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Salvation by Faith - Reflections for Personal Devotion and Conversation with Others

(Sermon 1 in the Standard Sermons of John Wesley)
By: Lauren DeLano

1. When you hear the question, “Are you saved?” what emotion or feeling is evoked within you?

Fear, Relief, Apprehension, Anger, Doubt, Relief, Assurance, Hope, Joy... Why? What is your experience?

2. How does the lens we use to view salvation determine how we interact with one another?

If we think of salvation as something to be earned in order to receive our ticket to heaven, then it becomes a deal just between a human being and God. Salvation is only concerned with what happens to us in the afterlife. If you aren’t saved, you can’t go to heaven. In contrast, how does our interaction with others change if salvation is something attainable in the present, as John Wesley indicates? Salvation calls us not only into right relationship with God, both in the present and in eternal life, but it also calls us to seek ways to be in right relationship with all of God’s people.

John Wesley’s enthusiasm about salvation by faith as something available to all people calls us to think about the way we invite others into salvation. Might we remember that God provided grace and mercy to us when we did nothing to deserve it. Might our trust in God lead us to have a faith that examines the world through the lens of God’s grace and mercy for all.

3. What are we saved “from”? What are we saved “for”?

John Wesley focused on both dimensions of salvation. You are invited to reflect and engage in conversation about it. How does this gift change our lives, in the present?

4. Is God calling you to this grace?

It is the Methodist way, for us to spend time each day examining our own spiritual lives, taking time to receive God’s gifts, and striving to grow in these gifts.

Grace leads us to faith which leads us into “true holiness” or “true religion.” At the beginning of this series, we want to be clear that “true religion,” through our Wesleyan lens, is not rooted in doctrines or creeds or anything that pits us against others. True religion is rooted in a relationship with God that yields love, joy, peace, and helps us to be more patience, and kind, and gentle. Through these virtues and blessings, we are able to “grow in salvation.” (See I Cor 1:18, 15:2; Eph 2:1-22, 3:14-4:6; I Pet 2:2).