Arcana Coelestia (Elliott) n. 8393

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8393. Repentance present on the lips but not in one's life is not repentance. Lip repentance does not cause sins to be forgiven; only repentance in life can lead to this. Being Mercy itself, the Lord is constantly forgiving a person's sins; but sins cling to a person no matter how much he supposes them to have been forgiven. Nor are they removed from him except through a life in keeping with the commandments of faith. To the extent that his life is in keeping with them his sins are removed; and to the extent that his sins are removed they have been forgiven. For a person is withheld from evil by the Lord and maintained in good; for he can be withheld from evil in the next life to the extent that during his lifetime he was resisting evil, and he can be maintained in good then to the extent that during his lifetime he was doing good out of an affection for it. From all this one may see what the forgiveness of sins is and how it arises. Anyone who supposes that there is any other way in which sins are forgiven is much mistaken.

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