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Declare to yourself often, “I and my Father are one,” and PROVE it!
Application ideas for “Doctrine of Atonement” (Bible Lesson for April 12-18, 2004)
by Julie Ward, C.S., Westwood, Massachusetts

What a perfect follow-up we have to last week’s story of Jesus’ resurrection and ascension. Now the ball is in our court. Will we follow him? Will we be faithful, obedient, and unselfish as Jesus was? He said, “I and my Father are one.” This lesson shows us that we, too, cannot just say it, but prove it as our Master did. So start this week by declaring to yourself often, “I and my Father are one.” Now for the proving of it……

Many times we back away from really embracing this lesson because we get bogged down in the vocabulary, so let’s define our terms as we go. First, two words from our title: DOCTRINE – 1. Something that is taught; a principle or body of principles taught or advocated in instruction. 2. A principle or creed of principles presented for acceptance or belief, as by a religious, political, scientific, or philosophic group; dogma. (Fr. Latin doctrina, teaching, learning).

ATONEMENT n. 1. Amends or reparation made for an injury or wrong; expiation; recompense. 2. In the Hebrew Scriptures, man’s reconciliation with God after having transgressed the covenant. 3.a.The redemptive life and death of Christ. b. the reconciliation of God and man thus brought about by Christ.

Then, American Heritage Dictionary gives a fourth definition of atonement: CHRISTIAN SCIENCE. The radical obedience and purification exemplified in the life of Jesus, by which humanity finds man’s oneness with God.
Keep this definition in mind as we explore the lesson!

GOLDEN TEXT – It isn’t about our love for God, but God’s love for us.
He loved us so much that He “sent His son to be the propitiation for our sins.”
Here’s another definition: PROPITIATE- to conciliate (an offended power); appease. (Fr. Latin favorable, kind.)

RESPONSIVE READING. How can our hands handle the Word of life?
You can’t put it in a box or a bottle, and yet this passage speaks of how we see it, hear it, even handle it. Notice the verbs in this passage – how this word was manifested, seen, shown to us. How we bear witness and declare it. It’s active and practical – not mere theory. Christ Jesus proved it, and we can, too. Here’s the message: that “God is light, and in Him is no darkness at all.” Not one single element of ignorance, evil, or sin. But we can’t just say it – we live it. As you read the rest of the lesson, ask yourself, What is the blood of Christ?

How does the blood of Christ cleanse us from all sin?

SECTION I – Obedience and love are one.
Jesus Christ is our “advocate with the Father.” ADVOCATE – 1. a person who argues for a cause; supporter or defender. 2. A person who pleads in another’s behalf; an intercessor. (Fr. Latin advocatus, “one summoned to give evidence”)

Imagine what Christ Jesus would say if he were summoned to give evidence about you. Would he call you a sinner? Would he base his testimony on what the material senses reported? B(2) Speaks of “being justified by his blood.” Is this just the blood that was shed on the cross? Paul says, “Much more, being reconciled, shall we be saved by his life.” What was his life-blood? Mrs. Eddy says SH(4), “The spiritual essence of blood is sacrifice.” What did Jesus sacrifice? What are we all asked to sacrifice? Isn’t it the personal sense of self, with all of its pride, opinions, history? How much are we willing to sacrifice?
RECONCILE.
1. To reestablish friendship between. 2. to settle or resolve, as a dispute. 3. To bring to acquiescence. 4. To make compatible or
consistent. (Fr. Latin concilia, to bring together, unite, fr. conciliun, union, gathering, meeting.).

Have you ever tried to reconcile your bank statement? What are you doing but bringing your record of what you have into consistency with what is actually there? So Christ reconciles man to God, brings us into consistency with what God knows us to be.
MEDIATOR – One that mediates, especially a person who serves as an intermediary to reconcile differences.

SECTION II – Oneness of Father and Son forever unchanged.
If we deny the Son, we deny the Father; but if we acknowledge the Son, we can’t help but acknowledge the Father, for they are inseparable. When the Jews asked Jesus if he was the Christ, he answered by his works. Then he told about his sheep (and we are his sheep!):
– They hear his voice.
– He knows them.
– They follow him.
-They have eternal life.
– No man can pluck them out of his hand.
This is a good way for us to pray for ourselves, claiming each of these
points for ourselves daily.

Beware of “man-made doctrines” – they are “devoid of the Christ-power.” They draw thought away from the Christ. Some of these doctrines are beliefs about diet and exercise, psychological profiles, belief in a business cycle, genetic codes. Can you think of others? All of these doctrines are based on the belief that man drifts in and out of good, God. But, they are wiped out by the unchanged and unchanging relationship of God to His idea, man.

SECTION III – The foundation of fellowship – one Father, one Mind.
As you read citation (5) in the Bible, ask yourself why the first three verses are read at the end of every Sunday Service as the correlative to the scientific statement of being. Remember that the world can’t know you, so
it can’t have an opinion about you. Even if it doesn’t yet appear what we
shall be, we are NOW the sons of God. Jesus knew this and demonstrated it, and we can, too. Verse 11 gives us the message in plain language, “For this is the message that we have heard from the beginning, that we should love one another.” This love proves our sonship with God – with Love itself – as nothing else can.
(SH 13) The opacity of self-love claims to block the light of Truth in our
thought, but the “universal solvent of Love” dissolves the “adamant of error.” One definition of ADAMANT is, “a stone believed to be impenetrable.” As an adjective, it’s “firm in purpose or opinion; unyielding.” If you are faced with an adamant state of thought, or even an unyielding problem, remember that it is dissolved by this “universal solvent” every time. Every member of the “self” family – self-righteousness, self-condemnation, self-hatred, self-importance – must inevitably yield to this solvent of Love. While we usually think of the definition of solvent as, “a liquid capable of dissolving another substance” as fitting in this passage, it’s interesting to note two other definitions of SOLVENT here: “1. Able to meet financial obligations,” and “2. Something that solves.”

SECTION IV – Loving one another teaches us that we are one with Love, God.
This week, be alert to ways in which you can demonstrate your love for God
and for His children. “My little children, let us not love in word, neither
in tongue, but in deed and in truth.” (B7, verse 18) Look for the “might,
immortality, and goodness which shine through all as the blossom shines
through the bud.” Can you see the blossom shining through the bud in your friends, in people in the news, in your family, and (most importantly) in
yourself?

Here’s a question someone asked me recently: How can there be beauty without matter? Think on this one. What is the “SECRET beauty and bounty, hidden from the world, but known to God”? Because “Self-forgetfulness, purity, and affection are constant prayers,” we really can “pray without ceasing.” We don’t have to stop our normal human activities, but we have to do them with an ever greater sense of love and unselfishness. (SH20) tells us how to have our part in the the atonement, “the at-one-ment with Truth and Love.” Is Truth overcoming error in your daily walk and conversation?

SECTION V – Healing through oneness with God.
Jesus healed the nobleman’s son, even though he was in Cana and the son was in Galilee. He didn’t have to see the boy to know that he was already perfect. And the nobleman didn’t have to see him to believe that this was true. Time and space have nothing to do with healing! Healing is the recognition of man’s oneness with God. Jesus promised, “He that believeth on me, the works that I do shall he do also,and greater works than these shall he do, because I go unto my Father.” (B9 See also Mis.
192:10-196:27) This promise applies to you and me, and we must take it
seriously. What a wonderful thing it is to realize that Jesus prayed for us
(B11, verse 20). What did he pray for? “That they all may be one; as
thou, Father, art in me, and I in thee, that they also may be one in
us.” (B11, verse 21) Because Jesus lived his oneness with the Father, he saw that we all have that same oneness, and that healed. He didn’t bring God to man, but brought man to God, by demonstrating to us all the irresistible power of Love. The doctrine of Christian Science is summed up in (SH24). Try taking it apart and exploring one aspect of this doctrine each day this week. For instance, on Monday, you might just live with the fact that “divine Love cannot be deprived of its manifestation, or object.” This is
a great passage to keep in thought if people ask you what Christian
Scientists believe.

SECTION VI – One more time – obedience and love prove our oneness with the Father and Son.
(B12, verses 5,6) What a wonderful expression of the oneness of love and
obedience. The commandment is “that we love one another,” and then he turns it right around and says, “And this is love, that we walk after his
commandments.” The doctrine of Christ is not just words on a page. It’s
written in our hearts “‘with the point of a diamond’ and the pen of an angel.” (SH27) Nothing can erase it! I love the final command in the Bible: “Greet the friends by name.” What name will you greet them with? Loved of Love? Daughter of the King? Child of God? What name would you want your friends to call you? “Christ hath rolled away the stone from the door of human hope and faith…”
(SH28) We are free to follow Jesus’ example and demonstrate our at-one-ment with all that is good and pure. It’s our duty and privilege. Let’s start today!

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