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First Commandment: the standard for well-being

The Judeo-Christian world is generally familiar with the First Commandment, ''Thou shalt have no other gods before me.'' n1 But do enough of us know the exemption from sickness and sin this command affords? Indeed, it's the perfect standard for health and holiness.

n1 Exodus 20:3.

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All ten of the Commandments are a moral and spiritual force for good. They demand reverence for God and respect for man. They represent the underlying spiritual order, the invariable phenomena of God's law - His governing and controlling will - to be understood, obeyed, and practiced for harmony on earth. And the First Commandment is the foundation for the other nine.

However, the restrictions and finality of the law may seem less than lovable to some. They may even fear it, and obey only because of threatened punishment for disobedience. Something more is needed to endear the law to humanity.

The Gospel of John tells us about that something: ''The law was given by Moses, but grace and truth came by Jesus Christ.'' n2 Grace and truth make us love the law and obey it because we understand the freedom from restrictions it offers in the fullness of Christian living.

n2 John 1:17.

Jesus' Christianity rests squarely on the First Commandment - one God and no other. Jesus lived and loved the law. He spent his earthly days proving the presence and power of one God by healing the sick, reforming the sinner, and saving from death. But more, he taught that all could prove their sonship with God and begin to do the works that he did.

The Science of Christ, or Christian Science, discovered and founded by Mary Baker Eddy, demonstrates Christianity's healing power through spiritual worship of one God. Mrs. Eddy says, ''The divine Principle of the First Commandment bases the Science of being, by which man demonstrates health, holiness, and life eternal.'' n3

n3 Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, p. 340.

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Christian Science, in harmony with the Bible, highlights the lovable nature of the one God. It points to His nature as perfect Love itself, intelligent Mind , infinite Spirit, pure Soul, powerful Truth, harmonious Life - in sum, the creative ''divine Principle of the First Commandment.'' In line with the Scriptures, this Science also shows that man's actual selfhood is the loving, wise, spiritual image of God, His pure, strong, harmonious likeness. A perception of these spiritual facts is revealed by the saving Christ, Truth, which brings something of heaven to earthly experience. Ignorance or disregard of spiritual truth leads to idolatry, to having other gods, which makes human existence hellish.

Mrs. Eddy states: ''The first demand of this Science is, 'Thou shalt have no other gods before me.' This me is Spirit. Therefore the command means this: Thou shalt have no intelligence, no life, no substance, no truth, no love, but that which is spiritual.'' Farther along she says, ''Having no other gods, turning to no other but the one perfect Mind to guide him, man is the likeness of God, pure and eternal, having that Mind which was also in Christ.'' n4

n4 Ibid; p. 467.

Having the ''Mind which was also in Christ,'' is heaven; its supposed absence is hell. Healing takes place by replacing hellish thought with heavenly, by having one God and none else. When we are conscious only of good - living wisely , purely, truthfully - the action of Christ shows sickness powerless, sin purposeless, death unnecessary.

God's love shines on all, like the sun shining impartially. And God's grace makes us want to keep the Commandments in wholesome living. To grace, there is no static, irreversible, incurable condition. Grace always allows for improvement. If we fail a test, lose a job, indulge sin, entertain disease, the law may imply with finality: ''That's it! Take your punishment.'' But grace says , ''Wait, there's more! By your obeying the First Commandment, by understanding the nature of God and man and correcting error, the next test can be passed, a new job obtained, sin forgiven, disease over-come.''

The understanding of one God meets the human need for health and holiness. It gives dominion over mind and body through Christ. Thoroughly keeping the First Commandment makes it impossible to break the other nine. And God blesses the obedient with enriched lives. DAILY BIBLE VERSE He than doeth the will of God abideth for ever. John 2:17

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