10th June, 2007

The influence of the transformed life

One of the results of the transformed life is that others are led to a saving knowledge of Jesus Christ. The love of Christ compels you to point others to the throne of grace. Your life must testify to the goodness of the God whom you serve.

In 1735 John and Charles Wesley were on their way to America as Anglican Missionaries. A group of Moravian immigrants from Germany were also on the ship. A terrible storm developed at sea and they were in danger of being ship-wrecked. The Moravians were in the midst of a worship service and praising God with much intensity. Wesley was terrified. Wesley recounts the event in his diary; “In the midst of the Psalm wherewith their service began, the sea broke over, split the main-sail in pieces, covered the ship and poured in between the decks, as if the great deep had already swallowed us up. A terrible screaming began among the English. The Germans calmly sung on. I asked one of them afterwards; ‘Were you not afraid?’ He answered, ‘I thank God, no.’ I asked: ‘But were not your women and children afraid?’ He replied mildly: ‘No, our women and children are not afraid to die.’” The storm was boisterous, but the Moravians kept praising God. Finally, the storm subsided.

After reaching Georgia, Wesley sought spiritual counsel of the Moravian Bishop, A. G Spangenberg. John Wesley’s experience with the Christ-like Moravians on board the ship as well as the subsequent probing of his heart by Bishop Spangenberg with reference to the new birth and the assurance of salvation made an abiding impression on his whole life and permanently influenced not only his teaching, but also his behaviour in times of trial and persecution.

In 1738, the Wesleys returned to England and became quite intimately acquainted with the Moravian Brethren. Moravian Bishop, Peter Boehler, was particularly blessed in his efforts to lead John Wesley into the full light of the Gospel. It was also under Peter Boehler that Charles Wesley had his conversion experience.

John Wesley wrote in his diary the following: “On Wednesday, May 24 in the evening, I went very unwillingly to a society in Aldersgate Street, (A Moravian meeting) where one was reading Luther’s preface to the Epistle to Romans. About a quarter to 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 felt an assurance was given me, that He had taken away my sins, even mine, and saved me from the law of sin and death.”