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Agony of Deceit

Augustine was the great preacher of grace during the fourth and fifth centuries. Although his understanding of the doctrineof justification did not have the fine-tuned precision of the Reformers, Augustine’s response on this point was similar to Luther’s. He said that the doctrine of justification led to themaxim, “Love God and do as you please.” Because we have misunderstood one of the gospel’s most basic themes, Augustine’ statement looks to many like a license to indulge one’s sinful nature, but in reality it touches upon the motivation the Christian has for his actions. The person who has been justified by God’s grace has a new, higher, and nobler motivation for holiness than the shallow, hypocritical self-righteousness or fear that seems to motivate so may religious people today.

The Agony of Deceit by Michael Horton, Editor, 1990, Moody Press, pp. 143-144