Let's start with a simple truth most people know intuitively: God loves everyone. Not only that, he offers the fullness of his grace to them at all times even before they choose to follow Jesus. (1) Wesleyans call this the “wooing grace” grace of God. It is part of what Jesus is talking about in the Sermon when he explains that God “… causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous.” (Matthew 5:45). In other words, God blesses everyone whether or not they believe in him.
God not only blesses everyone, he communicates to everyone. Romans 1:19 clearly states that God calls out to the world through what has been made. Every time someone has seen a sunset or held a newborn, they have been hearing the voice of God calling out to them.
All of that without a single loving word from a believer or a single page of the Bible to read. Why? Why does God do all this? Because he loves every single person he created, and he wants to have a relationship with them all.
This wooing grace changes everything! It has a massive impact on everything spiritual. We no longer see ourselves as “bringing Jesus” to some lost soul. Rather, we recognize that Jesus has been at work in the life of every person from the moment they were born.
Our conversations about faith with non-believers are no longer based on fear and judgement, but on helping name the God they already know in part. We say things like, “I bet you know more about God that people think.” We begin talking about Jesus by recognizing that “I bet you have experienced God more than most people know.” We say these things not as some trick or clever technique, but because they’re true!
This beautiful Wesleyan perspective is uniquely fitting for life in a pluralistic world where proselytizing is taboo and demeaning other religions is unacceptable. Into that world we are able to come with grace and love helping people see that God has been at work in their lives from the beginning. God has never stopped loving them, and never will. And, if they are willing he will bless them with an even more full life lived in relationship with Him.
All of this is to say, take heart. You are not some pioneer out in the wilderness of a sinful world trying to convince people to buy something they’ve never seen and walk down a path they’ve never known existed. God has gone before you preparing the way. All you have to do is be available to the Holy Spirit and help convey the wooing love of a God who wants to set your friends, neighbors, and colleagues free!
>>> Read More: Wesley for the Broken Hearted Lover
1. This idea of God offering the fullness of his grace to everyone (even those who have not yet chosen to follow god) is a key component of Wesleyan theology which is the stream from which I come.