“A Word from Mr. Wesley” will appear around the first of each month.
Because language changes with the passage of time, the wording in these excerpts has been slightly updated. (Where possible, a link to the full text of the original document will be provided for those who wish to consult the complete text.)
The following is from John Wesley’s sermon, “Salvation by Faith.”
|For by grace you have been saved through faith… (Eph. 2:8)|
All the blessings God has bestowed upon man and women are of his grace, his free, undeserved favor. We have no claim to the least of His mercies.
It was free grace that “formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into him a living soul,” and then stamped on that soul the image of God. The same free grace continues to us at this day — life, and breath, and all things. And whatever righteousness may be found in us, this is also the gift of God.
With what then can we atone for even the least of our sins? With our works? Even if our works are many and holy, they are not our own, but God’s.
Therefore, having nothing — neither righteousness nor works — to plead, our mouths are utterly stopped before God. If, then, we find favor with God, it is “grace upon grace!” “By grace you have been saved through faith.”
Grace is the source, faith is the condition, of salvation.
What kind of faith? Faith in Christ. Christian faith is a full reliance on the blood of Christ; it is a trust in the merits of His life, death, and resurrection. This kind of faith means resting upon Him as our atonement and our life. It is cleaving to Him as our “wisdom, righteousness, sanctification, and redemption” — or, in one word, our salvation.
This is a present salvation — something attained here on earth — by those who are partakers of this faith. This is that great salvation foretold by the angel, before God brought His First-begotten into the world: “You shall call His name Jesus, for He will save His people from their sins” (Matthew 1:21).
Born again unto a new life
Through faith in Jesus Christ, we are saved both from the guilt of sin and from the power of it.
First, we are saved from the guilt of all past sin. Saved from guilt, we are also saved from fear — from fear of punishment, from fear of the wrath of God, whom we now no longer regard as a severe Master, but as an indulgent Father.
Secondly, through this faith we are saved from the power of sin. Those who by faith are born of God do not commit habitual sin (for this would mean that sin reigning and sin cannot reign in anyone who believes), nor do they commit willful sin (because those who abide in the faith abhor sin as deadly poison).
This, then, is the salvation that is through faith — even in this present world: A salvation from sin and the consequences of sin, by the atonement of Christ applied to those who believe on him, and a deliverance from the power of sin, through Christ formed in the heart.
Those who are thus saved by faith are indeed born again. They are born again of the Spirit unto a new life — a life that “is hidden with Christ in God” (Colossians 3:3).
|•||Podcast: John Wesley on ‘The New Birth’|
|•||Podcast: Donald English — Aldersgate Day address, 1988|
|•||Podcast: Bishop Gerald Kennedy on ‘The Marks of a Methodist’|
|•||Podcast: Billy Abraham on ‘Connecting Doctrine and Evangelism’|
Related articles and information
|•||Salvation by faith (full text) | The Rev. John Wesley (1738) (from The Sermons of John Wesley, 1872 Edition — Thomas Jackson, editor)|
|•||‘By grace are ye saved through faith’ | John Meunier (June 24, 2010)|
|•||This still new doctrine of salvation by faith | John Meunier (Sept. 28, 2010)|