Augustine on Heaven and Rewards - page 6

 

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From the Summer 2017 issue of Knowing & Doing:

Augustine on Heaven and Rewards

by Kevin Offner
Senior Campus Staff Member for Intervarsity Collegiate Ministries, Mid-Atlantic Area Graduate and Faculty Ministries

 

 
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 Jesus Christ is the paradigm for the Christian’s understanding of sanctification. Our life is one of imitation, and yet, more than that, one of union with Christ, so that we are united with Him now in His (and thus our) sufferings, and one day in the future we will be united with Him in His resurrected life of joy and peace. In a sermon preached near the end of his life at Easter to the newly baptized infantes (i.e., new adult Christians), Augustine says,

His cross … He chose the worst possible kind of death, so that his martyrs might not dread any kind of death … That was his work, to be crucified; the sign of his work, the cross, the reward of his work, the resurrection … What is the work? Obedience. What is the reward? Resurrection without death. 20

 So the Christian is to strive, through God’s grace, to obey God’s commands, with God’s future rewards as one’s motivation. In a sermon preached in Carthage in A.D. 419, Augustine says, “The prize of our faithfulness is your God. He is what you will get, he is preparing himself as the reward of his worshippers … He it is who is the reward of your faith and fidelity. You greedy misers, what will ever satisfy you if God himself doesn’t?”21 And again, “We shall see God. God himself will be our vision; the vision of God will be the reward of this faith.”22

 

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