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Faith

Faith for John Wesley was an absolute pre-condition for the total work of salvation: 'In asserting salvation by faith we mean this: 1. That pardon (salvation begun) is received by faith producing works; 2. That holiness (salvation continued) is faith working by love; 3. That heaven (salvation finished) is the reward of this faith.' Wesley conceived of faith primarily as trust, not belief, a gift received through God's gracious offer in Christ which must be initially grasped through repentance. 'It is a sure confidence that a man has in God.' 'Faith is then not only an assent to the whole gospel of Christ, but a full reliance on the blood of Christ... as given for us and living in us.' Grace always precedes faith. The Methodist doctrine is thus entrenched in the classical Reformation teaching on justification, to which is added the distinctive element of 'from faith to faith', bearing fruit in holiness and perfect love. Such faith is available to all, it is available now, it is based on the atonement, and its application may be inwardly resisted.

Sources

  • JW, sermons on 'The Scripture Way of Salvation', 'Salvation by Faith', 'Justification by Faith'
  • WM Minutes, 1744
  • Colin W. Williams, John Wesley's Theology Today (1960) pp. 61-66
  • Randy L. Maddox, Responsible Grace: John Wesley's Practical Theology (1994) pp.172-76

Entry written by: WP
Category: Subject

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