A Wesleyan Moment | What is Justifying Grace?

The second “movement” of Grace as John Wesley understood it is Justifying Grace. Once Prevenient Grace has worked in and on our lives we come to that moment of decision. We are called by the Gospel and the work of Jesus to trust in Him for salvation and a restored relationship with God. At the moment that this conviction fills our hearts, God is applying grace to our souls. What makes this movement special and unique is this, at the moment that we exercise faith we are justified before God. We have not been made totally righteous, not yet. That comes next as we “work out [our] own salvation with fear and trembling” (Philippians 2:12, ESV).

What we experience at the moment of salvation is the declaration by God that what has begun at salvation is as-good-as-done in the eyes of God! Can you believe that? We are not as we ought to be, but God has declared the work finished! That is what Justification means, we are no longer held guilty of our sins AND we are now set on the path of eternal life.

There are two places in scripture that help us here. Philippians 1:6 reveals God’s promise to finish what HE has started. Meditate on that and rejoice. The second passage reveals something that is just as wonderful. Peter tells us where our salvation is kept for safe keeping in 1 Peter 1:3-5. This is important for us because it provides our confidence in the Father’s love for us, Christ’s work in us and the Spirit’s power through us to accomplish God’s will in the world. Peter tells us that “we have a priceless inheritance—an inheritance that is kept in heaven for you, pure and undefiled, beyond the reach of change and decay” (NLT). The key here is the word “for.” The burden of my salvation is on God, in Christ. That is the majesty and wonder of God’s love and grace. He protects, sustains, maintains and finishes His work of justification. Thank God for justifying grace!

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