The Demands of Spirit

In freeing sufferers from the baneful effects of sin, not infrequently Christ Jesus impressed upon them the lesson that freedom from pain and misery could be maintained permanently only by ceasing to sin. "Sin no more, lest a worse thing come unto thee," left the choice with the man healed of infirmity to go back to his former sinful pursuits, with their inevitable results expressed in terms of sickness and misery; or, freed from the bondage of sinful living, to follow the light which had illumined his thought to its source, divine Life, essentially spiritual, pure, and holy. Christ Jesus clearly implied that the penalty for sinning could not be escaped so long as one continues to sin. Mrs. Eddy, in speaking of sin's pardon, says in the textbook, "Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures" (p. 11), "The moral law, which has the right to acquit or condemn, always demands restitution before mortals can 'go up higher.'"

Not infrequently, a misinformed critic of Christian Science asserts that since this religion teaches the unreality of evil, it encourages the indulgence of sinful practices, its adherents, it is claimed, excusing themselves for wrongdoing on the ground that the whole round of experience which constitutes human life, including sensuous desires and their gratification, being unreal, mortals therefore are absolved from responsibility. These critics fail to understand that Christian Science, founded upon the facts of being, holding strictly to the demands of Spirit to overcome in every particular the claims of the flesh, destroys material sense with its accompanying beliefs of pleasure and pain in matter. And, moreover, the sinner would make a reality of sin; else, manifestly, since something can by no means result from nothing—a lie claiming to be something—he could derive no pleasure from it. Christian Science clearly teaches that only as one repents of sin and abandons it can he understand evil's unreality.

Furthermore, to gratify what the author of the fourth gospel called "the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life," in which, obviously, he includes the whole of so-called sensuous experience, on the mistaken premise that as God knows no sin, the sinner is not to be held accountable for his acts and may therefore escape punishment, is a direct perversion of the teaching of Christian Science. Since, in order that spiritual life and its blessedness may appear, material belief is to be overcome, it follows that only as sin is seen in its true light, as having no place or permanence in God's perfect universe, is its seeming power destroyed. Because sin has no relation whatsoever to the "things of God," its very indulgence hastens one along the road which leads away from spiritual living, the attainment of spiritual sense,—a journey, be it said, every step of which must ultimately be retraced. These are the facts which every Christian Scientist faces when contemplating the results of sinful practices. The Christian Scientist also awakens to the fact that material pleasures, gained through the physical senses, are barren of permanent results. Having their origin in the belief of an unreal realm as real, the counterfeit of God's universe, they are but the phantoms of momentary experience. On page 404 of Science and Health our Leader, in a specially illuminating passage, says: "This conviction, that there is no real pleasure in sin, is one of the most important points in the theology of Christian Science. Arouse the sinner to this new and true view of sin, show him that sin confers no pleasure, and this knowledge strengthens his moral courage and increases his ability to master evil and to love good." Not by accepting the insistent claims of matter to intelligence and the power to confer pleasure, but by overcoming these claims through spiritual understanding, is the goal of purity gained.

Enjoy 1 free Sentinel article or audio program each month, including content from 1898 to today.

The Simplicity of Christian Science
May 27, 1922

We'd love to hear from you!

Easily submit your testimonies, articles, and poems online.