Fidelity and honest conviction: partners in healing

The nineteenth chapter of Acts gives us an interesting account about the sons of Sceva. Apparently they had been impressed by the healing work of St. Paul and the Christians and decided to try their hand at copying it. Their results weren't quite on a par with those of Paul. The Bible tells us: "And the evil spirit answered and said, Jesus I know, and Paul I know; but who are ye? And the man in whom the evil spirit was leaped on them, and overcame them, ... so that they fled out of that house naked and wounded." Acts 19:15, 16.

There's a good chance that Sceva's sons said exactly what they had heard Paul or other Christians say while healing. But judging from the results, those words weren't enough. They were repeating inspired words of others, but they had no fidelity of their own to heal like Christ Jesus or Paul. You might even say their words weren't honest because they didn't well up from within the men's own spiritual conviction and Christianity. The One-Volume Bible Commentary, edited by J. R. Dummelow, says: "The exorcism of these vagabond Jews was simply the uttering of magical formulæ. They thought that the mere words 'in the name of Jesus' would produce the required effect." The One-Volume Bible Commentary (New York: The Macmillan Co., 1936), p. 845 .

Christian Science, discovered and founded by Mary Baker Eddy, teaches that successful healing is achieved through honest conviction and fidelity to Truth. These qualities reflect the love of God that "is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost which is given unto us." Rom. 5:5. And it's always God's power, not human power or words, that heals. Honest conviction can often be expressed with words, but it is never in the words themselves. It goes much deeper than that. Rooted in the spiritualization and Christianization that are going on in our own lives, true conviction is a characteristic of the healing Christ. Armed with such power, our faithful prayers will heal. In Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures Mrs. Eddy instructs the healer: "Plead with an honest conviction of truth and a clear perception of the unchanging, unerring, and certain effect of divine Science. Then, if your fidelity is half equal to the truth of your plea, you will heal the sick." Science and Health, p. 418.

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Being certain about the unknown
October 17, 1983

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