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Aenied and GOD - Daniel Hourihan DWC Team D Dr Esolen The...

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Daniel Hourihan DWC Team D Dr. Esolen The Roman Empire that Virgil portrays in the Aeneid , and the type of justice which it is based on, differs greatly from the kingdom of God that Jesus preaches in the gospel of Matthew. The discrepancies between the two derive from the fact that the kingdoms themselves are fundamentally different: one exists strictly as an earthly political kingdom and the other is spiritual one, which exists both on earth and in the afterlife. Rome, an earthly and political kingdom, needed to enforce its laws and follow through with the punishments associated with them, in order for the empire to survive. In Rome people earned their comeuppance, whether it was positive or negative. Since the kingdom of God is spiritual rather than political, its system of justice is not at all conventional, as anyone who fully repents and accepts God can be forgiven and saved from death by living eternally in the presence of God. In this kingdom the subjects must come to realize their dependence on God for salvation. The justice in the kingdom of God stresses forgiveness and mercy, and can be observed in the Beatitudes. These guidelines for Christian behavior are not meant to apply to a political kingdom, but a spiritual one. For instance, in the Beatitudes, Jesus says “Blessed are the merciful for they will be shown mercy”, which means that if you forgive your neighbor then you too shall be forgiven by God and thus will receive salvation. Jesus expands upon this teaching of showing mercy saying, “You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I say to you, love your enemies, and pray for those who persecute you….” (Mt. 5:43-44) Our attempts to be “perfect just as [our] heavenly Father is perfect” (Mt. 5:48), by forgiving others as God forgives us allows the kingdom of God to be present here on earth.
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These values of forgiveness and mercy are intrinsically linked with dependence on God. For without His unwavering love, one would not be forgiven and, therefore, could not be saved. Moreover, God’s people must recognize this dependence if they are to receive the kingdom at all. Jesus stresses this point multiple times in the gospel of Matthew, especially in the first of the Beatitudes, which states, “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for their’s is the kingdom of God.” To be poor in spirit means to have nothing and to be dependent on someone else for all your needs, namely, God. Jesus continues to stress this idea when he is asked who is first in the kingdom of God by one his disciples.
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