P.O. Box 206 302 South Main Street Gainesboro, Tennessee 38562 (931) 268-4771 Office
Gainesboro First UMC
Tuesday, October 15, 2019
"A Caring Community of Faith"

Pastor's Desk

   

Pastor Tim Dunavant, Josh, Staci, and Mikayla

 

 

 

 

          

In this season in which we live, there are a lot of local Methodist congregations in our area talking about their desire to no longer be a United Methodist congregation. So, for the past couple of months I’ve been sharing with you my some of the things I find so extremely valuable about the Methodist movement. The denominational name and structure may change. But I have shared with you a few elements of Methodism that I hope always remain in this congregation.         Last month spoke about our Wesleyan understanding of the grace of God. The Wesley‘s believed it was active in a believer’s life even before they were a believer. That’s called Prevenient Grace, the grace that comes into a person’s life before they ever ask, think, or want anything to do with God. Another aspect that I have found incredibly powerful about the Wesleyan movement that then fueled the holiness movement and several other movements after that, is the concept that God is not finished with us after the moment we receive his justifying grace.

 

            From the point in which a believer gives their life to Christ until the point of death, the Wesley’s believed God’s sanctifying grace was at work. This means God does not simply leave us where he found us. Yes, we are just a sinner saved by grace. But once we are saved by that grace, God continues to pour his grace upon our lives to make us holy. There are two ways in which God makes holy. First, at that moment of salvation that many people refer to as a born-again experience, God instantly makes us holy in our standing before him. But that doesn’t mean we are perfect. Our actions and attitudes still need to be cleaned up. And so, God spends the rest of our lives molding us for his purposes.

 

            Much like a sculptor carves a block of wood into a beautiful statue, God begins the process of cutting away the sinful impure behaviors and mindsets that are rooted deep within us. Slice by slice he begins fashioning us so that we might one day resemble in the flesh the identity he has given us in the spirit.

 

            In my childhood days in church I was not taught this idea of sanctifying grace. I was given an image that basically looked something like this: God grants us salvation and then hopes that we act better. He waits on the other side of death hoping that we won’t disappoint him too badly and cheers us on to make it to the finish line. What a load of baloney! No, God‘s work in our life is not just a spiritual holiness. He also works to remove the briars in our flesh such as teaching us to leave behind bitterness, unforgiveness, hate, greed, envy, and the list goes on.

 

            I am forever grateful for God’s sanctifying grace that is constantly working to sanctify, purify, and cleanse my life of all unrighteousness. And I am also deeply thankful for the Methodist influences in my life to teach me this reality about Christianity.