Summary: John Wesley also believed that the Holy Scriptures were a Means of Grace. How? Wesley believed the Scriptures are an indispensable Means of Grace as they bring us into the Presence of Jesus Christ and the will of God for our lives. The Scriptures also hav
Scripture as a Means of Grace
When we talk about Communion, Prayer, Worship, small group accountability and fasting as a Means of Grace, it make sense to us because we see how they function in our lives, and in the life of the Church. But John Wesley also believed that the Holy Scriptures were a Means of Grace. How? Wesley believed the Scriptures are an indispensable Means of Grace as they bring us into the Presence of Jesus Christ and the will of God for our lives. The Scriptures also have the power to transform us through the grace of God. In other words, Methodist believe in The Sufficiency of the Holy Scriptures both for Salvation in that they "contain all things necessary to salvation." and to guide and strengthen us through the rest of the faith journey. In other words, the Scriptures are indispensable to the journey of faith.
Wesley’s attitude toward Scripture is described in his own words: “I want to know one thing, the way to heaven—how to land safe on that happy shore. God himself has…descended to teach the way: for this very end he came from heaven. He (has) hath written it down in a book. O give me that book! At any price, give me the Book of God!...Here is knowledge enough for me. Let me be a person of one book!” Not a person of the Bible and “Eat, Love and Pray.” Not a person of the Bible and “the Purpose Driven Life.” But a person of one and only one book, this book, for it is the book of Truth and contains everything we need to live.
This book not only helps us to know what to believe, but also forms and shapes the life we are to live. Scripture is, the heart of Christian faith. This is the authentic word of God. God's will and way for living is found within the pages of this book and this book alone. This is a gift from the living God for the building up of God's people. Within its pages God and God's heart is made available freely to everyone. As the Word is read and studied, it forms the character, the person and the life of Jesus in us. Thus, God's grace comes to us through a simple reading of the Scriptures and through Bible Study. This is why Wesley said that Scripture is an absolute requisite on the journey of faith. Through the searching of Scripture, the transforming power of God and His sanctifying grace enters our lives and changes us to become like Jesus and empowers us to live as He did. So to approach the Bible as a means of grace is to read it with the expectation and hope that through the Holy Spirit, its words will guide, energize and transform us. It is to listen actively for the voice of God and His will for our lives.
John Wesley called all Methodists to search the scriptures daily. Unfortunately, followers of Jesus today are becoming Biblically illiterate. Recent studies by The Barna Group and the Gallup Organization conclude that any reasonable understanding of biblical facts and truths is seriously lacking among Christians today. George Barna writes, “American Christians are biblically illiterate. Although most of them contend that the Bible contains truth and is worth knowing, and most of them argue that they know all of the relevant truths and principles, our research shows otherwise. And the trend line is frightening: the younger a person is, the less they understand about the Christian faith.” So for many of you, it’s not about just claiming that the Bible has truth worth reading and knowing, you have to make a commitment and set aside the time to read the Bible and make it the Book of life for you. Let us once and for all dispense with the notion that significant and lasting spiritual transformation is likely without the steady learning of God’s Word. If your only intake of God’s Word is during the sermon every week, you’re probably on a starvation diet. That’s like you only eating once a week and expecting to get through the rest of week fine. That’s definitely a starvation diet. I think most of you on that diet can probably look into your lives and see for yourselves that you’re just getting by, but change isn’t really coming and you’re probably suffering consequences for the things that are dogging you.
When you do read the Bible, there are 3 Barriers to receiving God’s grace through Scripture. First, we equate reading with listening! Reading is just getting through the information without ever really paying attention to it and wrestling with it. Listening is interacting with the text in what it is saying or calling you to believe or do personally. Second, we read only to gain information, not to develop relationship! Eugene Peterson says, “If we read the Scriptures impersonally with an information-gathering mind, we misread them.” This is God’s love letter written for you. It’s about developing and growing your relationship with him. Third, we read for personal benefit. Tim Keller says we read the Bible to find personal, individualistic applications like when we need guidance in a decision or comfort during difficult times. Not that those are bad. But when it’s the only thing we do, we make the Bible about us rather than about God. The Bible isn’t about us getting what we need from the Bible but rather us getting into the mind and heart of God that we might join Him in His work in the transformation of the world and the redemption of humanity.