Love God and do what you want


This quote comes from St. Augustine (in Latin it is Ama Deum et fac quod vis). It seems to mean if you love God, then what He wants will become what you want. If our love of God is real and profound, then that is all that matters. Right actions flow irresistibly from that love. If we get the love of God right, then all else follows.

What do you guys think (& btw I’m Catholic, so would like a Catholic spin on this saying. But I welcome other Christians’ spins)


The key to this statement, IMO, is what you said about it. If you truly love God you will submit yourself to his will as he reveals it to you (among other ways, as he reveals it through his Church). It is exactly in this submission that we gain the freedom to “do as we want”.


A little like Luther’s statement, “Sin Boldly”?


More like “Love Boldly”, don’t you think? :slight_smile:


I doubt St Augustine’s saying means we are allowed to presume on God’s mercy. More like after asking God to help us do His will, we should have faith that we ARE doing His will. Of course if we sin we are definitely NOT doing God’s will.


It’s just another way of saying that if you love God, you’re only going to want to be good, do good, love others as God wishes.


Actually, what Luther said was “sin boldly, but believe even more boldly.” What people do not understand is that for Luther faith and love always go together. So in a sense he was saying something quite similar to Augustine’s dictum. He was not actually recommending sin or saying that sin was OK–he was saying that we should not worry about sin but should believe in Christ and the rest will follow naturally. (This is obvious if you take the trouble to read Luther’s theological writings instead of basing your entire view of him on one out-of-context letter.)

The big difference between Luther and Augustine was precisely that Luther thought faith was itself the means by which we receive grace, and love was not something that needed to be added to faith. Furthermore, from Augustine’s (later) perspective both faith and love (and the resulting good works) were the result of God’s grace, so that a distinction between faith and works wasn’t that important. Luther disagreed. For a thousand years Western Catholics had been repeating Augustine’s dictum that when God rewards our merits, He is crowning His own gifts. Luther didn’t think this was good enough. He thought that even seeing our actions as the fruit of God’s grace working in us did not prevent us from taking pride in those actions. All saving efficacy had to be denied to good works, period. In this (and in the doctrine of “forensic justification” by which he accomplished this goal) he was very different from Augustine, and he and Melanchthon both admitted this in candid moments!



Methinks something was lost in translation.


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