But such are not intelligent but insane in spiritual things, because they do not will good but evil, consequently they are averse to knowing and understanding truths, for truths favor good and oppose evil. From all this it is clear that the first step in the new birth is a reception of truths by the understanding, and the second is the will to act in accordance with truths, and finally to practice them. No one, however, can be said to be reformed by mere knowledges of truth; for man is able to acquire these and to talk about, teach, and preach them through his ability to elevate his understanding, above the love of his will. But he is a reformed man who has an affection for truth for the sake of truth; for this affection conjoins itself with the will, and if it goes on it conjoins the will to the understanding, and then regeneration begins. But how regeneration afterward advances and is perfected, will be told in what follows. True Christian Religion, #589
The Bible tells us a great deal about what leads to salvation. It talks about faith, repentance, and living a good life (obeying the commandments).
The path to salvation is simple: live well, believe rightly, and you will be saved. We believe that all people who live good lives, no matter what their religion, have a place in heaven. Heaven is limitless in its capacity for angels, in fact, the more angels there are, the more heaven thrives. Everyone born on this earth has been predestined for heaven. The only reason someone would go to hell is because they have chosen to go there of their own volition.
In determining whether or not we have lived well, God leads us to assess the whole of our lives — the highs and lows, causes and effects, the mistakes made and genuinely good things done. If there is any possible way He can lead us into heaven, He will. In other words, it’s pretty difficult to go to hell. God’s greatest wish for us is that we find our highest happiness within the angel body. Those who choose hell are people who put themselves above all else, repeatedly indulging in things which are hurtful to others. The only reason hell exists is to preserve the freedom of choice which God grants to all His people.
ONLY THE LORD SAVES, BUT WE PLAY A ROLE
We play an active role in our salvation every day of our lives. When we look to the Divine and live according to what we believe is right, we move closer towards heaven. If we shun good, we move closer to hell. Thus, salvation and freedom of choice are inseparable from each other.
Salvation is not dependent on the doctrinal specifics of the religion you have followed on earth. As long as you have lived a life acknowledging God and refraining from evil because it is against Him, you will be saved. Acknowledging God does not necessarily mean recognizing Him by name. A person can be ignorant of religion and still acknowledge God by living a life of goodwill. This is because the choices that we make on a daily basis are what determine whether we end up in heaven or hell. Yes, worshiping God is essential for admittance into heaven, but we worship Him through the actions of our lives.
“The sum of faith is that one who lives well and believes rightly is saved by the Lord.” (True Christian Religion 340)
“Every person has been created to live to eternity in a blessed state.” (Divine Providence 324)
“The love of Christ controls and urges and impels us, because we are of the opinion and conviction that if One died for all, then all died; and He died for all, so that all those who live might live no longer to and for themselves, but to and for Him Who died and was raised again for their sake. Consequently, from now on we estimate and regard no one from a human point of view.” (2 Corinthians 5:14-16a)
In a Catholic school cafeteria, a nun places a note in front of a pile of apples, “Only take one. God is watching.” Further down the line is a pile of cookies. A little boy makes his own note, “Take all you want. God is watching the apples.”
TEN CRAPPY CHRISTIAN IDEAS (AND ONE BONUS BIT OF BALONEY)
The Trinitarian Doctrine that God is three Persons but one substance. This widespread Christian teaching requires us to throw reasoning out the window. Artificial terms, like “consubstantiality” and “hypostatic union,” were invented by theologians to get themselves out of their doctrinal pickle of dividing God into three Persons.
If we are to love God (as the first commandment dictates), which God are we to love? It was Jehovah God who assumed a human form on earth and fulfilled Scripture.
God is pissed off with the whole human race. The idea that God is angry with humans comes from a mere literal interpretation of the narratives within Sacred Scripture, especially the Old Testament. God is Infinite Love and Mercy. The idea that God’s “wrath” has to be appeased by His Son’s suffering and death on the cross is barbaric and falls way short of INFINITE Divine Love and Wisdom. God never judges or punishes. It is those who turn away from God that damn themselves. Evil punishes itself. What greater justice is there than that?
Salvation is by Faith alone. If you don’t want to bother with repentance or cleaning up your act, then you must place all your faith, hope, and trust that Christ is sticking up for you (interceding) and convincing the “Father” why you ought not burn in Hell. Christ’s death on the cross was not redemption itself, nor did it remove our personal responsibility for following the Commandments. Christ did overcome the power of sin while on earth. However, this saving power is offered to us when we approach the Lord and ask for His help in uncovering and removing our egocentric compulsions. Salvation is through cooperating with God – not in mere belief or crossing one’s fingers and hoping that things are well. But if you are of a lazy disposition, I can see why the doctrine of “Faith Alone” would be so attractive.
The Sacraments save. Sacraments and rituals are simply outer signs and formalities representing deeper things of internal worship. For example, Baptism signifies the cleansing of one’s spirit. This “inner cleansing” is done from introspection and repentance. Repentance is what is essential to worship – not the splashing of water. Nor does praying to Saints help either – they are not told in heaven that they have been pronounced saints by earth-dwellers, because it would be a negative influence to a humble and heavenly life.
Going to church saves. This, too, is simply external worship. True worship is to live one’s life according to God’s tenets. Going to church, participating in sacraments, hearing sermons, praying, and enjoying potluck dinners are all fine as long as we use religion to make real changes in our lives. Duh!
We will get new physical bodies at the “end times.” Death is a continuation of life. We enter into the spiritual world after the death of the physical body. The spiritual world consists of spiritual substances – not natural substances. Our soul forms a spiritual body based on the choices we make in life. We become who we really are! So we end up where we really belong!
God judges, rewards, and punishes. Nope! I touched on this in #2. The Lord God continuously seeks our salvation and eternal happiness. Heaven is not a reward or entitlement, nor is it a “place” that you go to. Heaven is something you become.
Heaven is a place one goes to. Pure bunk! This has been covered above, but I need to throw in some scientific reasoning as a further support. Heaven is NOT a physical place in time and space. Therefore, it is not some place we need permission to gain access to. It is a quality of one’s heart and mind. Our thoughts and values are real spiritual substances and they grow into the bio-structure of our spiritual bodies, which are adapted to either a life in heaven or a life of self-centeredness. Religion is God’s strategy to extend the evolution of the biosphere into a non-physical realm. The purpose of creation is to build a heaven from the human race.
The Holy Word is to be taken as historical truth. There are parts of Scripture that represent real events that involved real people. However, the Sacred Word is a multi-dimensional document. Even the real events and real people of the Bible are used to represent the deeper spiritual dynamics of salvation and various qualities of worship.
Heaven is a retirement destination. Inactivity and uselessness is not tolerated in heaven. Eternal happiness and blessedness are the enjoyments of those who practice mutual love toward each other—through service. Life and love is fully expressed through productive activity. Heaven would become hell without such a commerce of caring.
Baloney Bonus –The Second Coming is yet to come. It is taking place at this very moment! Did you miss it? It is not a physical event. It is a new dispensation from the Lord concerning deeper revelations within Scripture. This new knowledge from heaven is the descent of the Holy City, the New Jerusalem INTO OUR HEARTS AND MINDS! These new teachings from the Lord God will be a new HABITATION for our spirit.