Saturday, November 08, 2014

"Means of Grace" 5

Paraphrasing continues of Wesley's sermon, "Means of Grace" in contemporary English.

Part 1
Part 2
Part 3

Part 4
6. These individuals do not really understand that great foundation of the whole Christian building: "You are saved by grace." That is, you are saved from your sins, from the guilt of them and from the power of them, by the free gift and grace of God, his sheer mercy. You are saved through the merits of God's well-beloved Son. Only in this way are you restored to God's favor and only in this way is the image of God restored in you. It does not happen because of anything you have done on your own or because you have earned it or deserved it. You are not saved by any power or wisdom or strength that is in you or any other creature. You are only saved through the free gift and power of the Holy Spirit, who is working in everything.

7. Nevertheless, the central question remains for someone who is convinced that he or she does not have salvation: "We know that this salvation is the gift and work of God, but how can I get it?" If you say to this person, "Believe and you will be saved," the person might answer, "True, but how do I believe?"

You might respond, "Wait on God."

Again, you might hear in response, "OK, but how should I wait. Should I wait and participate in the means of grace, or should I wait without participating? Should I try to use these means of grace as I wait for the grace of God which brings salvation or should I not use them while I wait?"

8. It's impossible to imagine that the word of God has not given us any direction on such an important point. We can't imagine that the Son of God who came down from heaven "for us humans and our salvation" (Nicene Creed) would not have left us without a clear sense of a question that is so connected to our salvation.

And, indeed, he did not leave us without a clear answer. He has shown us the way in which we should go. We only have to consult the oracles of God [in Scripture] and ask what is written there. And if we will simply abide with what they teach, no possible doubt will remain...

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