January 3, 2018

bible study imageSubject: Forgiveness

Golden text: Psalm 32:1*

Blessed is the one whose transgression is forgiven, whose sin is covered.

II Chronicles 6:12, 14, 17-21, 26-27

12 Then Solomon stood before the altar of the Lord in the presence of all the assembly of Israel and spread out his hands.

14 and said, “O Lord, God of Israel, there is no God like you, in heaven or on earth, keeping covenant and showing steadfast love to your servants who walk before you with all their heart,

17 Now therefore, O Lord, God of Israel, let your word be confirmed, which you have spoken to your servant David.

18 “But will God indeed dwell with man on the earth? Behold, heaven and the highest heaven cannot contain you, how much less this house that I have built! 19 Yet have regard to the prayer of your servant and to his plea, O Lord my God, listening to the cry and to the prayer that your servant prays before you, 20 that your eyes may be open day and night toward this house, the place where you have promised to set your name, that you may listen to the prayer that your servant offers toward this place. 21 And listen to the pleas of your servant and of your people Israel, when they pray toward this place. And listen from heaven your dwelling place, and when you hear, forgive.

26 “When heaven is shut up and there is no rain because they have sinned against you, if they pray toward this place and acknowledge your name and turn from their sin, when you afflict them, 27 then hear in heaven and forgive the sin of your servants, your people Israel, when you teach them the good way in which they should walk, and grant rain upon your land, which you have given to your people as an inheritance.

21st Century Science and Health**

Unless we reflect the divine Being, we are not the image and likeness of the patient, tender, and true; the One “altogether lovely.”[1] To understand God is the work of eternity and it demands pure commitment of thought, energy, and desire.

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

Divine Love corrects and governs. Human beings may forgive, however, divine Principle reforms. God is not separate from the wisdom bestowed. To reach heaven, the harmony of being, the divine Principle of being needs to be understood and the talents[2] given to us by God must be improved. Calling on Mind to forgive our unfinished or negligent work is useless. To repeatedly ask for forgiveness, yet repeat lousy behavior, is unreasonable.

Suffering is a means of destroying limited thinking and wrongdoing. Every material pleasure will come with a measure of pain until spiritual life is taken on. To reach heaven, the harmony of being, we must understand the Principle of being.

“God is love.”[3] We cannot ask for more than infinite Love, we cannot go farther, and we cannot look deeper. To think that God forgives or punishes, whether we pray or not, is to misunderstand Love. Prayer is not a loophole for wrongdoing.

Appreciation is much more than a verbal expression of thanks. Action expresses more gratitude than speech. In some cases, there is a tendency to thank God for all our blessings, yet not really be grateful for Life, Truth, and Love.

Matthew 9: 1-8

And getting into a boat [Jesus] crossed over and came to his own city. And behold, some people brought to him a paralytic, lying on a bed. And when Jesus saw their faith, he said to the paralytic, “Take heart, my son; your sins are forgiven.” And behold, some of the scribes said to themselves, “This man is blaspheming.” But Jesus, knowing their thoughts, said, “Why do you think evil in your hearts? For which is easier, to say, ‘Your sins are forgiven,’ or to say, ‘Rise and walk’? But that you may know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins”—he then said to the paralytic—“Rise, pick up your bed and go home.” And he rose and went home. When the crowds saw it, they were afraid, and they glorified God, who had given such authority to men.

21st Century Science and Health

We acknowledge God’s forgiveness of sin by destroying sin with the spiritual understanding that drives out evil as unreal.

We acknowledge Christ Jesus as the Way-shower and his atonement as the evidence of divine healing Love, unfolding our unity with God. We acknowledge that our salvation is through Christ, Truth, Life, and Love as demonstrated by the Galilean Prophet in healing the sick and overcoming sin and death.

The belief and dream of mortal being is entirely separate from the Life divine. Immortal Life reveals spiritual understanding. Life reveals the consciousness of our dominion over that which is earthbound. Life reveals our ability to overcome error and heal the sick. God reveals the understanding to speak “as one who had authority.”[4]

This Christ, or divinity of the man Jesus, was his divine nature, the godliness that animated him. Divine Truth, Life, and Love gave Jesus authority over sin, sickness, and death. His mission was to reveal the Science of celestial being, to prove what God is and what spiritual intelligence does for us.

Suffering, self-destructive, dying beliefs are unreal. When divine Science is universally understood, the negative consciousness will have no power over us, for we are spiritual and live by divine authority.

II Corinthians 2:5-11

 Now if anyone has caused pain, he has caused it not to me, but in some measure—not to put it too severely—to all of you. For such a one, this punishment by the majority is enough, so you should rather turn to forgive and comfort him, or he may be overwhelmed by excessive sorrow. So I beg you to reaffirm your love for him. For this is why I wrote, that I might test you and know whether you are obedient in everything. 10 Anyone whom you forgive, I also forgive. Indeed, what I have forgiven, if I have forgiven anything, has been for your sake in the presence of Christ, 11 so that we would not be outwitted by Satan; for we are not ignorant of his designs.

21st Century Science and Health

What the physical senses tell us often reverses or rearranges the real Science of being and assigns seeming authority to sin, sickness, and death. But the great facts of Life rightly understood, defeat this triad of errors, contradict their false witnesses, and reveal the power of heaven—the actual authority of harmony on earth.

You say shingles are painful; but that is impossible, because matter without mind is not painful. Shingles simply manifest, through eruptions and rashes, a belief in pain and this belief is called shingles. Now administer mentally to your patient a high attenuation of truth and it will soon cure shingles. The fact that pain can’t exist where there is no human mind to feel it is a proof that this mind makes its own pain—that is, its own belief in pain.

As we shift our faith and attention from the pains and pleasures of temporal sense to the study of the Science of divine Mind, we get better instead of worse. Suffering, imprisonment, and destruction are not natural disciplinarians. The whole human family can be redeemed through the excellence of Christ—through the perception and acceptance of Truth. For this magnificent result, Christian or divine Science lights the torch of spiritual understanding.

Daniel 9:2-3, 18-19

in the first year of his reign, I, Daniel, perceived in the books the number of years that, according to the word of the Lord to Jeremiah the prophet, must pass before the end of the desolations of Jerusalem, namely, seventy years. Then I turned my face to the Lord God, seeking him by prayer and pleas for mercy with fasting and sackcloth and ashes.

18 O my God, incline your ear and hear. Open your eyes and see our desolations, and the city that is called by your name. For we do not present our pleas before you because of our righteousness, but because of your great mercy. 19 O Lord, hear; O Lord, forgive. O Lord, pay attention and act. Delay not, for your own sake, O my God, because your city and your people are called by your name.”

21st Century Science and Health

Our moral and spiritual progress is monotonously slow if we constantly bounce back and forth between futile habits and the hope of forgiveness. Selfishness and stupidity cause constant retrogression. We must wake up to Christ’s demand; however, the waking generally causes suffering. We may even feel like we are drowning and struggling to stay above water. Through Christ’s precious love our efforts are rewarded with success.

To be wholly spiritual, we must be Godlike and we become that way only when we reach spiritual purity.

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; and that God will forgive a sin without destroying it.

Human theories are based on divisible components which cannot escape their own limitations. An anthropoid sense of God and an android sense of our own capabilities necessarily limits faith and delays spiritual understanding. Human-made theories divide faith and understanding, and the result is turning to the inanimate drug for help, rather than the intelligent and divine healing Principle.

Inspired writers interpret the Word spiritually, while the ordinary historian interprets it literally. When the text is literally taken, contradictions appear and divine Love, which blessed the earth and its inhabitants, is represented as mutable. The literal meaning also implies that God withheld from people the opportunity to reform, unless people should improve it and become better. However, the literal interpretation doesn’t depict the nature of God. God is Love always—Love infinitely wise and altogether lovely, who “is not self-seeking.”[5]

*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, 6th edition, copyrighted by Cheryl Petersen.

[1] Song of Songs 5:16

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

[3] I John 4:8

[4] Matt. 7:29

[5] I Cor. 13:5

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