Good Will (or Loving Our Neighbor) and Good Actions (Continued)

It is abiding truth that faith and goodwill cannot be separated if we are to have a spiritual life and be saved. The truth of this is understandable to everyone, even people without the refinement of a costly education.

Suppose someone says, “People who live good lives and have proper beliefs are saved.” No one could hear that without seeing it with an inner perception and therefore agreeing to it intellectually. Suppose someone says, “People who believe the right things but do not live good lives are also saved.” Any people who heard this statement would reject it from their intellect as they would remove a piece of dirt that had fallen in their eye. Their inner perception would immediately cause them to think, “People cannot have good beliefs when they do not live good lives. What would those beliefs be except a painted model of faith rather than a living image of it?”

Likewise, if people were to hear, “Those who live good lives but have no beliefs are saved,” they would turn this over a few times and then perceive and think that this does not make sense either. They would think, “Every good thing that is truly and intrinsically good comes from God; therefore living a good life comes from God. A good life without beliefs, then, is like clay in a potter’s hand that can be molded into forms that are only useful in the earthly kingdom, not in the spiritual kingdom.” Besides, there is an obvious contradiction in these statements, especially if you put them side by side: people are saved if they have beliefs but do not live good lives, and people are saved if they live good lives but have no beliefs.

What it is to live well, which is an aspect of goodwill, is partly known, partly unknown these days–people know what it is to live a good earthly life but not what it is to live a good spiritual life. Therefore I need to cover this point, inasmuch as it is an aspect of goodwill. The discussion will be broken into a series of individual topics.

from True Christianity, Section 393

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