Dec 11, 2008

Wesley - Justification's Priority

Said John Wesley:

"If any doctrines within the whole compass of Christianity may be properly termed fundamental, they are doubtless these two; the doctrine of justification, and that of the new birth: the former relating to that great work which God does for us, in forgiving our sins; the latter, to the great work which God does in us, in renewing our fallen nature. In order of time, neither of these is before the other; in the moment we are justified by the grace of God, through the redemption that is in Jesus, we are also 'born of the Spirit;' but in order of thinking as it is termed, justification precedes the new birth. We first conceive his wrath to be turned away, and then his Spirit to work in our hearts." Sermons on Several Occasions, sermon 46, "The New Birth."


"Thou ungodly one, who hearest or readest these words, thou vile, helpless, miserable sinner, I charge thee before God, the Judge of all, go straight unto him, with all thy ungodliness. Take heed thou destroy not thy own soul by pleading thy righteousness more or less. Go as altogether ungodly, guilty, lost, destroyed, deserving and dropping into hell; and thou shalt then find favour in his sight, and know that he justifieth the ungodly. As such thou shalt be brought unto the blood of sprinkling, as an undone, helpless, damned sinner. Thus look unto Jesus! There is the Lamb of God, who taketh away thy sins! Plead thou no works, no righteousness of thine own! No humility, contrition, sincerity! In no wise. That were, in very deed, to deny the Lord that bought thee. No; plead thou, singly, the blood of the covenant, the ransom paid for thy proud, stubborn, sinful soul. Who art thou, that now seest and feelest both thine inward and outward ungodliness? Thou art the man! I want thee for my Lord! I challenge thee for a child of God by faith! The Lord hath need of thee. Thou who feelest thou art just fit for hell, art just fit to advance his glory; the glory of his free grace, justifying the ungodly and him that worketh not. Oh come quickly! Believe in the Lord Jesus; and thou, even thou, art reconciled to God." (sermon 5, "Justification by Faith")

See here


Dr. Trader said...


Wow! Wesley made a powerful statement. It is a death nail to any self-righteousness. "Thus, looking unto Jesus." That's the
good news for sinners like me.

Thanks for sharing this word of truth.

Stephen Garrett said...

Dear Dr. Trader:

And a poor sinner like I am also!

Oh the joyful news of free justification through faith in the blood of Jesus! Poor guilty sinners have a remedy for their sins! Oh that we would be more involved in spreading this news to other poor sinners!

I think too that this putting of justification after regeneration is not one to comfort the ungodly sinner. He cannot ever feel justified till he sees evidence of regeneration, and thus, he spends his time looking within for evidences of regeneration when he ought to simply believe.

God justifies the ungodly, the unregenerate. And, this being done, all the floodgates of blessings follow, including new birth, sanctification and cleansing, and full pardon.

As always, your comments mean a lot to me.

God bless you and your family in this season of joy.