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Joined: 2003/6/11
Posts: 9192
Santa Clara, CA

 John Wesley ~ Thoughts on Salvation

“This great gift of God, the salvation of our souls, is no other than the
image of God fresh stamped on our hearts. It is a ‘renewal of believers in
the spirit of their minds, after the likeness of Him that created them.’ God
hath now laid ‘the ax unto the root of the tree, purifying their hearts by
faith,’ and ‘cleansing all the thoughts of their hearts by the inspiration of
his Holy Spirit.’ Having this hope, that they shall see God as he is, they
‘purify themselves even as he is pure,’ and are ‘holy, as he that hath called
them is holy, in all manner of conversation.’ Not that they have already
attained all that they shall attain, either are already in this sense perfect.
But they daily ‘go on from strength to strength; beholding’ now, ‘as in a
glass, the glory of the Lord, they are changed into the same image, from
glory to glory, by the Spirit of the Lord.’

“And ‘where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty;’ such liberty ‘from
the law of sin and death,’ as the children of this world will not believe,
though a man declare it unto them. ‘The Son hath made them free’ who are
thus ‘born of God,’ from that great root of sin and bitterness, pride. They
feel that all their ‘sufficiency is of God,’ that it is He alone who ‘is in all
their thoughts,’ and worketh in them both to will and to do of his good
pleasure.’ They feel that ‘it is not they’ that ‘speak, but the Spirit of’
their ‘Father who speaketh’ in them, and that whatsoever is done by their
hands, ‘the Father who is in them, he doeth the works.’ So that God is to
them all in all, and they are nothing in his sight. They are freed from
self-will, as desiring nothing but the holy and perfect will of God; not
supplies in want, not ease in pain, nor life, or death, or any creature; but
continually crying in their inmost soul, ‘Father, thy will be done.’ They
are freed from evil thoughts, so that they cannot enter into them, no, not
for a moment. Aforetime, when an evil thought came in, they looked up,
and it vanished away. But now it does not come in, there being no room
for this, in a soul which is full of God. They are free from wanderings in
prayer. Whensoever they pour out their hearts in a more immediate
manner before God, they have no thought of anything past, or absent,
or to come, but of God alone. In times past, they had wandering thoughts
darted in, which yet fled away like smoke; but now that smoke does not
rise at all. They have no fear or doubt, either as to their state in general, or
as to any particular action. The ‘unction from the Holy One’ teacheth
them every hour what they shall do, and what they shall speak; nor
therefore have they any need to reason concerning it. They are in one
sense freed from temptations; for though numberless temptations fly
about them, yet they trouble them not. At all times their souls are even
and calm, their hearts are steadfast and unmovable. Their peace, flowing,
as a river, ‘passeth all understanding,’ and they ‘rejoice with joy
unspeakable and full of glory.’ For they ‘are sealed by the Spirit unto the
day of redemption,’ having the witness in themselves, that ‘there is laid up
for’ them a ‘crown of righteousness, which the Lord will give’ them ‘in
that day.’

“Not that every one is a child of the devil, till he is thus renewed in love:
On the contrary, whoever has ‘a sure confidence in God, that through the
merits of Christ, his sins are forgiven,’ he is a child of God, and, if he abide
in him, an heir of all the promises. Neither ought he in anywise to cast
away his confidence, or to deny the faith he has received, because it is
weak, or because it is ‘tried with fire,’ so that his soul is ‘in heaviness
through manifold temptations.’

“Neither dare we affirm, as some have done that all this salvation is given
at once. There is indeed an instantaneous, as well as a gradual, work of
God in his children; and there wants not, we know, a cloud of witnesses,
who have received, in one moment, either a clear sense of the forgiveness
of their sins, or the abiding witness of the Holy Spirit But we do not know
a single instance, in any place, of a person’s receiving, in one and the same
moment, remission of sins, the abiding witness of the Spirit, and a new, a
clean heart.

“Indeed, how God may work, we cannot tell; but the general manner
wherein he does work is this: Those who once trusted in themselves that
they were righteous, that they were rich, and increased in goods, and had
need of nothing, are, by the Spirit of God applying his word, convinced
that they are poor and naked. All the things that they have done are
brought to their remembrance and set in array before them, so that they
see the wrath of God hanging over their heads, and feel that they deserve
the damnation of hell. In their trouble they cry unto the Lord, and he
shows them that he hath taken away their sins, and opens the kingdom of
heaven in their hearts, ‘righteousness, and peace, and joy in the Holy
Ghost.’ Sorrow and pain are fled away, and ‘sin has no more dominion
over’ them. Knowing they are justified freely through faith in his blood,
they ‘have peace with God through Jesus Christ;’ they ‘rejoice in hope of
the glory of God,’ and ‘the love of God is shed abroad in their hearts.’

“In this peace they remain for days, or weeks, or months, and commonly
suppose they shall not know war any more; till some of their old enemies,
their bosom sins, or the sin which did most easily beset them, (perhaps
anger or desire,) assault them again, and thrust sore at them, that they may
fall. Then arises fear, that they shall not endure to the end; and often
doubt, whether God has not forgotten them, or whether they did not
deceive themselves in thinking their sins were forgiven. Under these
clouds, especially if they reason with the devil, they go mourning all the
day long. But it is seldom long before their Lord answers for himself,
sending them the Holy Ghost to comfort them, to bear witness continually
with their spirits that they are the children of God. Then they are indeed
meek and gentle and teachable, even as a little child. And now first do they
see the ground of their heart; which God before would not disclose unto
them, lest the soul should fail before him, and the spirit which he had
made. Now they see all the hidden abominations there, the depths of
pride, self-will, and hell; yet having the witness in themselves, ‘Thou art
an heir of God, a joint heir with Christ, even in the midst of this fiery
trial;’ which continually heightens both the strong sense they then have of
their inability to help themselves, and the inexpressible hunger they feel
after a full renewal in his image, in ‘righteousness and true holiness.’ Then
God is mindful of the desire of them that fear him, and gives them a single
eye, and a pure heart; He stamps upon them his own image and
superscription; He createth them anew in Christ Jesus; He cometh unto
them with his Son and blessed Spirit, and, fixing his abode in their souls,
bringeth them into the ‘rest which remaineth for the people of God.’”

Mike Balog

 2006/1/3 9:57Profile

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