St. Augustine was born in Northern Africa in 354 AD, to Patricius and St. Monica. He had one brother and a sister, who all received a Christian education…
St. Augustine’s father Patricius was a pagan until shortly before his death, which was an answer to the fervent prayers of his wife, St. Monica, for his conversion. She also prayed much for the conversion of her then wayward son, St. Augustine.
St. Augustine left for school when he was sixteen, and while in this new city he allowed himself to be drawn into pagan ideas, theatre, his own pride, and into various sins of impurity. When he was seventeen he entered into a union with a girl with whom he lived with for about fourteen years. Although not married, they were faithful to each other. After this he was converted to become a Christian and wrote much about what had happened to him.
“Repent therefore and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out…”Acts 3:19
Augustine’s view of salvation flows logically from his understanding of the fallen human will: because the will cannot incline toward God of its own accord, God must initiate salvation.
Reflecting on his conversion, Augustine writes to God, “You called me; you cried aloud to me; you broke my barrier of deafness. You shone upon me; your radiance enveloped me; you put my blindness to flight (A-232).” Many other passages testify to Augustine’s view of God’s sovereignty in conversion (for example, A-21,116,118,123,155,163, 181,211); people cannot contribute anything to this process (A-87,151,152, 165).
“For whom He foreknew, He also predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son, that He might be the firstborn among many brethren.” Romans 9:29
Upon conversion, God restores human free will. Augustine writes that his free will was “summoned in a moment,” at conversion (A-181). Also, God forgives converts of their sins. Augustine confesses to God, “you have forgiven me such great sins (A-51).”
“For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.” John 3:16
Furthermore, at conversion God begins to restore the convert from the sickness of sin (A-116). Augustine refers to this process as God “remaking” his creature (A-99). While this process is occurring, the Christian life remains a struggle between flesh and spirit (A-164, 232), hindered by temptations (A-113) and a continuing tendency to sin (A-233-249)
“For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, these are sons of God. 15 For you did not receive the spirit of bondage again to fear, but you received the Spirit of adoption by whom we cry out, “Abba, Father.” 16 The Spirit Himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God, 17 and if children, then heirs-heirs of God and joint heirs with Christ, if indeed we suffer with Him, that we may also be glorified together.” Romans 7:14-17
While transformation includes the obedience of the believer, Augustine attests that the power to accomplish good works comes from God (A-236; A-208, 209, 233). Resurrection with Christ (A-152) and entry into the “blessed country (A-154)” of heaven is the culmination of Christian salvation. The process of gradual transformation, continues until this time (A-232,234).
“For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, 9 not of works, lest anyone should boast. 10 For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them.” Ephesians 2:8-10
For Augustine, Christ is central to salvation. Augustine characterized Christ’s humanity as “mortal (A-251),” yet “perfect…complete…superior to other men (A-153),” and without fault (A-204).
Augustine refers to Christ’s divinity when he calls Him “the Word of God…equal with God (A-251),” and more explicitly “God himself (A-152).” He also refers to Christ as the Mediator between God and humanity (A-251). Christ played several roles in the process of salvation.
First, the sacrifice of Christ paid humanity’s debt of sin: the “debt has been paid by Christ (A-204).” As “both Priest and Sacrifice (A-251)” Christ offered Himself for the atonement of human sin.
“So when Jesus had received the sour wine, He said, “It is finished!” And bowing His head, He gave up His spirit.” St. John 19:30
Second, Christ took the death sentence for sin upon Himself that “he might make null the death of the wicked whom he justified (A-251).”
“For He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.” 2 Corinthians 5:21
Third, the sacrifice of Christ brought reconciliation: through the forgiveness of the cross Christ “dissolved the enmity (A-102)” that had existed between people and God.
Fourth, Christ defeated the powers of evil on the cross. Augustine refers to Christ as the “Victor (A-251),” and elsewhere he states that in Christ “we have triumphed over the enemy (A-204).”
“Yet in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us.” Romans 8:37
Fifth, Christ offered a living example of humility and good works (A-210, 251).
In 430 AD St. Augustine became sick, and he died that same year on August 28. His body was buried in Hippo, and was later moved to Pavia, Italy.
St. Augustine has been one of the greatest contributors of new ideas in the history of the Catholic Church. He is an example for us all – a sinner turned saint who gives all of us hope. He is now one of the thirty-three doctors of the church. His feast day is celebrated August 28.
Now if you want to follow him as he followed Christ, you need to do what St. Paul said to do: “confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. For with the heart one believes unto righteousness, and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.” Romans 9:9, 10 For more information: Bible-Christian.org
Good News For Roman Catholics Church Father, Doctor of the Church 354-430 AD
“You have made us for Yourself, Oh Lord, and our hearts are restless until they rest in Thee.”
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