September 23, 2015

bible study imageSubject: Forgiveness

Golden Text: Psalm 130: 3-4*

If you, O Lord, should mark iniquities, O Lord, who could stand? But with you there is forgiveness, that you may be feared.

James 2:8-13

 If you really fulfill the royal law according to the Scripture, “You shall love your neighbor as yourself,” you are doing well. But if you show partiality, you are committing sin and are convicted by the law as transgressors. 10 For whoever keeps the whole law but fails in one point has become accountable for all of it. 11 For he who said, “Do not commit adultery,” also said, “Do not murder.” If you do not commit adultery but do murder, you have become a transgressor of the law. 12 So speak and so act as those who are to be judged under the law of liberty. 13 For judgment is without mercy to one who has shown no mercy. Mercy triumphs over judgment.

Isaiah 18:16-20

Wash yourselves; make yourselves clean;
remove the evil of your deeds from before my eyes;
cease to do evil,
17     learn to do good;
seek justice,
correct oppression;
bring justice to the fatherless,
plead the widow’s cause.

18 “Come now, let us reason together, says the Lord:
though your sins are like scarlet,
they shall be as white as snow;
though they are red like crimson,
they shall become like wool.
19 If you are willing and obedient,
you shall eat the good of the land;
20 but if you refuse and rebel,
you shall be eaten by the sword;
for the mouth of the Lord has spoken.”

From 21st Century Science and Health

Here are four serious mistakes: Supposing that sin is forgiven before the sin is abandoned; that happiness is genuine when connected to sin; that death of the body frees us from anything unspiritual; that God will forgive a sin without destroying it.

We cannot fill vessels already full. Vessels full of the impracticable must first be emptied. Let us strip off error and stand in the showers of God and come clean.

The way to extract error from human mind is to pour in truth through flood-waters of Love. Spiritual perfection, including Christian perfection, is won on no other basis.

Grafting spirituality onto something not spiritual is as foolish as trying to “strain out a gnat” and “swallow a camel!”[1] Sin needs to be abandoned before forgiven.

The divine method of pardon is to remove completely all that goes against Life, Truth, and Love. Divine Life replaces death, Truth removes error, and Love destroys hate. Being destroyed, sin needs no other form of pardon or forgiveness. Doesn’t God’s forgiveness, eliminating any one negative thought and action, prophesy and involve the final destruction of all negative thought and action?

Hebrews 8:6-12

Christ has obtained a ministry that is as much more excellent than the old as the covenant he mediates is better, since it is enacted on better promises. For if that first covenant had been faultless, there would have been no occasion to look for a second.

For he finds fault with them when he says

“Behold, the days are coming, declares the Lord,
when I will establish a new covenant with the house of Israel
and with the house of Judah,
not like the covenant that I made with their fathers
on the day when I took them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt.
For they did not continue in my covenant,
and so I showed no concern for them, declares the Lord.
10 For this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel
after those days, declares the Lord:
I will put my laws into their minds,
and write them on their hearts,
and I will be their God,
and they shall be my people.
11 And they shall not teach, each one his neighbor
and each one his brother, saying, ‘Know the Lord,’
for they shall all know me,
from the least of them to the greatest.
12 For I will be merciful toward their iniquities,
and I will remember their sins no more.”

From 21st Century Science and Health

Jesus brought to humanity’s attention things “hidden since the creation of the world”[2]—since material knowledge overstepped the creative divine Principle.

He also raised the dead—those dead in trespasses and sins, satisfied with the flesh. When resting on the basis of matter, we are blind to the possibilities of Spirit and its interrelated truth.

The heavenly law is broken by trespassing on our neighbors individual right of self-government. We have no authority in divine Science and no moral right to attempt to influence the thoughts of others except to benefit them. In mental practice you must not forget that erring human opinions, conflicting selfish motives, and ignorant attempts to do good may render you incapable of knowing or judging accurately the real need of those who you are helping. Therefore the rule is to heal the sick when called on, and save the victims of the mental assassins.

To say that there is no sickness does not heal the sick. You have to know there is no sickness. Ignorance, subtlety, or false charity does not forever conceal error; evil will in time uncover and punish itself. A balanced system and mind, mentally sustained by Truth, goes on naturally.

When we understand that our God-given spiritual energies and resources can’t wear out, or be trespassed upon by mortal laws, we are refreshed by the assurances of immortality, opposed to mortality.

Mark 11:22-26

And Jesus answered them, “Have faith in God. 23 Truly, I say to you, whoever says to this mountain, ‘Be taken up and thrown into the sea,’ and does not doubt in his heart, but believes that what he says will come to pass, it will be done for him. 24 Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours. 25 And whenever you stand praying, forgive, if you have anything against anyone, so that your Father also who is in heaven may forgive you your trespasses.”

Matthew 6:7-14

14 For if you forgive others their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you, 15 but if you do not forgive others their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.

From 21st Century Science and Health

Prayer is not to be used as a confession, leaving the chance to repeat our offenses. Such an error holds back true religion. If prayer feeds the thinking that human beings are made better merely by praying, prayer is an evil. Repentance is needed. New thoughts are needed. Those who imagine wrongdoing can be excused, and so repeat the wrongdoing, will worsen. Shady, sinister activities are forgiven only as they are replaced by the Christ idea—Truth and Life. Wrongdoing isn’t cancelled, but is destroyed by truthful prayer.

We can’t escape the consequence for wrongdoing. An apostle said, “The reason the Son of God [Christ] appeared was to destroy the devil’s work.”[3] The Scriptures say that if we disown the Christ spirit, “he will also disown us.”[4] We can follow Jesus’ divine example, and permit spirituality to replace all ill-doing—blunders and disease included.

Calling on Mind to forgive our unfinished or sloppy work is useless. To repeatedly ask for forgiveness, yet repeat lousy behavior, is ridiculous. Human beings may forgive, however, divine Principle reforms. Sometimes, human beings don’t forgive, but if you have reformed, you can legitimately feel God’s forgiveness. Divine Love corrects and governs. To reach heaven, the harmony of being, the divine Principle of being needs to be understood and the talents[5] given to us by God must be improved. God is not separate from the wisdom bestowed.

Suffering is a result of sin, and the means of sins self-destruction. Every supposed pleasure in sin will provide more than its equivalent of pain until belief in temporal life and sin is destroyed.

“God is love.”[6] We cannot ask for more than infinite Love, we cannot go farther, and we cannot look deeper. To think that God forgives or punishes sin, according to whether or not we pray, is to misunderstand Love. Prayer is not a loophole for wrongdoing.

We admit theoretically that God is good, omnipotent, omnipresent, omniscient, and then we try to give information to this infinite Mind. We may even ask for undeserved forgiveness or benefits. We can rather ask, “Do I really appreciate the good already received?” If so, then we will put to good use the blessings we have and be prepared to receive more.

*“Scripture quotations are from the ESV® Bible (The Holy Bible, English Standard Version®), copyright © 2001 by Crossway, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved.”

** Text from 21st Century Science and Health,5th edition, copyrighted by Cheryl Petersen.

 

[1] Matt. 23:24

[2] Matt. 13:35

[3] I John 3:8 (Brackets added by Mary Baker Eddy)

[4] II Tim. 2:12

[5] Matt. 25:15; Luke 19:13

[6] I John 4:8

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