Tuesday, June 7, 2011

The Gospel Equals Getting Jesus Himself

As I've been reading Saint Augustine's 'Confessions', I am blown away by his understanding of grace and his satisfaction in God. In describing his early years, specifically his education, Augustine recalls how he had a hunger in his soul, but instead of being fed with what his soul really longed for (God himself), he was fed with different forms of religion. In this specific quote, it is astrology. He was being fed God substitutes.

This makes me ask myself, "What am I feeding myself with rather than God?" What do I look to to fill my soul other than God himself? As Augustine asserts, religion, regardless of what form it takes, is a 'halluination'. It is not the real thing. It has the appearance of godliness without any connection to the real source. It is phony. Like Augustine says, everything in this created order isn't an end in itself, rather it points to the source. The good things in this life aren't meant to satisfy us. Only God, and God himself can do that. Check this quote out.

"Those people used to sound off about You to me frequently and repeatedly with mere assertions and with the support of many huge tomes. To meet my hunger, instead of you, they brought me a diet of sun and moon, your beautiful works, but they are your works, not you yourself, nor indeed the first of your works. For priority goes to your spiritual creation rather than the physical order, however heavenly and fully of light. But for myself, my hunger and thirst were not even for the spiritual creation but for you yourself, the truth. The dishes they placed before me contained splendid hallucinations.....You were not those empty fictions, and I derived no nourishment from them, but was left more exhausted than before."

The Gospel is good news because in it, we receive God himself. Religion doesn't get us to God. We can't get to God through ideologies, good works, tolerance, moralism or church stuff. Only the Gospel gives us God himself. Why would we settle for anything less? Why would we eat on stale bread crumbs when the most extravagant feast is placed before us?

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