The Bible shows us that Jesus sometimes referred to the forgiveness of sin when he healed physical maladies. For example, he healed a palsied man right after saying, ''Son, be of good cheer; thy sins be forgiven thee.'' n1
n1 Matthew 9:2.
Does this mean that forgiven sin has something to do with bodily health?
On another occasion the Master instantaneously healed a man who had been crippled for thirty-eight years. Later, Jesus found him inside the temple and said, ''Behold, thou art made whole: sin no more, lest a worse thing come unto thee.'' n2
n2 John 5:14.
Could this mean that the forgiveness of sin may be a wonderful blessing, but that sin must also be forsaken for true and lasting harmony?
The answer to both of these questions is yes. Jesus taught us how to be sinless. And he gave every indication that being and doing good could have a direct effect on our bodies and on other aspects of our lives.
Noting this connection between sinlessness and health, we can better understand why strict obedience to the Ten Commandments and the Golden Rule is so vital to our progress and well-being. It also helps to explain why Jesus never endorsed revenge or hatred toward enemies. Thought has to be good and loving if we are to heal spiritually. And the Master set us a high example in this regard.
Humanity seems subject to dualism. People seem to express both good and evil thoughts. Human bodies appear to develop both good and bad conditions. Christian Science, in accord with the Master's teachings, maintains that actually thoughts determine bodily conditions; that our body is the outcome of thought. So a conscious improvement of thought - a purer, more Christlike state of thought - is accompanied by improved health.
However, just ''thinking good thoughts'' and striving to be merely humanly better may not be enough to improve health permanently. An understanding of God as infinite and totally good, and of man's perfect status as His eternal reflection, provides a lasting, scientific basis for our well-being.
A good and omnipotent God can have only perfect and good offspring. The one pure divine Mind can impart only pure thoughts. And because this is the truth of being, victory over evil is not only possible but inevitable. When we reason rightly about our divinely ordained goodness and understandingly endeavor to express it in thought and action, our lives can only be changed for the better.
Speaking of Jesus, Mary Baker Eddy, the Discoverer and Founder of Christian Science, writes, ''He showed that every effect or amplification of wrong will revert to the wrong-doer; that sin punishes itself; hence his saying, 'Sin no more, lest a worse thing come unto thee.' '' n3
n3 The First Church of Christ, Scientist, and Miscellany, p. 288.
One should not disregard sin any more than he should ignore an apparently diseased or sick body. That would not be following Jesus' example. And it certainly would not bring healing, because the evil condition is not negated when ignored any more than a wrong answer in mathematics is corrected when ignored.
Coming to understand the allness of God, good, and striving to put off sin does not change God or our true selfhood. It does, however, show us more clearly what has always been - our spiritual perfection as His children. And that realization brings normalcy to the human situation.
In truth, man is by birthright upright. He is the eternal reflection of a perfect God. So we do not, in one sense, set out to change an immoral person into a moral one, or a sinner into a saint. We strive through prayer and purification of thought to bring to light the real man, whose native elements have always been purity and goodness.
Mrs. Eddy writes, ''Sin of any sort tends to hide from an individual this grand verity in Science, that the appearing of good in an individual involves the disappearing of evil.'' n4
n4 Miscellaneous Writings, pp. 337-338.
Sin forsaken, and thus forgiven, is a vital step toward claiming our divine sonship and experiencing both moral and physical freedom. DAILY BIBLE VERSE I delight in the law of God after the inward man. Romans 7:22