That a great change is needed in human character, individual and collective, few would deny, even if the demand were pressed home in each case; but there would doubtless be great diversity of opinion as to how this needed improvement can be effected, and few would be willing to meet unshrinkingly the divine requirement, which never stops short of perfection. When a very learned and religious man came to Christ Jesus, seeking new light on the important questions of life, the great Teacher swept aside all trivialities with the demand, “Ye must be born again.” According to this decision it is not enough to make certain changes here and there in character; the mortal concept must be given up, and life must begin anew with the divine idea as its foundation. There is almost contempt in these words of the Master: “That which is born of the flesh is flesh,” nothing more; it is that which sins, suffers, and dies; but thought is immediately lifted above it to “that which is born of the Spirit.”

         In direct line with this teaching of the Master we find St. Paul saying, “Be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind,” and in this statement we have a hint of both process and result. Transformation implies a complete change in nature and character, and in the process, as Mrs. Eddy explains, “belief melts into spiritual understanding, and sin, disease, and death disappear” (Science and Health, p. 442). She adds that then “the material, transformed with the ideal, disappears;” and it is toward this result that all true Christian Scientists are bending their energies. If we ever make the mistake of standing still, forgetful that we are yet largely controlled by material sense, we shall surely be roused from our lethargy by that unceasing demand of Truth, “Awake thou that sleepest, and arise from the dead, and Christ shall give thee light.”

         At every step of the way Christ Jesus, our great Exemplar, was teaching those who were willing to hear him, how they must put off mortal sense if they would gain spiritual freedom. On page 49 of Science and Health our revered Leader says that though he was “charged with the grandest trust of heaven,” yet he was “ready to be transformed by the renewing of the infinite Spirit.” Are we as ready to meet the problem of each hour, desiring only to throw off more and more the burden of mortal belief and to be changed into the perfect likeness of the perfect Father?

         Paul is unsparing when he marks the contrast between the flesh, or matter, and Spirit; the former with its envyings, murders, and impurity, and the latter with its “love, joy, peace;” its “gentleness, goodness, faith,” — all indeed that makes life worth living. There are some who object to Christian Science because its teachings rule out matter, or the flesh, as a factor in the divine economy; but the reason for its insistence that materiality must be given up, may be stated in Paul’s words respecting the belief of bondage to the flesh, namely, “Ye cannot do the things that ye would.” He at the same time points the way to freedom when he bids us “walk in the Spirit,” and this assuredly leads to the transformation of which he speaks in his epistle to the Romans.

         The student of Christian Science knows that God’s idea needs not to be transformed; being the reflection of God, it is forever perfect. The human sense, however, needs to be greatly changed in order to be “conformed to the image of his Son,” and this is the purpose of divine Love for all mankind. If we are in any wise “conformed to this world,” we should arouse ourselves and become truly coworkers with God in the task of being transformed and, like the Master, at length transfigured, — cleansed from every stain of earthliness by the mighty power of infinite Spirit. Even in the process of overcoming error the healing work goes steadily on; indeed it is the healing which has no element of uncertainty in it. It is true that “flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God,” but there is this sure promise: “We shall be changed”! Self-righteousness is hushed before these words so full of majesty, and thought is lifted to the mental altitude where we can stand “with open face beholding . . . the glory of the Lord;” then are we “changed into the same image from glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of the Lord.”


"Transformation" by Annie M. Knott, CSD
Christian Science Sentinel, December 4, 1915

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