Summary: God’s prevenient grace calls us to a relationship with Him.
Amazing Grace: God Calls Us
John Newton penned the famous hymn Amazing Grace in 1779. We discovered last week that God’s salvation is made real in our lives because of His amazing grace, but we also discovered that God’s gift of grace is not a one time offering. Newton certainly understood that God’s gift of grace was not a one time offering. Listen to verse number three:
Through many dangers, toils, and snares,
I have already come;
‘tis grace hath brought me safe thus far,
and grace will lead me home.
For Newton, life was a journey, and God’s grace accompanied him every step of the way. We saw last week that we understand the working out of God’s salvation as a journey as we go through life, and we also acknowledge that every journey begins with a first step. As Methodists in the Wesleyan tradition, we believe that God’s grace working in our lives at that first step on the journey is God’s prevenient grace.
If I may recall last week’s message for one more moment, we said that grace was God’s completely undeserved, loving commitment to us. We can’t earn it, we don’t deserve it, but God, in love, extends His mercy toward us to reconcile us to Himself—to have a relationship with us.
Relationships are important to us. John Gray has built an entire career offering relationship advice for men and women with his endless stream of “Mars and Venus” books—you know, it started with Men are From Mars, Women are From Venus.. He even does “Mars and Venus” seminars now as a way to entice us to buy his books, and we do. Everyone from Oprah to Dr. Phil spend tons of time dishing out advice on how to handle our relationships because we spend so much time trying to figure out relationships. First with our parents, then with that special someone we grow to love, then our children (especially if they are teen-agers!). Then there are neighbors, co-workers, friends and extended family. We have so many relationships to keep straight that we almost overlook one relationship that is the most important one of all, our relationship to God. Our relationship to God goes unnoticed until the day we come to faith in Jesus Christ, and then we go to work reading our Bible, attending church, praying and serving God. We think our relationship with God began the day we came to faith. And you might be right. Our relationship with God did begin the day we came to faith, but God’s relationship with us, now that is another matter all together. Listen to what the prophet Isaiah said long ago as he communicates his understanding of the depth of God’s knowledge of who Isaiah was:
“Listen to me, all of you in far-off lands! The Lord called me before my birth; from within the womb he called me by name.” (Isaiah 49:1)
And the prophet Jeremiah, announcing his ministry to the nation of Israel could proclaim:
“The Lord gave me a message. He said,  "I knew you before I formed you in your mother’s womb. Before you were born I set you apart and appointed you as my spokesman to the world.” (Jeremiah 1:4-5)