How I Used Truth - Lesson 1 - Annotation 10
Is "salvation" to be ours at some future time in a faraway place, or when is it acceptable? When is man really "saved"?
10. No, salvation is not something that comes to us in the future. Salvation is the free gift of God to each of us of our own divine nature, the Christ, or I AM. Salvation is ours now. The subject of salvation is extensively covered in the Annotations for Lesson Nine of Lessons in Truth.
"Salvation comes to man as a free gift from God. It embodies a knowledge of God that frees one from all limitations and points the way by which mind and body may be lifted up to the spiritual place of consciousness. . . . Salvation is based solely on an inner overcoming, a change in consciousness" (The Revealing Word 173) .
Even though salvation is already ours in Truth, there is the sense in which we must "accept" it. Acceptance of salvation takes place the moment we become conscious that we have God's Presence within us as our own true nature. This indwelling Presence is the only means by which we can be "saved" from the beliefs and conditions that are less than the perfection that God has willed for us. We learn to accept salvation in our times of prayer and silence, when we have yielded ourselves completely to God. It is then that God reveals His Presence to us. This is more than an intellectual acceptance; it is a deep soul experience that comes when the heart (feeling) and conscious phase of mind (thinking) are unified in the realization that we are one with Him.
In working out a mathematical problem we find that our only salvation in producing a right answer or correcting a wrong one is knowledge and right use of the principle of mathematics. We are assured that the principle is always available and that it is unfailing. We know that it is not something outside ourselves for which we must strive and strain. So in working out life's problems we see that our salvation lies in knowing the God principle within ourselves, knowing that it is constantly available.
"Salvation through Jesus Christ is not accomplished by looking forward to freedom but by realizing that we are now free through His freeing power, which we are using to cut the bonds with which our thoughts have bound us" (Jesus Christ Heals 165).
This can be likened to the understanding teacher of mathematics, who does not solve the problem for the student but points him to the principle. Just so does Jesus Christ point the way to the freeing power that lies in the recognition of the Principle of our life — the Father abiding in me doeth his works" (John 14:10). Just to say that we have "salvation," or that Jesus has "saved" us, is not sufficient. There must be that deeper acceptance that carries with it the conviction that has come to us through divine revelation.
We are really "saved" first, as the soul accepts the truth of our own divinity; second, when we have recognized that we have within us "this mind . . . which was also in Christ Jesus" (Phil. 2:5), third, when we have seen the body as the divine instrument for soul and spirit to express through. With this knowledge, we are saved from making the mistakes that would follow if we were ignorant of the truth about God, about ourselves, about creation. To try to save ourselves through sheer will power alone is not the way for "Salvation belongeth unto Jehovah" (Psalms 3:8).
"Man's salvation from sin, sickness, pain, and death comes by his understanding and conforming to the orderly Mind back of all existence. 'Ye shall know the Truth and the Truth shall make you free'" (Charles Fillmore Christian Healing 42).
When the subject of salvation is considered, usually we think of "remission of sins" and "remission of the penalty for sin." God's willingness to grant all men deliverance from sin is dealt with in the Annotations for Lesson Eleven, Lessons in Truth.
If sin is the result of not living up to God's standard of Absolute Good, then the "remission of sins" would be the change within our own consciousness. This change in consciousness would be followed by a change in our actions to conform to God's laws. The reversal of both consciousness and actions can only come about through our realization and acceptance of salvation. We find this statement on pages 26 and 27 of the text:
"Nowhere in the New Testament is the idea conveyed that Jesus Christ came that there might be ... a remission of the penalty for sin. . . . Jesus came that there might be remission or cessation of sins, of wrongs, of mistakes, which were inevitably followed by suffering" (How I Used Truth 26).
No one can escape the penalty or pain that results from the wrong use of any law. There is, however, a "remission" or diminution of the penalty when our attention is directed to the forgiving love of God as revealed by Jesus Christ. The word remit according to Webster's dictionary means "to send back; to forgive; to pardon . . . to restore." When we are convinced of our true relationship to God, we have no desire to disobey His laws. In the acceptance of God's forgiving love our past sins (shortcomings) are "remitted" by our turning to the indwelling Christ Spirit through prayer.
If a student makes a mistake while working out a mathematical problem he must bring his attention back to the principle (axiom). Then he must handle the proposition from this standpoint. The wrong figures would be erased and replaced with the right ones. So with us. We may have suffered through our mistakes, which have caused pain (and this would represent the "penalty" we pay). However, once we turn consciously to God as the Principle of our life and are obedient to His guidance, we no longer sin -- we have found the right answer to life's problems!
Preceding Entry: Explain fully the "will of God."
Following Entry: Why is the "spoken word" regarded as having more power than the "unspoken word"?