a. Evil people have no faith, because evil relates to hell and faith relates to heaven

Evil relates to hell because everything evil comes from hell. Faith relates to heaven because everything true that is related to faith comes from heaven. As long as we are alive in the world, we are kept walking midway between heaven and hell in the spiritual equilibrium engendered by our own choice. Hell is under our feet and heaven is over our head. whatever comes up from hell is evil and false. Whatever comes down from heaven is good and true. Because we are between these two opposites and spiritual equilibrium, we are freely able to choose, adopt, and incorporate into ourselves either the one or the other. If we choose evil and falsity, we unite ourselves to hell. If we choose goodness and truth, we unite ourselves to heaven.

The statements just made show not only that evil relates to hell and faith relates to heaven but also that evil and faith cannot be together in one object or one human being. If evil and faith were together, they would tear us apart as if we had been bound with two ropes, one of which was pulling us up and the other down. We would be like someone suspended in the air. We would be flying like a blackbird, now up, now down; when we were flying up, we would be worshiping God; when we were flying down, we would be worshiping the Devil. Anyone can see that this would be profane. No one can serve two lords without hating one and loving the other, as the Lord teaches in Matthew 6:24.

Various comparisons can illustrate the fact that there is no faith where evil exists. For example, evil is like fire. Hellfire is nothing but a love for evil. Evil consumes faith as if it were straw, and reduces it and everything related to it to ash.

Evil dwells in pitch darkness. Faith dwells in light. Evil uses falsities to extinguish faith, just as pitch darkness extinguishes light. Evil is as black as ink. Faith is as white as snow and as clear as water. Evil blackens faith the way ink blackens snow or water.

Here are other comparisons: evil cannot be united to truth that is related to faith any more than a rotten smell can be an ingredient in a sweet perfume, or urine can be an ingredient in a flavorful wine. Evil and faith cannot coexist any more than a reeking corpse and a living person can share the same bed. Evil and faith cannot live with each other any more than a wolf can live in a sheepfold, a hawk in a dovecote, or a fox in a henhouse.

from True Christianity, Section 383

10. Evil People Have No Faith

All people who deny that God created the world, and who therefore deny the existence of God, are evil. They are atheistic materialists. They are all evil, because everything good that is good not only in an earthly way but also in a spiritual way comes from God. Therefore people who deny the existence of God do not want to, and therefore cannot, accept anything good from any other source outside what is their own. What is their own is the craving of their flesh. Anything that comes from that craving is spiritual evil, however good it may appear from an earthly perspective. People like this are evil in a theoretical way.

There are also people who are evil in a practical way. They are people who have no use for the divine precepts that are summed up in the Ten Commandments. These people live like outlaws. They too deny God at heart (although many of them confess him with their lips), because God and his commandments are united, which is why the Ten Commandments are called “Jehovah there” (Number 10:35-36; Psalms 132:7-8).

The following two propositions will make it more obvious that evil people have no faith:

a. Evil people have no faith, because evil relates to hell and faith relates to heaven.

b. All People in Christianity who are dismissive of the Lord and the Word have no faith, no matter how morally they behave or how rationally they speak, teach, or write, even if their subject is faith.

We will take these points up one at a time.

from True Christianity, Section 382

c. Hypocritical faith is no faith at all.

We become hypocritical when we think about ourselves a great deal and give precedence to ourselves rather than others. By doing this we focus the thoughts and feelings of our mind on our body and invest them there; we unite our thoughts and feelings to our physical senses. This turns us into earthly, sense-oriented, and physical people. In this state, our mind cannot be disconnected from the flesh it is attached to; it cannot be lifted to God or see anything related to God in the light of heaven; it cannot see anything spiritual. Because we are then people of flesh, any spiritual things that come through our hearing into our intellect seem to us like no more than ghosts or dust particles in the air; in fact, they seem like flies around the head of a running, sweating horse, so we mock them in our heart. It is common knowledge that the earthly self regards the things of the spirit or spiritual things as crazy.

Of all earthly people, hypocrites are the lowest and most earthly. They are sense-oriented–their mind is tightly bound to their physical senses. They have no love for seeing anything except what their senses take in; and because the senses are in the material world, the senses force the mind to think about everything, including all aspects of faith, from the point of view of the material world.

If these hypocrites become preachers, they retain in their memory the types of things they heard said about faith when they were children, teenagers and young adults. Yet since their words contain nothing spiritual, and all that their words do contain is merely earthly, when they speak before an assembled congregation, the words have no life in them at all. The words sound as if they have life in them, because hypocrites enjoy loving themselves and the world, a pleasure that leads them to hold forth eloquently and cares the ears of their listeners with sounds that are much like the melodies of a song.

When hypocritical preachers go home after church, they laugh at all the things they have just said to the congregation about faith, and at the passages they have quoted from the Word. They might say to themselves, “I threw my net into the lake and caught some flatfish and shellfish,” since that is how they picture anyone who has true faith.

Hypocrites are like a carved human figure with two heads, one inside the other. The inner head is attached to the figure’s torso and body. The outer head is able to spin all the way around the inner head. The front of the outer head is painted with flesh colors to look like a human face, somewhat like the wooden heads that are set in the shop windows of wig-makers.

Hypocrites are like a ship that sailors can steer either with the wind or against it by adjusting the sail. Hypocrites give their approval to any who indulge them with what their flesh and their senses enjoy. That is how they set their sails.

Ministers who are hypocrites are skilled comedians, impressionist, and actors who can impersonate royalty, military leaders, church leaders, and bishops; but shortly after they take off their costumes they go back to the whorehouse and live with the whores.

They are also like doors hanging on a revolving hinge that can be turned in two directions. Their mind is like this type of door: it can be opened in the direction of hell or in the direction of heaven. When it is opened in one direction it is closed in the other.

It is astounding that when they are administering holy rituals and teaching truths from the Word, they actually do not realize that they do not believe those things. At that time they close their door toward hell. As soon as they go home, however, they do not believe a shred of it, because they then close their door toward heaven.

The most completely hypocritical people have a deep-seated hatred of truly spiritual people–the same of hatred as satans have against the angels of heaven. The hypocritical people themselves do not feel this hatred while they are alive in the world. It surfaces after death when they lose the outer self in which they pretended to be spiritual. It is their inner self that is this kind of satan.

I should say what spiritual hypocrites look like to the angels of heaven–the kind of spiritual hypocrites who walk around in sheep’s clothing but are inwardly as predatory as wolves (Matthew 7:15). In prayer, they look like acrobats walking on their hands. Their mouths call out from their hearts to demons and kiss them, but the sound they send toward God is that of their feet clapping in the air. When they stand on their feet, however, they have the eyes of a leopard, the gait of a wolf, the face of a fox, the teeth of a crocodile, and the faith of a vulture.

from True Christianity, Section 381

b. Illegitimate faith is all faith that departs from the one and only true faith. Illegitimate faith exists in people who climb up some other way and view the Lord not as God but only as a human being (Continued)

The Reason for this general spirit among people in the church today is that all of us have a spirit who is allied with us. Without that spirit we could not think analytically, rationally, or spiritually. Without those types of thinking we would be brute animals, not human beings. We all invite to ourselves a spirit who is similar to the desire in our will and the consequent perception in our intellect. If we develop good desires through truths from the Word and through living by those truths, we connect an angel from heaven to ourselves. On the other hand, if we develop evil desires through convincing ourselves of false beliefs and through living an evil life, we connect spirits from hell to ourselves. Once these evil spirits are connected to us, we increasingly develop a kind of sibling relationship with satans. Then we become more and more convinced of falsities that are against the truths in the Word and more and more hardened in an Arian and Socinian loathing for the Lord, because no satan can stand to hear any truth from the Word or to say the name Jesus. If satans hear these things, they turn into furies running around and uttering blasphemy.

Then if light from heaven flows in they throw themselves headfirst into caves, into their own pitch darkness. In those places they have a light like that of night birds in the dark or like that of cats in basements when they are chasing mice. Th is how all people who deny the Lord’s divinity and the Word’s holiness in their heart and in their faith turn out after death. Their inner self has this nature no matter how well their outer self does impressions and pretends to be Christians. I know this is true, because I have seen it and heard it.

There are people who honor the Lord as their Redeemer and Savior with their mouth and lips alone but view him in their heart and spirit as a mere human being. In every case, when these people speak and teach, their mouth is like a jar full of honey but their heart is like a jar full of bile. Their words are like pastries but their thoughts are like poisoned wine. They themselves are like cake rolls with little worms inside. If they are priests, they are like pirates at sea who fly the flag of a peaceful country, but when a nearby ship signals to them as allies, they replace that flag with a pirate flag and capture the ship and its passengers.

They are also like serpents of the tree of knowledge of good and evil who approach you as if they were angels of light. They hold apples in their hand from that tree that have been painted with deep red colors as if they were plucked from the tree of life. They offer them and say, “God knows that on the day you eat these, your eyes will be opened and you will be like God, knowing good and evil” (Genesis 3:5). When you eat, you follow the serpent into some underworld and you make your home with it. All around that underworld there are satans who ate the apples of Arius and Socinus.

People like this are also meant by the person who came [to the wedding] but was not dressed in a wedding garment and was thrown into outer darkness (Matthew 22:11-13). The wedding garment is faith that the Lord is the Son of God, is the God of heaven and earth, and is one with the Father.

People who honor the Lord with only their mouth and their lips, while in heart and spirit they regard him as a mere human being, and who reveal their thoughts and convince others to believe those thoughts are spiritual murderers. The worst of them are spiritual cannibals. Human life comes from love and faith in the Lord. If this essential ingredient of faith and love is removed–the recognition that the Lord is the human God and the divine Human–our life becomes death; Its removal kills and devours us the way a wolf kills and devours a lamb.

from True Christianity, Section 380 (Cont’d)

b. Illegitimate faith is all faith that departs from the one and only true faith. Illegitimate faith exists in people who climb up some other way and view the Lord not as God but only as a human being

All faith that departs from the one true faith is illegitimate. This is self-evident. Given that only one faith is true, it follows that any faith that departs from it is not true. The marriage between the Lord and the church generates everything that is good and that is true in the church. Everything that is essentially goodwill and essentially faith comes from that marriage. Any goodwill and faith that are not from that marriage come from illegitimate bed, not a legitimate one. They come from either a polygamous marriage bed or an adulterous one. Every faith that ackowledge the Lord and yet adopts false and heretical beliefs comes from a polygamous bed.

A faith that acknowledges three lords over one church comes from an adulterous bed. It is like a single woman who is promiscuous; or like a married woman who has a husband but rents herself out overnight to two other men, and when she sleeps with them she calls each of them her husband. Therefore these types of faith are called illegitimate.

In many passages the Lord calls people with these types of belief “adulterers.” He also means people like this when he mentions thieves and robbers in John:

Truly I say to you, those who do not enter through the door to the sheepfold but instead climb up some other way are thieves and robbers. I am the door. Anyone who enters through me will be saved. (John 10:1, 9)

Coming into “the sheepfold” is coming into the church and also coming into heaven. It means coming into heaven because heaven and the church are one. Nothing else constitutes heaven except the church in the spiritual world. Therefore just as the Lord is the bridegroom and husband of the church, he is also the bridegroom of husband of heaven.

To test and find out whether a given faith is a legitimate or an illegitimate offspring, one can use the three indications presented just above: acknowledgement that the Lord is the Son of God; acknowledgement that he is the God of heaven and earth; and acknowledgement that he is one with the Father. The more a given faith departs from these essentials, the more illegitimate it is.

People who view the Lord not as God but only as a human being have a faith that is both illegitimate and adulterous. This is obvious from two atrocious heresies, the Arian heresy and the Socinian heresy, which have been anathematized by and cut off from the Christian church because they deny the Lord’s divinity and climb up another way. I am afraid that these abominations lie hidden in the general spirit of people in the church.

Astounding to say, the more that people believe they have better scholarship and judgment than others, the more readily they latch onto, and adopt as their own, ideas that the Lord is human but not divine and that because he is human he could not be divine. When people adopt these ideas as their own, they join the club of Arians and Socinians who in the spiritual world are in hell.

from True Christianity, Section 380

a. There is only one true faith; it is faith in the Lord God our Savior Jesus Christ. It exists in people who believe that he is the Son of God, that he is the God of heaven and earth, and that he is one with the Father (Continued)

In addition to this sign that people have the one true faith, there is another: they believe that the Lord is the God of heaven and earth. This second sigh follows from the previous one that the Lord is the Son of God. It also follows from the statements that all the fullness of divinity exists in him (Colossians 2:9); that he is the God of heaven and earth (Matthew 28:18); and that all things that belong to the Father are his (John 3:35; 16:15).

A third indication that people who believe in the Lord have an inner faith in him, and therefore have the one true faith, is that they believe the Lord is one with God the Father. The chapter on the Lord and redemption fully demonstrated that the Lord is one with God the Father and is the Father himself in human form. It is also obvious from the words of the Lord himself that he and the Father are one (John 10:30); that the Father is in him and he in the Father (John 10:38; 14:10-11); that he said to his disciples that from then on they had seen and known the Father, and he looked at Philip and said that he was now seeing and knowing the Father (John 14:7 and following).

These are the three definitive indications that people have faith in the Lord and that the faith they have is the one true faith. Not all who turn to the Lord have faith in him. True faith is an inner faith and an outer faith at the same time. People who have these three jewels of faith have both the inner aspects and the outer aspects of the faith. It is not only a treasure in their hearts but also a valuable asset to their lips.

People who do not acknowledge that the Lord is the God of heaven and earth, however, or that he is one with the Father, are inwardly looking toward other gods as well who have similar power. They see those other gods as having power that is to be used by the Son either as their representative or as someone who has earned the right through redemption to rule over the people he redeemed. People like this break true faith apart by dividing the unity of God. Once that unity is broken, faith no longer exists. Instead there is only a ghost of faith, which from an earthly perspective looks like an image of faith, but from a spiritual perspective looks like a monster from mythology.

Can anyone deny that true faith is faith in one God who is the God of heaven and earth–therefore a faith in God the Father in human form, a faith in the Lord?

These three identifying signs, piece of evidence, and indications that a given faith in the Lord is faith itself are like touchstones used for identifying gold and silver. They are like stone markers or signposts along the road that show the way to the church building where the one true God is worshiped. They are like lighthouses on rocks by the sea that let sailors at night know where they are and which direction to steer their ships on the wind.

The first identifying sign of faith, which is the belief that the Lord is the Son of the Living God, is like the morning star for all who are coming into his church.

from True Christianity, Section 379

a. There is only one true faith; it is faith in the Lord God our Savior Jesus Christ. It exists in people who believe that he is the Son of God, that he is the God of heaven and earth, and that he is one with the Father.

There is only one true faith, because faith is truth. Truth cannot be split or cut in half in such a way that part of it heads left and part of it heads right, and maintain its trueness.

In a general sense, faith consists of countless truths. Faith is a combination of truths. Yet in a way the countless truths make one body. In the body of faith, there are truths that constitute its limbs: some make the limbs that are attached to the chest as its arms and hands; others are attached to the pelvis as its legs and feet. Inner truths constitute the head. The first truths derived from those inner truths constitute the sense organs that are in the face.

Inner truths constitute the head because saying “inner” also means higher. In the spiritual world, all things that are deeper within are also higher. This is true of the three heavens that are there.

The soul and life of this body and all its limbs in the Lord God our Savior. This is why Paul calls the church “the body of Christ” and says that people in the church constitute his limbs, depending on the state of their goodwill and faith [Romans 12:4-5; 1 Corinthians 12:12-31].

In the following words Paul also teaches that there is only one true faith:

There is one body and one spirit, one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God. He gave people the work of the ministry to build the body of Christ until we all come into a unity of faith, the knowledge of the Son of God, and a complete life to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ. (Ephesians 4:4-6, 12-13)

As for the one only true faith being a faith in the Lord God our Savior Jesus Christ, this was fully shown above, Sections 337-339.

The true faith exists in people who believe that the Lord is the Son of God, because they also believe that he is God. Faith is not faith if it is not faith in God.

Among all the truths that initiate faith and form it, the belief that the Lord is the Son of God is the first. This is clear from the Lord’s reply to Peter when Peter said, “You are the Christ, the Son of living God.” Jesus said, “You are blessed, Simon. I say to you. on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of hell will not prevail against it” (Matthew 16:16-18). In this passage and elsewhere in the Word, the “rock” means the Lord in his role as divine truth as well as the divine truth that comes from the Lord. The truth that Peter stated is primary–it is the crown from the head and the scepter in the hand of Christ’s body. This is clear from the Lord’s saying that he is going to build his church on that rock and the gates of hell will not prevail against it. The following words in John show the nature of this point of faith: “If any confess that Jesus is the Son of God, God lives in them, and they live in God” (1 John 4:15).

from True Christianity, Section 379


Sections 337-339: Published 12/2/2020-12/4/2020

There IS Faith That Is True, Faith That Is Illegitimate, and Faith That Is Hypocritical

From its cradle, the Christian church was attacked and torn apart by schisms and heresies. As time went on, it was lacerated and butchered by them, much like the person we read about who went down from Jerusalem to Jericho and was surrounded by robbers; after they stripped him and beat hum up, the robbers left him half-dead (Luke10:30).

The end result was what we read in Daniel about church: “In the end desolation [will fly in] on a bird of abominations; even to the close and the cutting down, it will drip steadily upon the devastation” (Daniel 9:27); and the Lord’s statement: “The end will come when you see the abomination of desolation that Daniel the prophet foretold” (Matthew 24:14-15).

What happened to the church could be compared to a ship loaded down with merchandise of the highest quality. It was battered by storm winds immediately upon leaving port and a little later was wrecked at sea and sank. Some of its cargo was spoiled by water and some was carried off by fish.

Church history makes it clear that from its infancy the Christian church was assaulted and torn apart. For example, even in the time of the apostles it was assaulted by Simon, who was a Samaritan by birth and a sorcerer by trade (see Acts 8:9 and following). It was also assaulted by Hymenaeus and Philetus, whom Paul mentions in his Epistle to Timothy [2 Timothy 2:17-18]; and by Nicolas, whose followers were the so-called Nicolaitans mentioned in Revelation 2:6 and Acts 6:5; not to mention Corinth.

Just after the time of the apostles, many others went into revolt. For example, the Marcionites, the Noetians, the Valentinians, the Encratites, the Cataphrygians, the Quartodecimans, the Alogians, the Catharans, the Origenists or Adamantines, the Sabellians, the Samosatenians, the Manicheans, the Meletians, and finally the Arians.

After that, armies of heretical movements invaded the church–the Donatists, the Photinianss, the Acatians or Semi-Arians, the Eunomians, the Macedonians, the Nestorians, the Predestinarians, the Papists, the Zwinglians, the Anabaptists, the Schwenkfeldians, the Synergists, the Socinians, the Antitrinitarians, the Quakers, the Herrnhuters, and many others.

At length Luther, Melanchthon, and Calvin prevailed over them all. Their teachings are dominant today.

There are three main reasons why there were so many disputes and rebellions in the church:

  1. the divine Trinity was misunderstood
  2. there was no just concept of the Lord
  3. the suffering on the cross was taken to be redemption itself

The truth about these three things is essential to the faith the church is based on, the faith from which it is called a church. If people did not know the truth about these three things, it was inevitable that everything about the church would be dragged first off course and finally in the opposite direction. It was also inevitable that when the church arrived at that stage it would still believe that it had a true faith in God and a belief in all God’s truths.

This situation among these people in the church is like people who put a blindfold over their eyes and believe they are walking in a straight line, although step after step they are actually veering off course and eventually heading in the opposite direction, where there is a pit into which they fall.

The only way the wandering people of the church can be redirected onto the road of truth is by their knowing what true faith is, what illegitimate faith is, and what hypocritical faith is. Therefore this will be demonstrated.

a. There is only one true faith; it is faith in the Lord God our Savior Jesus Christ. It exists in people who believe that he is the Son of God, that he is the God of heaven and earth, and that he is one with the Father.

b. Illegitimate faith is all faith that departs from the one and only true faith. Illegitimate faith exists in people who climb up some other way and view the Lord not as God but only a human being.

c. Hypocritical faith is no faith at all.

from True Christianity, Section 378

c. Goodwill alone Does Not Produce Good Actions; Even Less Does Faith alone Produce Them. Good Actions Are Produced by Goodwill and Faith Together

The reason for this is that goodwill without faith is not goodwill, and faith without goodwill is not faith, as I have shown above, Sections 355-358. Goodwill does not exist all alone by itself, and neither does faith. As a result, it cannot be said that goodwill produces any good works on its own or that faith produces any good works on its own.

The situation is similar with the will and the intellect. There is no such thing as a will that exists all alone by itself; It would not produce anything. There is no such thing as an intellect that exists all alone by itself; it would not produce anything either. All productivity comes from both faculties working together; it comes from the intellect in connection with the will. This similarity exists because the will is the home of goodwill and the intellect is the home of faith.

I said, “even less does faith alone produce them,” because faith is truth. To live our faith is to put truths into action. Truths enlighten goodwill and the practice of it. The Lord teaches that truths are enlightening when he says, “Those who do the truth come to the light so their works will be revealed, since those works were done in God” (John 3:21). Therefore when we follow truths in our doing of good works, we do good works “in the light,” meaning intelligently and wisely.

The partnership between goodwill and faith is like the marriage between a husband and a wife. All their physical offspring are born to both the husband as their father and the wife as their mother. Likewise, all our spiritual offspring are born to goodwill as their father and faith as their mother. Spiritual offspring are concepts of goodness and truth. These concepts allow us to recognize the lineage of whole spiritual families. In fact, in the Word’s spiritual meaning “a husband” and “a father” refer to goodness related to goodwill, and “a wife” and “a mother” refer to truth related to faith.

From these parallels it is again clear that goodwill by itself or faith by itself could not produce good works, just as a husband by himself or a wife by herself could not produce children.

The truths that relate to faith not only enlighten goodwill, they also enhance its quality and even nourish it. Therefore if we have goodwill but we have no truths related to faith, we are like someone walking in a garden at night, plucking pieces of fruit from the trees without knowing whether they are beneficial or harmful to eat. Since the truths related to faith not only enlighten goodwill but also enhance its quality, as I said, it follows that goodwill without truths that related to faith is like pieces of fruit without any juice in them, like parched figs or like grapes after the wine has been pressed out of them.

Since truths nourish faith, as I also said, it follows that if goodwill lacks truths that are related to faith, that goodwill has no more nourishment than we would have from eating a piece of burnt toast and drinking filthy water from a pond.

from True Christianity, Section 377

b. Goodwill and Faith Are Transient and Exist only in Our Minds unless, When an Opportunity Occurs, They Culminate in Actions and Become Embodied in Them (Continued)

Goodwill and faith do nothing for us when they are attached to only one part of our body (meaning our head) but are not anchored in actions. This is clear from a thousand passages in the Word, of which I will cite only the following here:

Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. (Matthew 7:19-21)

“Those who are sown in good earth are people who hear the Word and pay attention, and bear and produce fruit.” When Jesus had said this he cried out, saying, “Those who have ears to hear must hear.” (Matthew 13:3-9, 43)

Jesus said, “My mother and my brothers and sisters are those who hear the Word of God and do it,” (Luke 8:21)

We know that God does not hear sinners, but if people worship God and do his will, he hears them. (John 9:31)

If you know these things, you are happy if you do them. (John 13:17)

Those who have my commandments and do them are the people who love me. I will love them and will manifest myself to them. I will come to them and make my home with them. (John 14:15-21, 23)

My Father is glorified by your bearing much fruit. (John 15:8)

Hearers of the Law are not justified by God, but doers of the law are. (Romans 2:13; James 1:22)

In the day of anger and just judgment, God will repay all according to their works. (Romans 2:5-6)

It is right for us all to appear before Christ’s judgment seat, so that each of us may carry away what we have dome through our body in regard to those things, where good and evil. (2 Corinthians 5:10)

The Son of Humankind is going to come in the glory of his Father. Then he will repay all according to their deeds. (Matthew 16:27)

I heard a voice from heaven saying “Blessed are the dead who die in the Lord from now on. The Spirit says that they will rest from their labors. Their works follow them.” (Revelation 14:13)

A book is opened, which is the book of life, and the dead are judged according to their works. (Revelation 20: 12-13)

Behold, I am coming quickly, and my reward is with me to give to all according to their work. (Revelation 22:12)

Jehovah, whose eyes are open to all the ways of human beings, to give to them all according their ways and according to the fruit of their works. (Jeremiah 32:19)

I will bring judgment upon them according to their ways and will reward their works. (Hosea 4:9)

Jehovah deals with us according to our ways and according to our works. (Zechariah 1:6)

There are thousands of other passages like these.

On this basis one can clearly see that goodwill and faith are not goodwill and faith before they exist in actions. If they exist only up in the sky or in the mind above actions, they are like images of a tabernacle or a church in the air that are just strange aerial phenomena that spontaneously disappear. They are like paintings on paper that bookworms are chewing through. They are like our living on a roof with no bed rather than in a house.

From all this you can see that goodwill and faith are transient entities when they are merely mental–unless, when there is an opportunity for us to do them, they culminate in actions and become embodied in them.

from True Christianity, Section 376