The essential of the church is the acknowledgment of the union of the Divine Itself with the Lord’s Human. Jesus forged this union in the glorification process by which He united His body to His divine soul. This is the most important thing in worship for it is the catalyst that unites our body and soul within us, and at the same time unites us to the Lord. The reason why this is an essential of the church and worship is that the salvation of the human race depends solely upon this union. The Lord came into the world for the sake of affecting this union. In its inmost sense the whole of the Bible is about this, and the rituals of the church are symbolic of this.
Our state after dying is determined by the quality of love in our soul. And there are three basic practices from our life that effect this, and that are also the basis of Christianity: 1; To acknowledge God in our hearts, 2; To be useful in life and act with care toward our neighbor, and 3; rule one and two must grow together. Neither one is substantial without the other. The marriage of rule one and two is the heavenly pattern, because this is the union of love and wisdom in our soul. The degree to which we have created concordance between them determines our state. In scripture this is expressed this way. “As the tree falleth so it layeth”.
The extraordinary truth expressed here is that the union – by the example of Jesus – is what counts; it is the effecting factor of all transformation and spirituality. Union is affinity, marriage, concordance, integration. We express this in our common language, in daily life and down to earth wisdom when we say things like: “Ideas without action mean nothing”, “to know is to love”, “think before you act”, “Self-mastery requires technique and spontaneity”, “There is no free lunch”, “Freedom must be fought for”, and many other such statements that might occur to you.
When we do this the affections of our heart are reflected in our face and body language; we are whole-hearted in our actions. If we do good and loving uses for others, but take credit ourselves, not acknowledging the source of all good is God then concordance does not take place in our soul.
When we die the final state of our soul is determined by the level of concordance between our internal loves, and our external actions. At death the Bible says ‘the die is cast’ which refers to the pattern or degree of concordance between or internal and external, or in other words how we have bonded (1) acknowledgement of God, and (2) doing good uses. This concordance defines the form and character of our soul, and in turn our capacity for love and growth for the rest of eternity.
This principle is everywhere in the Word because it is everywhere in life. The prudent virgins signify those in the church with whom faith is conjoined to charity, and the foolish signify those in the church with whom faith is separated from charity. The parable of the talents is all about this principle also. Talents represent spiritual intelligence, and spiritual intelligence is the result of the effort to marry rule 1 and 2 in our life. The primary theme of the whole Cane and Abel story in the internal sense is to show that faith and charity cannot be separated and when they are it is destructive.
Now it is wonderful to see how in the principle of union the Lord is entirely just and merciful, because it is up to each person to meet God half-way, to do the work of meeting the responsibilities that come with freedom and faith. We are masters of our own salvation no matter what our situation in life by the choices we make whether one knows of Christianity or not. Swedenborg writes: “It should be known that all who have not separated faith from love, when instructed in the other life, receive the heavenly idea of the Lord, that he is God of the universe. It is otherwise however with those who have separated faith from life”. It is the pattern of union that determines salvation whether we are Christian or not, but this pattern comes from Jesus! This makes us spiritual and able to learn of the Lord once in heaven. So even if a person in their life acted falsely or believed falsely because of the way we were brought up, but acted in good faith toward this falsity, then they can still be saved. Or if a person knows nothing of the Lord because of where they live, as long as they acknowledged God in some way and sought to live a life of good use, they are in the form of heaven. Thus the Lord is entirely just, because it is our own effort to effect union in our soul, however we may believe, that saves.