INTRODUCTION WHO WAS JOHN WESLEY
John Wesley was born in 1703 in Epworth, England to Samuel and Susanna Wesley. He was the 15th of 19 children. His father Samuel was a pastor and his mother’s father was also a pastor. He was raised in a very strict and disciplined home. He was well educated and was tutored in both Greek and Latin by his parents. John studied law before transitioning into theology and is credited with being one of the founders of the Methodist denomination (biography.com).
EXPLANATION OF THE MEANING OF WESLEY’S THREE GRACES
Wesley outlined 3 types of graces in his order of salvation. Prevenient Grace, Justifying Grace and Sanctifying Grace. He believed that God’s grace starts out as prevenient in that God always takes the initiative in offering grace to us. God’s grace is present prior to coming into a realization of who He is and who we are to Him. The First United Methodist Church of Wichita Falls, Texas; established in 1881 (First United Methodist Church of Wichita Falls, 2017) states Wesley’s definition of grace as “a relational change between ourselves and God. We are brought to realize and trust (have faith) as we are restored to a proper relationship with God. Grace brings about a change in relationship status with God; sanctifying grace brings about change in us. Justifying grace aligns us with God, but sanctifying grace works to keep us aligned with God. Where justifying grace is a beginning of a relationship with God, sanctifying grace is the process of living that relationship out”.
WESLEY’S ORDER OF SALVATION
The Holy Text does not lay out an order of salvation or 12 steps for being saved. According to Romans 10:9-10, salvation is the acknowledgement, acceptance and confession of Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord and belief and acceptance in the redemptive work of Calvary. Wesley’s order for salvation is according to the article provided in the course guide (Christian Apologetics & Research Ministry),
Calling – The preaching of the gospel. The preached word of Jesus Christ. This is the message of his death, burial and resurrection and the redemptive power of His shed blood
Prevenient Grace – A grace from God that enables a person to believe. This grace precedes an awareness of God and or a relationship with Him
Faith – The trust and belief that God the Father completed the work of salvation in the gift of His son, Christ Jesus
Repentance – A confession and a turning away from a lifestyle of sin
Regeneration – Becoming new, new life; the change produced in the spirit of man by God
Justification – The imputation of righteousness to the individual, making him righteous according to the law (note that New Testament scripture says we are justified by grace)
Perseverance – Living out life, God’s grace in the life of the individual and the individual’s commitment to living in a manner that pleases God
Glorification – Resurrection to glory with God.
MY REACTION TO THE WESLEY PROCESS
I struggle and strain with the opinions of men and their proposed steps and processes. I put absolutely no sustainable value in any man’s opinion. My reaction to Wesley’s process is to examine scripture and see what the holy text says about salvation and how to live a life that is pleasing to God. I am always very concerned when people are encouraged to look at scripture through the worldview or lens of another man as it relates to personal application. This method is great for a round table debate or classroom discussion, but when we are seeking guidance and direction for our lives, we should be sitting at the feet of the Master with the Holy Spirit as our teacher.
My view is just as relevant and irrelevant as any other and every other man. The only voice we should ever adhere to is the one of our God and The Spirit of Truth is the only one that should ever be repeated. The Holy Spirit is ever present to teach us, let us allow Him the freedom to do so.
As my grandmother use to say, You better know God for yourself”, and that is the gospel truth.
At the end of the day, grace is simply grace. It has no degrees or categories, it is just pure, sweet, love.
-Dana L. Perry The Budding Professor Auspicious Living Magazine