Righteousness and Merit

December 3, 2018 § Leave a comment

AC 9715:  

What righteousness and merit are, which are the Lord’s alone, must be stated here and now. People think that the Lord earned merit and righteousness because He fulfilled all the requirements of the law and by His passion on the Cross saved the human race. But this is not what anyone should understand in the Word by the Lord’s merit and righteousness. Rather they should understand by His merit and righteousness that He fought alone against all the hells and overcame them, and in so doing He restored to order everything in the hells and at the same time everything in the heavens. For each person has spirits from hell present with him, and angels from heaven; without them a person cannot lead any life at all. Unless the hells had been overcome by the Lord and the heavens restored to order no one could ever have been saved. 

[2] Salvation could not have been won except through His Human, that is to say, except through conflicts with the hells, fought from His Human. And since the Lord did this by His own power, thus did it alone, to the Lord alone belong merit and righteousness. And for the same reason it is He alone who still conquers the hells with a person; for He who conquers them once conquers them for evermore. No one therefore has any merit or righteousness whatever; yet the Lord’s merit and righteousness are his when he acknowledges that none is attributable to himself but all to the Lord. So it is that the Lord alone regenerates a person; for regenerating a person involves driving the hells away from him, consequently the evils and falsities which come from the hells, and implanting heaven in place of them, that is, forms of the good of love and the truths of faith since these constitute heaven. Through the conflicts engaged in repeatedly with the hells the Lord also glorified His Human, that is, made it Divine; for even as a person is regenerated by means of conflicts, which are temptations, so the Lord was glorified by means of conflicts, which were temptations. The glorification of the Lord’s Human by His own power therefore is also merit and righteousness; for through this the person is saved because through it the Lord holds all the hells in subjection for evermore. 


Divine Love

November 14, 2018 § Leave a comment

‘For My name is in the middle of him’ means that from Him comes all the good of love and truth of faith. This is clear from the meaning of ‘the name of Jehovah’ as everything in its entirety by which God is worshipped, . . . and so all the good of love and truth of faith. . . ; and from the meaning of ‘in the middle of him’ as the fact that they exist within Him, and therefore also come from Him. The good of love is such that what exists within it exists also in others from itself; for it shares what is its own. The essential characteristic of love is to give its whole self up willingly to others. And since it does so from the Divine Himself through His Divine Human, and then from the Divine Human, therefore also the Lord is called, in respect of His Divine Human, ‘the name of Jehovah’. . . (AC 9310) 

Why Repentance is painful

November 1, 2018 § Leave a comment

I must admit that I was a bit surprised to read that repentance was painful. It makes sense. Who wants to give up something they enjoy. AC 9077 tells us:

‘He shall pay for the redemption of his [soul]’ means painful experiences of repentance. This is clear from the meaning of ‘redeeming’ as giving something in place of it, in order that it may be delivered. ‘Redemption’ has various meanings. . . The reason why ‘the redeeming of the soul’ here means painful experiences of repentance is that the subject is deliverance from damnation. But a person cannot be delivered from damnation except through the removal of evil, and the removal of evil cannot be accomplished except through active repentance, which involves a change in the life one leads; and these things are accomplished through spiritual temptations, which are the painful experiences of repentance.


Thunder and Lightening

October 12, 2018 § Leave a comment

I found the following passage interesting:

 ‘That there were voices and lightnings’ means a Divine state in which revelation took place. This is clear from the meaning of ‘voices’, which are the sounds made by claps of thunder, as God’s truths; and from the meaning of ‘lightnings’ as the radiance and brilliance which those truths possess, for God’s truths are made brilliant and radiant by the fiery brightness of light that shines from the sun of heaven. This is why ‘voices and lightnings’ means a Divine state in which revelation takes place, a Divine state being meant by the fact that they come down out of the sky, and revelation by the fact that ‘voices’ and ‘lightnings’ mean God’s truths. For the meaning of ‘voices’, which are the products of lightning from the sky, as God’s truths,See AC 7573; and the fact that ‘lightnings’ means brilliant flashes from them which strike a person’s inward eye, enlightening those guided by truth derived from good and bewildering those steeped in falsity arising from evil . . . (AC 8813)

This passage makes me look at thunder storms in a whole new light. Thunder and lightening can be be terrifying, especially if it is close to you or is unexpected. Divine Revelation can also be be terrifying. It can reveal things about you that you don’t like or want to hear and see.

At the same time, thunder and lightening can be fascinating. Who has not watched the intricate paths that lightening travels with fascination. Perhaps this shows how the Lord adapts His truths to our understanding and just how various that is.

Lightening can be damaging. So can Divine Truth if a person is going to profane it.

While I am reflecting on correspondences let me shift the topic. I have been thinking about the adage, “You can lead a horse to water, but you can’t make him drink it. A horse corresponds to the understanding, water to truth, drinking to acceptance. So you can lead a person’s understanding to the truth, but you can’t make him accept it.


Does the Lord trust us?

October 11, 2018 § Leave a comment

Someone posted on Facebook this meme: “The more you trust God, the more he amazes you.”

One response to this was,  “The thing that weighs on me is how much God trusts us.”

Trust is a reliance on the character of a person. Confidence that they will act in accordance with their character. Trust is also confident expectation or hope that something will happen.

Trust has in it an element of uncertainty. We can trust in the Lord. The Lord is reliable, but our understanding of our situation and of the Lord is limited, so we have some uncertainty about what the Lord will do. But does the Lord trust us? He is all knowing, foresees everything, and so has no uncertainty about us. He does not hope we will act in a certain manner, He knows how we will act.

I suspect that what is weighing on the respondent is not the Lord’s trust in us, but in the freedom He allows us to do and be evil. And that is truly scary. It is also unavoidable.

The Lord is Love itself. The essence of love is to love others outside of oneself, to be loved by them, and to make them happy (True Christian Religion 43). But love is not love if it is not free. So we are free to love the Lord and shun evil, or to love ourselves and embrace evils. As an aside, it is worth noting that it is impossible for us to do good to the Lord, so He has us to good to each other. In this way the Lord blesses us, and we return His blessing to Him. This is why loving the neighbor as we love ourselves is so important.

The amount of evil that exists in the world is depressing, and it is only natural to wonder if the Lord could not create a better world by giving us a bit less freedom. But apparently not. 

The Lord understands how evil weights on our soul, and He gives us comfort by revealing this truth:

peace has in it confidence in the Lord, that He directs all things, and provides all things, and that He leads to a good end. When a man is in this faith, he is in peace, for he then fears nothing, and no solicitude about things to come disquiets him. A man comes into this state in proportion as he comes into love to the Lord. (AC 8455)

We come into love to the Lord as we shun our evils as sins against Him, and do good.

Heaven is not for the perfect

October 9, 2018 § Leave a comment

It is true, that of ourselves, without the Lord’s mercy and help, we are unworthy of heaven. Miraculously, the Lord is able to reform and regenerate us, implanting good and truth in us and removing evil and falsity to the background of our being. Thus we can become angels.

Sometimes we loose hope of ever being made worthy of heaven because we focus all too much on our imperfections. Still, we should have hope. Even the angels in heaven are imperfect, and sometimes these imperfections come to the forefront.

However it sometimes happens that those in a lower heaven seek to go up into a higher heaven; they seek to do so because of a wrong desire that has its origin in pride, dominion, or envy. Those who have that desire and venture up are also let in now and again; but then they suffer badly. They are seized by anxiety, at length by pain, and also by blindness; their intelligence is destroyed, and their happiness. On account of all this they cast themselves down from there as if they are about to die, and do not revive until they have been cast down out of heaven. (AC 8797.2)

Their being cast down out of heaven, I believe is a temporarily let into their proprium until they can see that of themselves they are not good, and that all the goodness that exists in them is from the Lord. Then they are restored to heaven.

So we are not perfect, and neither are the angels. So we too can become angels and live in heaven. There is hope for all us. Never loose site of that, never cease from striving to follow the Lord.


October 9, 2018 § Leave a comment

The word “revelation” has many meanings. Here is a passage that talks about the kind of revelation you and I can have:

[2] Revelation here does not mean in the internal sense the kind of revelation made to the Israelite people from Mount Sinai, that is to say, when the Lord spoke with an audible voice and the people standing round heard it. Rather it means a revelation that is not made with an audible voice but is received by a person inwardly. This revelation is made through enlightenment of inner sight, which is the understanding, when a person with an affection for truth springing from good reads the Word. That enlightenment is brought about by the light of heaven, which flows from the Lord as the Sun there. That light enlightens the understanding in much the same way as outward sight, which is that of the eye, is enlightened by the light which flows from the sun in the world. When the understanding is enlightened by that Divine light it perceives that to be the truth which is the truth, inwardly acknowledges it, and so to speak sees it. This is what the revelation is like which is received by those with an affection for truth springing from good, when they read the Word. 

[3] But those with an affection for truth springing from evil – that is, those who wish to know truths solely for the sake of important positions, monetary gain, reputation, and the like – do not see truths. All they see are corroborations of things taught by their Church, whether those things are true or false. The light which enlightens them then is not Divine light from heaven; instead it is the light belonging to the senses, such as those in hell also possess, a light which becomes complete and utter darkness at the presence of heavenly light. When these people read the Word they are altogether blind to truth if it does not make one with their religious teachings. When for example those who make salvation consist in faith alone read the Word they pay no attention whatever to the things said there about love and charity; they do not even see them since those things fall within the obscured parts of their field of vision, like objects well off to the side or behind one’s back. It is much the same with the Jewish nation, which sets itself up above all others in the whole world. They do not see that the Lord is the One who is meant in the Prophets, no matter how plainly this may be stated.  (AC 8780)