John Wesley's Theology Of Prevenient Grace

2143 Words 9 Pages
John Wesley was a mighty pillar in the Christian church following the Reformation. Though there were many things in which Wesley agreed with other reformers, there were also areas in which Wesley saw a need for change. He saw a need for grace to be expounded upon. One of the things in which John Wesley is probably most known for, and Methodists across the globe would be “Grace”. Wesley believed there to be three components of “Grace” at work in ones life. Those components were: Prevenient Grace, Justifying Grace, and Sanctifying Grace; all in which were powered by the Holy Spirit to bring the lost home. For Wesley the connection of Grace and the Holy Spirit went hand and hand.1 Through out this paper one will be able to pick up on how Wesley …show more content…
However there are still some within the Wesleyan tradition, who have no idea what Prevenient Grace is. Of the Wesleyans that understand Prevenient Grace, they might explain it as, “The grace that comes before”, before, but before what? Before salvation, before transformation, but what comes before? It can also be described as the work of God, in the person of the Holy Spirit, between conception, and conversion.3 The interesting thing about Wesley’s theology of grace, and the grace of God that comes before is that, Wesley himself did not even use the word Prevenient Grace. When Wesley was talking about this grace before, he actually wrote about “Preventing Grace”, which many Wesleyan theologians have interpreted as this idea of “Prevenient Grace”. In most cases, the word prevent would be seen as a word in which defines one being kept from grace, or something being prevented from receiving grace. However according to Wesley, and his sermon, “On Working Out Our Own Salvation” the word “Prevent” meant to act before, or anticipation for.4 In other words, that act of God before one’s conversion or understanding of …show more content…
Wesley believed that there were two parts to this stage of grace. The two parts of justifying grace at work are repentance and belief.12 A story that displays these two parts of justifying grace at work would be the story of the Prodigal Son. Found in the book of Luke chapter fifteen. In this story, a son asks for his portion of his living fathers inheritance. This son spends it on loose living, and finds himself in a place of deep loss and desperation. It is in this place he feels filthy both internally and externally. As he is among the muckiness of a pigpen, he realizes his disobedience and sinfulness to his father. This is the first portion of justifying grace in which Wesley might refer to, the place of repentance. During this time the son reflects on how much better life would be within his father’s care. Wesley spoke of repentance as, “A change of heart from all sin to all holiness”. 13 As discussed above justifying grace is not just about repentance, but requires a turning to or believing in God. A gift of grace, which is given to be received and cannot be worked for. Belief is really where the action happens. For in the story of the prodigal son, it was his belief that led him home to his father.14 Wesley wrote, “First we receive the sentence of death of ourselves: then we trust in Him that lived and died for us.”15 In the story of the Prodigal Son, he received his death sentence among the pigs and came home to Him

Related Documents