God's Preparing, Accepting, and Sustaining Grace
John Wesley believed that God's grace is a wonderful gift freely offered to humankind. We do not "earn" it. God provides us with three kinds of grace:
God's prevenient grace is with us from birth, preparing us for new life in Christ. "Prevenient" means "comes before." Wesley believed that God places a little spark of divine grace within us that enables us to recognize and accept God's justifying grace.
Today some call God's justifying grace "conversion" or being "born again." When we experience God's justifying grace, we come into that new life in Christ. Wesley believed that people are free to accept or reject God's justifying grace.
Wesley believed that, after we have accepted God's grace, we are to move on in God's sustaining grace toward perfection. Wesley believed the people could "fall from grace" or "backslide." We cannot claim God's salvation and do nothing. We are to participate in what Wesley called "the means of grace" and to continue to grow in Christian life.
For Further Study
Explore Wesley's ideas of prevenient, justifying, and sanctifying grace.
The top left drawing depicts the Reverend John Wesley (1703-1791) at age 48. All of the black and white drawings have been scanned from public domain nineteenth century or early twentieth century Methodist history books. Please acknowledge this web site, John Wesley: Holiness of Heart and Life if you reproduce these. A few graphics are available in high resolution format, suitable for print media.
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