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Claim Your Everlasting Redemption!
Metaphysical Application Ideas for the Weekly C.S. Bible Lesson on the subject:
“Everlasting Punishment”
for the week of October 27-November 2, 2008
Prepared by
Craig L. Ghislin, C.S., Glen Ellyn, Illinois

Editor’s Note: The following application ideas for this week and Possible Sunday School Topics that follow are offered primarily to help CEDARS campers and staff (as well as friends) see and demonstrate the great value of daily study and application of the Christian Science Bible lessons year-round, not just at camp! You can sign up to have them emailed to you free — in English by Monday or Tuesday each week, or by each Wednesday you can get a FREE TRANSLATION in French from Pascal or in Spanish from Ana. (We no longer have a translator available for German.) JUST SIGN UP at

“Punishment: Any pain or suffering inflicted on a person for a crime or offense, by the authority to which the offender is subject.”  So reads the definition in The Student’s Reference Dictionary.  Just the thought makes some people cringe.  Further into the definition it is noted that punishment can be viewed as chastisement or correction, and it says, “Divine punishments are doubtless designed to assure obedience to divine laws, and uphold the moral order of created intelligent beings.”  That doesn’t seem quite so bad, but still the thought of unending chastisement doesn’t exactly sound inviting nor does it square with Christian Science doctrine.  Traditional theology has emphasized the punitive aspect of the parent-child relationship of God and man in an effort to keep man on the “straight and narrow.”  But as Mrs. Eddy writes, “Fear of punishment never made man truly honest.”  (S&H 327:22)

While our Leader fully recognized the need to steer clear of sin and the harsh consequences of not doing so, she also made the strong point that God’s methods and the methods of mortals greatly differ.  She wanted to make sure we had the right idea of God’s corrective methods, so we would love God rather than be afraid of Him.  The Lesson-Sermons on Everlasting Punishment often have themes of “everlasting love” or “everlasting forgiveness.”  This week’s Lesson similarly could be sub-titled “Everlasting Redemption.”

As used in the Golden Text, redeemed means to “sever, ransom, release, preserve, or rescue” (Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance to the Bible).  The psalmist is trustingly placing his life into the reliable hands of his Creator, knowing that God has and will continue to rescue him from the bondage of the flesh.

The Responsive Reading continues the theme of gratitude for redemption from evil.  The psalm is thought to be “a liturgical introduction to the presentation of individual thank offerings” (Interpreter’s One-Volume Commentary on the Bible).  Originally meant for those returning from the Babylonian exile, it came to symbolize the redemption of all men from bondage and provided encouragement in difficult times.  In situations of national captivity, individual imprisonment, and illness, the Lord saves from distress and delivers from destruction.  There is no mistaking though, that the calamities suffered by man are the result of his rebellion, transgression, and disobedience to the laws of God.  But regardless of the severity of the problem, God always answers when called upon for help.

Section 1:  Love’s Design Is to Reform
The message in B1 is fairly clear: the promise of prosperity is proportionate to obedience, and disobedience brings trouble.  It was common in ancient law codes to alternately include promises of blessings and threats of punishment all contingent on obedience to the law.  The promise of God bringing rain at the necessary time was particularly poignant for those living in a desert land.  Their prosperity depended upon it.  Some might think that being good in order to receive blessings is sort of self-serving.  But the Israelites considered blessings communally.  If things were going well, it was evidence of divine pleasure with the entire nation.  The survival of the nation was linked to their obedience to the laws of God.  But in B2 the nation is upbraided for its current state of faithless rebellion.  However, the judgment against Israel is “linked with the divine purpose to restore, and her future glory is to far outshine anything she has known.”  (Interpreter’s)  Reasoning spiritually, it is impossible for sin to be present in the sight of God.  Therefore, if we are to approach Him, we must do so in a sinless state.  In order to do that, God must be able to wash away sin.  This is done as sin is forsaken: Forgiveness follows repentance.  God won’t allow the stain of sin to remain forever.  Man will be washed clean and be completely purified.  All the dross will be passed off, and only the gold will remain.  It is the destiny of Israel to give light to the world (B3).  The image in B4 is that of “a city gleaming in the light of morning, while the rest of the world is in darkness, and so the nations must come out of their darkness to Zion’s light.”  (The Abingdon Bible Commentary)  Our obedience too, is an example that lights the rest of the world.

Science and Health reminds us that, “God is Love” (S1).  Also, that it is Love’s design not to condemn forever, but to reform the sinner (S2).  Even though God is Love, that doesn’t mean that all we have to do is say, “I’m sorry” over and over again while never actually refraining from sin (S3).  Sin will result in suffering.  There’s no way around it.  A student in Mrs. Eddy’s Primary Class of 1889 recorded her as saying, “All the uses of adversity are sweet.  If you want to expel a tenant, we make it uncomfortable”  (Joshua Bailey’s Notes p. 32.).  In just this way suffering for sin serves to destroy it.  We can’t escape correction (S4).  Who would want to?  Remember, Love’s purpose is to reform, not to punish.  No stone will be left unturned (S5).  Christian Science demands obedience.  We overcome sinful beliefs and tendencies with the power of Truth.  Hatred, lust, revenge, and deceit must be replaced with kindness, chastity, charity, and honesty.  The good man doesn’t have to be afraid of sin (S6).  The sufferings that it brings serve to further its destruction.  As the nation of Israel was called upon to fulfill its destiny to lighten the world, immortal man demonstrates that under God’s government, there is no power to sin.

Section 2:  Sharp Experiences Are for Our Good
We are told in Proverbs (B5) not to resent it when God corrects us.  Every good father corrects his children.  Correction brings wisdom, and we should be happy to have it.  Abingdon notes that this wisdom “is not a body of knowledge, nor a book of rules.  It is achievement through the discipline of an intellectual struggle.”  One reason we resist correction is that we don’t always recognize our need for it (B6).  Naaman was in this category (B7).  Naaman had a reputation as a valiant soldier, and he was proud of it.  In the records of Jewish historian Josephus, Naaman was known to be “vain and haughty:”  Naaman was used to getting things his way.  Though not in the Lesson, when he first goes to Israel, after his maid tells him of the prophet who could heal him, he goes laden with gifts for the king hoping the king would influence Elisha to heal him.  But you can’t buy a healing.  As the story proceeds, when he finally does reach the prophet, Elisha treats him differently than he expects.  Naaman’s pride needs to be healed.  Fortunately for Naaman, his servants make the attempt to reason with him.  Eventually, Naaman humbles himself and he is healed.  Notably, both the captive maid and his servants go out of their way to help Naaman.  They did what might be thought of today as an intervention.  They must have really thought he was worth it.  Their love for him helped to melt his pride and his healing came.  When people try to help you, do you listen to what they’re saying?

The textbook underscores that Love corrects, governs, and chastens man (S7, 8).  Our Leader teaches us not to shy away from “sharp experiences” (S9).  They help to propel us to a deeper understanding of God and of our relationship to Him.  We’re not expected to be casual about it either.  We’re supposed to strive for it.  These tough lessons bring us health and peace.  Just like the tenant who leaves an uncomfortable dwelling, we wake up to see that we need more than the false hopes material sense provides (S10).  As Naaman needed purification, so do we.  “We need a clean body and a clean mind” (S11).  Mrs. Eddy writes that this purification proves that we are making progress (S12).  When we’re in the midst of a “sharp experience,” rather than resent it, we should remember that Love brought us to that place for the purpose of blessing us.  Try keeping that in mind during your challenges.  It will change the complexion of the whole experience.

Section 3:  Divine Justice
While few people are eager to be chastised, many would like to see other’s disobedience punished.  It’s part of American culture that the bad guys get their due and good wins out.  Sometimes though it seems like wrongdoers are getting away with it.  Then we’re tempted to take matters into our own hands and “make them pay.”  But divine justice will correct the situation.  Chastisement is correction from a recognized authority.  Revenge is the attempt to exact punishment without authority.  Hypocrisy and deceit breed the same.  Unsavory and dishonest dealings with others do not go unpunished (B8).  The Christian standard for interpersonal relationships is mercy and love (B10).  Abingdon writes, “The merciful are the men and women who banish all feelings of revenge and ill will out of their hearts and who seek to cultivate an attitude of love and sympathy to all mankind.”  Dummelow explains further, ” Every kind of cruel amusement, or cruel punishment, as well as every wanton act of cruelty is strictly forbidden.  It should be remembered that cruel speeches no less than cruel acts are forbidden by the commandment.  Words can lacerate more deeply than stripes.”  The Golden Rule (B11) should govern our behavior.  This keeps us from doing wrong and avenging wrongs done to us.  When a wrong is done us, we should not feel the need to take matters into our own hands.  We can trust God’s law to remedy the situation.

Mrs. Eddy offers encouragement by reminding us that wrongdoers cannot forever escape the penalty due their crimes (S13).  We are taught to love our enemies and help them by using the Golden Rule.  But she also acknowledges that some don’t want to be helped.  If we keep watch on our thoughts we can clear out evil.  Evil left unchecked will go on forever.  This is why blood feuds last for generations.  Evil has to stop somewhere, so we should see that it stops with us.  Evil has no more power than we allow it to have (S14).  We need to maintain our virtue to defend ourselves from all evil.  The carnal mind believes in more than one mind and that all those minds are in constant competition and conflict with each other.  Christian Science teaches that there is only one Mind, God (S15).  Our Leader tells us this fact should be “thoroughly understood.”  In proportion as we understand the oneness of Mind, all war and conflict will dissolve into nothingness.  This is letting our light shine and having the same Mind “which was also in Christ.”  Members of The Mother Church sign their names to the Tenets of Christian Science.  The last of those tenets (S16) calls upon us to promise to pray that this Mind of Christ be in us.  We also promise to live the Golden Rule and be “merciful, just, and pure.”  If you’re tempted to seek revenge, keep an eye on your own thoughts.  Follow the Golden Rule and trust the situation to God’s corrective hand.

Section 4:  Repentance, Unfeigned Reverence, and Forgiveness
Since most of us are so familiar with the story of the woman who came to Simon’s house to wash Jesus’ feet with her tears (B13), I did a little search on the Internet to find something new.  I found an interesting observation by author Andrew McFarland.  He said that at times throughout history, women were known to collect their tears in little bottles as a sign of their grief over a variety of things, including sorrow for departed loved ones, illness, and sorrow for their own sins.  These little bottles were considered to be “an intensely personal and sacred object that reminded you of your grief.”  It may be that in addition to her tears shed at the time, the woman who approached Jesus, also brought a bottle of her own collected tears to pour out.  Thus, symbolizing the fact that she had repented, had been forgiven, and no longer had to hold on to grief over her sin.  Of course there’s no way to verify this idea, but it makes sense.  The Christ heals us of sin, and when we have repented we are forgiven.  The truly repentant heart naturally overflows with gratitude and a desire to live in obedience to divine law.  Once we’ve truly changed the course of our lives, we no longer need to hold on to the remorse and guilt over sin.  We can pour it all out with gratitude and move on.

The third tenet of Christian Science (S17) states that God forgives sin by destroying it.  But the punishment lasts as long as the belief.  The penalty for sin is removed by “first removing the sin which incurs the penalty” (S18).  The woman approached Jesus from the standpoint of sincerity.  She had seen her sin and her heart overflowed with love for the healing Christ.  She didn’t let the pressures of societal opinion stop her from expressing that love (S19, 20).  Have you ever been tempted to stay away from church or to hesitate in praying because you feel unworthy?  Even if you don’t fit the picture of what you think a churchgoing Christian should be, if you sincerely want to turn to the Christ, you will be welcome just as the woman was.  Simon the Pharisee had the opposite problem.  He had all the outward trappings of propriety.  But, he had no love.  While the healing Christ welcomes everyone, Pharisaical snobbery does not.  Simon neglected to show his guest the common courtesies of the time.  He even had the audacity to judge the woman’s worthiness and question Jesus’ discernment for allowing her to approach him.  Have you ever judged someone’s worthiness?  It is the woman’s unfeigned reverence that we are to emulate.  Whether we believe ourselves sinners or saints, we can resolve to stop sinning and to judge not.  Either way, the Love of the Christ will correct us. 

Section 5:  Redemption from Sin and Sickness
It has been suggested that the man at the pool of Bethesda (B14) was apparently suffering as a result of some sin.  This is surmised based on Jesus’ warning to the man after his healing to “sin no more, let a worse thing come unto thee.”  Whatever the man’s sin was he had been suffering for thirty-eight years from it.  When Jesus came upon him the man had little initiative to help himself, and was more apt to complain, than to be grateful.  Jesus roused the man by demanding that he take action on his own behalf.  Occasionally, when people are struggling with a chronic illness they believe they’re sick because they’ve done or thought something wrong.  They may get disheartened as they spend time searching their hearts for the poisoned thought or deed that they think might be causing them trouble.  Jesus didn’t spend time searching for the sin.  He simply demanded that the man take action to get back on the right track and cautioned him to stay on it.  To my sense, the man had made his bed (planted his thought) at the five pools (the five physical senses).  Jesus demanded he get up and walk out of there (leave the depressing outlook of physical sense).  Redemption from the bonds of physical sense implies redemption from suffering.  Paraphrasing the message to Titus (B15) Abingdon writes, “The gospel is a school for character, instructing men to renounce all impiety, to curb all lustful impulses and to learn the discipline of self-control and the beauty of righteousness.”  The presence and power of the Christ redeems us – rescues us – from the effects of both sin and sickness.  It helps us realize that iniquity has no hold on us.  As we devote ourselves to seeking Christ, we can all be saved.

To suffering mortals, the Christ comes “healing sickness and destroying sin” (S21).  Just as the children of Israel were urged to obey in order to keep the nation prosperous, Christians are urged to keep their minds free from vice to preserve health.  Knowing that only sin is punished, the innocent man has nothing to fear from sickness (S22).  Similarly, the healer’s ability to overcome sickness is directly linked to his own fidelity to the laws of God.  When it is realized that there is neither power nor reality in either sin or sickness, one will be as “readily destroyed as the other” (S23).  Learning to govern ourselves by overcoming sickness and sin through the power of Mind, we will find that there is really nothing left to punish (S24).  An awful lot of time and energy is devoted to pursuits of material pleasures and attending to the fear of material pains.  Our Leader urges “study of the Science of Mind” to free us from the punishing cycle of sin and sickness (S25).  Heeding her advice, we will be following the admonition of Isaiah to “walk in the light of the Lord.”  This is the great light that Christian Science brings to the world: God doesn’t punish. He lovingly corrects, by destroying sin and the suffering that goes with it. Christian Science bids you and I to commit our lives to the God of Truth and therefore find everlasting redemption from sin, sickness, and death.
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Camp Director’s Note: This sharing is the latest in an ongoing, seven-year series of CedarS Bible Lesson “mets” (metaphysical application ideas) contributed weekly by a rotation of CedarS Resident Practitioners and occasionally by other metaphysicians.  (To keep the flow of the practitioner’s ideas intact and to allow for more selective printing the “Possible Sunday School Topics” come on a following page or subsequent email.) This weekly email (and website posting) is intended to encourage further study and application of ideas in the lesson and to invigorate Sunday School participation by students and by the budding teachers on our staff. Originally sent JUST to my Sunday School students and to campers, staff and CedarS families who wanted to continue at home and in their home Sunday Schools the same type of focused Lesson study, application and inspiration they had felt at camp,  CedarS lesson “mets” are in no way meant to be definitive or conclusive or in any way a substitute for daily study of the lesson.  The thoughts presented are the inspiration of the moment and are offered to give a bit more dimension, background and new angles on daily applicability to some of the ideas and passages being studied.  The weekly Bible Lessons are copyrighted by the Christian Science Publishing Society and are printed in the Christian Science Quarterly as available at Christian Science Reading Rooms or online at or  The citations referenced (i.e. B1 and S28) from this week’s Bible Lesson in the “met” (metaphysical application ideas) are taken from the King James Version of the Bible (B1-24) and the Christian Science textbook, Science and Health With Key to the Scriptures by Mary Baker Eddy. (S1-30)  The Bible and Science and Health are the ordained pastor of the Churches of Christ, Scientist.  The Bible Lesson is the sermon read in Christian Science church services throughout the world.  The Lesson-Sermon speaks individually through the Christ to everyone, providing unique insights and tailor-made applications for each one.  We are glad you requested this metaphysical sharing and hope that you find some of these ideas helpful in your daily spiritual journey, in your deeper digging in the books and in closer bonding with your Comforter and Pastor.
Warren Huff, Camp Director, (636) 394-6162

Possible Sunday School Topics (P.S.S.T.s) for [“Everlasting Punishment TRICK?” or “Everlasting Redemption TREAT-MENT!”] Christian Science Bible Lesson for Halloween week
by Sunday School teachers Tom Evans and
[Warren Huff]

A friend asks, “Do you believe in heaven and hell?” As a Christian Scientist, what do you believe about [the commonly-accepted, mainline church doctrine of] “Everlasting Punishment?” Did God really ordain such a thing? Mrs. Eddy gave us 26 Bible lesson subjects to study. These are repeated twice a year every year. Why did Mrs. Eddy feel this was such an important topic that we spend two weeks a year thinking about? [Let’s think about it this week from a Halloween point of view: Trick? Or Treatment!]

P.S.S.T. for the Golden Text: [Crucifixion TRICK? Or Redemption TREAT-MENT!]
[The Golden Text from Psalms 31:5, “Into thine hand I commit my spirit: thou hast redeemed me,” is echoed in Luke 23:46 as the last recorded words of Jesus on the cross: “Into thine hands I commend my spirit.” In Matthew 27:45 and Mark 15:34 Jesus’ last recorded words were “My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?,” a direct quote from Psalms 22:1. No matter which verse Jesus quoted last, according to Bible Scholar Cobbey Crisler, Hebrew boys and men would often say a verse of Hebrew scripture to let others know what they were thinking or were about to recite in full. Could it be that Jesus was giving bystanders, as well as us today, a clue of the truths contained in his silent treatments that brought about his redemption? Read all of Psalms 31, as well as all of Psalms 22, to be amazed at how accurately these words, prophesied 1,000 years earlier, described the TRICK of crucifixion that Jesus saw as redeemable by God to have a happy ending. With “redeemed” also meaning rescued or saved, share with your class or congregation at least one way (big or small) that Christian Science TREATMENT has saved you from being TRICKED by outward appearances and limits.]

P.S.S.T. for the Responsive Reading: [Wilderness TRICKS? Or God’s Loving, Redemptive TREATMENT!]
Pop Quiz!
What seems like the overall theme of this week’s lesson? (Redemption) How many times is the word “redeem” found in the lesson this week? (8) What kinds of things does God redeem us from? (Listed in the R.R.: Captivity, wandering, solitude, hunger, thirst, fainting, speaking out against God, pride, other distresses…) Our Father-Mother God is always there, protecting, guarding, and guiding us. Sometimes we get distracted and forget to thank God. At the end of the Responsive Reading man finds himself in a pickle and asks for help (Ps 107: 19), God heals and delivers him from destruction (Ps 107: 20), and what is man supposed to do (Ps 107:21)? How often do you give thanks for the good already received? This Psalm was written over two millennia ago, what kinds of things does God redeem us from today? Why does God care for us so much?

P.S.S.T. for Section 1: [Small-hearted, Selfish Sins TRICKS? Or Big-hearted, Redemptive TREATMENTS!]
“I am the Lord your God which brought you forth out of the land of Egypt” (B1 Lev. 26:13). Who are we talking about here? Did the Hebrews always follow God’s word? Did they ever need redemption? Concepts in the Bible (B2) like separating the dross from the metal were familiar to people of the time. I don’t know about you, but I haven’t been smelting iron, purifying molten metal, or creating any of my own tools recently. Come up with a metaphor that speaks to you and could be substituted for Isaiah 1:25. For older classes: keeping in mind the Golden Text and God’s love for us as His children, explain S4. Does God punish us? (Nope) Look at S3 and S17, the 3rd Tenet (S&H 497: 9). Does that mean sin is okay if we just don’t make a big deal out of it? How do we effectively destroy sin?

[When reading Isa. 60:5 (B4) “thine heart shall …. be enlarged” I thought of how “the Grinch’s small heart grew three sizes that day.” (from “How the Grinch Stole Christmas” movie) When the Grinch realizes happiness comes from giving, NOT from getting, he is redeemed and becomes happy and unselfish.]

P.S.S.T. for Section 2: [Selfish Pride TRICK? Or Childlike Humility TREAT-MENT]
Have you ever, like Naaman, ever had a prideful reluctance to do something until you humbly listened and clearly saw it was the right thing to do (B7)? How can we be receptive to God’s corrections for us (B5)? Sometimes an angel message may tell us to turn around and go in a path that is completely different from the direction we are headed. We may be too prideful and reluctant to change our mind in front of our friends. In “God’s Law of Adjustment,” Adam H. Dickey writes:

  • “Is a general less fit to lead his army because in the heat of battle he changes his tactics under the guidance of wisdom? A too determined sense of carrying out a preconceived plan is more likely to be the enthronement of erring human will. … Christian Scientists are Minutemen, armed and equipped to respond to any call of wisdom, always ready and willing to abandon personal views or opinions, and to allow that Mind to be in them “which was also in Christ Jesus”(Phil. 2:5).

Looking over section 2, what can we do to be more receptive to what God is telling us? How can we tell if we are advancing? (S12)

P.S.S.T. for Section 3: [Breaking the Golden Rule TRICKS? Or the 6th Tenet TREAT-MENT!]
Read marker B8. Suppose you have been thinking about recent decisions in your life and you realize that you are the “hypocrite” in this verse from Proverbs. Clearly the path you’re on is not a good one. What steps can you take to “get with the program?” If a close friend of yours suddenly realizes the error of his/her ways and comes to you for help, how will you lovingly support this friend? What does Mrs. Eddy mean by “If mortals would keep proper ward over mortal mind, the brood of evils which infest it would be cleared out.” (S14)? Why would virtue and truth help “build a strong defense” (S14)?
[For meaty meanings on the merciful Beatitude delivered with gusto go to

P.S.S.T. for Section 4: [Selfish Inhospitality TRICKS? Or Heartfelt Repent and Redeem TREAT-MENTS!]
How does Jesus “Adjust the balance” in B13? How exactly is it that “Divine Science adjusts the balance” (S18)? So, is Luke saying that if I’m willing to abase myself by wiping feet with my hair and anointing them with ointment, it’s like a “get out of jail free” card? Was this woman pleading sufficiently that she was “saved” by the man Jesus or is there more to it? Who or what is the power forgiving sins in the Pharisee’s house? Are we inherently a bunch of “sinners”? (Of course not) Explain sin to a non-Christian Science friend. Now explain sin it to a non-Christian Science stranger you just met on a bus. She just happened to hear you were a Christian Scientist and said “So you are a Christian Scientist. You don’t believe in sin, right?” (Hurry up! She’s getting off the bus at the next stop.)
[See 3rd Tenet, S21]

P.S.S.T. for Section 5: [Next-in-line and Time-factor TRICKS? Or “grace of God” TREAT-MENTS! (B15)]
Sometimes we are too worried about petty little things in life like who is next in line for the water fountain. Even though the man by the pool of Bethesda was complaining about being skipped in line for nearly four decades, he had to be receptive to the Love that Christ Jesus was expressing (B14). How can we be sure that we are never too bogged down in the material to see the spiritual good taking place all around us? How does Christian Science enable us to wake up from this “mortal dream of sickness, sin and death” (S23)? How does it enable us to “light the torch of spiritual understanding” (S25)?
[Remember to continue striving to be a torchbearer, like at CedarS. Keep your pledge year-round, especially the one to “do the right thing, even if it’s not the popular thing to do.”]


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