Handbook on Faith, Hope, and Love: Lesson 4

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Lesson 4: Chapters XVII and XVIII

The angels are in concord with us even now, when our sins are forgiven." The Mediator of Christ provides for humankind the ability to have their sins forgiven. Each person needs to have sin removed, even those who have been baptized, "because the sons of God, as long as they live this mortal life, are in a conflict with death." According to Augustine, the conflict occurs because people are lead by the Spirit of God, but people are also lead "by their own spirits…they thus fall away from themselves and commit sin."

But, hope is not lost for anyone because "no matter how great our crimes, [anyone's] forgiveness should never be despaired of in holy Church for those who truly repent, each according to the measure of [that person's] sin." Such forgiveness, according to Augustine, has to do with "future judgment." Indeed, as Augustine sees it, "the whole import of the sacraments of salvation has to do more with the hope of future goods than with the retaining or attaining of present goods."

In Chapter XVIII, Augustine treats the relationship between faith and works. Augustine begins by responding to a certain view that "some" believe. These "some" believe that 'Christians' who are baptized never abandon Christ, and are not heretics, but nevertheless live in sin without repentance, will be saved at the last days "though the fire." According to Augustine, scripture teaches otherwise. Augustine seems to be saying that "if faith works evil and not good, then…it is dead itself." True faith—the faith of salvation—does not produce evil, but good.

Where is everybody???? by lawrence_dicostanzo
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