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A WORD FROM PASTOR JON
God’s Grace In The Wesleyan Tradition – Sanctifying Grace
Sanctifying Grace – Sanctification and Perfection – We hold that the wonder of God’s acceptance and pardon (justification or being saved) is not the end or ultimate goal of God’s saving work. Rather, it is just the beginning of living out our life of faith. Through the action of the Holy Spirit, God continues to nurture our growth in grace in a continual journey toward “having the mind of Christ and walking as he walked.” John Wesley would say this is our “going on to perfection” through the work of the Holy Spirit.
Author Robert Tuttle expresses sanctifying grace this way, “it denotes the work of the Holy Spirit in the believer between conversion and death. Accompanied by fruit and gifts, sanctifying grace slowly but surely roots out those things that would separate Christians from God, themselves, and those around them”1.
Sanctifying Grace is a process, a faith journey, where we become more and more like Christ and separate ourselves more and more from those things that God’s shows us we need to let go of. We express this activity of the Holy Spirit at work in us as “Christian Growth”.
This grace as it relates to Wesley’s house analogy is when we enter the house to explore the rooms and further experience God’s rule in our life. As we move from one room to another, we have new and fresh experiences with our heavenly father. This deepening experience with God and opening our hearts to God so that we are more and more like him, this process of growth is Sanctification or Sanctifying Grace.
Philippians 2:12-13: tells us “Therefore, my beloved, just as you have always obeyed me, not only in my presence, but much more now in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling; for it is God who is at work in you, enabling you both to will and to work for his good pleasure”.
The idea behind sanctifying grace is that God loves us just the way we are, but too much to let us stay the same! God’s sanctifying grace changes us and leads us to a stronger faith, a faith which leads to good works. Just as a one-sided marriage fails, a one-sided relationship with God fails, also. We must participate in the relationship God offers us, and God’s sanctifying grace leads us to do that.
Over the last few newsletters we have explored these various ways of understanding and expressing God’s grace. This series was written at a very high or generalized way to introduce you to these expressions of God’s grace in the Wesleyan understanding and tradition. Starting in October 7th we will begin a sermon series that takes a more detailed and personal look at Our Wesleyan Understanding of God’s Grace. I trust that you will join us on this series.
1 Robert G. Tuttle, Sanctity Without Starch: a Layperson’s Guide to a Wesleyan Theology of Grace (Lexington, KY: Bristol Books, 1992), 20. 1st UMC Wichita Falls, Texas http://www.fumcwf.org/wesleyan-doctrines/justifying-grace/