By all accounts, Augustine’s conversion story is very inspiring and educative as to the journey to salvation and the humble and arduous exercise of piety. To Philip Schaff, “If ever there was a thorough and fruitful conversion, next to that of Paul on the way to Damascus, it was that of Augustin.”  Augustine’s moment of conversion seems a fitting result of his life’s journey; both his experiences and the people around him were powerful instruments of divine sovereignty to renew him unto God.
The sheer size and depth of his literary legacy attests of his proficiency to thinking and meditating. It will be little surprise that he finds himself shaped by many encounters, books and messages. Such were the cases for his in-depth analysis of his sins: theft with companions, deception of others, sensual debauchery, etc. The spirit of these excesses and deviations was a consistent self-abandonment; “Behold, now, let my heart tell Thee what it was seeking there, that I should be gratuitously wanton, having no inducement to evil but the evil itself. It was foul, and I loved it. I loved to perish. I loved my own error—not that for which I erred, but the error itself.”  His education and learning experiences equipped him in the areas of Latin, rhetoric, Christianity and a variety of pagan beliefs and practices; in short, a thinker in the making.
Following are key figures of his acceptance of Christ. First was Bishop Ambrose who brought the Bible truth into Augustine’s intellectual arena: rhetoric and logic. This encounter had a profound impact in him and paved the way for his confrontations with the Manicheans, the Pelagians, the astrologers and the Platonists. Then, at the feet of his spiritual father, Simplicianus, he came to discover the exaltation of God most expressed in the conversion of the sinner. Then in a moment of intense distress as he was “weeping in the most bitter contrition of [his] heart,”  he found grace in the words of Paul in Romans 13:13-14, “Not in rioting and drunkenness, not in chambering and wantonness, not in strife and envying; but put ye on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make not provision for the flesh, to fulfil the lusts thereof.” From these was “security infused in [his] heart”  unto saving faith. It is undeniable that another major influence in his conversion was the faithfulness and diligence of his mother. As Schaff puts it, “A son of so many prayers and tears could not be lost.” 
 Philip Schaff, The Confessions and Letters of St. Augustine, with a Sketch of his Life and Work Volume 1 (Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans Publishing Company), Prolegomena, Chap II.
 Ibid., Book II, Chap IV.
 Ibid., Book VIII, Chap XII.
 Ibid., Prolegomena, Chap II.
It should first be mentioned that salvation is not a function of the circumstances faced by the church, local or universal. At all times the church should maintain a healthy interpretation and proclamation of Scriptures, especially in regard to salvation. However, it is undeniable that circumstances can make such task difficult or find the church off guard. The third century witnessed such circumstances, when persecution occurred at a time the church as a whole was unprepared for the challenge. Indeed, they were not prepared to see their leaders arrested, degraded, exiled or executed. Their own properties seized, their assemblies forbidden and each of them forced to sacrifice to pagan deities. It is difficult for the 21st century non-persecuted Christian that I am to comprehend the brutality that befell our fellow saints in those days. Naturally there were many who, by the grace of God, became confessors or martyrs but many more who compromised their faith. Out of this scene emerged the cult of the martyrs and controversies concerning the reconciliation of the lapsed, two questions that had profound impact and implications on the biblical doctrines of salvation and the Church.
As to the cults, they gave the martyrs the exceptional place in the Church of intercessors between God and the living. Yet Scripture points to none but one intercessor in the heavenly places, the Holy Spirit (Romans 8:26). The idea of a cult celebrated to venerate the martyrs is nothing short of idolatry. Rather our celebration must be of that victory that released the captive souls from the grips of death; only by the blood of Christ do we now have confidence to enter the holy presence of God (Hebrews 10:19-22). Resorting to other men to this end would be a denial of this awesome privilege and a trampling on divine grace and promises. If Christians are looking for prayer partners or prayer-intercessors, God calls them to look among the living (James 5:16).
As to the controversies, there was a divide in the church concerning both the state and place of baptized believers who compromised their faith as a result of the persecution. Though there seemed to be consensus that this was a sinful disposition, the expected response of the church spurred much disagreement. Opinions spanned between “the extremes of both rigorism, which said apostates could not be restored to full fellowship, but must be kept in the condition of penitents for the rest of their lives, and laxism, which said that penitent apostates could be restored to full communion immediately.”1 By the testimony of Scripture, denying the faith results in being denied by Christ before the Father (Mat 10:33, 2Tim 2:12). However, when the church deals which this issue, it would be wise to consider, not only the circumstances and sincerely of the lapsed, but also their repentance. After all, our beloved apostle Peter himself denied the Lord three times and was vindicated still, so that salvation is indeed by grace through faith!
1. Everett Ferguson. Church History, Volume One: From Christ to the Pre-Reformation (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 2013), 164.
Jesus said, "I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me." (John 14:6)
By implication, that means that none of my attempts to get to God will work. Not my good works, not my church attendance, not my giving to charities or any other "good things" will be sufficient. They will all fall short because Jesus is the only way. But what does that mean?
The truth is that I have sinned against the creator of the universe, who also created you and me and in fact sustains us each and every day. We are told in Romans 3:23 that "all have sinned and fallen short from the glory of God." God is a holy and just God and so it is impossible for Him to overlook our offences against Him. But in His grace and mercy He has already told us what the punishment for our rebellion will be - eternal death in a place called hell.
This truth is not our opinion, rather it is Gods. The same One who told us the way also tells us in Luke 16:23-24 that there is "a place of torment and fire." (see also Matthew 3:12 and Matthew 25:41)
This same gracious and loving God has also provided a way for us to be restored into a personal relationship with Him! He sent his one and only Son into the world to "seek and to save the lost". (Luke 19:10) We are those who are lost!
When Christ was crucified on the cross it was not for the sins that He had committed, rather it was for yours and mine. He bore the righteous wrath of God against sin so that you and I might not have to! Jesus did not stay dead, but rose again the third day from the grave victorious over sin and death! He accomplished it all! That is why it says in Romans 10:9 that "If you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, then you will be saved!"
"Saved" does not only imply saved from eternal punishment, but also I am saved to life! The life I now live is not my own, I have been bought with a price. (1 Corinthians 6:20) It cost Jesus His life to purchase mine. I now surrender my life to Christ, He becomes Lord of my life and I seek to obey Him out of love for Him!
To know Christ is to have life, life eternal! Do you know Christ?