Wesley Covenant Renewal
Every year at Downtown we are invited to renew our commitment to Christ and the Christian life. We traditionally do this together using the words of the Wesley Covenant Renewal, which you will find below. Let us join together in reflecting and meditating on these words, not only during this first month of the year but throughout the year in its entirety. If at any time you have questions or would like to talk about the Wesley Covenant Renewal you are invited to reach out to one of our pastors here.
Brothers and sisters in Christ, the Christian life is redeemed from sin and consecrated to God. Through baptism, we have entered this life and have been admitted into the new covenant of which Jesus Christ is the Mediator. He sealed it with his own blood, that it might last for ever.
On the one side, God promises to give us new life in Christ, the Source and Perfecter of our faith. On the other side, we are pledged to live no more for ourselves but only for Jesus Christ, who loved us and gave himself for us.
From time to time we renew our covenant with God, especially when we reaffirm the Baptismal Covenant and gather at the Lord's table. Today we meet as the generations before us have met, to renew the covenant that binds us to God.
Wesley's Covenant Service
Commit yourselves to Christ as his servants that you may belong to him. Christ has many ministries to be done. Some are more easy and honorable, others are more difficult and even counter-cultural. Some are suitable to our gifts and passions, others are contrary to both. In some we may please Christ and please ourselves. But then there are other works where we cannot please Christ except by denying ourselves.
It is necessary, therefore, that we consider what it means to be a servant of Christ.
Let me be your servant, under your command. I will no longer be my own. I will give up myself to your will in all things.
Be satisfied that Christ shall give you your place and work.
Lord, make me what you will. I put myself fully into your hands: put me to doing, put me to suffering, let me be employed for you, or laid aside for you, let me be full, let me be empty, let me have all things, let me have nothing. I freely and with a willing heart give it all to your pleasure and disposal.
Christ will be the Savior of none but his servants. He is the source of all salvation to those who obey. Christ will have no servants except by consent; Christ will not accept anything except full consent to all that he requires. Christ will be all in all, or he will be nothing. Confirm this by a holy covenant.
To make this covenant a reality in your life, listen to these admonitions:
First, set apart some time, more than once, to be spent alone before the Lord; in seeking earnestly God's special assistance and gracious acceptance of you; in carefully thinking through all the conditions of the covenant; in searching your hearts whether you have already freely given your life to Christ. Consider what your sins are. Consider the laws of Christ, how holy, strict, and spiritual they are, and whether you, after having carefully considered them, are willing to choose them all. Be sure you are clear in these matters, see that you do not lie to God and mislead yourself.
Second, be serious and in a spirit of holy awe and reverence.
Third, claim God's covenant, rely upon God's promise of giving grace and strength, so you can keep your promise. Trust not your own strength and power.
Fourth, resolve to be faithful. You have given to the Lord your hearts, you have opened your mouths to the Lord, and you have dedicated yourself to God. With God's power, never go back.
And last, be then prepared to renew your covenant with the Lord. Fall down on your knees, lift your hands toward heaven, open your hearts to the Lord, as we pray:
Before all heaven and earth, I acknowledge you as my Lord and Saviour. I take you, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, for my portion, and vow to give up myself, body and soul, to serve you in holiness and righteousness all the days of my life.
I do here willingly put my life under your direction, to carry your burden. All your laws are holy, just, and good. I therefore take them as the rule for my words, thoughts, and actions, promising that I will strive to order my whole life according to your direction, and not allow myself to neglect anything I know to be my duty.
And let the covenant I have made on earth be ratified in heaven.
You are advised to make this covenant not only in your heart, but in word; not only in word, but in writing. Therefore, with all reverence, lay the service before the Lord as your act and deed. And when you have done this, sign it. Then keep it as a reminder of the holy agreement between God and you that you may remember it during doubts and temptations.