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Eternal life - now!

"One thing I ask from the LORD, this only do I seek: that I may dwell in the house of the LORD all the days of my life, to gaze on the beauty of the LORD and to seek him in his temple." Psalm 27.4

In my devotions earlier this morning, a sentence by St Augustine of Hippo caught my eye: "Our temporal existence is wasted if we do not spend it upon becoming worthy to live in eternity."

This sounds presumptuous, for who could ever "become worthy"? But taking this attitude is like finally reaching the mountain you have always wanted to climb and then getting upset because the car-park is untidy! We know enough about Augustine to disabuse ourselves of any notion that he entertained such ideas (though he was sympathetic to Platonic teaching about the superiority of the soul over the body).

Augustine is not going to let theological pussy-footing stand in the way of a big idea! And what could be more majestic than the claim that our life on earth is a prelude to heavenly glory? If we imagine that means we switch off and wait out, or adopt a false piety, we have missed the point again...

Augustine is picking up on Jesus' proclamation that, with his arrival, the eternal rule of God has come close. Only a fool would ignore the implications of that! Jesus is both saviour and judge, so why expose ourselves to his judgment when we can shelter under the wing of his salvation?



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