ROOTED IN GOD'S GRACE
United Methodists acknowledge prevenient grace as the divine love that surrounds all persons prior to our consciousness or awareness of its presence. It does not depend on human action or response. It is a gift that is always available, but that can be refused. Prevenient grace stirs within us a desire to know the God who actively seeks us. We do not have to beg and plead for God’s love and grace. God actively seeks us! God’s grace enables us to discern differences between good and evil. It allows us to choose good, moving us to turn toward God, which is called repentance, and accept God’s gift in faith.
In accepting justifying grace through faith, the image of God is renewed in us. We acknowledge our human condition and make a conscious decision to turn toward God and a life of service as a disciple of Christ. The process of salvation involves a change we call “conversion.” It represents changes of belief, spiritual outlook and manner of life. The conversion experience may be sudden and dramatic, or gradual and cumulative. In any case, it marks a new beginning. In this conversion, we can expect to be assured of salvation through the Holy Spirit “Bearing witness with our spirit that we are children of God.” (Romans 8:16b, NRSV).
We believe that God’s acceptance and pardon that come through justifying grace do not end God’s saving work, which continues to nurture us in grace. The Holy Spirit enables us to grow in knowledge and love of God and neighbor.