Wesley and grace:
He tells us how grace functioned at different times. He gives us different titles, which is all the same grace, but fit for different situations. Grace evokes different reactions.
- Book by Randy Maddox: Responsible Grace: John Wesley’s Practical Theology.
For Wesley all of God’s part is grace, and we respond to it on the way. That was contrary to reformed theology, who did not see that much the human response.
Prevenient grace (Oden 243) is the grace that begins to enable one and choose further to cooperate with saving grace. The person becomes and active participation in the grace of God. This is the grace that operates before conversion. Grace always works ahead of us, and works with us as we respond. Prevenient means in the 18th to prepare, to go before. This grace is God’s initiation, and moves us along to saving grace (Oden.244). No one sins, without the grace he had before. This prevenient grace creates a sensitivity for God’s will (look up in p.244). This grace is not sufficient for salvation itself, but it works through the law how we have fallen short. It is grace for all in all. prevenient grace is a gift from God and not deserved by anyone.
If prevenient grace has any power to save it is by the Holy Spirit, who works in us and removes all imagination of merit.
Salvation (p.245) is our free response to grace. God works, therefor we must response and work. Faith and its reception involves prayer, active good works (not for salvation, but as a response to the love of God). (246) Each subsequent …..
Wesley’s understanding of depravity is that God is always working in order to bring people to salvation. Rom.5.20. Even within the fallen condition grace is working ceaselessly to free us from guilt and sin. (247) The chief function of human grace is to bring the person to repentance.
Wesley assumes response to grace, and Calving doesn’t
Convicting grace: Prevenient grace brings one to the sinfulness to oneself, brings to despair offer ones one righteousness.
Saving grace: Has a divine and a human side. From the divine side, it is by grace alone. On the human side, it is by faith. Faith is the human response to divine grace, and leads to repentance and believe. (look p.278) This chart helps of where one is in the evangelism process.
Repentance: the knowledge of ourselves changes, and we move to conviction where we become aware of penalty, (it can be helpful to pray for people in sin, to become miserable, in order that they may come to Christ)
Justifying grace (247). By justifying we are saved from the guilt of sin and restored to the favor of God, sanctifying grace we are saved form the power of sin and restore to the image of God
Sanctifying grace (247). Our salvation is brought to full moral fruitfulness, and digs in actively and cuts the roots of sin, instantly or in a process. The believer lives out actively the sanctification. God does not only deliver us from the penalty of sin, but heals us from the plague of sin. Freedom is a capacity of the human soul, even in our human fallen-ness, but is functionally impaired and spiritually nearly destroyed, but the sanctifying grace make us free from the root of sin.
We understand salvation is a process and expressed in crises experiences, in salvation, sanctification and Holy Spirit baptism.
Grenz: saved means that one has been saved, is being saved, and will be saved. That is important. Saves is used in various context, e.g. in the house of Cornelius. Peter does not go for the initial salvation of Cornelius, as Evangelicals point out. There is so much characteristics of salvation in Cornelius, and he was already saved. Peter indicates, “you know that of Jesus Christ”, Peter does not go to show initial aspects, but to show further aspects of salvation, which was the fulfillment of John’s promise – the Holy Spirit baptism.
Salvation is never a punctual event, but part of the process in life. In the same way a birth is not only one punctual event, but part of a greater event, starting from conception, through a crown man. The “covenant” of life is the overall covenant of God with Adam and Eve. Their obedience was always their response to the love and live of God.
The covenant of life was re-introduced on the bases of grace. The human sin is overcome by the power of grace. Life in Christ is a life in faith and obedience.
We are not saved, from the experience in the past, but on the bases of the grace which works presently.
God is from initial faith to their fulfillment in Christ. Faith is not a punctivity, as repentance is not punctitive. If we are not in a state of repentance we move to a state of hardness. Faith is always in the process of perpetuity. We shall not do witness, but we shall be by nature witness. By nature we are a witness, and confession is conceptually made and renewed, and made continually fresh.
Obedience can become a cultural thing, and this is very dangerous, because doing the right thing is an act as obedience to God. We are always in the immediate present of God. This is not a threat, but it is a loving presence, and I know that God is seeing and hearing me in every moment of my being. God knows my sin, too, and I am glad. We are not confessing to an enemy, but we are confessing to a father. It is a rejection o our side, when we hide our sins from God.
We have treaded law as if it is a synonym of legalism, law is a framework in which we structure our obedience to God. That’s David can say “I love your law”.
Obedience is always living out, that which is formed within. That calls for the removal of the law of sin and death. “being free from the law of sin”, from here we go on to perfection by transformation and being cleansed within.