"Works meet for repentance"

In his spirited defense before King Agrippa, as recorded in the book of Acts, Paul reviewed his life both before and after his sudden conversion on the road to Damascus. As a result of this experience, and the spiritual enlightenment that followed, he could affirm that the new understanding which had come to him enabled him to show "first unto them of Damascus, and at Jerusalem, and throughout all the coasts of Judea, and then to the Gentiles, that they should repent and turn to God, and do works meet for repentance;" or, as some translators have rendered the last clause, "and live lives consistent with repentance." Apparently, Paul based his plea upon the fact that through his teaching and example he had been able to turn many from lives of sinful pleasure-seeking and sheer materiality, with the concomitants of sin and its evil consequences, to lives of purity, unselfishness, righteousness, usefulness, and holiness, conforming in great degree to the commands of the Founder of Christianity. Thus Paul was showing mortals the way to salvation through repentance, through the abandonment of sinful living, through awakening to the fact that sin has no necessity.

Christ Jesus was no less definite in emphasizing the fact that only by repentance could mortals be saved. "Repent ye, and believe the gospel," was his admonition in the very beginning of his ministry. So convinced was Mrs. Eddy of the need for repentance that she placed it as the second of three cardinal points to be gained before humanity can become regenerated by the demonstration of Christian Science. In speaking of this on page 107 of "Miscellaneous Writings," she says, "The lack of seeing one's deformed mentality, and of repentance therefor, deep, never to be repented of, is retarding, and in certain morbid instances stopping, the growth of Christian Scientists." And in the next sentence she puts the case even more emphatically: "Without a knowledge of his sins, and repentance so severe that it destroys them, no person is or can be a Christian Scientist." Could words be more emphatic? The recognition of sin must be followed by a repentance so deep, so genuine, so earnest, that it destroys sin, thus setting mortals free from sin's evil effects.

Repentance thus set forth is much more than regret for wrongdoing: it even becomes the active agency for the destruction of sinful beliefs. How can this be? Repentance of this order includes recognition of the nothingness of sin, the unreality of evil,—sin's progenitor,—since God, good, is infinite and All. Thus, both evil and its seeming activity disappear with the recognition of their nothingness. How much greater becomes the significance of repentance in the light of our Leader's words! The "works meet for repentance," which every Christian, like Paul, must produce in order to prove his position, consist of the destruction of evil and its claim to reality, first in one's own mentality; and this understanding, rightly applied, will release those who may seek our aid. Repentance in this sense includes the denial of all materiality, even the understanding of the nothingness of all pleasurable beliefs which seem to attach to many phases of the fallacy that life inheres in matter.

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God's Universal Reign
May 31, 1924

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