To the Extent That We Turn Our Backs on Evil Deeds Because They Are Sins, the Good Deeds We Do Come Not from Ourselves but from the Lord

Is there anyone who does not and cannot know that our evils stand in the way of the Lord’s ability to come in to us? Evil is hell and the Lord is heaven, and hell and heaven are opposites; so to the extent that we are in one we cannot be in the other. One acts against the other and cancels it.

As long as we are in this world we are in between hell and heaven—hell is below us and heaven above us—and during this time we are kept in a freedom to turn toward hell or toward heaven. If we turn toward hell we are turning away from heaven, while if we turn toward heaven we are turning away from hell.

In other words, as long as we are in this world we are placed in between the Lord and the Devil and are kept in a freedom to turn toward the one or the other. If we turn toward the Devil we turn our backs on the Lord, while if we turn toward the Lord we turn our backs on the Devil.

Or to put it yet another way, as long as we are in this world we are in between what is evil and what is good and are kept in a freedom to turn toward the one or the other. If we turn toward what is evil we turn our backs on what is good, while if we turn toward what is good we turn our backs on what is evil.

I have stated that we are kept in a freedom of turning either way. This freedom never comes from us; it comes from the Lord, which is why I just said that we are kept in it. On the balance between heaven and hell, our being in that balance, and our therefore being in freedom, see Heaven and Hell 589–596 and 597–603. As for everyone being kept in freedom and no one being deprived of it, that will come up in its own place [Sections 101–102].

This makes it very clear that to the extent that we turn our backs on evil deeds we are with the Lord and in the Lord; and to the extent that we are in the Lord the good deeds we do come not from ourselves but from the Lord. This yields the following general law: To the extent that we turn our backs on evil deeds, we do good deeds.

Two things are required, though. First, we need to turn our backs on evil deeds because they are sins—that is, because they are hellish and diabolical and therefore contrary to the Lord and to divine laws. Second, we need to turn our backs on evil deeds because they are sins as if we were doing it on our own, but we need to know and believe that it comes from the Lord. Both of these requirements will be discussed under other headings [Sections 62–66 and 101–107].

There are three corollaries to this.

1. If we intend and do good deeds before we turn our backs on evil deeds because they are sins, our good deeds are not good.

2. If we think and speak devoutly but do not turn our backs on evil deeds because they are sins, our devout thoughts and words are not devout.

3. Even if we are well informed and insightful, if we do not turn our backs on evil deeds because they are sins, we are not wise.

from Life/Faith, Sections 18-23

Notes:

Sections 589-596 from Heaven and Hell: Published 3/17/2019-3/20/2019

Sections 597-603 from Heaven and Hell: Published 3/21/2019-3/23/2019

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