Everything said so far can be found in many places in the Word

Everything said so far can be found in many places in the Word. I may cite only the following few. The Word tells us that no one can be focused on doing good and doing evil at the same time, or—which amounts to the same thing—with respect to our souls we cannot be in heaven and in hell at the same time. It tells us this by saying,

No one can serve two masters; for you will either hate the one and love the other or hold to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and Mammon. (Matthew 6:24)

How can the things you say be good when you are evil? Out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks. Good people out of the good treasure of their hearts bring forth good things, and evil people out of the evil treasure bring forth evil things. (Matthew 12:34, 35)

A good tree does not bear bad fruit, and a bad tree does not bear good fruit. Every tree is known by its own fruit. People do not gather figs from thorns or harvest grapes from a bramble bush. (Luke 6:43, 44)

The Word tells us that none of us can do what is good on our own; our actions are good only if they come from the Lord.

Jesus said, “I am the vine, and my Father is the vinedresser. Every branch in me that does not bear fruit he takes away; and every branch that bears fruit he prunes, so that it will bear more fruit. Abide in me, and I [will abide] in you. As a branch cannot bear fruit on its own unless it abides in the vine, the same goes for you unless you abide in me. I am the vine; you are the branches. Those who abide in me and in whom I abide bear much fruit, because without me you cannot do anything. If any do not abide in me they are cast out as branches and wither; people gather them and throw them into the fire, and they are burned.” (John 15:1–6)

The Word tells us in the following passage that to the extent that we are not purified from our evils, any good things we do are not good, any devout deeds are not devout, and we are not wise; but the reverse is the case if we are purified.

Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites, because you make yourselves like whitewashed tombs that look beautiful outwardly, but are inwardly full of dead people’s bones and filth of every kind. Even so, you look righteous outwardly, but are inwardly full of hypocrisy and iniquity. Woe to you, because you cleanse the outside of the cup and the plate, but inside they are full of extortion and excess. Blind Pharisee, cleanse the inside of the cup and the plate first, so that the outside of them may be clean as well. (Matthew 23:25–28)

Then there are these words of Isaiah:

Hear the word of Jehovah, you princes of Sodom! Hear the law of our God, you people of Gomorrah! What use to me are your abundant sacrifices? Do not keep bringing worthless offerings! Incense is an abomination to me, your new moons and Sabbaths. I cannot abide iniquity. My soul hates your new moons and prescribed feasts, so when you spread forth your hands I hide my eyes from you. Even though you multiply your prayers, I am not listening—your hands are full of blood. Wash yourselves! Purify yourselves! Take away the evil of your deeds from before my eyes! Stop doing evil! Even if your sins have been like scarlet, they will become white like snow; even if they have been red, they will be like wool. (Isaiah 1:10–18)

Put briefly, this is saying that unless we turn our backs on evil deeds, none of our worship is any good. The same holds true for everything we do, since it says “I cannot abide iniquity; purify yourselves; take away the evil of your deeds; stop doing evil.” In Jeremiah,

Turn back, all of you, from your evil way, and make your works good. (Jeremiah 35:15)

These people are not wise, either. See the following from Isaiah:

Woe to those who are wise in their own eyes and intelligent in their own estimation. (Isaiah 5:21)


The wisdom of the wise will perish, as will the intelligence of the intelligent. Woe to those whose wisdom is profound and whose deeds are done in darkness. (Isaiah 29:14, 15)

And yet again,

Woe to those who go down to Egypt for help and who rely on horses, who trust in an abundance of chariots and in the strength of riders, but do not look to the Holy One of Israel and do not seek Jehovah. He will rise up against the house of the malicious and against the aid of those who work iniquity, because Egypt is not God, and its horses are flesh, and not spirit. (Isaiah 31:1, 2, 3)

That is how our own intelligence is described. Egypt is mere facts; a horse is our understanding of those facts; chariots are religious teachings based on those facts; and riders are the intelligence we develop as a result. Of these qualities we read, “Woe to those who do not look to the Holy One of Israel and do not seek Jehovah.” “He will rise up against the house of the malicious and against the aid of those who work iniquity” means the destruction of these qualities by evils. “Egypt is human, not God, and her horses are flesh, and not spirit” means that this understanding comes from our own sense of self-importance and that therefore there is no life in it. “Human” and “flesh” are our own sense of self, and “God” and “spirit” are life that comes from the Lord. The horses of Egypt are the intelligence that we claim as our own.

from Life/Faith, Section 28-30

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