Relationships Are a Means of Grace

The MessageFor those who are dipping a toe into the Wednesday evening small group beginning this Wednesday evening on The Marks of a Methodist, the phrase “means of grace” will become more and more familiar. This phrase points to tangible things like Holy Communion, fasting, and visiting with the sick where we can experience the “nearness of the Lord more fully.” To use Wesley’s language (itself the language of the early church), these are each “an outward sign of an inward grace.” Continue reading “Relationships Are a Means of Grace”

From Wesley’s Sermon Means of Grace (1747)

By “means of grace” I understand outward signs, words, or actions, ordained of God, and appointed for this end, to be the ordinary channels whereby he might convey to men, preventing, justifying, or sanctifying grace.

I use this expression, means of grace, because I know none better; and because it has been generally used in the Christian church for many ages; — in particular by our own Church, which directs us to bless God both for the means of grace, and hope of glory; and teaches us, that a sacrament is “an outward sign of inward grace, and a means whereby we receive the same.”

The chief of these means are prayer, whether in secret or with the great congregation; searching the Scriptures; (which implies reading, hearing, and meditating thereon;) and receiving the Lord’s Supper, eating bread and drinking wine in remembrance of Him: And these we believe to be ordained of God, as the ordinary channels of conveying his grace to the souls of men…We allow, likewise, that all outward means whatever, if separate from the Spirit of God, cannot profit at all, cannot conduce, in any degree, either to the knowledge or love of God… It is He alone who, by his own almighty power, worketh in us what is pleasing in his sight; and all outward things, unless He work in them and by them, are mere weak and beggarly elements. Whosoever, therefore, imagines there is any intrinsic power in any means whatsoever, does greatly err, not knowing the Scriptures, neither the power of God…

Continue reading “From Wesley’s Sermon Means of Grace (1747)”