The Lord’s Prayer
What happens after we are delivered from evil?
Isaiah 1:16-19. Bathe, purify yourselves; put aside the evil of your actions from in front of My eyes; forbear to do evil; learn to do good; inquire after judgment; make the oppressed happy; judge for the orphan; plead for the widow. Go now, and let us dispute, says Jehovah. Though your sins be as scarlet twice-dyed, they shall be white as snow; though they be red as crimson, they shall be as wool. If you are willing and hearken, you shall eat the goodness of the land.
AC 5036. As regards temptations, they take place when the man is in the act of regeneration; for no one can be regenerated unless he undergoes temptations, and they then arise from evil spirits who are around him. For the man is then let into the state of evil in which he is, that is, in which is that very [life] which is his own. And when he comes into this state, evil or infernal spirits surround him, and when they perceive that he is inwardly protected by angels, the evil spirits excite the falsities which he has thought, and the evils which he has done, but the angels defend him from within. It is this combat which is perceived in the man as temptation, but so obscurely that he scarcely knows otherwise than that it is merely an anxiety. For man— especially if he believes nothing about influx—is in a state that is wholly obscure, and he perceives scarcely a thousandth part of the things about which the evil spirits and angels are contending. And yet the battle is then being fought for the man and his eternal salvation, and it is fought from the man himself, for they fight from those things which are in man, and concerning them. That this is the case has been given me to know with the utmost certainty. I have heard the combat, I have perceived the influx, I have seen the spirits and angels, and at the time and afterward have conversed with them on the subject.
AC 5036:3. As before said, temptations take place chiefly at the time when the man is becoming spiritual; for he then apprehends spiritually the truths of doctrine. The man is often unaware of this, but still the angels with him see in his natural things the spiritual; for his interiors are then open toward heaven. For this reason also the man who has been regenerated is among angels after his life in the world, and there both sees and perceives the spiritual things which before appeared to him as natural. When therefore a man has come into such a state, then in temptation, when assaulted by evil spirits, he can be defended by angels, who then have a plane into which they can operate; for they flow into what is spiritual with him, and through this into what is natural.
AC 9334. When a man is being regenerated, which is effected by the implanting of spiritual truth and good, and by the removal at the same time of falsity and evil, he is not regenerated hastily, but slowly. The reason is that all things the man, from his infancy, has thought, intended, and done, have added themselves to his life, and have made it, and likewise have formed such a connection among themselves that no one thing can be taken away unless all are taken away at the same time. For an evil man is an image of hell, and a good man is an image of heaven. And the evils and falsities with an evil man have such a connection among themselves as there is among the infernal societies, of which he is a part; and the goods and truths with a good man have such a connection among themselves as there is among the heavenly societies, of which he is a part. From this it is evident that the evils and falsities with an evil man cannot be removed from their place suddenly, but only in proportion as goods and truths are implanted in their order, and interiorly, for heaven in a man removes hell from him. If this were done suddenly, the man would fail, for each and all things that are in connection and form would be disturbed, and would take away his life.
Questions and Comments
- What are some examples of the spiritual being in what is natural as described in AC 5036?
- Why can’t the Lord deliver us from evil all at once?
- Can you think of an example of how being delivered from one particular evil opens the way for related evils to be removed?
- How difficult is it to believe that the Lord can really make our sins white as snow as it says in Isaiah 1:16-19?