love and all the truth of faith with man are the Lord’s with him, and not the man’s; for it is the Divine proceeding, which is the Lord in heaven with the angels and in the church with men, and from the good of love and the truth of faith come salvation and eternal life; so when it is said that salvation is the Lord’s, and that the Lord Himself is salvation, it is clear how this is to be understood

AR 804. Salvation, and glory, and honor, and power, unto the Lord our God, signifies that now there is salvation from the Lord, because now there is a reception of Divine truth and Divine good from His Divine power.

From the Writings – Salvation comes from the Lord alone: critical for a person to believe when struggling in temptation

AC 8172 It is said here that they should faithfully believe that salvation comes from the Lord alone and not at all from themselves, because this is the chief thing to be believed in temptations. The person who believes when he is tempted that he has strength of his own with which he can offer resistance goes under. The reason for this is that he is subject to a falsity that leads him to ascribe merit to himself; and in doing this he claims that he himself accomplishes his salvation, in which case he shuts out influx from the Divine. But the person who believes that the Lord alone offers resistance in temptations is victorious, for he is guided by the truth and ascribes merit to the Lord; and he perceives that his salvation is accomplished by the Lord alone. A person whose faith is bonded to charity ascribes salvation wholly to the Lord and not at all to himself.


Introduction to the Gospel Study

Introduction to the Gospel Study

In the early Fall, I began to gather passages from the Gospels that I judged to be the direct references to salvation and what it took to get to heaven. I highlighted in yellow the references that explicitly spoke of salvation or life and merely copied the references were obvious but indirectly spoke of salvation through analogy. There may be ones I missed. Once I collected them, I organized them into 23 categories. About a third of the passages fit into several categories so they are repeated. Some of the categories probably will be combined in the future. Most of the categories have clear teachings from the Writings that help characterize their nature.

Where it might go from here:

The study began out of the need to have the passages ready at my fingertips for my dialogues with our internet contacts. Yet, after repeated readings, I am still moved by the text and the power inherent in their being bundled together. I expect I will extend this study into the Old Testament and into the Epistles in order to build out a bigger picture. And then, ultimately, I hope to couch this study in a paper on the New Church Doctrine of Salvation. I hope that it might be of use to you at this early stage and that you might feel free to share thoughts and insights so that I can improve its insights and usefulness in the future.

A final thought before we begin: The fundamental focus of the priesthood is the Lord and His salvation of souls. To the degree that we focus our attention on this most holy use, the Church will be in order and function in a robust and healthy way. The Priesthood represents salvation. This is taught in AC 9809. The good of the priesthood is the salvation of souls (Life 39; HD 317; AC 10796).

In the doctrine of Charity we read of charity in the priest. This passage makes clear how important the subject of salvation is to the priesthood and thereby to the church as an organization. We read “If [the priest] looks to the Lord and shuns evils

as sins and sincerely, justly and faithfully performs the work of the ministry enjoined upon him, he does the good of use continually and becomes charity in form. And he does the good of use or work of the ministry sincerely, justly, and faithfully when he is affected with a desire for the salvation of souls. And in proportion as he is so affected, he is affected by truths, because by means of them he leads souls to heaven; and he leads souls to heaven by means of truths when he leads them to the Lord.”


Initial Thoughts About the Subject of Salvation in the Gospels

Initial Thoughts About the Subject of Salvation in the Gospels

What does Jesus actually say about salvation? What did He teach in the New Testament about what will get a person to heaven in the next life? It strikes me as odd that there is such a significant gap between what Jesus said in the Gospels and what many Christians contacting us at Newchurch.org have claimed are the basic principles of salvation taught in Christianity. In fact, the gap is so great that contacts frequently go to great lengths to deny direct teaching that the Lord gave in favor of arguments that have been spawned in the darker corners of Christendom centuries after His death.

By contrast, what Jesus says in the New Testament, is compellingly in-line with teachings found in the Writings of the New Church. As one would expect, there is perfect symmetry between the Jesus’ teachings of salvation and the presentation of salvation in the Writings of the Second Coming. I have found Jesus’ own words about salvation to be the best starting point in dialoguing with Christians about the tenants of faith of the New Church. The New Testament is their primary frame of reference when talking about faith. Furthermore, it is harder for Christians to avoid the realities of the false doctrines of their faith when confronted with true statements about religion that the Lord Himself made while on earth.

What are the false beliefs that our contacts most commonly bring up about salvation that differ significantly from the Lord’s own teaching in the Letter of the Gospels? The following is a list of the ones we see most:

  • Salvation is by faith alone and not related to a person’s own efforts.
  • Salvation comes only through God’s plan to sacrifice His innocent Son for the sake of the guilty.
  • God holds people guilty for the sin of Adam
  • God is angry
  • Only baptized Christians can be saved – no exceptions !
  • The Ten Commandments (and the law in general) do not apply to Christians and salvation because they ‘were nailed to the cross’ (Col. 2:14).
  • A good life is generally as a product of salvation (many people struggle with this because they still long for evil after they ‘got saved’).
  • There are often fears expressed by people who worry about what will happen to them if they were members of ‘the wrong religion’.
  • Forgiveness issues.
  • Judgment issues.

From a doctrinal perspective these issues come up repeatedly in the Writings. That said, I am still surprised to see how pervasive these issues are in the internet conversations we have with our Christian contacts. It is so strange to see people who call themselves ‘Christian’ flatly refuse to acknowledge clear, openly stated words of Christ.

There are also many good people contacting us who innately understand the Lord in a general way. They also have issues. Some come to us simply out of pain due to some trauma or death. Some are struggling with addictions. Some come to us with marriage issues. And some are facing spiritual problems that just won’t go away. Occasionally, get people who have pretty much pieced together a ‘new church’ form of belief and are overcome with joy when they find the church they have been searching for many years. These basically good people are easy to serve yielding the most joyful results.

Peter Devassay is a great example of this later class of people. He had been involved with Catholics and Pentecostals but always felt that there was something missing in their theology. He took up a contact with the folks in Colchester after discovering us on newchurch.org. Olaf Hauptman and Heulwen Ridgeway began to send books to him. Eventually, Peter travelled to Stockholm, as the nearest church he could find (he was in Poland at the time). Peter now is planting a church in Kerala India.


Rebirth From Above

Rebirth From Above

In all I’ve said, the rebirth mentioned is one which means spiritual development. It is the rebirth taught by the Lord Jesus. But we should realize that a person who rejects the Divine Love and Wisdom, deliberately choosing a way of selfishness and wrongdoing, is reborn again and again in a descending scale. He goes from bad to worse, and as new ideas of evil dominate him, he is shaped by them. His spiritual rebirths are from below, not from above. They are the opposite of the ones which happen in true rebirth. The potential angel, through his own deliberate desire, becomes an actual devil. He is a child of hell, one of the company of “those unhappy ones who hate and are cruel,” and he passes from birth to birth as malicious loves dominate him one after another. But let me emphasize that those births are changes in his state of mind, and do not produce reincarnations.

Reincarnationists, in my view, have done themselves and the world an injustice by their literalistic and materialistic interpretation of sacred writings which are actually speaking of spiritual realities. And it seems that their literalism comes from failure to see sound spiritual values and the reality of the spiritual world, and to an unconscious but compelling materialism which demands physical satisfactions.

The aspiring soul does not ask to return after death to scenes on the earth, but reaches out to the eternal world where it will enjoy the full fruits of its labors. It does not ask for any other reward there than the fulfillment of its being. It does not suffer any punishment arbitrarily meted out, but only the painful reaction which comes after failure to serve a good and sacred purpose. In the other world every person finds his own place where he can truly be himself and find the fulfillment he needs. Even in this world, with all its inequalities and imperfections, no one can corner happiness. Whatever condition we find ourselves in, we can be fairly happy most of the time if we will only decide to be.

A Spiritual Interpretation Needed

A Spiritual Interpretation Needed

The true spiritual seers of ancient times, like those of all ages, have had a clear vision of the need for human rebirth, or spiritual regeneration. For lack of better language, they have always described it in terms of ordinary birth.

Our Lord did this when He said, “Unless a person is born again, he cannot see the Kingdom of God.” But as the rest of what He said shows, he was speaking of spiritual rebirth, not physical rebirth. It is only a grossly literalistic outlook which leads readers of ancient Eastern Scriptures to find statements in favor of reincarnation in them. In the Bhagavad Gita there are frequent passages which describe spiritual rebirth in physical terms. So we read, “We have been born many times, I and thou, Arjuna” And again, “Those unhappy ones, who hate and are cruel, I cast from one reincarnation to another.”

Indeed, in a spiritual sense we are born many times in the course of our labors. Without our taking particular notice, we are reborn every time a new motivation takes over in our lives. We are a new person, a different person, under the rule of new and vital interests. A changed person is a different person, and when we see a definite mental or moral development in a friend we even speak of him as a new person. Yet he is the same individual the difference comes from his new motivation and changed outlook.

Most mature people can look back over the years and notice the changes which have been critical in causing a remade personality to emerge in themselves. A person is spiritually reborn when, from being completely apathetic, he becomes motivated by the love of truth. He is again reborn, becoming new, when he lives according to the vision of that faith. And he is a new person once more when love for the Lord and kind goodwill toward other people rule his outlook and his life. The rebirths referred to in the Bhagavad Gita are spiritual, not physical. The language used is figurative and should be interpreted in spiritual terms, not literally. Rebirth, in these Scriptures, is a figure of speech. Anyone who has a spiritual understanding sees in it a picture of the states of mind and heart which we must pass through to reach true spirituality.

Determination of Character

Determination of Character

Reincarnationists suggest, or insist, that compensation for present experiences is given in future incarnations. In our returns to earth we are rewarded for the good we have done and punished for our wrongs.

The New Church teaches that the consequences of good or bad actions are immediate, not just in outward experience, but also in the deeper level of their effect on our character. A single existence on earth is enough to determine a person’s character. And the character developed here, not under compulsion but in free response to the different inner and outer influences which bear upon us, continues in the afterlife.

Seen from a spiritual standpoint, even if the situations we are in here on earth seem far from ideal outwardly, they are all directed by the Divine Providence so as to bring us into a state of heart and mind which prepares us for our eternal service. It is not wealth or poverty, sickness or health, high or low position, but character that counts. Not what we have, but what we are. Experience is stuff to try our strength on, and we should take our circumstances as a way toward compassion. If we react with good spirit to our present conditions, we gradually create new and better ones.

It is not necessary or desirable that we be forced to conform to one type of personality. An individual is happy in the life of good which he freely chooses, and if that good is not the highest, he can still enjoy it as long as his actions do not hurt other people.

Just as in the human body there are organs which have higher, middle, and lower functions, all of which are necessary for the health of the whole, so in spiritual society there are different levels of people who are happy and healthy in doing services which are all needed for the common good, whatever their status is.

Claims of Remembering Past Lives

Claims of Remembering Past Lives

Some reincarnationists say that they can remember past incarnations. I believe two well known advocates of the theory have claimed to be re-embodiments of Hypatia. Since both were living at the same time, at least one of them must be wrong!

Sometimes, at times of day-dreaming or deep thought, we seem to experience a sense of having lived in conditions that don’t exist now, but which are vivid to the mind for a moment. Reincarnationists take such experiences as evidence for their theory.

But Swedenborg shows that they can have a completely different explanation. He tells us that we are in unconscious association with spirits who influence us in an inner way. On the communication of spirits with people on earth, he says in his HEAVEN AND HELL, paragraph 256:

Angels and spirits are not allowed to speak to a person from their own memory, only from the person’s memory. Spirits and angels have a memory just the way people do. If a spirit talked to a person from his own memory, the person would not know anything else but that all he thought then were his own thoughts, when they were actually the spirit’s. It is like remembering things which the person never actually heard or saw. I have been shown by experience that it is like this. It was from this experience that some of the ancients got the belief that after several thousand years they would return to their former life, and to everything they did in it, and also that they had already returned from before. They concluded this because they occasionally had something like a memory of things which they had never seen or heard. This happened because spirits flowed from their own memory into the ideas of their thought.

So according to Swedenborg, the claims of remembering past lives are due to the projection of the memory of a spirit into the mind of a person receptive to it. Each spirit has had his own life on earth, which the person would “remember” quite clearly, believing it to be a buried memory of one of his own past lives.



It is claimed for reincarnation that it explains our present experience and shows why we suffer or enjoy as we do. In suffering we are punished for wrongdoing in a past incarnation. In present well- being we are rewarded for bearing hardships.

The teaching implies that the poor must accept poverty and look for compensation, not in this present existence, but in a future incarnation. In fact, each incarnation is said to compensate for past ones. The rich man of today may return a thousand years from now in the dress of poverty. Someone who exploits others may return to earth and be exploited.

The law of retaliation has a prominent place in the theory. Even if we are completely unaware of wrongs done in a former incarnation, we will have to pay the bill. It seems to me that the payment can hardly be helpful or reforming if we have no idea what it is for. It is more likely to bring on bitterness and rebellion. In actual fact, we experience the consequences of our actions in the present life, and our wrongs are not held against us if we do not persist in them. The rigid caste system in India is supported by the widely accepted teaching of reincarnation. The person of low caste is told he must be content with his lot. His present position is attributed to his behavior in former incarnations, and he is taught that submission to an obviously bad condition will lead to a better position in a future incarnation.

Social change is impossible under the tyranny of this kind of belief. Indeed, the belief is fatalistic, and leads to tame resignation. It overlooks the saving power of the Lord, which is always at work and can set us free from the tyranny of circumstances if we cooperate with it.

Those who suggest that Christianity should adopt the teaching of reincarnation must hardly realize that they are advocating an impossible union. Christianity calls for change in the present, and newness of life here and now. It is concerned with present issues, dealing with things as they are. It

does not evade the urgent call of the present in speculating about remote causes.

Reincarnation in the New Testament

Reincarnation in the New Testament

We know that the reincarnation theory penetrated Palestine and had its advocates among the Apocalyptics who flourished around the time of our Lord. Many Jewish thinkers adopted the theory, and it appears in the Zohar. It was probably a person who favored reincarnation who asked Jesus the question, “Who sinned, this man or his parents, so that he was born blind?” (John 9:12). And the theory is reflected in the answer given to Jesus when He asked, “Whom do people say that I am?” The disciples answered, “Some say Elijah, others Jeremiah, and others one of the old prophets.” But nowhere in the Bible do we find a positive word which approves the theory. We do not have to accept a teaching which is mentioned in Scripture as being held by people with a speculative mindset. The Bible shows that by a certain time the reincarnation theory had influenced popular thought. It also shows that people once believed that the earth was a flat disk floating on water. We do not have to believe either.

The Word is not given to tell us about ancient beliefs, but to show us spiritual and eternal truths about the Lord, the way He provides for us, and His life in people’s souls. Just because there are shadows of reincarnation in the Bible does not prove that the theory is true. Reincarnationists claim that Jesus was a reincarnation of a pre-existent Christ. But the New Testament indicates that He was God Himself accommodated to human understanding. Someone may bring against this statement the philosophical doctrine of the Eternal Word, given in John’s Gospel. All I need to say is that the Word, or Logos, referred to there is the Eternal Wisdom, Thought, or Mind of God which became personal and appeared as the Word made flesh.

Reincarnation is Not Meant

Reincarnation is Not Meant

You will realize from what I’ve said that according to the New Church teaching, rebirth does not imply reincarnation. We are born on earth just once. After our earth life we continue as spiritual beings, with bodies made of spiritual substance, in the spiritual world. There is no need for us to return to the earth to gain further experience and undergo further discipline. Everything necessary for our eternal well-being is provided in the eternal living place of humanity. The idea of reincarnation flourishes in the East, and has invaded Western thought. Stated briefly, it says that the soul of a person now living on earth is not a new creation. It may have existed here before in different bodies and circumstances, and will probably exist here in many future incarnations.

According to the reincarnationist, a newborn baby is a reincarnation of a soul which has had many incarnations, and between incarnate existences has lived in a disembodied state in a nebulous astral realm. While it was in that realm it supposedly assimilated past experience and developed characteristics whose good or bad effects will appear in the next incarnation. In each incarnation the bill is paid for past error, and reward is given for past good. The soul must continue to be incarnated at intervals for a longer or shorter time until it is purged of evil and no longer needs the discipline of earth.

As to its final destiny, there seems to be a difference of opinion among teachers of the theory. Hindu reincarnationists, millions in number, seem to hold that the soul finally finds Nirvana, which, as I understand it, means mergence into the Divine. As we’ve already seen, this involves loss of individuality. Others teach that individuality survives, but the form in which it survives is mostly left to the imagination.

There are some reincarnationists who say that the end result is not mergence with the Divine, but the attainment of a Divine status in which, to use my own term, the purified individual becomes a kind of demigod. With the Buddhists this means the attainment of Buddha-hood. While for his own development the purified individual needs no more incarnations, he may decide to take on a body once more as a great world teacher.

It was probably a reincarnationist teaching that started the idea that the Lord Jesus Christ would make a second personal advent in the flesh, no longer to be despised and rejected by men, but to be accepted as a great world leader. If this surmise is true, we can see that the teaching of reincarnation is responsible for a serious misunderstanding which deceives millions of Christians. We should not look forward to a new physical appearance of the Man of Nazareth, but realize that now and always the Kingdom of the Lord in his Divine Humanity is spiritual. He is always with us spiritually in His Word, and in the goodness and truth He puts into the human soul. The Lord’s Second Advent is spiritual, and a person sees it with his spiritual understanding, not his physical eyes. The theory of reincarnation implies the existence of a limited number of souls. And if, as the Hindus believe, the end of the individual is mergence in deity, unless by some device new souls are created, the human family will gradually get less numerous until at last only deity exists.

Intensified Individuality

Intensified Individuality

This teaching does not imply the idea that when people are reborn they all become the same of one monotonous type. Everyone knows that individual people are different, and as character develops, personality traits become stronger. Some Eastern philosophies teach that the purpose of human existence is mergence with the Divine. Obviously, this means losing any distinctive personality.

According to the teaching of the New Church, the closer a person lives to God, the more intense is his individuality. The Spirit of the Lord working in his soul brings out his distinctive characteristics, just as the warm sunshine makes a seed planted in the ground germinate, grow, and produce according to the specific type of plant it is.

As members of the family of God we are distinct individuals, each adding the value of his personality to the common good. A heavenly society is harmony in variety, and the unifying force is the love of good and the desire to be of service to others. In the process of spiritual rebirth individual characteristics are not blotted out or silenced. They are saved from being used badly, spiritually refined, and put to heavenly use.

To be merged with the Divine would be to become God, the creature being lost in the Creator. If that were the end result of our labor, we would have to give up the hope of our own immortality.