On this day, 1738, John Wesley wrote in his journal:
Here’s some of what he was hearing, from Luther’s Preface to the Epistle to the Romans (1522)
Faith is a living, daring confidence in God’s grace, so sure and certain that a man would stake his life on it a thousand time. This confidence in God’s grace and knowedge of it makes men glad and bold and happy in dealing with God and with all his creatures; and this is the work of the Holy Spirit in faith. Hence a man is ready and glad, without compulsion, to do good to everyone, to serve everyone, to suffer everything, in love and praise to God, who has shown him this grace; and thus it is impossible to separate works from faith, quite as impossible as to separate heat and light from fire
Although this experience of the ‘heart strangely warmed’ is often described as Wesley’s conversion experience, I’m not convinced that this is strictly accurate. It certainly isn’t the moment at which Wesley hade a ‘decision for Christ’. Clearly that had happened long before. No, here Wesley finds himself arrested by the power of the living God, despite his reluctance. He receives the truth from Luther: faith is not his own, but a divine work within him.