The Lord’s Prayer
And forgive us our sins, for we also forgive everyone who is a debtor to us. —Luke 11:4
Whose sins are forgiven?
Ezekiel 18:31-32. Cast from you all your transgressions, whereby you have transgressed, and make you a new heart and a new spirit; for why will you die, O house of Israel? For I have no delight in the death of him who dies, says the Lord Jehovih; wherefore turn back, and live.
[Continuation concerning the Forgiveness of Sins]
AC 9451. When sins have been forgiven, they are believed to be wiped off and washed away as dirt is with water. Nevertheless, they remain in the man; and their being said to be “wiped off” is from the appearance when the man is withheld from them.
AC 9452. The Lord regenerates a man from Divine Mercy. This is done from his infancy down to the last of his life in the world, and afterward to eternity. Thus, it is from Divine Mercy that the Lord withdraws a man from evils and falsities, and leads him to the truths of faith and goods of love, and afterward keeps him in these. And after this, in Divine Mercy He raises him to Himself in heaven, and makes him happy. All this is what is meant by the Forgiveness of Sins from Mercy.
They who believe that sins are forgiven in any other way are quite mistaken; for it would be the absence of mercy to see a multitude of men in the hells, and not save them, if it could be done in any other way. And yet the Lord is mercy itself, and does not will the death of anyone, but that he may live.
AC 9453. Consequently, those who do not suffer themselves to be regenerated, thus who do not suffer themselves to be withheld from evils and falsities, remove and cast away from themselves these mercies of the Lord. Therefore, it is the man who is in fault if he cannot be saved.
AC 9454. This is what is meant in John:
As many as received Him, to them He gave power to be sons of God, to those who believe in His name; who were born, not of bloods, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God (John 1:12, 13).
“Of bloods” means those who are opposed to the goods of faith and of charity. “Of the will of the flesh” means those who are in evils from the loves of self and of the world. “Of the will of man” means those who are in falsities derived from those loves. To be “born of God” is to be regenerated.
That no one can come into heaven unless he is regenerated is taught in the same:
Amen, amen, I say to thee, Unless a man be born anew, he cannot see the kingdom of God. Amen, amen, I say to thee, Unless a man be born of water and of the spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God (John 3:3, 5).
“To be born of water” means through the truth of faith, and “to be born of the spirit” means through the good of love.
From all this it can now be seen who they are whose sins have been forgiven, and who they are whose sins have not been forgiven.
TCR 56e. ...how deluded those are who think, and still more those who believe, and still more those who teach, that God can damn anyone, curse anyone, send anyone to hell, predestine any soul to eternal death, avenge wrongs, be angry, or punish! He cannot even turn Himself away from man, nor look upon him with a stern countenance. These and like things are contrary to His essence; and what is contrary to His essence is contrary to His very Self.
Questions and Comments
- AC 9451 teaches that even when our sins are forgiven, they are still all there. Perhaps this is the origin of the concept in AA that the best an alcoholic can ever do is to be “in recovery.”
- Why is it important for us to know that the forgiveness of sins is from Divine Mercy? How does that affect how we think of other people’s sins?
- Why can’t some people’s sins be forgiven? Why must there be hells? Why don’t we all go to the highest heaven?
- Why do you think the Lord speaks of our preparation for heaven as being “born” anew? Why “born”?
- How hard must it be for the Lord to see some of His children going to hell?