I have at times talked with angels about this and have said that many people in the world who have lived intent on evil and have talked with others about heaven and eternal life say only that getting into heaven is simply a matter of being let in on the basis of pure mercy. This is true especially of people who make faith the only means of salvation, since from this fundamental tenet of their religion they do not focus on life or on the deeds of love that make up one’s life. As a result, they do not focus on the other means the Lord uses to instill heaven into us and render us open to heavenly joy. So since they reject all the actual means, the necessary corollary of their premise is that we enter heaven on the basis of pure mercy, believing God the Father to be moved to it through the intercession of the Son.
Angels have responded that they know this kind of dogma follows necessarily from acceptance of the principle of salvation by faith alone and that this dogma is the head of the others, a head into which no light from heaven can flow, because it is not true. It is therefore the source of the ignorance the church is mired in nowadays—ignorance about the Lord, heaven, life after death, heavenly joy, the essential nature of love and thoughtfulness, and in general about what is good and its union with what is true. This results in ignorance about human life, its source, and its quality. Life is never gained by mere thought, but only by intent and consequent deeds. It is the result of thought to the extent that the thought derives from intent, so it is from faith only to the extent that faith derives from love. Angels grieve that these people do not realize that faith alone cannot exist in anyone because faith apart from its source, which is love, is only information, or for some a secondhand belief that counterfeits faith (see above, Section 482). This belief is not part of our life but is outside it, since it is separated from us if it is not coherent with our love.
Angels have also said that people who are caught up in this kind of principle concerning the essential means of our salvation cannot help believing in straight mercy because they can tell from natural light and from visual experience that faith by itself does not constitute human life—people who are leading evil lives can think and convince themselves of the same principles. This is why they believe that evil people can be saved just like good ones, provided in the hour of their death they talk about intercession and mercy obtained by it.
The angels kept insisting that they have never yet seen people who lived an evil life accepted into heaven out of straight mercy, no matter how fervently they had spoken in the world from faith, or from the trust that is meant by faith in its primary sense.
When they have asked about Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, and David, about the apostles, whether they were not accepted into heaven out of straight mercy, angels have answered that none of them was. Each one was accepted on the basis of his life in the world. They should realize where they were. No one had more prestige than anyone else. They said that the reason these individuals were mentioned in the Word with such respect was that they referred in the deeper meaning to the Lord—Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob to the Lord in respect to his divine nature and his divine human nature, David to the Lord as to the regal divine nature, and the apostles to the Lord as to divine truths. The angels do not pay any attention to these individuals when the Word is being read by people on earth because their names do not cross over into heaven. They are conscious of the Lord instead, as just noted. So the Word that is in heaven (described above in Section 259) never mentions them, since that Word is the inner meaning of the Word that exists in the world.
from Heaven and Hell, Section 526
Section 482: Published 8/23/2018
Section 259: Published 6/14/2018