Saving is all his idea, and all his work. All we do is trust him enough to let him do it. It’s God’s gift from start to finish!
Ephesians 2:8 (The Message)
I am eternally grateful for God’s gift of grace, today and every day. So I will pause and reflect on my thirteenth day of ‘Thirty Days of Thankfulness‘ upon faith and grace.
As I imparted a week ago in my post on John and Charles Wesley, I am a Methodist, born baptized and raised one. Yet until I studied to be a local Lay Speaker for my local church that I fully understood what it meant to be a Methodist and showed me the path of discipleship.
Grace can be defined as the love and mercy given to us by God because God wants us to have it, not because of anything we have done to earn it.
Our Wesleyan Theological Heritage, UMC.org
Grace centers nearly all Christian sects and denominations. To me, it boils down to love and compassion. Keep it simple, please. Less chance for me to mess up.
But Wesley, ever the scholar, took it one or two steps farther, defining grace in triplicate:
- Previent Grace: God’s active presence in our lives; a gift always available, but that can be refused.
- Justifying Grace: Reconciliation, pardon and restoration through the death of Jesus Christ.
- Sanctifying Grace: The ongoing experience of God’s gracious presence transforming us into whom God intends us to be; we grow and mature in our ability to live as Jesus lived.
Excerpts from Our Wesleyan Theological Heritage via UMC.org
The journey, not the destination, and Wesley provided the map, charting a course that even I can follow, called the Means of Grace. He broke his method down into two broad categories: Works of Piety and Works of Mercy. The former flows naturally out of my upbringing, Sunday school classes and worship service attendance. The personal practices of prayer, Bible study, healthy living and fasting together with the communal ones of Holy Communion, Baptism and participation in the Christian community, flow and grow naturally with regular usage. The latter stresses the outpouring of service to the sick, the poor, the imprisoned and seeking justice for the oppressed.
Yes, there was and is a method to Wesley’s ‘madness’ or rather his enthusiasm to follow God’s will and His vision for all of us, as His disciples, to bring His kingdom of mercy, peace and love to fruition here on Earth.