What is Grace?

Nick McMichael, Youth Director
Nick McMichael, Youth Director

By Nick McMichael, Youth Director

Wikipedia defines divine grace as, “the free and unmerited favor of God, as manifested in the salvation of sinners and the bestowal of blessings.” John Wesley suggested that there are three manifestations of the grace of God: Prevenient Grace, Justifying Grace, and Sanctifying Grace. If you are in my confirmation class you will already be familiar with these terms, but for those of you who have never heard these words before, let me explain them with the imagery of a drowning man. As humans we are like a man who is drowning and does not know how to swim. Our sins are tied to us like great weights that pull us further under the water. Sometimes we mistake these weights for flotation devices and swear that they will save us, but the truth is that they only weigh us down faster. How can a man such as this be saved? Through the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ, God’s prevenient grace entered into the world. In the imagery of the drowning man prevenient grace is shown as God’s hand being reached out towards us, prepared to save us if only we would take God’s hand. It is a grace that is offered to every single person, and yet few will accept. The acceptance of prevenient grace, or taking the hand that is offered, is called justifying grace. This is our moment of acceptance and is often viewed as the very moment that we are saved, or rather the moment when we accepted our salvation. What comes next then is to be pulled out of the waters that drown us, this is sanctifying grace. We cut the ties to the sins that weigh us down, God pulls us up out of the chaos, and we come closer toward God. All we have to do is hold on tight to that hand of God that is reached out towards us.