Salvation

THE very asking of the question ``Are you saved?'' understandably makes many people recoil and immediately plead a pressing engagement elsewhere. The question might imply so many things: the need to believe in a particular person; to repeat certain words; to have blind belief in God; to struggle to be good so that one day one might gain entrance to a far-off, rather nebulous heaven! The word ``salvation,'' which comes from the same root as the word ``saved,'' occurs well over one hundred times in the Bible. It certainly had meaning to those who used it. The greatest teacher and demonstrator of the power of the spiritual over the material, Christ Jesus, said, quoting the book of Isaiah, ``All flesh shall see the salvation of God.'' 1 What could he have meant by ``the salvation of God''? He could not have meant some simplistic process, the result of uttering some set words, easily echoed clich'es. He must have pointed to something immensely profound, of deepest significance to humanity. Perhaps the first question to ask is ``From what would anyone wish to be saved?'' The ills of the flesh? ``By all means,'' most would reply, ``if that is at all possible.'' But the ``flesh'' is mortality itself. Can we be saved from that too? If so, how? On another occasion Jesus said, ``If ye continue in my word, then are ye my disciples indeed; and ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.'' 2 To gain freedom from mortality requires that we know and live the truth of spiritual being. A study of the Gospels shows, with great clarity, that the Master's teaching concerned the things of the Spirit. Given the choice, which would anyone rather be--a limited, time-bound mortal or an immortal with a spiritual, yet substantial, identity, freed from the dust of mortality? To the Christian Scientist the way of salvation is the upward, spiritually mental way out of matter, out of the fraudulent, enslaving, materialistic sense of life. No one can hitch a free ride on this road, and no one can travel it for anyone else. But with prayer, day-by-day purification of thought, and an eye on the high goal, everyone will find it is always open. No earthbound adventure can compare with it. In the process of knowing the truth that makes free, two guidebooks are available to the would-be traveler. First, the Bible with its record of the words and works of those who have blazed the trail ahead of us. Second, the Christian Science textbook, Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures by Mary Baker Eddy,3 which, like any other textbook, points the way forward, but does not, even cannot, push one along it. A Christian Scientist would not say, ``Take this way because I know it's the right one for you.'' What he might say is, ``I can't claim to be all that far along this road, but on my way I have learned how to pray much more effectively, and that has brought, in the most natural way possible, healing of physical and all sorts of other troubles. That convinces me this direction is right, fills me with joy and expectancy and the determination to keep going. Easy it certainly is not! We are all well aware that we are moving against the tide of materialistic thinking. And each day I am working out my own salvation. But please, don't for a moment think that is a dreary process.'' Quoting the Apostle Paul, Mrs. Eddy puts it this way: `` `Now,' cried the apostle, `is the accepted time; behold, now is the day of salvation,'--meaning, not that now men must prepare for a future-world salvation, or safety, but that now is the time in which to experience that salvation in spirit and in life.'' 4 When we think about it, we cannot do this yesterday, or tomorrow--it has to be done now. 1 Luke 3:6. 2 John 8:31, 32. 3 The Discoverer and Founder of Christian Science. 4 Science and Health, p. 39.

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