Discipline

For What Evil Is There Which I Am Beyond Committing?

And to thy grace I commit the sins I have not yet done, for what evil is there which I am beyond committing, who loved a deed of wrong for its own sake?

These are famous words from St. Augustine (354-430AD), arguably the most influential Christian theologian who ever lived. Augustine was converted to Christianity at the age of 32, and he lived the remainder of his life preaching and teaching the glory of God. This was a man who knew the power of Jesus to make us new and provide for us all things for his glory. This was a man who knew his position as an adopted son of God, counted right and promised an inheritance.

And yet, knowing full well who he was in Christ, he did not forget the reality of living on this earth – “what evil Is there which I am beyond committing, who loved a deed of wrong for its own sake?”

Augustine was acutely aware that we as Christians are made new spiritually, but we still are corrupt morally, because of our flesh. I prefer not calling myself a saint who sins, but rather a sinner who is a saint (both are true). I think that places the emphasis correctly, addressing the reality of the here and now against the backdrop of what is yet to come.

There are those of us in the Church that think too highly of ourselves. We fancy ourselves removed from the world and its wiles. Separated from sin and its snares. How far from the truth! We are made new so that we can fight sin, not so that we can forget about sin.

Here’s what I want from us. I want us to humble ourselves before God. To recognize we are not beyond committing the most evil of sins, and when we do refrain from committing them, it is because God’s restraining grace on us. And of equal importance is the reminder that we are all in this together. Do not look down upon a Christian for their succumbing to temptations, for the very same thing may be around the corner for you.

One last thought. This Sin War is brutal, and we don’t win every battle. This is why Augustine started his prayer the way he did. Recognize with Augustine that God’s grace is sufficient for covering everything you’ve ever done, and everything you ever will do. Read 1 John 1.

And to thy grace I commit the sins I have not yet done. 

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