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Be Holy and Be Saved!

Craig L. Ghislin, C.S., Glen Ellyn (Bartlett), IL
Posted Monday, April 13th, 2015

Be Holy and Be Saved!
Metaphysical Application Ideas for the Christian Science Bible Lesson on

Doctrine of Atonement

for April 13—19, 2015

by Craig L. Ghislin, C.S.
Glen Ellyn, Illinois (Bartlett) craig.ghislincs@icloud.com / (630) 830-8683

Are you saved? Do you think you need saving? To many, the opportunity of being saved is exclusive, and often has to do with accepting a particular doctrinal point, making a statement of faith, and going through a ceremony to signify your intention to maintain loyalty to your declaration. Anyone unsaved is presumed doomed to everlasting punishment. According to Adam Clarke (ca. 1760—1832), there was a Jewish tradition that when the Messiah came, all the other nations of the world would be destroyed. It seems rather an immature view to want to destroy those who see things differently. In the Golden Text John tells us that Jesus corrected this belief by declaring that his mission was not to destroy, but to save.

The Responsive Reading gives us an idea of how Jesus purposed to see his saving mission through to completion. The citations are excerpts of what is often called his “farewell prayer.” Although Barton Johnson’s People’s New Testament (PNT) says that given the solemnity and tenderness of this prayer, it should rightly be called “the real ‘Lord’s Prayer.’” This observation is based on the fact that what we call “The Lord’s Prayer” in Matthew is more a prayer for the disciples than for Jesus. In this prayer Jesus is about to face the culmination of his life work. He is about to suffer an agonizing trial, beating, and crucifixion, and his prayer is for himself, his disciples, and for all who believe throughout time to come. [See PS#1.]

When Jesus begins praying, the text reads, he “lifted up his eyes.” This could have been literal, but figuratively, it begs the question: “When we pray, where are we looking? Up? Or Down?” Throughout his mission, Jesus showed us who God is. The Amplified Bible translates this passage: “I have manifested Your Name, [I have revealed Your very Self. Your real Self] to the people whom You have given Me out of the world.” He pledges to sanctify himself that we might be sanctified. Jesus has no separate will or interest apart from God. His supreme example shows us what we need to do to be saved—to achieve at-one-ment with God.

Jesus also prayed that all believers would love one another, and their love and obedience would be a sign to the world that they are truly his followers. This prayer taken to its logical conclusion would eliminate all denominational boundaries and factions. “As the Son and Father are one, have one work, one kingdom, one spirit, one interest, so must all that are Christ’s” (PNT).

The rest of the Lesson shows us how Jesus carried out his mission and explains how following his example earns us the right to be saved.

Section 1: Be Holy
What makes someone holy? The Scriptures make holiness a command (B1). The text in Leviticus implies that the call to be holy exhorted the Israelites to consciously separate themselves from impure and idolatrous ways. The word translated as “holy” also means “sacred.” It comes from a word meaning, “to be clean” (Strong). For the most part, the ancient Israelites, as well as the vast majority of the world today, is anything but clean. The early Israelites were well aware of their need for cleansing, and they had specific blood sacrifices, performed by their high priests, just for this purpose (B2). They thought these would repair their relationship with God. The theological term for this is “atonement.” The atonement ceremony was repeated annually because as the year went by, there would inevitably be more sins to atone for. Although they made every effort to keep this event sacred, it became clear to the prophets that the act of blood sacrifice, no matter how well intentioned, was not sufficient to change the lives of men. At length the prophets foresaw that something brand new needed to happen (B3). They began to realize that actually obeying God and listening to His Word were more effective than animal sacrifice (B4). Sacrifice was nothing more than a ceremonial institution, whereas obedience was a moral duty.

Early Christians were convinced that nothing but adherence to God’s law was sufficient to achieve atonement (B5). Recalling the prophets they point out that in the new covenant the law will be written in our hearts and minds. To the Christians, Jesus’ act of self-sacrifice made their ritualistic atonement obsolete. It also broke down the barrier between God and the common man.

As mentioned above, the Israelite ritual of atonement was performed on behalf of the people by the high priest. It took place in the Holy of Holies—a curtained chamber in the deepest part of the tabernacle believed to contain the Ark of the Covenant. [See full-scale version in CedarS Bible Lands Park.] The Holy of Holies was thought to be the only place God interfaced with mankind, the high priest being the representative of the people. Tradition has it that as Jesus was being crucified, the veil of the temple—the curtain of the Holy of Holies was rent in two. This symbolized that the barrier between God and His people was forever broken down, Jesus acting as the high priest making atonement once and for all. John Gill (1697-1771) writes, “Christ is a ‘living way’: in opposition to the dead carcasses of slain beasts, and to the dead and killing letter of the law; Christ gives life to all his people; and all that walk in him, the way, live; and none in this way ever die;…”

Mary Baker Eddy foresaw another “great change” taking place regarding the convoluted Christian doctrine of atonement that had grown over the centuries (S1). Mrs. Eddy teaches that “the infinite” cannot be understood through human doctrine (S2). As the law is written in our hearts, she felt demonstration was the only path to holiness and spiritual understanding, and that the spilling of Jesus’ blood was “no more efficacious to cleanse from sin” than was the blood of goats and rams (S3). Mrs. Eddy taught that not only Jesus’ sacrifice, but also his entire life’s work exemplified atonement. Throughout his experience he sacrificed all human yearning and desires in order to show us what is truly required for holiness (S4). Our textbook defines atonement as “the exemplification of man’s unity with God, whereby man reflects divine Truth, Life, and Love” (S6). True holiness is living in accordance with God in everything we do (S7). Atonement is not merely a symbolic abandonment of sin and reconciling with God, but actually letting go of sin, and demonstrating holiness in daily practice.

Section 2: Make Holiness Practical through Healing.
Holiness is more than just being a good, moral person. Holiness is specifically linked to the power of God. All references to God’s holy arm or the arm of the Lord indicate God’s ability to be made manifest in our experience (B6). The opportunity to see God’s arm revealed was open to anyone —“All the ends of the earth shall see” it.

Unfortunately, not all the world wanted to see it. The prophet says, “we hid our faces from him”, and “we esteemed him not” (B7). This could be alluding to the anguish that causes us to reflexively turn away, or that the promised Messiah was going to be so unlike what we expected that we would hide our faces in contempt, with no regard at all. The prophet is clear that the foreseen sufferings of the Messiah were going to be due to the world’s unwillingness to accept him.

Jesus was not deterred by the world’s indifference. He preached the gospel—the good news—of the kingdom, and bade his listeners to repent and believe. His teaching wasn’t the cold repetition of tired doctrine. It was vibrant with life, power, and divine authority. His words were backed up with healing proof. There was a man with an “unclean spirit” (B8) who had no interest in Jesus’ message. The man cried out, “What have we to do with thee, thou Jesus of Nazareth? Art thou come to destroy us? I know thee who thou art, the Holy One of God.” Jesus silenced the unclean spirit with a strong rebuke. According to John Wesley “Christ would neither suffer those evil spirits to speak in opposition, nor yet in favor of him. He needed not their testimony, nor would encourage it, lest any should infer that he acted in concert with them.” The man was healed instantly. It was clear that Jesus was acting on a level far above the religious dogma of the time. [See PS#2.]

Paul considered the reconciliation that accompanied the gospel as being a new creation—a total change of heart, soul, mind, and body, affected by the grace of God. He appealed to all believers to turn from pride, sensuality, and disobedience to the salvation of friendship and agreement with God’s law (B9).

Jesus didn’t destroy sinners; he healed them through Love—bringing them into redemption and salvation (S8). He wasn’t spouting doctrine. He was living the redemptive mission in everything he did (S9). When we think of atonement, redemption, and reconciliation, we often tend to think of it in terms of our point of view—that we can’t be deprived of God. But our textbook defines the doctrine of Christian Science from God’s point of view: “divine Love cannot be deprived of its manifestation, or object…” (S10). To my sense, that puts things on the basis of God’s law, not a mortal man’s needs, and therefore, it carries a weight of authority that cannot be denied.

Mrs. Eddy says there are two fundamental and crucial [“cardinal”] points that armed Jesus with Love: “the nothingness of material life and intelligence and the mighty actuality of all-inclusive God, good” (S11). As we accept these points [become ardent fans of these “cardinals”], we will see the “arm of the Lord” revealed in our lives. Then, we too, will be living in complete accordance with God’s law. It’s what Jesus did and, what we have to do (S12). We don’t have “evil spirits” in us, but we do have to contend with the resistance inside of us that says, “Let us alone; what have we to do with thee?” We have to “rid ourselves” of these resistant thoughts and “obey only the divine Principle” (S13). Our Leader says, “Here is the great point of departure for all true spiritual growth.” It’s the pivotal point in our salvation. So let’s not hide our face from our savior. Let’s forsake everything that holds us back, and open our hearts to the good news.

Section 3: Jesus Knew and Fulfilled His Mission
Every culture has specific learning styles. For instance, according to the website Hunan Cross Cultural Education, (http://hunancce.com/2010/differences-in-western-and-eastern-teachinglearning-styles/) there is a distinct contrast between learning styles in the West and learning styles in China. For Western students the teacher facilitates; the individual is most important; students ask questions, and express their own ideas. Whereas, for Eastern students the teacher is the authority; the individual is least important; students hesitate to ask questions, and students say what they think the teacher wants to hear. In the Jewish culture, there is also a learning style that non-Jews may misinterpret. Rabbi David J. Zucker, Ph. D. explains that in general conversation, Jewish speakers tend to interrupt each other a lot. This may appear rude to the outsider, but within the culture the interruptions mean they are “engaged and are actively and respectfully participating” (http://www.davidjzucker.org/djzNEWW/neww13.htm).

This sheds some light on how often Jesus was questioned, and argued with over so many doctrinal issues. Zucker also says that in learning, it is common for Jews to look at both sides of a question, and he points to Abraham dealing with God over the destruction of Sodom and Gomorra as an example. Jesus hadn’t gone through the Jewish traditional educational system, so the Jews couldn’t figure out where his teaching originated (B10). Jesus said his doctrine came not from men, books, or personal invention, but directly from God. Not only that, he took on the authoritative, and protective role of a shepherd (B11). He declared God to be the author of everything Jesus did. In the Jewish fashion noted above, the people continued to question Jesus, and he pointed to his works as evidence of his oneness with God. Then he stated bluntly, “I and my Father are one.” This was too much for them to take, and they prepared to stone him for blasphemy. [See PS#3.& PS#4]

Jesus broke every convention of his time. He also made it clear that he was not the victim of circumstance, but he was voluntarily following the path God had laid down for him. Mrs. Eddy points out that Jesus’ keen awareness of his oneness with God impelled his every act (S14). Jesus’ firm conviction, “I and my Father are one,” infuriated the rabbinical sensibilities. He was operating on a wavelength they couldn’t comprehend. God was his Mind, and he proved the belief of a material mind and body capable of sickness and sin to have nothing to do with God’s plan (S15).

Jesus knew his purpose, and he accepted it willingly. Our Leader calls Jesus “the mediator between Spirit and the flesh, between Truth and error.” Instead of going along with the theology of the time, he taught us what life is really about. He showed us how to escape from evil by turning completely to God, and he demonstrated what holiness is.

Traditional Christian theology emphasizes the mistaken belief that God turned into a man, and condescended to enter mortal existence, allowing Himself to suffer and be killed, all for the purpose of expiating our sins. Christian Science explains that Jesus is not God come in the flesh, but that Jesus was the living example of the real, sinless man God made. He suffered for the purpose of bringing man up to a fuller understanding of God (S17). Materially-minded thinking is always debating with the truth, and from its limited perspective, simply doesn’t get it. The Christ removes all obstacles to our faith and understanding (S18). We might wonder what the world would be like if Jesus hadn’t come. But he did come, and there is no question that he is our Savior.

Section 4: We Must Acknowledge and Follow Jesus’ Example.
Theologians have used Peter’s recounting of Jesus’ unjust condemnation, crucifixion, and his resurrection (B13) as justification for the teaching that God not only knew of Jesus’ suffering, but foreordained it. Even today, some also use it as an argument for predestination. But whatever the citation might be used for, Peter made one thing very clear, lest the opposition dare to claim a victory: Jesus wasn’t captured and crucified because of any weakness, miscalculation, or inability on his or God’s part to save him. Throughout his ordeal God’s purpose was being worked out so that Jesus could prove death to be powerless in the face of everlasting Life and Love. Jesus endured the cross for the ultimate goal of saving even his persecutors (B14), and turning everyone from their wickedness. Jesus emerged victorious through his steadfast demonstration of divine power. True believers prove their devotion by resisting evil desires to the point of figuratively nailing those false desires to the cross, therefore subduing them until they are finally destroyed (B15).

Our Leader writes, “We need ‘Christ, and him crucified.’ We must have trials and self-denials, as well as joys and victories, until all error is destroyed” (S19). We can’t expect that Jesus’ agony and sacrifice means we won’t have trials ourselves. We have to prove our reverence, devotion, and acceptance of his sacrifice by doing some sacrificing of our own. Jesus proved the necessity for overcoming sin, and the eternal benefit of sticking steadfastly to the truth.

Sometimes we hear the question, “Have you been saved?” As Christian Scientists we can confidently say, “Yes, I have been saved,” if we truly have accepted Jesus’ atonement, and seriously endeavor to mold our lives according to his example (S20, 4th tenet). This devotion isn’t made evident through ritualistic ceremonies any more than the blood of bulls and goats have power to remove sin. It’s made evident through our devotion to healing (S21).

Spiritually-scientific healing involves a lot of sacrifice of worldly beliefs. It’s work. Sometimes it’s even painful. The word “pang” means, “extreme pain, or anguish.” Mrs. Eddy indicates that we will have “pang[s] of repentance and suffering” (S22). These help us understand Jesus’ commitment to oneness with God. The old theological view was that since Jesus suffered for our sins, his experience took away our sins, in the same way as the sacrifice of the goats were thought to have removed the sins of the Israelites. Not so. We can’t be truly repentant if we continue to sin. Jesus wasn’t a substitute for our atonement. He was the example of what it takes to achieve atonement—reconciliation with God.

Our textbook indicates we can’t accomplish the atonement in a single bound. It may take many trials and sacrifices. One sacrifice isn’t enough (S23). In Christian Science we need to really get to the heart of it by eliminating the cause of sin, or what the textbook calls “the adamant of error,—self-will, self-justification, and self-love” (S24). This triad is the enemy of atonement. The only way to reconcile with God is for us to lay off all mortality and sin (S25). Again, it’s not something Jesus did for us; it’s what he showed us how to do, and what we must do for ourselves.

Section 5: Be a Better Disciple!
We begin the final section giving thanks (B16). How could we be anything but thankful, when we consider where we would be without the understanding of Christ? Next, we have some specific instructions: deny “ungodliness and worldly lusts;” and “live soberly, righteously and godly, in this present world” (B17). The atonement means that we are purged of our sin, and reconciled, or brought into alignment with God. So it only makes sense, that in order to do that, we need to deny anything ungodly in our lives—that includes any irreligious attitude that might cause us to delay our salvation until a more convenient time. Some may profess religion, but during their daily lives pursue the emptiness of the world. How much better to pursue the things of God? These pursuits bless us, and our fellow man.

Without Jesus’ demonstration of atonement, we would be without a path to holiness. Jesus overcame sin, disease, and the grave and we ought to be joyful about it (B18 & S27).

Our Leader tells us that, one way or another everyone must “plant themselves in Christ, the true idea of God” (S26). This was the essence of Jesus’ sacrifice. As mentioned earlier, we shouldn’t be discouraged because we can’t accomplish the full transition from sin to holiness in one leap. It takes time. But we have to start somewhere, and every little bit of good we do has its effect. Being a better man each day is partaking in the atonement (S27). We will eventually attain our goal and see that we are indeed at one with God, “inseparable, harmonious, and eternal” (S28). So are you saved? The answer is proven in your practice of the atonement.


[Bracketed italics were added by CedarS first camper and current director, Warren Huff.] [PS#1: See the 1st online Download (upper right) for Cobbey Crisler insights on the Responsive Reading (John 17) about Jesus’ audible prayer for himself, for his disciples and for us to be one.]

[PS#2: See the 2nd online Download (upper right) for Cobbey Crisler insights on citation B8 (Mark 1:14-28) about the 4 foundational points in the book of Mark and about how the authority of at-one-ment is proved by results. Yesterday in Houston, right when a “100% chance” of rain was predicted, praying confidently with a sense of authority and of being at-one with God as His very image, favored by His control of the weather, resulted in a perfect 3-hour window of sun during a CedarS pool party, picnic and video show event. Thank you once again, dear God, for proving that You govern “every event of our careers”! (Unity of Good 3:28]

[PS#3: See the 3rd online Download (upper right) for Cobbey Crisler insights on citation B11 (John 10:13-30) about Jesus’ Good Shepherd motive, door of the sheep fold analogy, and “I and my Father are one” (in accord) statement.]

{PS#4: Check out "I and my Father" (are one), a YouTube music video by Cherie Brennan, a former CedarS mom/staff member, now a singer-songwriter who has CDs available in Reading Rooms. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bZMNlpZavkA )


[LETTING 3 SPECIAL NEEDS BE KNOWN –
Significant funding is still needed for these special opportunities:
1. Now that CedarS
video show circuit is in full swing, it is apparent that getting many to camp will depend on "Love's Provision" of campership assistance. Could you be one of the angels who gives towards camperships and the life-altaring and life-altering experiences they provide at CedarS?]

2. Over 100 needed items are featured on CedarS Giving Tree that could fit the budget of every grateful Met-recipient and camper. You can choose for yourself $1-and-up ways to give to support CedarS needs. Click here to see 2 young alumni telltheir reasons to give.

3. Adopt the Herd” Matching Opportunity! Generous donors, aware of the ongoing need to care for CedarS herd, will match donations for our horse program! (~$20k needed to reach $50k goal)]


[The weekly Metaphysical Newsletter is provided at no charge to the 1,200 campers and staff blessed each summer at CedarS, as well as to CedarS alumni, families and friends who have requested it. However, current and planned gifts are a big help and are greatly appreciated in defraying the costs of running this service and of providing needed camperships, programs and operations support. Click http://www.cedarscamps.org/giving/ for more about how you can provide even monthly support online. Or you can always call the Huffs at 636-394-6162 get information or discuss privately how to transfer securities or other assets to help support and perpetuate CedarS work.]

[You can also reach a member of the Founding family nearly anytime by
PHONE at 636-394-6162
or MAIL your tax-deductible support to our 501-C-3 organization
(Our not-for-profit, Federal Identification Number is #440-66-3883):

The CedarS Camps, Inc.
1314 Parkview Valley Drive
Ballwin, MO 63011

THANKS TO YOU PRECIOUS DONORS FOR YOUR ONGOING, GENEROUS and NEEDED SUPPORT OF CedarS IMPORTANT WORK!


[The Met application ideas above are provided primarily to help CedarS campers and staff (as well as friends) see and daily demonstrate the great value of studying and applying the Christian Science Bible lessons throughout the year, not just at camp! YOU CAN ALSO SIGN UP for weekly emails from past CedarS staff of possible ways to share Bible Lesson applications with older, as well as younger, Sunday School classes by clicking the "Subscribe Now" button (lower left) at http://www.cedarscamps.org/metaphysical/ ]

[For additional "Director's Notes" on the history, development & 4 translations of CedarS weekly Bible Lesson "Mets" go to Notes in our online online version of it.]

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