Charles Wesley sings of the joy he has when receiving perfecting grace. All persons raised in the Methodist Church remember the first song in the Methodist hymnal that Charles Wesley wrote in 1739 shortly after he received justifying grace.
“O for a Thousand Tongues to Sing my great Redeemers praise,”
in 1742 four years later he wrote celebrating the joy of his perfecting grace.
“O for a Heart to Praise my God”, a heart from sin set free! “
We see in 1739 he wrote the words , My great Redeemers praise, but in 1742 he wrote about, my great Redeemers throne in his heart.
Perfecting Grace Prayer
Pray this hymn Charles Wesley wrote in 1742; the melody line from,” O for a thousand tongues to sing “, fits the flow of the stanzas.
O for a heart to praise my God,
A heart from sin set free!
A heart that always feels thy blood
So freely spilt for me!
A heart resigned, submissive, meek,
My great Redeemer’s throne,
Where only Christ is heard to speak,
Where Jesus reigns alone;
A humble, lowly contrite heart,
Believing, true, and clean;
Which neither life nor death can part
From him that dwells within;
A heart in every thought renewed,
And full of love divine;
Perfect, and right, and pure, and good,
A copy, Lord, of thine!
Thy tender heart is still the same,
And melts at human woe:
Jesus, for thee distressed I am,
I want thy love to know.
My heart, thou know’st, can never rest,
Till thou creat my peace;
Till, of my Eden re-possessed,
From every sin I cease.
Fruit of thy gracious lips, on me
Bestow that peace unknown,
The hidden manna, and the tree
Of life, and the white stone.
Thy nature, gracious Lord, impart !
Come quickly from above,
Write thy new name upon my heart,
Thy new, best name of love.
There are so many truths to be discovered from praying this hymn.
Many people would need a lifetime to experience with God the meaning of the verses.
RECOMMENDED SMALL GROUP
JOHN WESLEY PROVIDED THE METHODIST SELECT SOCIETY OR PERFECT LOVE CIRCLE FOR THOSE WITH PERFECTING GRACE.
START YOUR OWN COVENANT DISCIPLESHIP GROUP AND USE THE ABOVE MENTIONED , "THE CHRISTIANS MANUAL" AS YOUR COVENANT.
John Wesley taught if a group is not available then start one.
Below is a 7 minute sermon.
What Does Perfecting Grace Feel Like ? for starters perfecting grace comes by faith not feelings, but A Perfecting Grace visual can be seen in the Tabernacle constructed by Moses in the Holy Place at the table of shewbread or the table of the Presence. It has been said that there is perfect comeliness at this table.
What does Perfecting Grace Sound Like?
Recommended reading on Perfecting Grace. Below is a link to a digitized book on steps to christian perfection.
Suggested readings would also include,
"Living into Community", Christine Pohl,
"A Perfect Love", Steven Manskar
"Perfecting Grace", Mark H. Mann
A clear example of perfecting grace and perfect love we can all agree on can be seen in the testimony of Elisabeth Elliot, 12/21/26-06/15/2015, (missionary to Ecuador). Her husband Jim Elliot tried to be a missionary to the Auca Indians but they killed him within two days. She later returned to the tribe that killed her husband and ministered in the area for two years and a very fruitful ministry came from this.
"...Christian perfection is a spiritual constellation made up of these gracious stars, - perfect repentance, perfect faith, perfect humility, perfect meekness, perfect self - denial, perfect resignation, perfect hope, perfect charity for our visible enemies, as well as our earthly relations; and above all perfect love for our invisible God; through the explicit knowledge of our Mediator Jesus Christ."
John Fletcher (Wesley's Theologian)
Perfecting Grace Testimonials can be seen along with 23 testimonials vetted by John Wesley himself in "The Experience of Several Eminent Methodist Preachers an Account of their call to Ministry in a series of Letters written by Themselves, to the Rev. John Wesley, A.M. " originally published in1791. In 1837 another edition was made that is easier to read and a digitized version of these Awesome Christian Perfection Testimonials is viewable from the button below.
John Wesley's views on what Perfecting Grace looks like in someones life.
Perfecting Grace comes through the Holy Spirit. Loving God and becoming a vessel for God to love other people through you, including everybody, even your enemies. Remember the first and great commandment, "Love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, all your mind, and all your strength, and the second to love your neighbor as yourself". Loving enemies also helps one to know the love comes from God.
This especially can be seen in "The Gifts of the Spirit". Please note, opinions on what perfecting grace entails varies among theologians. This seeks to provide an insight to the Wesleyan perspective.
The table of contents of The United Methodist Hymnal 1989, arranges the hymns by Prevenient Grace, starting with #337, Justifying Grace starting with # 361, Sanctifying and Perfecting Grace starting with # 382. Hymns about the new heaven & glorifying grace #700-734.
Sanctifying and perfecting grace could be seen as two sides of the same coin. Sanctifying grace being the work God does in you and perfecting grace as the holy love God provides to others through you.
The "Gifts of the Spirit" are an act of God through you to edify the church. Holy Love. Holy being separated by God to do His work. Love providing the motivation.
A practical book for practicing your perfecting grace is "Gifts of the Spirit" by Kenneth Kinghorn which includes the following spiritual gifts:
Prophecy, Teaching, Serving, Exhortation, Giving, Giving Aid, Compassion, Healing, Working Miracles, Tongues, Interpretation of Tongues, Wisdom, Knowledge, Faith, Discernment, Apostleship, Helps, Administration, Evangelism, and Shepherding. These gifts can be found in Romans 12:6-8, 1 Corinthians 12:4-11, 1 Corinthians 12:28, and Ephesians 4:11.
Praying with perfecting grace very often starts with the celebration and worship for what has been received. Maybe you first knew the peace that passes understanding, then the revelation of this, gave you the joy that only comes from the Spirit. There goes with it a great desire to tell others, like Charles Wesley who would sing about it. But God is also excited about too, and so He gives gifts of His Spirit to help you express and show your relationship with Him to others ! Go with it and don’t let others grieve the Spirit within you. Your excitement is contagious and the enemy will pick up on it and will try to slow you down.
There are so many prayers you need in your back pack to move forward with your perfecting grace. First, you need the prayers for developing, and ministering your gift or gifts of the spirit. Second, You need your praise prayers, and Third, your prayers to defeat the enemy who comes around to distract you from the focus you need to move in the center of God’s will down the straight and narrow path.
To get started on this list of prayers, we just reviewed the praise prayer hymn Charles Wesley wrote. There are many other praise prayer hymns. Each Gift of the Spirit will have it’s own set of prayers. You also have prayers for persistence.
Perfecting Grace Prayer
Breathe in me, Holy Spirit, that my thoughts may all be holy.
Move in me, Holy Spirit, that my work, too, may be holy.
Attract my heart, Holy Spirit, that I may love only what is holy.
Strengthen me, Holy Spirit, that I may defend all that is holy.
Protect me, Holy Spirit, that I may always be holy.
Augustine of Hippo, 354-430
Perfecting Grace Prayer
Review the Gifts of the Spirit on the Spiritual Elements handout and pray for God to reveal your spiritual gifts. There is always one gift that is given but over time most Christians find other gifts emerge !
Tips for how to recognize answer to perfecting grace can be stark or subtle. If your gift of the Spirit is Miracles, then the miracle will certainly be stark in contrast, to someone whose gift is administration. When looking to recognize perfecting grace think about where the fruit is on a tree. If you look in the trunk of the tree for the bananas then you will destroy the tree hacking and cutting into the middle. Even a monkey knows to look at the end of the branches for the fruit. To look for the results of sanctifying grace you can look inside your heart but to see the results of perfecting grace you look to the ministry you are providing to others by the power and inspiration of the Holy Spirit.
Someone who has the gift of prophesy will recognize in time how amazing the gift proved to be.
Someone with the gift of healing, whether it be the doctor who is inspired or the faith healer who sees someone get up and walk, rejoices with the knowledge God has done something through them.
Remember the love that God has for the people you minister to. The reason He gives you perfecting grace is so you can love your neighbor as your self even to the point of loving your enemy. When God calls people to evangelize, remember many of these people are the enemy. When God called Jonah to go to Ninevah or when He called the disciples to go out, many of the people they faced were enemies. Jesus said any body can love your friends and family but you have to love your enemy, so be perfect like your Heavenly Father is perfect.
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Food for Thought -
"One perfected in love may grow in grace far swifter than he did before" -
What is Perfecting Grace ?
Perfecting Grace scriptures
Perfecting Grace Hymn
John Wesley sermons on Perfecting Grace
Perfecting Grace Testimonials
Perfecting Grace Books
Free small groups for Perfecting Grace
Praying with Perfecting Grace