Sunday, September 06, 2009

Wesley on Justification

As noted in a previous post, some of our more zealous opponents are quick to accuse most of the body of Christ as being ungainly wrapped up in the promotion of a works based salvation and justification. They seem eager to promote the falsehood that Arminians and others who question the dogma of Calvinist thought have removed ourselves from that great Protestant cry of justification by faith, proclaimed in opposition to Papal notions of meritorious value. Having disputed these falsehoods with the writings of Arminius, it is a common rebuttal to then claim that while Arminius may have been on the right course regarding justification, certainly he was unique and others have promoted a works salvation and justification. Nothing could be further from the truth and in examining the writings and sermons of that other great Arminian and Christian, John Wesley, we find an abundance of evidence to again demonstrate the futility and falseness of the Calvinist charge of works. Wesley preached a great sermon entitled Justification by Faith that lays out several of our sentiments quite clearly, so much so that if the zealot wishes to promote the charge of the mixing of grace and law, removing faith from it's essential place, he is quickly deemed a liar. The following is an excerpt from that sermon. The hyperlink above provides the full text of the sermon.


 … But on what terms, then, is he justified who is altogether "ungodly," and till that time "worketh not?" On one alone; which is faith: He "believeth in Him that justifieth the ungodly." And "he that believeth is not condemned;" yea, he is "passed from death unto life." "For the righteousness (or mercy) of God is by faith of Jesus Christ unto all and upon all them that believe: --Whom God hath set forth for a propitiation, through faith in his blood; that he might be just, and" (consistently with his justice) "the Justifier of him which believeth in Jesus:" "Therefore we conclude that a man is justified by faith without the deeds of the law;" without previous obedience to the moral law, which, indeed, he could not, till now, perform. That it is the moral law, and that alone, which is here intended, appears evidently from the words that follow: "Do we then make void the law through faith? God forbid: Yea, we establish the law. What law do we establish by faith? Not the ritual law: Not the ceremonial law of Moses. In nowise; but the great, unchangeable law of love, the holy love of God and of our neighbour." …