Augustine of Hippo: God owes us nothing

Reformed Covenanter

Cancelled Commissioner
God, however, does not owe anything to anyone, since He provides everything for free. Suppose that someone claims that God owes him something on account of his deserts. Surely the fact that he exists was not owed to him, for there was no one to whom it was owed. And what deserts are there in being turned to Him from Whom you exist, so that you also have a better existence from Him from Whom you have your existence? What then do you pay Him beforehand, which you demand as though it were a debt? If you were unwilling to be turned to Him, He would not be missing anything. But you are missing Him, without Whom you would be nothing, and from Whom you are something in such a way that, unless you repay Him from Whom you are by turning yourself to Him, you will not indeed be nothing but you will nevertheless be unhappy. …

When anyone does not do what he ought, no fault attaches to his Maker, to the point that it is praise, since he suffers what he ought; and He to Whom the debt is owed is praised precisely in virtue of the fact that [the offender] is blamed for not doing what he ought. For if you receive praise for seeing what you ought to do, even though you see it only in Him Who is unchangeable Truth, how much more praise does God receive, Who prescribes what you will, Who provides you with the power, and Who does not allow you to be unwilling with impunity!

For the reference, see Augustine of Hippo: God owes us nothing.

C. M. Sheffield

Puritan Board Graduate
Such an important truth to grasp. How many live in so much misery because they believe they've been cheated of what they deserve.