Subject: Spirit and flesh
Golden text: John 1:14
And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth.
II Kings 5:1, 9-14
Naaman, commander of the army of the king of Syria, was a great man with his master and in high favor, because by him the Lord had given victory to Syria. He was a mighty man of valor, but he was a leper.
9 So Naaman came with his horses and chariots and stood at the door of Elisha’s house. 10 And Elisha sent a messenger to him, saying, “Go and wash in the Jordan seven times, and your flesh shall be restored, and you shall be clean.” 11 But Naaman was angry and went away, saying, “Behold, I thought that he would surely come out to me and stand and call upon the name of the Lord his God, and wave his hand over the place and cure the leper. 12 Are not Abana and Pharpar, the rivers of Damascus, better than all the waters of Israel? Could I not wash in them and be clean?” So he turned and went away in a rage. 13 But his servants came near and said to him, “My father, it is a great word the prophet has spoken to you; will you not do it? Has he actually said to you, ‘Wash, and be clean’?” 14 So he went down and dipped himself seven times in the Jordan, according to the word of the man of God, and his flesh was restored like the flesh of a little child, and he was clean.
21st Century Science and Health
The flesh cannot bear reliable testimony on the subject of health.
When error is destroyed by divine Science, the false evidence before the physical senses disappears.
The human mind can offset the discords of matter and the ills of flesh by giving less power to physics and more to spirituality.
Humility, honesty, and charity have divine authority.
We need a clean body and a clean mind—a body rendered pure by Mind as well as washed by water.
When you outgrow the old, do not fear putting on the new. Your advancing course may provoke envy, but it will also attract respect. When error confronts you, do not withhold the rebuke or the explanation which destroys error. Never breathe an immoral atmosphere, unless in the attempt to purify it. Modest intellectual discoveries, gained with contentment and virtue, are better than the luxury of learning with egotism and vice.
Right is revolutionary. Teachers must know the truth themselves; they must live it and love it or they cannot impart it to others. We dirty our garments with conservatism, and afterward we must wash them clean. When the spiritual sense of Truth unfolds its harmonies, you take no risks in the policy of error. Expect to heal simply by repeating my words, by right talking and wrong acting, and you will be disappointed. Such a practice does not demonstrate the Science by which divine Mind heals the sick.
Right and wrong, truth and error will be at strife in the minds of students, until victory rests on the side of invincible truth. Mental freedom follows the explanation of Truth, and an improved state is won; but with some individuals the morbid moral or physical symptoms constantly reappear.
Now when Jesus came into the district of Caesarea Philippi, he asked his disciples, “Who do people say that the Son of Man is?” 14 And they said, “Some say John the Baptist, others say Elijah, and others Jeremiah or one of the prophets.” 15 He said to them, “But who do you say that I am?” 16 Simon Peter replied, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.” 17 And Jesus answered him, “Blessed are you, Simon Bar-Jonah! For flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but my Father who is in heaven. 18 And I tell you, you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it. 19 I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven, and whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.”
21st Century Science and Health
[Jesus] appealed to his students: “Who do people say the Son of Man is?” That is: Who or what is identified with driving out evils and healing the sick? They replied, “Some say John the Baptist; others say Elijah; and still others, Jeremiah or one of the prophets.” Yet those prophets were dead and so their reply indicates their belief that Jesus was a medium, controlled by the spirit of John or Elijah.
The disciples understood their Teacher better than other people, yet they still questioned Jesus because they didn’t fully comprehend what he meant. Jesus patiently persisted in teaching and demonstrating the truth of being.
Longing to be understood and rejecting their first answer, Jesus repeated, “Who do you say I am?” The renewed inquiry meant: Who or what is it that is able to do the work so mysterious to the popular human mind? He discarded the narrow-minded opinions or rumors about himself.
With his usual impetuosity, Simon replied for the disciples. His reply set forward a great fact: “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.” That is: The Messiah is what you have declared—Christ, the spirit of God, of Truth, Life, and Love, which heals mentally. This answer elicited from Jesus the benediction, “Blessed are you, Simon son of Jonah, for this was not revealed to you by man, but by my Father in heaven;” that is, Love has shown you the way of Life!
Before this, the impulsive disciple had been called only by his common name, Simon son of Jonah; but now Jesus gave him a spiritual name in these words: “And I tell you, you are Peter [Greek, Petros—a large piece of rock], and on this rock [Greek, petra—a huge rock like Gibraltar] I will build My church, and the gates of Hades (the powers of the infernal region) shall not overpower it [or be strong to its detriment or hold out against it.]” Jesus did not establish church on the personal Peter as a human being, but on the God-power which compelled Peter’s confession of the true Messiah.
It was now evident to Peter that divine Life, Truth, and Love, and not a human personality, was the healer of the sick and a rock, a firm foundation in the realm of harmony.
For you were called to freedom, brothers. Only do not use your freedom as an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another. 14 For the whole law is fulfilled in one word: “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” 15 But if you bite and devour one another, watch out that you are not consumed by one another.
16 But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh. 17 For the desires of the flesh are against the Spirit, and the desires of the Spirit are against the flesh, for these are opposed to each other, to keep you from doing the things you want to do. 18 But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the law. 19 Now the works of the flesh are evident: sexual immorality, impurity, sensuality, 20 idolatry, sorcery, enmity, strife, jealousy, fits of anger, rivalries, dissensions, divisions, 21 envy, drunkenness, orgies, and things like these. I warn you, as I warned you before, that those who do such things will not inherit the kingdom of God. 22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law. 24 And those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires.
25 If we live by the Spirit, let us also keep in step with the Spirit. 26 Let us not become conceited, provoking one another, envying one another.
21st Century Science and Health
The belief that material bodies return to dust hereafter to rise up as spiritual bodies with fleshly sensations and desires is incorrect. Equally incorrect is the belief that spiritual beings are squeezed into a human body and then freed by death. If freed from a fleshly body, how are flesh sensations retained?
If you believe in and practice wrong knowingly, you can at once change your course and do right. Matter can make no opposition to right endeavors against sin or sickness, for matter can’t do anything on its own without mind. If you believe you have a disease, you can alter this wrong belief and action without hindrance from the body.
Do not believe in any supposed necessity for failure, adversity, or ruin, knowing (as you ought to know) that God never requires obedience to a physical law because no such law exists. Wrong beliefs are destroyed by the law of God, which is the law of Life eternal instead of death, the law of harmony instead of disorder, the law of Spirit instead of the flesh.
To hold yourself superior to negativity, because God made you superior to it and governs us, is true wisdom. To fear wrongdoing is to misunderstand the power of Love and the divine Science of being in our relation to God—to doubt and distrust Soul’s omnipotent care. To hold yourself superior to downward spiraling behaviors is equally wise, and is in accordance with divine Science. To fear them is impossible, when you fully understand God and know that disharmony is no part of Life’s existence.
The Bible teaches that Spirit renews and transforms the body. Take away the spiritual meaning of Scripture and that collection of works can no more help human beings than moonbeams can melt a river of ice. The error of all generations is preaching without practice.
The substance of commitment is the reflection and demonstration of divine Love. The Teacher said, “If you really love me, you will keep the commandments I have given you.”
The goal, a point beyond faith, is to find the footsteps of Truth, the way to health and spirituality. Sincere effort is required to reach the Horeb height where God is revealed. The cornerstone of all spiritual building is purity. Spirit’s baptism washes the body of all fleshly impurities and shows that the pure in heart see God. We approach spiritual Life and its demonstration through purity.
Imperfect human beings grasp the ultimate of spiritual perfection slowly; but to begin aright and to continue the strife of demonstrating the great problem of being is doing much.
This task God demands us to accept gracefully, and to abandon as fast as practical the temporal, and to work out the spiritual which determines the outward and actual.
*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.
 Matt. 16:13; Mark 8:27; Luke 9:18
 Matt. 16:14; Mark 8:28; Luke 9:19
 Matt. 16:15; Mark 8:29; Luke 9:20
 Matt. 16:16; Mark 8:29; Luke 9:20
 Matt. 16:17
 Matt. 16:18 (Amplified)
 John 14:15 (Phillips NT)