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AC 9443. The Forgiveness of Sins shall now be spoken of.

AC 9444. The sins done by a man are rooted in his very life, and make it; and therefore no one is liberated from them unless he receives new life from the Lord, which is effected by means of regeneration.

AC 9445. That from himself a man cannot do what is good or think what is true; but only from the Lord, is evident in John:--

A man can do nothing except it be given him from heaven (John 3:27).

He that abideth in Me, and I in him, the same beareth much fruit; for without Me ye can do nothing (John 15:5).

From this it is evident that no one can withdraw anyone from sins, thus forgive them, save the Lord alone.

AC 9446. The Lord continually flows into man with the good of love and the truths of faith; but these are variously received; being received in one way by one person, and in a different way by another; by those who have been regenerated they are received well; but by those who do not suffer themselves to be regenerated they are received ill.

AC 9447. Those who have been regenerated are continually kept by the Lord in the good of faith and of love, and are then withheld from evils and falsities. And those who do not suffer themselves to be regenerated by the Lord are also withheld from evil and kept in good, for good and truth continually flow in from the Lord with every man; but the infernal loves in which they are, namely, the loves of self and of the world, stand in the way, and turn the influx of good into evil, and that of truth into falsity.

AC 9448. From all this it is evident what the Forgiveness of Sins is. To be able to be kept by the Lord in the good of love, and the truths of faith, and to be withheld from evils and falsities, is the Forgiveness of Sins. And to shun evil and falsity, and to feel aversion for them, is then Repentance. But these are possible only with those who, through regeneration, have received new life from the Lord; because these things belong to the new life.

AC 9449. The signs that sins have been forgiven are the following. Delight is felt in worshiping God for the sake of God; in being of service to the neighbor for the sake of the neighbor; thus in doing good for the sake of good, and in believing truth for the sake of truth There is an unwillingness to merit by anything that belongs to charity and faith. Evils, such as enmities, hatreds, revenges, unmercifulness, adulteries, in a word, all things that are against God and against the neighbor, are shunned and are held in aversion.

AC 9450. But the signs that sins have not been forgiven are the following. God is not worshiped for the sake of God; and the neighbor is not served for the sake of the neighbor; thus good is not done and truth is not spoken for the sake of good and truth, but for the sake of self and the world. There is a desire to merit by our deeds; others are despised in comparison with ourselves; delight is felt in evils, such as enmities, hatred, revenge, cruelty, adulteries; and the holy things of the church are held in contempt, and are at heart denied.

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 wills not 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 gave He power to be sons of God, to them that 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" denotes those who are opposed to the goods of faith and of charity; "of the will of the flesh" denotes those who are in evils from the loves of self and of the world; "of the will of man" denotes those who are in falsities thence derived; to be "born of God" denotes to be regenerated. That no one can come into heaven unless he is regenerated, is taught in the same:--

Verily, verily I say unto thee, Except a man be born anew, be cannot see the kingdom of God. Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except 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" denotes through the truth of faith; and "to be born of the spirit" denotes 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.


AC 9578. By means of angels from the Lord I was conducted to a certain earth in the universe, where it was granted me to look at the earth itself; but not to speak with the inhabitants of it, but with the spirits who came from it. For after their life in the world is completed, all the inhabitants, or men, of every earth, become spirits, and remain about their earth. Nevertheless these give information about their earth, and the state of its inhabitants; for men who depart out of the body carry with them all their former life, and all their memory.

AC 9579. To be conducted to the earths in the universe is not to be conducted and transported there as to the body, but as to the spirit; and the spirit is not conducted through spaces, but through variations of the state of the interior life, which appear to him like progressions through spaces (n. 5605, 7381, 9440). Moreover, approaches take place in accordance with the agreements or likenesses of the states, for the agreement or likeness of the state conjoins, and disagreement or unlikeness disjoins. From this it can be seen in what manner removal as to the spirit from one place to another is effected, and also the approach of the spirit to distant regions, while the man still remains in its own place.

AC 9580. But to conduct a spirit outside his own world by means of variations of the state of his interiors, and to cause these variations to successively advance up to a suitable or like state with that of those to whom he is being led, is in the power of the Lord alone; for there must be a constant direction and foresight from first to last, both ways, especially when this is to be effected with a man who as to the body is still in the world of nature, and who is thereby in space.

AC 9581. That this has been done, no one who is in the sensuous things of the body, and who thinks from them, can be brought to believe. The reason is that these sensuous things cannot grasp progressions apart from spaces. Nevertheless they who think from the sensuous of their spirit somewhat removed or withdrawn from that of the body, thus they who think interiorly within themselves, can be brought to believe and to apprehend it, because in the idea of their thought there is neither space nor time, but instead of these such things as are the sources of spaces and times. Therefore the things which follow concerning the earths in the starry heaven are for these men, and not for those first mentioned, unless they are of such a character as to suffer themselves to be instructed.

AC 9582. In company with some spirits from this earth, and while in a state of wakefulness, I was conducted as to my spirit to a certain earth in the universe, by means of angels from the Lord. The progression took place toward the right, and continued for two hours. Near the end of our solar system, there first appeared a shining but dense cloud, and after it a fiery smoke rising up from a great chasm. A vast abyss separated our solar world on that side from certain worlds of the starry heaven. The fiery smoke appeared for a considerable distance. I was being carried across this middle region, when underneath in that chasm or abyss there appeared very many men, who were spirits, for all spirits appear in the human form, and are actually men, (n. 322, 1881). I also heard them speaking to each other there, but was not given to know whence they came and what was their nature; however, one of them told me that they were guards to prevent spirits from this world from passing into any other world in the universe without the needful facilities.

AC 9583. That this was so was also confirmed, for when certain spirits who were in the company came to that great interspace, and who had not received permission to pass over it, they began to cry out vehemently that they were perishing, for they were like persons struggling in the agony of death; and therefore they stayed on that side of the abyss, and could not be conveyed any further; for the fiery smoke which exhaled from the abyss filled them, and thus tormented them. The fiery smoke is falsity from the evils of concupiscences. So does this falsity appear.

AC 9584. A continuation about the first earth seen in the starry heaven will be found at the end of the following chapter.

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