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Let the reality of  “faith, hope, and love” (I Cor. 13:13) prove the unreality of sin, disease and death!
Metaphysical application ideas for the Christian Science Quarterly Bible Lesson on

“Are Sin, Disease, and Death Real?”
2–8, 2023

Valerie Minard, CS, St. Louis, MO   609-922-0536


This week’s lesson answers the question: “Are Sin, Disease and Death real?” Some people might think this is an obvious question.  “Why of course, they are real!  But Mary Baker Eddy, a little-known woman in 1866, made an important discovery that invites us to rethink this question.  After searching the Scriptures, and being healed from a near-fatal accident, she came to the conclusion that NO, THEY ARE NOT REAL!  

During many years, she applied what she was learning about God and Jesus healing works, and began to heal too.  She called this Christian healing system, Christian Science, that enables anyone to prove the unreality of sin, disease, and death through understanding more of God’s nature.

She writes in her book, Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, “When apparently near the confines of mortal existence, standing already within the shadow of the death-valley, I learned these truths in divine Science: that all real being is in God, the divine Mind, and that Life, Truth, and Love are all-powerful and ever-present; that the opposite of Truth, — called error, sin, sickness, disease, death, — is the false testimony of false material sense, of mind in matter; that this false sense evolves, in belief, a subjective state of mortal mind which this same so-called mind names matter, thereby shutting out the true sense of Spirit.(SH 108:19)

You may wonder what the Golden Text has to do with this important question.  What does faith, hope and love have to do with sin, disease, and death?  Why aren’t material methods mentioned to explain the origin, condition, and scope of these problems?  

St. Paul contrasted these three qualities, hope, faith and love in 1st Corinthians 13.— affirming at the chapter’s end, that the greatest thing is love.  He also said, that “Love is the fulfilling of the law.”  (Romans 13:10) 

What law was he talking about?  God’s law.  The law of Life, Truth, and Love.  Faith and hope develop our trust in God’s Love and its ever-presence.  But Love fulfills the law of God. St John wrote: “There is no fear in love; but perfect love casteth out fear:” (1st John 4:18).  

Webster’s 1828 dictionary defines faith as: “…an entire confidence or trust in God’s character and declarations, and in the character and doctrines of Christ, with an unreserved surrender of the will to his guidance, and dependence on his merits for salvation. In other words, that firm belief of God’s testimony, and of the truth of the gospel, which influences the will, and leads to an entire reliance on Christ for salvation.”

Note that definition doesn’t mention a blind, unfounded faith.  But an “entire confidence” in God’s character and word.

Likewise, hope is defined as: Confidence in a future event; the highest degree of well founded expectation of good;

Together, those two qualities lead us to have confidence in God’s Love and testimony [of man’s perfection and goodness].  And confidence in the truth of the gospel [as defined by Christ Jesus’ healing works].  This leads to an entire reliance on Christ for salvation with the highest degree of well founded expectation of good.

Which brings us to why “faith, hope, and love” are the leading ideas in this Bible lesson, with love mentioned 28 times.  In discussing her healing work, Mary Baker Eddy told her students:  “Now let me tell you how I’d heal instantaneously….It is not so much to realize the presence of Love—but love! Love enough, and you’ll raise the dead! I’ve done it!” (From: We Knew Mary Baker Eddy,” Vol. 2, Edward E. Norton:p 269)


While the world may believe that material ways and means are the ways to fix, improve or manage sin, disease and death, Christian Science turns us to God for healing by means of prayer.  Prayer is not a means to inform God about our problem, but a reminder to ourselves of what God is knowing and has already done for us.  

The Responsive Reading gives us a good example of how to pray.  A Christian Science Sunday school teacher once told me, that when we pray we should start with God and not the problem.  Psalms 55:16 illustrates this.  

“Evening, and morning, and at noon, will I pray, and cry aloud: and he shall hear my voice.”

The Psalmist went straight to God.  This was not a blind faith that perhaps God will hear him sometime in the future.  But a firm and calm conviction in the ever-presence and power of God to answer his need— “he shall hear my voice.”

And then the Psalmist addresses his fear “In God I will praise his word, in God I have put my trust; I will not fear what flesh can do unto me.” (RR, Psalms 56:4)

Mary Baker Eddy echos this in “Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures”: “Always begin your treatment by allaying the fear of patients. Silently reassure them as to their exemption from disease and danger. Watch the result of this simple rule of Christian Science, and you will find that it alleviates the symptoms of every disease.” (SH 411:27-28)

The Psalmist reminds himself of how God has helped him before, by delivering his “soul from death,” so now he has an expectation, a hope, that God will continue to help him— resist temptation— so he may continue to walk in the “light of the living.” (RR, Psalms 56:13)

The rest of the Responsive Reading affirms that we are “all the children of Light”, made in God’s image and likeness with no part dark.  We are not fallen mortals destined to wallow in our mistakes.  Neither DNA, false character traits, addiction, moral mistakes, etc. has power to hide from ourselves or others our true spiritual nature as God’s beloved child.  But we need to defend our purity and innocency by putting on our spiritual armor that includes “the breastplate of faith and love and a helmet [of] the hope of salvation. (RR, 1st Thess. 5:8)

In addition to repenting, recognizing our mistakes and rethinking about our true status as God’s child, we need to reform.  In other words, we need to act on our prayers by expressing our true spiritual qualities.  “See that none render evil for evil unto any man; but ever follow that which is good, both among yourselves, and to all men.” (RR, 1st Thess. 5:15)

This treatment ends in joy and gratitude.  Affirming God’s power to “sanctify you wholly:” and “preserved [you] blameless.” (RR, 1st Thess. 5:23)

SECTION 1 —  Where is our faith placed?

If hope is defined as :”the highest degree of well founded expectation of good;” then we might ask ourselves where does our expectation of good lie?  In matter, in material sense testimony or in Spirit?  

The Psalmist knew where his hope was anchored— in God. 

“My hope is in thee.”  (cit. B1, Psalms 39:7) 

Since God made everything good, and is all-good, He must have “purer eyes than to behold evil…” since he never made it. God made man in His own image and likeness.  (cit. B2, Habakkuk 1:13) Therefore man is completely good and naturally reflects all the beautiful qualities of God— his true nature, or the fruits of the Spirit.  (cit. B3, Galatians 5:22,23), (cit. S1, SH 503:28)

Likewise, sin, disease and death are not the “fruits of Life.”  But rather, they are “inharmonies which Truth destroys.”  Material sense, like a cloud hiding the sun, tries in vain to hide man’s true nature and character. .But “false belief cannot destroy Science armed with faith, hope, and fruition.” (cit. S3, SH 298:2)

While we need to defend our purity and innocency, we also need to be aware when we’ve missed the mark of moral behavior.   

Archery defines the word, sin, as when someone has missed their target.  The good news is, all they have to do is pick up their arrow and continue training to perfect their aim.  This gives us hope.  No matter how many times we have faltered, or messed up, it’s our divine right to repent and reform.  

“We never need to despair of an honest heart; but there is little hope for those who come only spasmodically face to face with their wickedness and then seek to hide it. …

We should examine ourselves and learn what is the affection and purpose of the heart, for in this way only can we learn what we honestly are.” (SH 8:3–6, 28–30)

 SECTION 2 —  Faith that God meets every human need

When the Psalmist beheld God’s face in righteousness, he naturally saw his own perfection as God’s child, including all right ideas— and was satisfied.  This left no room for want, need, or lack.  One definition of satisfy is “to supply fully what is necessary and demanded by natural laws.” Or lifting this higher we can say spiritual laws.

“I will behold thy face in righteousness: I shall be satisfied [supplied fully what is necessary and demanded by spiritual law], when I awake, with thy likeness.”  (cit. B4, Psalm 17:15) Turning to Spirit rather than to material ways and means, brings a joy and confidence that God will meet every human need.

Mary Baker Eddy tells us: “Soul has infinite resources with which to bless mankind, and happiness would be more readily attained and would be more secure in our keeping, if sought in Soul. Higher enjoyments alone can satisfy the cravings of immortal man. We cannot circumscribe happiness within the limits of personal sense. The senses confer no real enjoyment.” (SH 60:29)

In Hebrews, Paul gives a list of several Prophets, Judges, and spiritual leaders who had an absolute faith in God’s law of supply to meet their need in the face of dire circumstances.  Their faith “was the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.” And in each case, their needs were met.  Whether it was protection from natural disasters or personal danger, searching for health, or facing enemies. (cit. B6, Hebrews 11:1,3,5,7,11,30,32-25)

Consequently, Paul counsels us to drop any material weight [self-will, self-love, self-justification] that would prevent us from listening and following God’s direction.  As we do so, we’ll find, like those spiritual leaders, that God, “sustains man under all circumstances.”  This kind of faith is based on an understanding of God, divine Principle, as oppose to a “general faith in material means.” (cit. S6, SH 319:7)

As our faith becomes anchored in spiritual understanding, we’ll be less intimidated by the false beliefs of sin, disease and death and see them as illusions.  Filling our thought with the divine facts of being will bring a “clear sense and calm trust, that the recognition of life harmonious — as Life eternally is…will supplant error with Truth, replace mortality with immortality, and silence discord with harmony.”  (cit. S9, SH 495:14)

God was able to meet their “every human need.”  This conviction, that there is no real pleasure in sin, is one of the most important points in the theology of Christian Science. Arouse the sinner to this new and true view of sin, show him that sin confers no pleasure, and this knowledge strengthens his moral courage and increases his ability to master evil and to love good.(SH 404:19)

When the illusion of sickness or sin tempts you, cling steadfastly to God and His idea. Allow nothing but His likeness to abide in your thought. Let neither fear nor doubt overshadow your clear sense and calm trust, that the recognition of life harmonious — as Life eternally is — can destroy any painful sense of, or belief in, that which Life is not. Let Christian Science, instead of corporeal sense, support your understanding of being, and this understanding will supplant error with Truth, replace mortality with immortality, and silence discord with harmony. (cit. S9, SH 495:14)

SECTION 3 — Staying faithful to God

Paul had no illusions that we would all face temptation.  Science and Health tells us: “Since Jesus must have been tempted in all points, he, the immaculate, met and conquered sin in every form. (SH 564:14–16)  And he showed us how to do this.

As in the RR we are again counseled by Paul to be sober and defend our purity with the breast plate of faith and love and the helmet of salvation.  Since this is mentioned twice, it underscores the need to watch our thinking and “stand porter at the door of thought. Admitting only such conclusions as you wish realized in bodily results, you will control yourself harmoniously.” (SH 392:24)

To be sober is defined as: “Regular; calm; not under the influence of passion; Not intoxicated or overpowered by spiritous liquors;” or we can add attracted to false beliefs of pleasure in matter.  

Paul tells us further to “not [be[ conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.” (cit. B10, Romans 12:2)

Continuing on with this theme, The Message interprets Roman 6:13,14 this way.  “As long as you did what you felt like doing, ignoring God, you didn’t have to bother with right living, or right anything for that matter.  But do you call that a free life?  What did you get out of it?  Nothing you’re proud of now.  Where did it get you? A dead end. “  

But now that you’ve found you don’t have to listen to sin tell you what to do, and have discovered the delight of listening to God telling you, what a surprise!  A whole, healed, put-together life right now, with more and more life on the way!” (cit. B11, Romans 6:13,14)

If our progress seems slow in putting off the “old man” or material sense of things, have patience.  “Right motives give pinions to thought, and strength and freedom to speech and action…Wait patiently for divine Love to move upon the waters of mortal mind, and form the perfect concept. Patience must “have her perfect work.” (cit. S12, SH 354:17)

An acquaintance of mine didn’t like the word patience.  To them, patience meant that goodness would be delayed.  And they didn’t want that!  But actually patience is waiting or serving God with Love— being faithful— to look to God for our every need.  When we do, Love lifts us higher to see our needs have already been met.  As we work out our salvation we find that our true nature is perfect and intact and that we are working out from not to perfection. (cit. S13, SH 76:22-26)

SECTION 4  — Be faithful to seeing the real man heals

Since God doesn’t see corruption, we reflect the ability to see his perfect creation too!   The story of Jesus’ healing the paralyzed man is a case in point.  The scene takes place in a crowded house that’s filled with people anxious to see and be healed by Jesus.  Scholars believe it might have been Peter’s home in Capernaum.  

When the palsy man and his friends arrive, there is no way to squeeze into the house.  But that doesn’t stop them.  They climb up to the roof, remove the tiles, and lower the man down beside Jesus.  

Instead of commenting on their rude behavior, Jesus “saw their faith.”  Without knowing the particulars of the case, Jesus says, “Man, thy sins are forgiven thee.” .This upset the scribes and Pharisees because they believed only God could forgive sins.  Why was Jesus promoting himself as someone who could forgive sins?  Reading their thoughts, Jesus said, “What reason ye in your hearts? Whether is easier, to say, Thy sins be forgiven thee; or to say, Rise up and walk? But that ye may know that the Son of man hath power upon earth to forgive sins, (he said unto the sick of the palsy,) I say unto thee, Arise, and take up thy couch, and go into thine house. And immediately he rose up before them, and took up that whereon he lay, and departed to his own house, glorifying God.”..(cit. B14, Luke 5: 22-25)

This story centers on forgiveness of sin.  We don’t know what this man’s life was like before his healing. But the devotion of his friends gives us a hint.  They clearly saw him as worthy of healing and went beyond the call of duty to bring him to Jesus.  Perhaps they had to forgive his past wrongs and accept his desire to reform.  So they had no hesitation in dong all they could to help him find his freedom.  

The friend’s faith contrasts with the narrowness and hypocrisy of the scribes and Pharisees.  While Jesus readily forgives the man, the scribes and Pharisees are blinded by a false sense of law and argue that “only God can forgive sins.”  Their lack of compassion uncovers their faithlessness in divine Love to heal.  They continue to see the man as a sinner whose freedom is conditional.  

“To-day, as of yore, unconscious of the reappearing of the spiritual idea, blind belief shuts the door upon it, and condemns the cure of the sick and sinning if it is wrought on any but a material and a doctrinal theory.” (cit. S14, SH 132:16-24)

This story hit home to me.  It made me wonder if I am judging and condemning those as unworthy of forgiveness because of self-will, self-love or self-justification?  Or like the palsy man’s friends am I willing to forgive and support my family, friends, and community in their effort to gain freedom by seeing their innocence and innate purity?

Mary Baker Eddy assures us that right endeavor [is] possible and will be blest. “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 is inert, mindless. Also, if you believe yourself diseased, you can alter this wrong belief and action without hindrance from the body.”  (cit. S18, SH 253:9-24)

SECTION 5Faithful service doesn’t penalize

Jesus came to show us that not only God is Love but we could experience eternal Life as God’s expression.  Jesus showed us that as St John said: “There is no fear in love; but perfect love casteth out fear:” (cit. B15, John 4:18)

He overcame the lie that “death has been occasioned by fright. Fear never stopped being and its action. The blood, heart, lungs, brain, etc., have nothing to do with Life, God. Every function of the real man is governed by the divine Mind. The human mind has no power to kill or to cure, and it has no control over God’s man.(SH 151:17–23)

After Jesus resurrection and ascension his disciples were able to raise the dead too.  In Peter’s case he raised Tabitha, a faithful follower, back to life.  Perhaps her friends were wondering why she had to die.  Where was God when she needed him?  iI she served God faithfully and this happened, what does this mean for them?

Perhaps Peter had to meet his own fear that being a faithful follower could expose him to possible danger.  But are God’s faithful followers ever penalized? No.  They are safe in the Kingdom of Heaven and are blest.  

Peter had to learn this too after he denied Jesus three times for fear of being imprisoned with him.  He needed to trust and have faith in God’s love for him to keep him safe.  And he proved this later, when he was in fact imprisoned several times.  At that point, he knew that no matter where he was or what he was doing, God would be with him.

Perhaps we need to meet this superstition too.  It can be subtle.  Have we declined serving church in some way for fear of being subject to harm and a target for error?.  Or kept ourselves from having a fulfilling life because living a faithful, God-centered life is too hard?  .  Serving and making God a priority in our life, doesn’t punish but blesses us.  

Mary Baker Eddy assures us that “our thinkers do not die early because they faithfully perform the natural functions of being. That man does not pay the severest penalty who does the most good. By adhering to the realities of eternal existence, — instead of reading disquisitions on the inconsistent supposition that death comes in obedience to the law of life, and that God punishes man for doing good, — one cannot suffer as the result of any labor of love, but grows stronger because of it. It is a law of so-called mortal mind, misnamed matter, which causes all things discordant.” (cit. S21, SH 387: 13-14,18)

SECTION 6 — The Kingdom of Heaven rules out all sin, disease and death

The final section circles back to the original question: Are sin, disease and death real? Luke tells us that “behold, the kingdom of God is within you.” (cit. B19, Luke 17:21) In this Kingdom there is no law of sin, disease and death. 

As we strive to let the Kingdom of Heaven reign within us, we’ll see that “sin, disease, and death will diminish until they finally disappear.”  (cit. S27, SH 248:29)

Our Daily Prayer in the Manual of The Mother Church reminds us that “it shall be the duty of every member of this Church to pray each day: “Thy kingdom come;” let the reign of divine Truth, Life, and Love be established in me, and rule out of me all sin; and may Thy Word enrich the affections of all mankind, and govern them! (Manual of The Mother Church, 41:19)

The first cache of GEMs of BIBLE-BASED application ideas (from Cobbey Crisler & others) will hopefully be emailed early in the week and the second cache will be emailed later in the week.  You can always check  for GEM contributions in progress before then at CedarS INSPIRATION website, whether or not you’ve  SUBSCRIBED here for this free, inspirational offering.

Also later in the week, look for Ken Cooper’s
contributions related to this Bible Lesson.

THANKS to all you PRECIOUS DONORS for ALL of your ONGOING SUPPORT!  Every camper & visitor will be blessed by your GENEROSITY, VISION & LOVE!

ANOTHER MATCH WAS MET and its project operationally completed before camp!  Thanks to several generous donors to our special A/V Appeal we were able to finish building a CHAPEL A.V. BOOTH that will protect not only new, donated equipment, but also all our hymnals for worship services and for CedarS Sunday Hymn Sings.

If you haven’t lately checked out the GIVING TREE, there are still plenty of other smaller areas of need to fill yet this year! Campers & staff will also be blessed bigtime by the donations made to additional areas of camp, including our horse program, activity equipment, camperships, and Christian Science nursing and practitioner services.

We’re deeply grateful for EVERY GIFT of love & support,
The CedarS Team

P.S. For more about ways to keep CedarS operations ever more green and flourishing and/or to make a PLANNED GIFT, A REQUIRED IRA DISTRIBUTION or an ENDOWMENT GIFT (that will all be MATCHED), feel free anytime to call or text me (Warren Huff, Executive Director Emeritus and Project Manager) at 314-378-2574. I can put you in touch with our Financial Advisor/broker who donates all fees for stock transfers and freely shares tailored, tax-advantaged giving approaches.

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