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Thread: Did Augustine teach that penance is a remedy for sin?

  1. #1

    Did Augustine teach that penance is a remedy for sin?

    In Book 2 of "Treatise on the Merits and Forgiveness of Sins, and on the Baptism of Infants," Augustine appears to argue the necessity of penance to remedy sin. In chapter 3 he writes, "The Lord, therefore, foreseeing that such would be our character, was pleased to provide and endow with efficacious virtue certain healthful remedies against the guild and bonds even of sins committed after baptism,--for instance, the works of mercy,--as when he says: 'Forgive, and ye shall be forgiven; give, and it shall be given unto you.'"

    In chapter 4 he writes, "Such, however, as yield consent to it for the commission of unlawful deeds, it holds as guilty; and unless, through the medicine of repentance, and through works of mercy, by the intercession in our behalf of the heavenly High Priest, they be healed, it conducts us to the second death and utter condemnation."

    Later in the chapter he writes, "When, therefore, we have by an unlawful inclination of our will yielded consent to these lusts of the flesh, we say, with a view to the cure of this fault, "Forgive us our debts;" and we at the same time apply the remedy of a work of mercy, in that we add, 'As we forgive our debtors.'"

    How should this be interpreted?
    Scott R.
    Deacon (inactive)
    Member of Northwoods Presbyterian Church (PCA)
    Cheyenne, WY

  2. #2
    Join Date
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    It seems to me that what he is saying is a fairly straightforward, "Repent and then live out that expression of repentance." Maybe that's just me reading what I want to hear into what he is saying. Certainly repentance of sin is a medicine for sin.
    Zach
    Inactive PuritanBoard Member
    Member of the OPC

  3. #3
    Quote Originally Posted by Zach View Post
    It seems to me that what he is saying is a fairly straightforward, "Repent and then live out that expression of repentance." Maybe that's just me reading what I want to hear into what he is saying. Certainly repentance of sin is a medicine for sin.
    I agree though of course Augustine is speaking of baptimal regeneration and the RC understanding of such.
    Earl, a man, married to a girl named Tina.
    Member of Willow Creek Church PCA in Winter Springs Florida.

  4. #4
    He probably does teach that, though my study of Augustine has been with his triadology mainly. He does teach we improve our justification (I can find the link elsewhere).
    Jacob
    M.A., Louisiana College; Studied at RTS Jackson
    ARP, Louisiana
    "As they were liturgizing before the Lord and fasting..." Acts 13:2
    Currently reading: The Bride of the Lamb by Sergius Bulgakov
    My blog: Negating the Void

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