24 May 2016Romans 5:1-11
“But God proves his love for us in that while we were still sinners Christ died for us.” (v.8)
Psalm: Psalm 130
Today is Wesley Day - the day in 1738 when John Wesley had an 'epiphany moment' that some refer to as his 'conversion' and that he termed his 'heart-warming' experience.
Our passage for today is from Paul's letter to the Romans, and it was Luther's preface to the Book of Romans that was being read at that meeting house in Aldersgate Street, when Wesley felt his heart warmed.
John Wesley, together with his brothers and sisters had been brought up in a devout Christian household and their mother had been zealous in teaching her children the Bible, prayer and Christian responsibility. John and Charles had had their spiritual struggles. They went to America to try to strengthen their faith. They worked hard to be 'true Christians', but somehow the assurance that they were loved by God eluded them. Charles had a 'conversion' experience on the 21 May and John three days later, and it was then that they came to the realisation that what was true for Paul could be true for them also.
John wrote in his journal, "About a quarter before nine, while he was describing the change which God works in the heart through faith in Christ, I felt my heart strangely warmed. I felt I did trust in Christ, Christ alone for salvation, and an assurance was given me that he had taken away my sins, even mine, and saved me from the law of sin and death."
No longer was faith something Wesley had to work and struggle for - it was a gift of God to be accepted, a new relationship to be embraced.
- Look at the conversion hymns of Charles Wesley - "And can it be that I should gain" (StF 345) and "Where shall my wondering soul begin?" (StF 454) and note down the images that echo this passage in Romans.
- Which images/lines speak most to you and your situation? Why?
- Have you had particular 'heart-warming moments' in your pilgrimage of faith? Recall them now, and give thanks for them.