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United Methodist Beliefs: Justifying Grace

Do you have questions about the meaning of some of the terms and teachings of The United Methodist Church? In this series, we ask clergy to share their understanding of topics. No preaching, just conversation. In this episode we discuss the Wesleyan concept of justifying grace with the Rev. Gary Henderson.


The Rev. Gary Henderson, United Methodist Communications: “When I hear that term, ‘justifying grace,' I feel as though I’m in a courtroom. It sounds like a legal term but it’s not as difficult a term as it seems. Justifying grace helps me to know, helps us to know, that we are forgiven. It helps us to know that we are whole. It is the grace that restores us. The image I have sometimes is, I’m sitting at a typewriter. I’m typing and the words and the lines are all over the page. And I look at it and it looks like a mess. And with a keystroke or two, I can bring it all together and order it and align it. They call it justifying to the left and to the right, or to the center. It makes sense. Sometimes it seems as though our lives are in pieces. We need a sense of order. We need to know that all is well in the world and with us. Justifying grace is the act of Christ on Calvary’s cross and it makes life better, it makes me whole. John Wesley, I believe, understood justifying grace. It was that grace that helped him reach out to the church of his day. But that grace reaches out to us today in the same way. It brings order to us. It helps us to know that we are forgiven, that we are special people, whole.”


John Wesley preached and wrote often about the amazing grace that leads us into renewed relationship with God.

To find a pastor to talk with and a church to visit, try Find-A-Church.

View the entire series Reflections on our Faith. Read more about justifying grace.

This video was produced by United Methodist Communications in Nashville, TN.
Media contact is Joe Iovino.

This video was published on November 17, 2017.

United Methodist Communications is an agency of The United Methodist Church

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