John Wesley on Prayer Lesson 37

*Crying out to the goodness of God

Shall we go on sinning so that grace may increase? By no means!

Romans 6:1-2 NIV

It may be that some do not speak of the mercy of God saving or justifying us freely by faith because they believe it encourages people in sin. Indeed, it may and will. Many will continue in sin that grace may increase, but their blood is upon their own heads. The goodness of God ought to lead them to repentance, and so it will those who are sincere of heart.

When penitent seekers know there is yet forgiveness with God, they will cry aloud that He would blot out their sins also, through faith which is in Jesus. And if they earnestly cry and faint not, if they seek Him in all the means he has appointed, if they refuse to be comforted till He come, He will come, and will not tarry (Hebrews 10:37). And he can do much work in a short time.

The Acts of the Apostles records many examples of God’s working this faith in men’s and women’s hearts, even like lightning falling from heaven. In the same hour that Paul and Silas began to preach, the jailer repented, believed, and was baptized. It was the same with three thousand on the day of Pentecost who repented and believed at St. Peter’s first preaching. And, blessed be God, there are now many living proofs that God is still “mighty to save.”

*From How to Pray: The Best of John Wesley on Prayer, published by Barbour Publishing, Inc. Used by permission.

In this thirty-seventh lesson on prayer, Wesley points out that there are some who will think they have advantage over God’s goodness and mercy by continuing in their sins. But, as Wesley says, their blood is on their own heads.

In Galatians 6:7-9, the Apostle Paul tells us, “7Do not be deceived, God is not mocked; for whatever a man sows, this he will also reap. 8 For the one who sows to his own flesh will from the flesh reap corruption, but the one who sows to the Spirit will from the Spirit reap eternal life. 9 Let us not lose heart in doing good, for in due time we will reap if we do not grow weary” (NASB).

Although there is a danger that some may mock God’s grace by continuing to sow to the flesh, should we then not preach God’s grace? Let it never be! For the grace and goodness of God is the heart of the Christian message. We cannot hold back in its preaching because some may abuse it. It is on our heads to preach the Gospel. It is on the hearer’s head how they may respond. And there will always be a response. The gospel of the Kingdom is not something people can remain neutral on. To pretend to be neutral on it is the same as rejecting it. People will either believe, or not believe. There is no middle ground.

Much of the problem with the church today is that it has become so grey in how the Gospel of Christ is presented. The black and white of eternity was never meant to be blended together on the palette of relativism and secular humanism. Yet the church often paints a picture void of the contrasts of sharing a bright eternity with Jesus, the way, the truth, and the life; and forever being shut off from God, with the prince of darkness, in the blackness of death.

Hebrews 10:29-31 warns us, “29How much severer punishment do you think he will deserve who has trampled under foot the Son of God, and has regarded as unclean the blood of the covenant by which he was sanctified, and has insulted the Spirit of grace? 30For we know Him who said, ” VENGEANCE IS MINE, I WILL REPAY.” And again, ” THE LORD WILL JUDGE HIS PEOPLE.” 31It is a terrifying thing to fall into the hands of the living God” (NASB).

Yet, as Wesley states, “When penitent seekers know there is yet forgiveness with God, they will cry aloud that He would blot out their sins also, through faith which is in Jesus. And if they earnestly cry and faint not, if they seek Him in all the means he has appointed, if they refuse to be comforted till He come, He will come, and will not tarry (Hebrews 10:37). And he can do much work in a short time.

Published by doctorpaddy

An ordained minister, Christian communicator, and educator.

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