Over the last couple of weeks, I have been reading a book by Sinclair Ferguson called By Grace Alone: How the Grace of God Amazes Me. In the opening chapter titled, ‘My Chains Fell Off’, Ferguson talks about Charles Wesley and his brother John.
Both brothers had been devout Godly men, especially during their student days at Oxford University. Having been brought up in a large family with their father also a minister, they were taught from an early age obedience, self-control and discipline. Habits were established that formed them into the young men that defined them. They were earnest in their daily time reading the Bible and prayer. They were known for their service and presented an appearance that many looked up to as they were men who were ‘holy’ and one of Charles favourite books was called A Serious Call to a Devout and Holy Life. They went as far as establishing a ‘Holy Club’ while at Oxford of like-minded men.
In this current generation, it is easy for us all, as people who go to church, week by week,to live a life that equally appears ‘holy’ to those on the outside. However, just like Charles Wesley was to discover, it is not the outward appearance that defines a Christian, rather, it is what is going on in the heart that is critical. Wesley came to recognise that he could live a ‘holy’ life and still not have his relationship right with God. After travelling to America on a missionary journey, both brothers came to realise they still needed to know God’s grace in their lives and be truly free. A ‘holy’ and devout life did not cut it. It was only through the amazing and mysterious love of God that both John and Charles came to know God’s grace and forgiveness and this led to Charles singing again and again the words:
“My chains fell off, my heart was free, I rose, went forth and followed thee”
In the challenging days ahead may we all know the assurance of God’s grace so that we too can rise, go forth, serve and be a witness and disciple of Jesus Christ in the places that God places us, even to the ends of the earth.
Yours in His name,