IF people have not been taught about heaven, the way to heaven, and the life of heaven for those on earth, they think that acceptance into heaven comes from a pure mercy extended to people of faith, people for whom the Lord intercedes, so that admission depends solely on grace. They therefore think that anyone at all can be saved out of good will; and some people even think that this includes the inhabitants of hell.
However, they do not know anything about human beings, that our quality depends on our lives and our lives on our loves. This applies not only to the deeper levels of our volition and intellect but even to the outer aspects of our bodies, with the physical form being nothing but an outward form in which our deeper natures manifest themselves in practice. This means that our love is our whole person (see above, Section 363). Nor do they realize that the body does not live on its own but from its spirit, and that our spirit is our actual affection, with our spiritual body being nothing more than our affection in the kind of human form it presents after death (see above, Sections 453–460). As long as these facts are not known, people can be led to believe that salvation is nothing more than the divine pleasure that we call mercy and grace.
First, though, let me state what divine mercy is. Divine mercy is a pure mercy toward the whole human race with the intent of saving it, and it is constant toward every individual, never withdrawing from anyone. This means that everyone who can be saved is saved. However, no one can be saved except by divine means, the means revealed by the Lord in the Word. Divine means are what we refer to as divine truths. They teach how we are to live in order to be saved. The Lord uses them to lead us to heaven and to instill heaven’s life into us. The Lord does this for everyone; but he cannot instill heaven’s life into anyone who does not refrain from evil, since evil bars the way. So to the extent that we do refrain from evil, the Lord in his divine mercy leads us by divine means, from infancy to the end of life in the world and thereafter to eternity. This is the divine mercy that I mean. We can therefore see that the Lord’s mercy is pure mercy, but not unmediated: that is, it does not save people whenever it feels like it, no matter how they have lived.
from Heaven and Hell, Sections 521, 522
Section 363: Published 7/22/2018
Sections 453-460: Published 5/16/2017-5/21/2017