Monday, February 6, 2012

John Wesley on Justification's Results.

And to the one who does not work but believes in him who justifies the ungodly, his faith is counted as righteousness, (Romans 4:5 ESV)
John Wesley did not believe that a person can be justified by faith—declared "not guilty" in God's celestial throne room—and then go live anyway he wants. The Methodist explains in his Notes on the New Testament:
But to him that worketh not - It being impossible he should without faith. But believeth, his faith is imputed to him for righteousness - Therefore God's affirming of Abraham, that faith was imputed to him for righteousness, plainly shows that he worked not; or, in other words, that he was not justified by works, but by faith only. Hence we see plainly how groundless that opinion is, that holiness or sanctification is previous to our justification. For the sinner, being first convinced of his sin and danger by the Spirit of God, stands trembling before the awful tribunal of divine justice ; and has nothing to plead, but his own guilt, and the merits of a Mediator. Christ here interposes; justice is satisfied; the sin is remitted, and pardon is applied to the soul, by a divine faith wrought by the Holy Ghost, who then begins the great work of inward sanctification. Thus God justifies the ungodly, and yet remains just, and true to all his attributes! But let none hence presume to "continue in sin;" for to the impenitent, God "is a consuming fire."
Do you see Wesley's chain of events? Hard upon the heels of the forensic declaration of "Not Guilty" God immediately begins "the great work of inward sanctification."

We were justified so as to look like Christ, not to excuse us of looking like the devil.