"Practical repentance"

Mrs. Eddy on page 19 of "Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures," in speaking of efficacious repentance, points out that one who continues to sin, even though he repents, has little sense of unity with God, "for," she declares, "he lacks the practical repentance, which reforms the heart and enables man to do the will of wisdom." Our Leader makes clear the quality of repentance which is practical, that which reforms one's thoughts and in consequence one's acts, thereby working the regeneration which accompanies spiritualization of consciousness.

The repentance so described does not necessitate violent or tumultuous action, or the destruction of our present state of consciousness, the mental house in which we live. Rather does it require us to transform our thinking, to rebuild it by putting in a new timber here, and another there,—that is, a right idea in the place of a wrong one,—and so continue until we shall finally come into the "stature of the fulness of Christ." Meantime, there has been no violence to our mental states, our highest concepts, but rather has consciousness undergone transformation through right ideas taking the place of erroneous beliefs. Truth supplants error in just this way, and our mental home is rebuilt until it becomes the "house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens," in which there remains no trace or semblance of the material beliefs which at one time may have seemed to furnish us with perfectly adequate shelter.

The word "repentance" carries the thought of mental rebuilding, and with such interpretation our Leader presented it. The writer of the book of Acts speaks of repentance as the "gift of God." As Christian Scientists, we know that the good thoughts, pure and holy, which supplant erroneous material beliefs are directly from God, the source of all good; hence they are His holy gift. Christ Jesus urged upon his hearers the necessity for repentance. "Repent ye, and believe the gospel," he urged, thus associating belief in the gospels with the change of heart which constitutes repentance. Mortals are prone to repent when suffering the effects of sin, but often when suffering ceases it is found that repentance has not become regeneration: the deep contrition which springs from the love of good has not wrought the reformation of thought which constitutes practical repentance.

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

One Principle and One Purpose
November 13, 1926

We'd love to hear from you!

Easily submit your testimonies, articles, and poems online.