The Faith of the New Heaven and the New Church

THE faith of the new heaven and the new church3 is stated here in both universal and specific forms to serve as the face of the work that follows, the doorway that allows entry into the temple, and the summary that in one way or another contains all the details to follow.4 I say "the faith of the new heaven and the new church" because heaven, where there are angels,5 and the church, in which there are people, act together like the inner and the outer levels6 in a human being. People in the church who love what is good because they believe what is true and who believe what is true because they love what is good7 are angels of heaven with regard to the inner levels of their minds. After death they come into heaven, and enjoy happiness there according to the relationship between their love and their faith. It is important to know that the new heaven that the Lord8 is establishing today has this faith as its face, doorway, and summary.

The faith of the new heaven and the new church in universal form is this: The Lord from eternity, who is Jehovah,9 came into the world to gain control over the hells10 and to glorify11 his own human nature. If he had not done this, not one mortal could have been saved; those who believe in him are saved.

[2] I say "in universal form" because this concept is universal to the faith and something universal to the faith is going to be present in each and every aspect of it. It is universal to the faith to believe that God is one in essence and in person,12 to believe that in God there is a divine Trinity, and to believe that the Lord God the Savior Jesus Christ is God. It is universal to the faith to believe that if the Lord had not come into the world not one mortal could have been saved. It is universal to the faith to believe that the Lord came into the world to separate hell from the human race, and that he accomplished this by repeatedly doing battle with hell and conquering it. In this way he gained control over it, forced it back into the divine design,13 and made it obey him. It is universal to the faith to believe that he came into the world to glorify the human nature he took on in the world, that is, to unite it to its divine source. This is how he keeps hell eternally in its place and in obedience to himself. Since this could not have been accomplished except by allowing his human nature to be tested, including even the ultimate test, the suffering on the cross, therefore he underwent that experience. These are universal points of faith regarding the Lord.

[3] For our part, it is universal to the faith that we believe in the Lord, for our believing in him gives us a partnership14 with him, and through this partnership comes salvation. To believe in him is to have confidence that he saves; and because only those who live good lives can have such confidence, this too is meant by believing in him. In fact, the Lord says in John: "This is the will of the Father, that everyone who believes in the Son has eternal life" (John 6:39-40). And in another passage, "Those who believe in the Son have eternal life. But those who do not believe the Son will not see life; instead the anger of God remains on them" (John 3:36).15 H The faith of the new heaven and the new church in a specific form is this: " Jehovah God16 is love itself and wisdom itself, or goodness itself and truth itself. As divine truth, or the Word,17 which was "God with God," he came down and took on a human manifestation for the purpose of forcing everything in heaven, everything in hell, and everything in the church back into the divine design. The power of hell had become stronger than the power of heaven, and on earth the power of evil had become stronger than the power of goodness; therefore total damnation stood threatening at the door. By means of his human manifestation, which was divine truth, Jehovah God lifted this pending damnation and redeemed both people and angels. Afterward, in his human manifestation, he united divine truth to divine goodness, or divine wisdom to divine love. In this way he returned to the divine nature that he had had from eternity, together with and in the human manifestation, which had been glorified. These things are meant by this statement in John: "The Word was with God, and the Word was God. And the Word became flesh" (John 1:1, 14).

And in the same Gospel, "I went out from the Father and came into the world; again I am leaving the world and am going to the Father" (John 16:28). And also by this: "We know that the Son of God came and gave us understanding so that we would know the truth. And we are in the truth in the Son of God, Jesus Christ. He is the true God and eternal life" (1 John 5:20). From all this it is clear that if the Lord had not come into the world no one could have been saved.

The situation today is similar. Therefore if the Lord does not come into the world again in the form of divine truth, which is the Word, no one can be saved.

[2] For our part, the specifics of faith are these: (1) There is one God, the divine Trinity exists within him, and he is the Lord God the Savior Jesus Christ. (2) Believing in him is a faith that saves. (3) We must not do things that are evil—they belong to the Devil18 and come from the Devil. (4) We must do things that are good—they belong to God and come from God. (5) We must do these things as if we ourselves were doing them, but we must believe that they come from the Lord working with us and through us.

The first two points have to do with faith, the second two have to do with goodwill;19 and the fifth has to do with the partnership between goodwill and faith, the partnership between the Lord and us.20

0 0

Post a comment