The willing response of a person to the moral and spiritual demands of Christ Jesus has an unmistakable effect on health. Jesus’ theology healed the sick. He showed that mental and physical well-being go hand in hand and that mental well-being comes from understanding God.
As the Son of God, Jesus was inseparable from the true idea of Him. This idea wasn’t merely a doctrinal teaching. It was the Christ, the spiritual presence and power of Truth.
Mary Baker Eddy, the Discoverer and Founder of Christian Science, defines Christ this way: “The divine manifestation of God, which comes to the flesh to destroy incarnate error” (“Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures,” p. 583). Jesus’ life was the appearing of Christ. But Jesus’ exit from the earthly scene after the fulfillment of his lifework didn’t mean the Christ had gone. Truth by its very nature is eternal and everywhere. The divine idea comes today to spiritually receptive hearts and minds. The effect of this appearing is always regeneration and healing. Gaining even a heartfelt glimpse of the true nature of God and man can begin to work a wonderful transformation in us.
Man isn’t actually material. Jesus illustrated that man is eternally one with Spirit, inseparable from the Father. This oneness isn’t a physical proximity; it’s a spiritual relationship. Man is spiritual, because God, his source, is Spirit. Man is the idea, image, or expression of Spirit – infinite Mind, the parent Love. In this eternal relationship there can be no danger or disease. Mind’s idea reflects the harmony of Mind. Man’s perfection is an unalterable fact.
Being the origin of man, Spirit is also the substance of man. Spirit is man’s Life. Therefore Life and its conditions are not in matter and are not dictated by what we call material laws. Life is eternal and harmonious. Man is one with Life. Man doesn’t need to walk an impossible tightrope to avoid illness or disease; in reality he lives securely in the uninvadable realm of good, governed by divine law. And Spirit maintains harmony throughout all creation.
Fear and sin are two primary detractors from our mental and physical well-being. Stemming from material belief, they tend vividly to reinforce belief, effectively hiding from our perception the spiritual, real nature of things. Jesus gently rebuked fear. To the father who had been told of his daughter’s death he said comfortingly, “Fear not: believe only, and she shall be made whole” (Luke 8:50). Sin sometimes required stronger words. After healing a man who had been bedridden for 38 years, Jesus warned, “Behold, thou art made whole: sin no more, lest a worse thing come unto thee” (John 5:14).
The effect of the Christ on these different states of thought – fear of disease and enjoyment of sin – is essentially the same. In each case the Christ urges on thought the assurance of man’s oneness with Spirit. To the sick and afraid, this understanding brings peace. To the one indulging sin, though, it may initially cause an unpleasant but healthy disturbance. One’s satisfaction with wrongdoing must be shaken. The fraudulent pleasures of sin lead nowhere, except away from a genuine recognition of our relationship to God and the health this recognition brings. Christ, manifesting the goodness and power of Spirit, saves us from sin.
Mrs. Eddy describes what often happens: “Waking to Christ’s demand, mortals experience suffering. This causes them, even as drowning men, to make vigorous efforts to save themselves; and through Christ’s precious love these efforts are crowned with success” (Science and Health, p. 22).
The physical senses can’t begin to detect the spiritual facts of man’s being. That’s why we need the Christ. As Christ transforms our thought, revealing man’s inseverable oneness with Spirit, we find ourselves safely on the road to permanent freedom.
Reprinted from the May 20, 1980, issue of The Christian Science Monitor.