True Christian Religion #523

True Christian Religion (Chadwick translation)

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523. The saying goes that no one can keep the law completely, and this is even more difficult, because the person who breaks one of the Ten Commandments breaks them all. Yet this manner of speaking does not mean what it sounds like. For it must be understood to mean that a person who acts deliberately and from conviction against one commandment acts against the rest. This is because acting deliberately and from conviction is utterly denying that it is a sin, and if anyone else says it is, he dismisses his opinion as worthless. If anyone thus denies and dismisses sin, he pays no heed to anything which is called a sin. This is the position reached by those who are unwilling to be told anything about repentance. On the other hand, those who by repentance have removed some evils which are sins, reach the position of believing in the Lord and loving the neighbour. The Lord keeps them determined to abstain from further sinning; so if through ignorance or some overwhelming longing they sin, this is not counted against them, since they did not intend it nor convince themselves that it was allowable.

[2] I can support this statement by the following experiences. In the spiritual world I have met many people whose life in the natural world was no different from others'; they wore fine clothes, dined elegantly, engaged in business deals like other people to make profits, went to the theatre, joked about lovers as if lusting for them, and more of the same sort. Yet the angels held some of them guilty of sinful evils, and others they did not hold guilty of evils, declaring one group innocent, the other guilty. When they were asked why, when both groups had done much the same, they replied that what they looked for in all cases was the aim, intention or end in view, and they distinguished cases on this basis, so that those who were excused or condemned by their end in view, they themselves excused or condemned. All in heaven have good as their end in view, all in hell evil.

(References: James 2:10)

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