What Jesus Came to Save

Jesus said of himself that he came "to save that which was lost," and every Christian church is professedly engaged in the same work. What was lost? Evidently Jesus did not refer to persons, or he would have used the word "those" or "them" instead of "that." Had his work been purely personal, it would naturally have been limited to those to whom he ministered, whereas the truth he taught was destined to encompass the destruction of all evil. The belief in a personal Messiah, voiced first by the Jews and incorporated into the creeds of Christendom, has permitted the evils which he came to destroy to flourish in the very shadow of the Christian churches. The mission of Christianity is not primarily the saving of persons, but the restoration of spiritual consciousness, the seeming loss of which makes human salvation a necessity.

What Jesus came to save was not a lost soul but a lost sense, the sense of God's omnipresence and omnipotence. Mrs. Eddy defines it as "the loss of spiritual power, the loss of the spiritual presence of Life as infinite Truth without an unlikeness, and the loss of Love as ever present and universal" (Science and Health, p. 470). It was this spiritual sense of being that Jesus came to restore. When he said, "I have finished the work which thou gavest me to do," it was not that he had accomplished the redemption of mankind, but that he had brought to light, as an ever demonstrable fact, the truth of God's supremacy, and had founded it on absolute proof. From this standpoint we can see the force of his command to repeat his works, something that would be unnecessary if his works in any sense were designed to take the place of ours.

A material sense of being would hide the spiritual, and includes all that we designated as evil. Mortals are submerged, lost, buried in this erroneous sense, and their resurrection or redemption is wrought as they gain the spiritual sense of being, a sense that includes no evil, and therefore declares the infinitude of good. As there is no possible means of dispelling darkness except by bringing in the light, so the evil in human consciousness disappears only as the spiritual truth of being dawns upon the thought. Jesus' teachings indicate that salvation is not a question of personal pardon but of personal reformation, and reformation is but the bringing to light of the individual's perfect spiritual selfhood as the child of God.

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Tenderness of Might
November 28, 1914

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