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Questions and Answers from Joel (4/1/2017)

Q:    It is so often stated that Jesus died for our sins. Will you please explain this?

A:    No, I can’t explain that in any literal sense.  Of course the orthodox religion accepts that literally.  But I do have an idea that from our standpoint, it would mean that Jesus died to his humanhood.  He overcame and crucified every sense of humanhood in order that his Christhood be fully evolved.  In that Christhood, he could show forth the glory of the Father, which would heal our sins.

You see, as soon as an individual comes in contact with spiritual consciousness, their sins and diseases begin to disappear.  That’s the secret of spiritual healing.  When an individual in either sin or disease – and they’re both the same thing, because disease is just as much a sin as any form of sin – comes in contact with one who has a degree of spiritual consciousness, that degree of spiritual consciousness erases the sinful, diseased, or erroneous state of consciousness.

Now, did you ever stop to think that every successful practitioner, whether in Christian Science, Unity, or The Infinite Way, has died to some degree of their humanhood?  They have died to drinking.  They have died to smoking.  They have died to gambling.  They have died to sex – pretty nearly completely, if not completely.  They have died to resentments, angers, jealousies, and hatreds. They have died to a certain amount of fear.  Oh you see, any successful practitioner has died a hundred deaths before they ever evolve to the place where just coming into their presence…

You know, one time when I was in the business world, living the ordinary life of a business man with drinking and smoking and card-playing and horse-racing − all those things that business men indulge; nothing vicious but just normally human − I came into the presence of a Christian Science practitioner, a man who sat with me for two hours.  And when I left his presence, I no longer smoked; I no longer drank; I no longer played cards; I’ve never made a bet since then. And two days later I was out doing healing work.  Now don’t you think that man had died an awful lot of deaths before his consciousness was pure enough to have opened me to that extent?

So it is with those of us in this work.  All of us have died to some extent.  There’s much less of the human animosities, human jealousies, human resentments, human fears, and other human traits.  Those things have died.  And of course, if we are to remove the diseases and sins of a widespread following, we’ve got to do a little more dying than we’ve already done.  We’ll have to be a little more completely dead to selfhood, and more alive in our Christhood. The more we die to mortality and the more we die to human selfhood, the more alive in Spirit we are.  That means the greater power there is to remove your sins and your diseases and your fears and your lacks and limitations.

And so that is how I interpret that.

Q:   What is your interpretation when Jesus said, “My God, why hast Thou forsaken me?”

A:   Well of course, I’ve never yet found anyone who heard him say it.  We don’t have any eye-witnesses or ear-witnesses.  He was way, way up there on a cross, where it’s doubtful if anybody could have heard him if he had said it.  So the question is whether or not he said it.  If he said it, it could be in the self-same spirit that you and I might say it. If we get into a problem that’s pretty deep, and we’re not finding our way out as quickly as we think we should, I haven’t a doubt that we’re apt to say, “Oh God, where are you? Why don’t you come to my rescue now? Or, “Why hast thou forsaken me?   Look, like Job, I’ve been a good man, been very charitable, good to my wife and good to my children, but look at all these boils!” (Laughter)  And we do that.  We do that.  All of a sudden, we get to thinking, “You know, I can’t remember having done anything wrong.  I haven’t broken any laws, but look at this claim that’s come upon me.”  And then we say, “I guess God has forsaken me.”

It is for that reason that we have Scripture to remind us that although I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, Thou art there.  If I make my bed in hell, Thou art there.  It shows us that those who have gone before us, even though they were good men and spiritual men and noble men and true men, even they came to a valley of the shadow of death, or to something that they called “hell.”  And they left this message for us – that when you go through those waters, just remember that God is going through with you.  These fellows left the way open for us.  Even Isaiah, who was a wise man, said,

“But now thus saith the Lord that created thee, O Jacob, and he that formed thee, O Israel, Fear not: for I have redeemed thee, I have called thee by thy name; thou art mine.  When thou passest through the waters, I will be with thee; and through the rivers, they shall not overflow thee: when thou walkest through the fire, thou shalt not be burned; neither shall the flame kindle upon thee.  For I am the Lord thy God, the Holy One of Israel, thy Saviour [1]

“Ye are my witnesses, saith the Lord, and my servant whom I have chosen: that ye may know and believe me, and understand that I am he: before me there was no God formed, neither shall there be after me.  I, even I, am the Lord; and beside me there is no saviour.” [2]

And so you see, the promise does not say that we will not walk through waters or that we will not walk through fires.  It tells us that if we walk – or when we walk – through the waters and the fires, they will not harm us.  And so it is that it may well be that the Master… Oh well!  We do know that in the Garden of Gethsemane, he was led to doubt for a minute.  The pressure was very severe.  He asked the eleven disciples to pray with him, to hold him up.  And he even prayed God to “let this cup pass from me, if it be Thy will.”  It was a heavy cup he was about to face.  And so it may well be that in those moments of despair that the sense of God deserted him, but evidently it came back in time to lift him out of the tomb.

(Both questions excerpted from Recording #62, 1954 Chicago Closed Class, Tape 1, Side 2, “Spiritual Unfoldment”)

[1] Isaiah 43:1-3
[2] Isaiah 43:10-11