Austin Farrer on religion

Religion is not self-improvement, or decent conduct or emotional worship. Religion is fidelity. ‘Promise unto the Lord your God and keep it,’ says the psalm. But the fidelity which is the soul of religion is not our fidelity, it is God’s. We give ourselves to him in no reliance on our trustworthiness. Experience has taught us what we are. Our confidence is that God’s faithfulness will prevail over our faithlessness, that he will recall us, that he will not let us go. Our broken resolutions witness against us, but he renews to us daily the miracle of his forgiveness, because he is faithful to his friends. ‘What,’ says St Paul, ‘if some have proved faithless? Shall their faithlessness frustrate the faithfulness of God? It shall not be.’ And he thus expresses the unchangeableness of God’s mind towards us. ‘If, being enemies, we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, how much more, being reconciled, shall we be brought through safely by his life.’

from The Essential Sermons, (SPCK, 1991), 170.

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