So then what is the truth about the life of Jesus? In what way has Jesus Christ saved humanity? In what way was his deed the greatest? What was the purpose of his life on Earth, his one-time incarnation? What is the Plan of Salvation?[Editor’s Note: All the Q&As on this website are from Pathwork Guide Q&A sessions as well as the questions and answers at the end of Pathwork Guide lectures—except for this one. This answer comes from Pathwork lecture #22 Salvation, and it provides important insight about why Christ came to Earth as Jesus. More importantly, understanding the Plan of Salvation can help us understand why we are here.]
The Guide: The purpose of his life was not only to spread his teachings. For true and beautiful as they are, basically the same teachings could be found elsewhere too, though perhaps in another form. So this was certainly not the only purpose.
The second purpose of his life, though still not the main one, was to show symbolically, through his life and death, the course and the stages of development for each person who wants to regain the kingdom of heaven. Periods of testing, trials, faith in God in times of adversity, crucifixion of the personal ego with its vanity and self-will – all this was symbolized by the body of Jesus.
The two purposes mentioned here can be considered as accompaniments to the main purpose he had to fulfill. I should like to tell you what salvation by Jesus Christ really means. Very few people indeed realize its full significance, least of all the organized churches who have almost completely misunderstood what salvation is.
Many people believe that Christ died on the cross for the sins of everyone else and as a result no one is responsible or accountable for their sins, faults and weaknesses, for Christ has atoned for them through his death. This, of course, my friends, cannot be so. It would be utterly senseless. After the explanation of the real story of salvation, you will not only see that this is a comfortable misunderstanding, but you will also clearly perceive how this misunderstanding could have come about.
I have also mentioned that salvation was not only accomplished on this earth sphere but in every sphere of existence. Long before the earth sphere existed and after the so-called Fall of the Angels, God’s plan was ultimately that every single one of those fallen beings should have the means to come back to him, back to the light and harmony.
But it was essential that God’s laws never be broken, not even for the purpose of bringing back the fallen creatures. This was, indeed, a very difficult task to follow through.
I also explained that each being put into creation by God was created perfectly in one way. Each being represented one divine aspect. The purpose was for each spirit to extend this perfection into other realms. Let us say one being was perfect in love, another in wisdom, and so forth.
The aim was to use the divine power that we all once had to make ourselves perfect in every other respect and thus eventually become godlike. By so doing, additional worlds of beauty would come into existence – spiritual worlds. For as you know, every thought, every feeling, every ambition and every act, is formed in spirit and thus creates a world.
You also know that a number of spirits have used their divine power for this purpose, and a number of other spirits have used theirs in the opposite way. This was the origin of the Fall.
After the Fall, Christ, who of course existed in the spirit world long before he was born as man, organized all the spirits in God’s world to use all their strength and perfection in their particular fields to help the Plan of Salvation.
In other words, the pure spirits, instead of continuing and extending their own growing perfection, postponed this ultimate goal for the purpose of using their powers to arrange and to work for the Plan of Salvation. And this plan exists on every plane. Now, of course, I am still talking of the divine spheres.
In the spheres of darkness, some time had to go by before anything could be done. Enough spirits had to feel a longing for light before lighter worlds, still in the realm of Lucifer, came into existence. Without this longing, unconscious and blind as it was at the beginning, nothing could change, regardless of what would have been arranged by the world of God.
In your language, millions and millions of years went by before, due to this longing, the earth sphere gradually came into existence. More souls came to live on earth because they were ready to do so, low as their development still was.
More general and individual development then proceeded. Merely by living on the earth sphere, they came, for the first time after the Fall, into contact with something divine, subdued as this manifestation may have been for the most part.
In the meantime, Christ was busy preparing and working in the spirit world of God, planning ahead and sending various pure spirits to live on Earth. He also organized teachings for the pure spirits now incarnated to bring to mankind, either through inspiration and guidance, or through communication with God’s world.
It is impossible for you to imagine how minutely everything had to be worked out, how painstaking this work was so that everything would accord with the divine laws of justice.
At that time, no matter how far human beings developed spiritually, when returning to the beyond, they were still under the dominion of Lucifer. For every divine aspect was turned into its opposite quality. Therefore, free will, which is divine, was turned into domination. And, of course, Lucifer would not give up the dominion he held over his followers.
If, for instance, a human being, due to a changing attitude and growing harmony with God, would begin to produce light and beautiful spheres in the Spirit World, even these spheres still belonged to the kingdom of Lucifer because he did not relinquish his power over this person.
Furthermore, no one was at that time far enough developed to produce only spheres of light. People would produce and own several spheres, harmonious and disharmonious ones.
This happens, incidentally, with each one of you and with every human being. Wherever there are faults, weaknesses and blindness, corresponding spheres come into existence. Wherever you are pure and purified, you create beautiful spheres. And you will not only own the best, but also the worst of that which you have built.
Any relatively highly developed human being might thus inhabit a number of light spheres, but even these spheres were still under the dominion of Lucifer as long as the salvation work in this respect was not finished. By the way, what you call Hell is not only one sphere of dire darkness and misery. As there are many gradations in the divine spheres, so there are similar gradations in the Luciferic ones.
When enough beings were ready and cognizant of God, and consciously desired to have complete union with God, the time was ripe for the most important part of the Plan of Salvation to take place, which Christ took upon himself. He had a reason beyond his infinite love and compassion with all his fallen brothers and sisters.
During the process of the Fall, the first spirit who fell, Lucifer, developed an intense jealousy of Christ. Thus it was logical that Christ Himself should prove his love by his great sacrifice and work, not only to all the other fallen creatures, but also to Lucifer himself, who through Christ’s deed alone would one day in the far future find it possible to return to God and thus find ultimate happiness.
God made Christ the King of the Universe and as such Christ possessed not only the highest privileges, but also the strongest responsibilities. By carrying the heaviest burden alongside his exalted position, he gave another example for the world to follow.
Thus, when the time was ripe, Christ faced Lucifer. Now, my friends, I must ask you not to think that all this could not have been that way because it sounds all too human. All you have and know as human beings, not only regarding subjects and objects in abstract and concrete ideas and in language, but also in any sort of forms you know, is only a limited imitation of what existed in spirit before this material world and in much greater variety.
Human beings think, when we mention that spirits talk or possess certain objects, that this is too human and too concrete. Yet, in spirit everything is concrete, everything is form. In your world only material objects have form and the so-called abstract things do not have form, for they are invisible to you. This is not so in spirit. Love is a form. When you have a beautiful thought it will create one form. When you have a wicked thought, it will create another form, a concrete form for us.
I beg you to keep this in mind and not think what I am telling you is childish because Lucifer and Christ would not talk together like two human beings. It may not be in exactly the same way as when two human beings talk – the procedure may be different; it is a spiritual procedure. This, of course, is impossible to translate into human language. Therefore, the language I have to use must be limited to your understanding.
So, to continue: Christ would face Lucifer and tell him, “Now, there are so-and-so many spirits who do not wish to remain faithful to you. They desire to go back to God. Therefore, you should set them free.” Lucifer would not agree to that. He maintained that he did not recognize divine law and would use his power as he saw fit.
So Christ said, “In this case there must be a war between us, between your forces and the forces of the divine world.” The chances would be evenly distributed, which means that the divine forces must be numerically in the minority for the simple reason that the forces of good are infinitely stronger than the forces of evil, perhaps twenty to one. If you have one absolutely purified being against twenty very impure beings, the strength of this one pure being would outweigh the strength of the twenty impure ones.
Lucifer said, “Even if such a war took place and even if the divine forces won and took my power away, I would still not recognize the law of God as being just.” This issue constituted an essential part of the Plan of Salvation, since no one should be eternally damned, not even Lucifer himself. And so that no eternal damnation would ever be possible, Lucifer himself would have to admit at all times the absolute justice of the divine laws.
Therefore, Christ asked him, “In what way would you consider the divine powers to be just?” And Lucifer answered. “I would fight such a war if one being – from the world of God, if you wish – would live on Earth like a man, without any protection or guidance from the world of God at crucial times, with a great part of his knowledge dimmed out, with matter standing in the way, and would yet remain faithful to God in spite of my temptations and in spite of the most difficult conditions possible.
“I would offer this person every worldly power and release from all hardship if he forsook God. If he remained faithful to God under such conditions – which I doubt very much, in fact, I say it is impossible – then I will have my battle with you and I will recognize God’s laws as being utterly just.”
You must know, my friends, that every living being has at all times guardian spirits from the world of God. But some people’s attitude may keep these spirits from coming too close. Nevertheless, they are there, even if only in the background, watching that nothing befalls their protégé that is not according to God’s laws of justice or that the person may be too weak to endure.
To be left alone without the support of God’s spirit world on this earth sphere, and in addition having to resist all attacks, challenges, hardships and temptations that the powers of darkness could think of, seemed indeed an impossible task to fulfill. No human being had ever had to go through anything remotely like it.
Therefore, Christ cannot be compared with any other person who has ever lived, no matter how pure or how wonderful the teachings may have been. Christ has shown in deed and in fact what others have taught, and he did it under infinitely more difficult circumstances than anyone else ever had to bear.
So these were the conditions Lucifer set up for him to recognize God’s laws as being just. If this seemingly impossible task were really to be fulfilled, then the battle could take place. Should Lucifer lose the battle, then Christ could make his terms and Lucifer would not doubt God’s justice in any respect.
This then was the plan. And Christ took it upon himself for the above-mentioned reasons, though Lucifer did not specify that it had to be him.
My friends, if you study all the Scriptures from this point of view, you will get an entirely different understanding of them. I am quite sure that the reason for the life and death of Christ will now make sense to you.
There would not be any sense in Christ dying on the cross for sins others have committed. If you have committed a sin, you yourself have to straighten it out and no one else can or should do it for you. If someone else were to do it for you, you would not gain purification. You would not receive the strength through the process of self-purification which alone will protect you from committing sins again.
As long as the evil root is not torn out, it must again produce impure fruit. Only you can tear out the roots of your evil. Therefore, that was not the reason Christ suffered and died.
You will also understand why Christ was left completely alone for a long time. Naturally, as a man, he did not have the same knowledge he had as a spirit. If he had had that same knowledge, the task would not have been so difficult.
He did of course possess some knowledge since he is the highest being in creation. In addition, he had a great deal of spiritual strength and wisdom. However, there would be no purpose to life on Earth at all if – and this applies to everyone – the same spiritual knowledge were available in the flesh as when one is not incarnated.
So Christ did not know exactly what was involved while he lived on Earth. In the course of the years, he received some knowledge, and he had a vague idea – just as any one of you might have a vague idea – of the task he was to fulfill.
What may come of it, how it will end, what the exact meaning is, you will not know – and he did not know that either. He was not supposed to know it while incarnated. After a certain time all the angels of God had to leave him. They were with him for some time of his life, but were not present when the really difficult task began.
As I have explained to you, the teachings he brought were important and wonderful, but this was an additional facet of his life. It was a side benefit. Whenever anything happens in strict accordance with the will of God, not just one good reason and purpose exists, for many factors play a role and many good purposes are fulfilled with one divine deed. This again applies to everyone.
However, simply to bring the teachings was not his full reason for living as a man. Beautiful as the teachings are, they were not new. In essence, other people had also brought the same teachings. He adjusted them according to his times and in consideration of the ever-evolving development of humankind, but that was all.
The task was, as I explained, that he ¬– left quite alone and cut off completely from the world of God – had to resist the temptations of Lucifer, who put the greatest effort imaginable into his goal to cause Christ to fall. He used every device possible, and in so doing he organized all his helpers. Believe me, Lucifer is by no means stupid, even though he certainly lacks wisdom and insight. Nor is he without great resources in his own dark powers.
On the one side, Christ experienced nothing but suffering – both physical and psychological, as well as humiliation, the extent of which you cannot image. The humiliation and psychological suffering were a great deal worse than the physical suffering, as bad as that was. On the other side, he was offered all the temptations of the world of darkness.
Of course, Christ was what you would call psychic to the maximum degree. His mediumistic qualities were so strongly developed not just in one respect, but in every respect, that they were greater than anyone else’s before or after. This was an advantage as long as God’s world was close to him, but when he was cut off from it, this was merely an additional hardship, for all the manifestations coming to him originated from the world of darkness.
Clairvoyantly, he came in contact first with high emissaries from the Luciferic world and later with Lucifer himself, who made himself appear as a beautiful being, offering Christ all the worldly advantages he might desire and instant release from all his sufferings, if he accepted Lucifer and gave up his idea of God.
Lucifer taunted him in the worst moments of his sufferings: “Where is your God of love and justice? If he existed, would he allow his beloved son to go through all of this? If your God cannot offer you more, are you not better off with me? Look what I have to offer you. Your God can only offer you intense suffering and hardship in every possible respect.”
Can you imagine what this meant? If Jesus had known the exact significance of his task, it would not have been half as difficult to resist. But this was precisely the point. To have doubts at these crucial times, doubts about everything, about his true identity, and about there being any wise and good purpose in undergoing all the hardships which he could not understand at the time – in short, about everything he had learned in the previous years – was inevitable.
Often he wondered whether he was not under some illusion and whether all his previous knowledge was not the product of imagination. During these times of doubt, Lucifer would instantly be at his side and strengthen such thoughts.
It is easy to perceive how extremely hard it must have been for him – being a man and having matter between him and absolute truth – to remain faithful to God and not give in to these temptations aggravated by hardships. If the conditions of his task had not been such that even Christ might have doubted at times, his task would not have been so infinitely magnificent.
Therefore, Christ had to have the same obstacles of matter as all other human beings, but his were intensified to a maximum degree. Material substance is a curtain and man has to grope to open that curtain. Jesus Christ had to do the same, but in conditions of which you can only vaguely appreciate the extreme difficulty, even with these explanations.
To remain on the right path under these circumstances without fully understanding it – my friends, you cannot really know what it meant. And having the humility, in spite of all the passing thoughts of doubt, to put God above everything, even above his suffering, and above his not understanding why, was the task. It indeed seemed almost impossible that anyone could do it. But Jesus Christ did!
By doing this, Christ not only fulfilled the conditions by which the world of darkness could never at any time claim God’s laws to be unjust, but at the same time he set an example for everyone born after him.
So when you are in suffering and you do not understand why, think of Jesus Christ within the setting of the true story of salvation. Then bring yourself to imagine his sufferings as something real, not some imaginary legend, as real as your own sufferings, only much worse. Then it will be so much easier for you to follow in his footsteps and remain humble, letting God take over.
Immediately after Christ had successfully completed his task on the earth sphere, a number of so-called “miracles” took place on Earth, showing humankind that a major phase in the history of creation was over and an important new phase was to begin.
I could talk on for hours and hours about his life on Earth, my friends, about his sufferings and about his death. But if you read the Bible now, your own imagination can give you a better idea than before of the deep significance and the reality of all this.
After Christ’s physical death, he returned to the world of spirit. Having fulfilled the conditions with a relatively small number of specialized spirits he fought a spiritual battle in the world of darkness.
That spirits should have wars, my friends, may sound again too human for you. Where do you think your wars come from? They are only an out-picturing of spiritual war.
Of course, a spiritual war does not take place in exactly the same manner as a material war on Earth, but the essence is nevertheless there. How it happens is again impossible to describe because you lack the perception and understanding as I lack the full ability to express myself in human language. So I can only describe it in a somewhat condensed way that may sound symbolic, and may be symbolic to a certain extent.
So a war took place between Christ and Lucifer. You have to use your inner vision and imagine it as though a war with guns or spears, as on Earth, had taken place in exactly that form. Of course, this was not the way it was. However, there was a spiritual war.
Again Lucifer had to admit the justice of the ways of God’s world, for, as mentioned before, Christ came to fight under equal conditions. It would have been in his power not to take any risks by using greater strength and more helpers. However, he did not and this was for the same reason that he undertook life on Earth for God’s justice to be preserved – even in the eyes of Lucifer.
The chances were even and this was so apparent that not even Lucifer could deny it. That was important, for the plan was, and is, that Lucifer himself must ultimately come to the point when he too will return to God as the very last of all the fallen creatures, since he was the first to turn away from the laws of God.
Jesus Christ fulfilled the Plan of Salvation in every sphere. His task varied in each of the numerous spheres, because each was different: in the world of God where the manifold preparations were made, on the earth sphere, and in the world of darkness. After the battle was over, new conditions were set up. They have reigned ever since.
In your history, you will read that on the third day, after his descent into Hell, Christ went up to Heaven. The various details that were preserved in Scripture confirm in a way all this for you, although the time element is not quite exact. Time is always a “translation,” so to speak, for in spirit, time – if there is such a thing – is individual, psychological, and very different. But this does not matter, for humankind has made a symbol of these three days.
The new conditions meant that all human beings were given the opportunity to turn to God during their development on Earth, going from one life to the other. Lucifer kept all the rights to tempt humans to succumb to him by succumbing to their own lower nature. Should they resist, they would no longer be subjects of the Luciferic world, for the doors were now open to unite with their Creator and inhabit the divine worlds once more.
Even the traps and temptations that Lucifer could use were, from that time on, limited. In accordance with divine law, God’s spirit world now has the right to interfere. The divine laws must be observed in exactitude, the activities of the powers of darkness are limited and must stand ultimately under the jurisdiction of God.
For Lucifer to still possess a certain amount of freedom is necessary not only for the now so often explained reason that he must always recognize divine justice, but also as a necessary means for development. Evil has to be tasted to the brim in many cases before it can be overcome by free will and the being’s own initiative. The desire to overcome must grow through ever-mounting enlightenment in each individual’s soul, and this often is only possible after one has gone through darkness.
That such enlightenment cannot come in one lifetime goes without saying. To accomplish the perfection that is needed to enter into the Kingdom of God – the perfection that was lost through the Fall – and to shed all the darkness that has come upon a soul can never be done in one lifetime. Many, many lives or incarnations are indeed necessary.
Life on earth is like a school where you develop from one class to the other. Sometimes you may stay for a while in one class and then you may have one or several incarnations in succession where you accomplish a great deal.
Human beings who are incarnated from the world of darkness first come with very low and coarse instincts. Only after many incarnations and worked off karmic debts – and often after some suffering and a number of divine influences – will the attitude begin to change, slowly but surely.
When the senses have begun to refine themselves a little bit, then the real work of self-finding and self-purification begins, and for this phase again, many incarnations, accompanied by changing conditions and circumstances, are necessary.
Even in this secondary phase, many beings have not yet the strength to find God in reality. Too much of the Lower Self is still present for them not to succumb to the influences of the Luciferic world, whether the influence comes in the form of direct inspiration or through unwitting human instruments.
Then it will again take a considerable number of lives to awaken sufficiently to strengthen one’s willpower for the all-important process of self-purification. Only then will a further phase come in which the process of very gradual purification begins. In each life, conditions are prepared so that a certain side of the Lower Self has the opportunity to transform itself best.
You see, it cannot be any other way, for it would be impossible to reach in one lifetime the necessary perfection needed to enter the Kingdom of God for always. With each life, even in the worst cases, something is gained, even if the benefits can only be fully experienced at a later period, when a being finally declares: “My path leads to God. I will not listen to my Lower Self,” that self which is constantly and magnetically in touch with the world of darkness.
The Higher Self, which is much further in the background and much more difficult to reach through all the layers of imperfections is, however, in constant contact with the divine world.
The outer personality, with its willpower and capability to decide one way or another, has the means one day to make the decisive step: “I declare myself for God, for my Higher Self, with everything that it entails,” disregarding the laziness, the comfort, and the way of least resistance to give in to one’s faults.
Whether the faults are still murder, stealing, wickedness or are now only selfishness, jealousy, envy, resentment, laziness, or whatever else, makes no difference in principle. Anyone truly declaring and deciding and remaining with the decision to follow the path to God – hence the salvation of Christ – cannot remain a subject of the Luciferic world. Lucifer will have no power over such a being whether on Earth or in the Spirit World.
This is the way Christ has opened the door. You may now understand why it is said that Christ saved you from your sins. This is accurate only in the sense that your great sin of falling, of not remaining faithful to God, and of becoming at one time part of the world of darkness, does not have as a consequence eternal exclusion from the divine worlds.
From this Christ has indeed saved you, and for this you certainly have all the reason in the world to be grateful to him. Through him you now have the possibility, by your own efforts and development, to cross the threshold. In that sense, it is correct to say that Christ died for your sins. However, the interpretation that Christ died for all your sins and all your faults is very wrong.
This then very briefly is the story of the Creation of the Universe, the Fall, the Creation of this earth sphere, and salvation through Jesus Christ.