Wesleyan Theology II - Lesson 12

Entire Sanctification (Part 1)

In this lesson on entire sanctification, the text explores the theological insights of John Wesley regarding the concept of sanctification. Wesley continues the Reformation's emphasis on grace through faith alone by applying it to the idea of entire sanctification. He distinguishes between gradual sanctification as a process and entire sanctification as an instantaneous change, emphasizing the idea that entire sanctification is a sheer, sovereign gift of God that can be received by faith alone. Wesley's theology balances both cooperative grace and free grace, acknowledging the role of divine-human cooperation leading up to entire sanctification. This lesson highlights Wesley's nuanced understanding of grace and the temporal dimensions of sanctification.

Note: the two lectures on entire sanctification are contrary to our Statement of Faith, which asserts that “The disciple's life will be characterized, among many, by battle with sin.” They have been included because the are central to Wesleyan theology, and BiblicalTraining is committed to being broadly evangelical.

Kenneth J. Collins
Wesleyan Theology II
Lesson 12
Watching Now
Entire Sanctification (Part 1)

I. Introduction to Entire Sanctification

A. Invocation and Acknowledgment of Jesus Christ

B. The Significance of Entire Sanctification in the Order of Salvation

C. John Wesley's Contribution to the Understanding of Sanctification

II. John Wesley's Concept of Grace

A. The Role of Faith in Sanctification

B. The Influence of Peter Burleigh and Anglican Tradition

C. The Emphasis on Free Grace in Entire Sanctification

III. The Balance of Wesley's Conception of Grace

A. The Synthesis of Protestant and Catholic Ethic of Grace

B. Cooperation and Free Grace in Wesley's Theology

C. Wesley's View on the Timetable for Grace

IV. Temporal Dimensions of Sanctification

A. Gradual and Instantaneous Sanctification

B. The Relationship Between Conviction and Sanctification

C. The Sovereign Role of God in Entire Sanctification

V. Conclusion

A. Distinguishing Process and Instantaneous Sanctification

B. Emphasizing the Role of Free Grace in Entire Sanctification

C. Wesley's Quintessentially Western Theology

  • John Wesley did theology in service to the church in mission. Brunner and Tillich are theologians that lived recently that developed a systematic approach. Wesley refers to his study of theology as practical divinity. He views it as participatory so that the truths of Scripture are actualized in practice and in community, not just an individual intellectual exercise. Wesley emphasized the doctrines of sin and salvation in his study and preaching by addressing how you become a Christian and how you remain a Christian. Wesley is described as being a, “conjunctive” theologian, which means he has a, “both-and” approach  as compared to an, “either-or” approach to theological ideas. He is looking for balance. Free grace is the work of God alone. Wesley describes cooperant grace as, “God works, therefore you can work; God works, therefore you must work.” Grace is the normative context of the moral law of God. Wesley teaches that we relate to God by both free grace and cooperant grace.

  • Repentance before justification. Because of who God is, he wills the salvation of all humanity. Grace is free for all. In his sermon, “Free Grace,” Wesley argues against limited atonement but affirms election and God’s foreknowledge. To Wesley, “Awakening” refers to a person receiving grace so they begin to discern the things of God. This is the transition from the natural state where people where a person is dead to things of God, to being awakened to God and fearing him. Moving from a state of “sleep” to being “awakened” to an awareness of God. Wesley makes a distinction between the, “natural person,” a “person under the law,” and a “person under grace.” Wesley describes conviction the holy spirit and the moral law working together, resulting in convincing grace. Sovereignty is a relational attribute because it’s how he relates to nature. Love is an essential attribute of God. Humans still have freedom as part of the way they are created in the image of God. Wesley teaches that all the elect are born of God but not all who are born of God are elect. Some who are born of God, fall away. If we live a life of Christian discipleship, it will change us.

  • The Holy Spirit begins to give the awakened conscience an inward “check” using the moral law. God uses the word and the Spirit to shed increasing light on the conscience to reveal shafts of the righteousness and justice of God. Repentance means a change of mind or change of direction. Wesley described repentance as the “porch” of religion. Wesley said that the only requirement to be part of a Methodist society was a desire to flee the wrath to come. He would then encourage you to leave off evil, do good and use the means of grace, which he equated with repentance. The three principal aspects of repentance are conviction, poverty of spirit and rejection of self-righteousness and self-justification. Repentance occurs prior to justification. Repentance will result in outward expressions of inward contrition and grace. The general means of grace are prayer, searching the Scripture, communicating, the Lord’s Supper and fasting. Prudential means of grace are practices that foster the love of God. They may differ from one person to another. It requires reason, reflection and honesty.

  • Focus on the insights of John Wesley on practical theology. Wesley teaches that people are justified by faith alone and that conviction of sin and repentance comes before justification. Conviction and repentance are important in the salvation process but not in the same sense or the same degree as faith. Wesley refers to the grace from which salvation comes as being, “free in all,” meaning that it does not depend on human power or merit. A person can be redeemed if he will, but not when he will. Wesley views the process of salvation as the conjunction of cooperant and free grace. The faith that justifies goes beyond believing that God exists and the knowledge of God’s character. It is also more than the faith of a devil. It is more than the faith of the apostles while Jesus was on earth. The nature of faith is a spiritual sense by which we understand spiritual things. Faith requires both, “belief that” and “belief in”

  • Justification is the work God does for us, sanctification is the work God does in us. Justification makes us children of God, and sanctification is the process of becoming saints. Justification is based on the atoning work of Christ and entails the forgiveness of sin and freedom from guilt. Wesley teaches that when you are justified, you are forgiven of past sins. The righteousness of Christ is imputed to believers because of what Jesus did. He applied imputation to justification only, not sanctification because he was concerned about people taking this as a license to sin. Sola Fide is the teaching that faith is not only the necessary condition of justification, but it is also a sufficient condition. Wesley teaches that justification and regeneration occur simultaneously, never one without the other. Wesley held not one but two aspects of his doctrine of salvation in tension: both process and instantaneousness, divine and human cooperation as well as the work of God alone.

  • Wesley teaches that justifying grace is imputed by God and regenerating grace is imparted by God. When Wesley refers to, “divine empowerment,” he means that the Holy Spirit gives believers the power to live in obedience to God. Wesley describes regeneration as the great work which God does in us, in renewing our fallen nature and the beginning of sanctification. Regeneration itself is a result of free grace. Only God can make a soul holy and fill it with the Holy Spirit. He also emphasizes the importance of holy living. “Faith alone, working by love, aimed at holy living.” Wesley linked regeneration with the doctrine of original sin. Since we were born in sin, we must be born again. Wesley describes the new birth as a vast change from darkness to light. Orthodoxy is important, but it’s crucial that regeneration also leads to life transformation.

  • Regeneration is an instantaneous supernatural change that begins the process of sanctification. It is God alone who forgives sin and makes a person holy. The first “liberty” of the gospel is freedom from the guilt of sin. The second “liberty” of the gospel is the deliverance from the power and dominion of sin. The marks of the new birth are faith, hope and love. Wesley defines sin as a willful transgression of a known law of God. Wesley is not saying that one who is regenerated will never sin again, but open, willful sin and rejecting God should be the exception rather than the rule. Obedience of faith refers to the power of someone who is regenerated to obey the commandments of God. The greatest freedom of all is the freedom to love God and love our neighbor.

  • Assurance is an essential part of the conversion experience. Our sins are forgiven and we are children of God. Biblical texts that teach assurance are Romans 8:15-16, Galatians 4:5-8 and 1 John 2:12-14. According to Roman Catholic theology articulated at the council of Trent, assurance is not a normative component of God’s promise of salvation. The Roman Catholic church teaches that assurance is corporate and focuses on apostolic succession and the sacraments. Wesley describes the direct witness of assurance as an inward impression on the soul of believers by the Holy Spirit, who testifies to the spirit of the person that they are a child of God. The realization of the direct witness of the spirit will be different for each individual and will be memorable but may not be dramatic. Wesley considers conscience as a supernatural faculty that God has restored.

  • Indirect witnesses to our new birth are the keeping of the commandments of God and fruit of the Spirit. The gifts of the Spirit are diverse but they are all given by the Holy Spirit. Wesley emphasizes the importance of both direct and indirect witness.

  • Wesley describes salvation and sanctification by writing, “God worketh in you; therefore you can work…God worketh in you, therefore you must work.” In the process of sanctification, we are becoming increasingly holy. The process of sanctification involves changes in degree. The process begins when we are justified. The believer is gradually dying to the carnal nature. The Christian life is a journey of holiness. The goal is holy love. As believers experience the love of God, they will love God and show love to their neighbor. Wesley teaches that when you believe in God, you have a disposition toward God, which is a sure trust and confidence in God which causes changes in your life. Dispositions are more consistent than emotions. Practicing sin makes you less free. Holiness leads to freedom and happiness.

  • Self-denial involves being willing to follow grace, to follow God’s will rather than yours, recognizing that your nature is corrupt and to deny ourselves is to deny our will where it contradicts God’s will. Taking up your cross includes being willing to endure suffering. Wesley teaches that repentance is important in terms of individual sins at salvation and also of the sin nature. Evangelical repentance is repentance of the sin nature. Wesley urged people to minister to both peoples’ bodies and souls.

  • In this lesson, John Wesley's theology on entire sanctification emphasizes the distinction between gradual sanctification as a process and instantaneous entire sanctification, with a focus on the idea that entire sanctification is an utter gift of God received by faith alone, demonstrating a balanced view of cooperative and free grace.
  • In this lesson, Dr. Collins reviews John Wesley's doctrine on entire sanctification. He explains that it is not sinless perfection but a state of love where believers are free from the power and being of sin, emphasizing the need for continual growth in grace.
  • Wesley wanted to reform the church of England, not begin a new denomination. The fundamental nature of the Church is a community of people-centered on Christ. The Greek word in the New Testament that refers to the Church is ekklesia. The Church was born at Pentecost. The relation of the church to Israel and the inclusion of Gentiles in the church were two foundational questions in the early Church. The Church is composed of all believers throughout the world as well as believers meeting in local communities. There is one Spirit, one hope, one Lord, one faith, one baptism and one God and Father of all. The importance of unity in the Church is stressed in the Gospel of John and in other writings in the New Testament. The Holy Spirit animates individuals and also the body of Christ corporately.

  • It’s not possible to for people to be holy without the Holy Spirit. The Church should live in an attitude of humility and be open to repentance and reform when there is sin and evil discovered. There institutional church should have disciplinary mechanisms to deal with sin and evil. Ecclesiastical synonyms for catholic are universal, global, ecumenical and extensive. The apostolic testimony is passed down through the centuries. Apostolic succession divides the Church because of the view of the sacraments, especially the Lord’s Supper. The creeds in the reformation era articulated Protestant theology. The church is where the pure Word of God is preached and the sacraments are duly administered. Methodism is a reforming movement with the theme of real Christianity vs. people who lived by displaying the form of Christianity but lacked the power. Methodist bands and select societies were modeled after Moravian small groups. The soul and the body make a man, the spirit and discipline make a Christian. The general rules of the United Societies were agree to avoid evil, do good to your neighbor and employ the means of grace. The goal was to foster a spirit of repentance. They emphasized Scriptural Christianity. Wesley’s purpose was that Methodism become a reforming order within the church, not a separate denomination.

  • Worship is a response to God because God has already acted. Gathering together is important for the faith community to fellowship together. The minister welcomes everyone to invite them to worship God. In worship, we encounter the Word of God as it is read and declared, by response in prayer and in the creeds and confessions. In communion, we are responding to the gift that God has given us. When we go out from a worship service, we are salt and light to the world. Worship is essentially responding in acknowledgment of what God has done. A sacrament is an outward expression of an inward grace that is received by faith. Luther described a sacrament as containing the three elements of a sign, signification, and promise. For baptism, the sign is the water, the signification is dying and rising with Christ and the promise is forgiveness of sin and renewal of your nature. Wesley considered baptism to be associated but distinct from the new birth. Baptism is an outward sign of the inward work of the new birth.

  • Wesley’s view of baptism is both sacramental and “evangelical.” Wesley considers the Lord’s Supper as a means of grace because it is, “food for the journey. In the early church, believers were required to be baptized before they could receive the Lord’s Supper. The sign is the bread and wine, the signification is the body and blood of Jesus and the promise is the forgiveness of sins and renewal of our nature. Luther describe’s the Lord’s Supper as a testament. Wesley says that there is a spiritual presence of Jesus in the Lord’s Supper. The Lord’s Supper is not a sacrifice, but it does bring the meanings of the death of Jesus into the community of faith in a tangible way. Wesley thought that each person should receive the Lord’s Supper as often as possible.

  • Eschatology comes from a Greek word meaning, “last things.” Aristotle describes physical death is when the body is separated from the soul. Spiritual death is when the soul is separated from the sanctifying presence of God. Eternal death is the eternal separation of the soul from God. Some people teach that the term “sleep” in Scripture to describe death, means cessation of consciousness and is not used metaphorically of the dead body. A belief in the unending existence of the soul raises the question of its habitat and activities in the state between death and the resurrection, generally referred to as the intermediate state. It seems then that there is a particular judgment at death that will be consummated later on in a general judgment. Jesus promised that he would come again to earth and it will be personal, visible, physical and literal.

  • The second coming of Christ will take some people by surprise, but the faithful will be prepared. It will be visible and obvious to everyone. Believers will be raised from the dead to be with Christ. Postmillennialism teaches that things keep getting better and the second coming of Christ will come after the millennium. Premillennialism teaches that things get worse and Christ comes before the millennium. Amillennialism sees the thousand-year reign as a symbol and not a reality. There will be a final judgment that will display the attributes of God, where Jesus will be seen as the king of kings. The final judgment will bring justice and reveal the character of each person. Heaven is where the glory of God is expressed. There will be a new heaven and a new earth.

Holy Love is an overarching theme of John Wesley's preaching and theology. Join Dr. Kenneth Collins as he explores topics ranging from grace, repentance, justification, regeneration, assurance, sanctification, the church and sacraments, and eschatology, by using Scripture, historical context, and the writings and the sermons of John Wesley. 

Wesleyan Theology II 
Dr. Ken Collins 
Entire Sanctification (Part 1) 
Lesson Transcript


Our gracious Heavenly Father. We always come before you with the name of Jesus Christ on our lips. And in having that name on our lips, we have confidence. We have confidence because he is the risen one, He is the resurrection and the life. And he brings us great hope by the spirit he has sent forth, which is in us, which illuminates, guides us and helps us. And so we're thankful once again for the body of Christ and with Christ as the head of the church. We remember at this time, especially the leadership of the church, pastors and teachers around the world who are faithfully day in and day out, proclaiming the glad tidings of salvation of Jesus Christ. And we pray for their encouragement, their strengthening and that. Their light may continue and thereby be a blessing to others. And we ask all this in the name of Jesus Christ, and it's in his name. We pray by the power of the Holy Spirit to the glory of God, the Father. Amen. Okay. Well, we have an important topic today. We have been walking through the order of salvation, the auto salutes, and now we are at the point of entire sanctification. We had spoken earlier that sanctification is best understood in a three fold way. First initial sanctification or what we can call regeneration or the new birth. Secondly, the process of sanctification, in other words, growing incrementally by degree over time. And now, thirdly, and that's where we are today to talk about entire sanctification. Okay. And in starting out, we can make an observation that it is well known, of course, that Martin Luther taught the doctrine of justification by grace through faith alone. And what we're going to see here in this context of entire sanctification is that Wesley John Wesley continued the insights of the Reformation. 


That is Sola Fee day, and he brought that over to this whole area of entire sanctification. And so Wesley continued the Reformation, if you will, by applying this key inside of, you know, by grace, through faith alone to sanctification as well. And that means then it's not simply the forensic elements. In other words, justification that is by grace, through faith alone, but also the participatory aspects of redemption, that is sanctification in the form of regeneration and entire sanctification that they too are by grace through faith alone. Listen to Wesley's words quote, Exactly as we are justified by faith. So are we sanctified by faith? Faith is the condition and the only condition of sanctification exactly as it is of justification. Okay. And so we see here the parallel that Wesley is setting up between justification on the one hand and entire sanctification on the other. Now, when we think of faith in this context, historically speaking, it was Peter Burleigh, the young Moravian missionary, who pointed Wesley to the Scriptures by means of which he became convinced of the two distinct gifts justification on the one hand, and entire sanctification on the other, that they were by grace through faith alone. And so I think we have to credit Peter Burleigh for helping Wesley to see this clearly first in terms of justification. And then later on, Wesley made the move over to entire sanctification as as well. We can look at the date 1741 and by this time Wesley was already exploring his own Anglican tradition to further understand how justification is by grace through faith alone. And so as he was doing that work, he made a crucial move beyond Burleigh and applied these insights elsewhere to in his practical theology. In other words, he connected Soul Feed Day to the holy living tradition, to the participatory themes of sanctification. 


And he began to understand that entire sanctification, just like justification, is a sheer, utter gift. It is a gift of God. It is a gift of God, an utter gift of God. And because it is an utter gift from God, it therefore can be received by faith alone. By faith alone. Now, in his journal and in his correspondence, Wesley began to write of what he called, quote, quote, Simple faith. Simple faith. And at times, he used the language of naked faith. And this was his as the way entire sanctification is realized. And he. Did this, of course, in order to underscore how freely this grace is given to us by God. So in terms of this first emphasis, for example, Wesley remarked in 1761 that he had, quote, earnestly exhorted all who were sensible of their wants and a thirst for holiness to look unto Jesus to come to him just as they were, and receive all his promises. And surely it will not be long before some of these also are fully saved. Fully saved. He's referring to entire scientific nation. They're fully saved by simple faith. By simple faith. And so we see here, Wesley, making the transition of solar fee day and applying it to entire sanctification as well. Also, in a letter to John Walton that was drafted in 1773, Wesley counseled him, quote, Be all a methodist and strongly insist on full salvation to be received now by simple faith. And then again, in 1786, Wesley wrote to Peter Walker as follows quote, Only exhort all that have believed to go on to perfection and everywhere insist upon both justification and full sanctification as receivable now by simple faith. Okay. And then in terms of another important emphasis, Wesley observed to R.C. 


Brackenbury in 1780, this is late in Wesley's career. He wrote, quote, The war will not cease before you attain. And what he's referring to here is entire sanctification. But by your attaining the promise, and if you look for it by naked faith, which why may you not receive it? Now, Wesley asks, And then five years later, in a letter that he wrote to Miss Locke's Dale, who had lost what Wesley himself had called the second blessing, he counseled her, quote, You unquestionably did enjoy a measure of his pure and perfect love. And as you received it at first by naked faith, just so you may receive it again and who knows how soon? Wesley asked. And then, finally, the following year, Wesley penned a letter to Mrs. Bowman and urged her to go on to perfection. Quote, Expect continually the end of your faith, the full salvation of your soul. Wesley wrote, You know, whenever it is given, it is to be received only by naked faith. Wesley writes. Okay. And so we're seeing that Wesley is fully affirming the Reformation inside of Sola fee Day. He doesn't see that simply in terms of justification, but he also sees it in terms of entire sanctification by grace through faith alone. Now, let's speak of the balance of Wesley's conception of grace here during the 20th century. George Croft Cell popularized the notion that Wesley's theology entails, quote, a necessary synthesis of the Protestant ethic of grace with the Catholic ethic of holiness. From our perspective, however, the discussions of Wesley's views of repentance and work suitable for repentance and we talked a lot about that yesterday, that this already reveals that he also had a very Catholic understanding of grace as well, one that embraced both divine and human cooperation. 


And so what I'm suggesting here in this context, that we're going to see a Catholic understanding of Grace, Koper and Grace, as well as a Protestant understanding of grace that is free grace that's going to emphasize the work of God alone. And so. We are going to see co-op grace in the form of divine human cooperation leading up to entire sanctification. But entire sanctification itself will not be a species of cooperation or responsible grace. It will be a species of free grace. Free grace representing the work of God alone. And so Wesley has a balance, a conjunctive balance here once more of both cooperative grace and free grace. Now, this Catholic theme of grace that is synergism, synergistic understanding of grace, as we saw in Wesley's sermon on working out our own salvation. God works there for you can work. God works, therefore you must work. Wesley continued this Catholic theme of grace in 1765, and he notes in his journal, quote, It is impossible that any should retain what they receive without improving it. And so he's thinking about someone who has been justified and born of God, that they must continue to receive grace and to cooperate with God. And that's what he means by, quote unquote, improving it. And then a few years later, in 1765, Wesley remarked, quote, To use, the grace given is the certain way to obtain more grace. And so Wesley is suggesting, you know, that as we cooperate with God on the way to entire sanctification, we receive grace upon grace, to use all the faith you have will bring an increase in faith. Wesley writes, And then if we take a look at his sermon and Israelite indeed, and this was composed late in his career, Wesley points out in this sermon that quote, Whoever improves the grace he has already received, whoever increases in the love of God, will surely retain it. 


And this is an observation that, if not properly understood, could easily result in the charge of potpourri. In other words, that Wesley has backed away from reformation insights is somehow or other suggesting a salvation by works. But he's not. He's simply arguing that in salvation we find both cooperate and grace a synergism divine human cooperation, but also free grace. And what we have before us right now on the approach to entire sanctification, we have someone who is already a child of God. They're already justified and born of God, but they haven't folded their hands, you know, as James even talks about. But they're but faith is active. Faith is active in love. And having received the regenerating grace of God because God has already worked. Then believers respond and live out the obedience of faith. That would be another way of of expressing it. Okay, so there is this quote, quote, Catholic understanding of grace in Wesley's theology. This is going to lead up to entire sanctification. But interestingly enough, co-opting grace will lead up to the door of entire sanctification. But you don't get in so you don't get it. And that that can be baffling, frustrating to those who are in the model of interpreting Wesley's theology as utterly under the paradigm of co-opting grace or responsible grace. Because that's a synergistic understanding of grace, and that that'll take us to the door. But since entire sanctification is a sheer, utter gift, it therefore, is to be received by grace through faith alone. Let me just cite the end of Wesley's sermon, the Scripture Way of Salvation, which he wrote in 1765. He says, Listen to this language here. It's he's thinking of faith and works and the approach to entire sanctification. If you think you must be or do something else first, then you are expecting it by works even on to this day. 


But if it is by the grace of God, we might read their free grace of God. But if it is by the grace of God, expect it as you are and expect it now. Okay. And so the noun as there highlights the sheer gratuity of grace, that this is an utter gift and therefore can be received now. And so when we are, as we are entering into a discussion of entire sanctification, we will reach, we will need a rich understanding of the Protestant, if you will, the reformed Reformation, understanding of grace. And this can amply be demonstrated, of course, in John Wesley's writings. Listen to Wesley here. Quote The author of Faith and Salvation is God Alone, the author of Faith and Salvation Is God Alone. That almost sounds like a Calvinist, but Wesley at times sounds very similar to Calvinism, especially when he's thinking about free grace. Wesley notes that he is the sole giver of every good gift. Moreover, not only does Wesley contend that holiness is the work of God, but he also maintains that the most high quote does it of his own good pleasure. In other words, divine freedom. Yes. And even sovereignty determines the timetable for crucial receptions of grace. And Wesley was fully aware of this dynamic, which would have surprised some of his Calvinist detractors, especially when he wrote to Jerry George Meriwether in 1766. And this is what Wesley had to write quote, And he, meaning God, does in some instances, delay to give either justifying or sanctifying grace for reasons which are not discovered to us. These are some of those secrets of his government, which it hath pleased him to reserve in his own breast. And so what is Wesley saying there? He's saying, in effect, that God is sovereign, that God will give the gift when God, God wills. 


Beyond this, Wesley puzzled over the reality of the reality that entirely sanctifying grace was freely bestowed on some even before they asked for it, while others had to, quote, wait for it perhaps 20, 30 or 40 years nay, and others till a few hours or even a few minutes before their spirits returned to him. And this same theme of free grace is unmistakable in Wesley's classic treatise on this topic, which is, of course, his plain account of Christian perfection, in which he affirms that sometimes God quote, does the work of many years in a few weeks, perhaps in a week, a day or an hour. He justifies or sanctifies both those who have done or suffered nothing and who have not had time for a gradual growth, either in light or in grace. End of quote. And so Wesley is saying here, especially this phrase, he justifies or sanctifies both those who have done or suffered nothing. You know, this actually represents a difference between John Wesley and Charles Wesley. Charles Wesley made room for larger understanding of suffering on the way to entire sanctification. And when John Wesley learned of that, he actually balked at it. He balked at it because in his mind, entire sanctification, since it is a gift, it therefore can be received now by grace through faith. And so his response to his brother, Charles, on this issue of suffering was. Who loved Jesus Christ more than the disciples, John, and yet who suffered less. And so Wesley was very wary of those. And we see this in the Catholic tradition at times, who somehow or other make suffering necessary in order for for heart purity to come about. And Wesley rejects that. He rejects that. John Wesley rejects that specifically because it is a gift and therefore can be freely given. 


And God sanctifies those who have done or suffered nothing. Wesley. Wesley writes. Okay. And so Colin Williams, in thinking through this same area, observed, quote, It is this emphasis upon the gift of perfect love to be received by faith that distinguishes Wesley's doctrine of sanctification, by faith alone from the Roman Catholic ladder of merit. Scheme of perfection. Or as Albert out there put it quote For Wesley, the doctrine of perfection was yet another way of celebrating the sovereignty of grace. It was just another way of celebrating the sovereignty of grace. And so in developing this Protestant emphasis, which goes back, of course, to the 16th century, goes back to the insights of the Reformation. Wesley did, in fact, maintain that since entirely sanctifying grace is an utter gift of God. Not absolutely dependent on works as a prior condition. It can therefore be received when. It can be received now. Now, in other words, those justified and born of God do not have to be. Or do something else first. In order to be entirely sanctified. This is a truth that the Catholic paradigm struggles to acknowledge and by which it is often perplexed. It thinks that it's somehow or other has to do something and has to manage it, so to speak. Nevertheless, Wesley clearly affirmed here quote, and now I'm giving the quote more formally. And by this token, may you surely know whether you seek it. And the it here is entire sanctification, whether you seek it by faith or by works. If by works, you want something to be done first before you are sanctified. You think I must first be or do thus or thus. Then you are seeking it by works even on to this day. If you seek it by faith, you may expect it as you are. 


And if, as you are, then expect it now. Okay. And so what we're beginning to see here is Wesley's careful balance of two of a twofold understanding of grace. Yes. Cooperate. Grace, on the one hand, which some people call responsible. Grace. Yes, that's a part of Wesley's theology, but it's not the whole thing. And as a matter of fact, co-opting grace, synergism doesn't explain entire sanctification. It doesn't because entire sanctification has to be understood in terms of free grace hailing out of the Reformation. And so Wesley has the proper conjunctive balance. There's going to be divine human cooperation leading up to receiving entire sanctification if there be time and opportunity. But entire sanctification itself is a sheer, utter gift to be received in such a fashion. And so we see here a careful balance, a twofold understanding of grace. So here I'm picking a little, you know, at George Cross cells or earlier assessment. I think Wesley's understanding of grace was more sophisticated. It was Protestant in one sense, Catholic also in another. And so his understanding of grace represents a balance, a conjunctive balance. Now, if, however, we were to take the Catholic understanding of grace, in other words, divine human cooperation, and we don't deny that that's a part of Wesley's theology. We're just saying it's not the whole it's not the whole thing. But when this Catholic paradigm of synergism is brought to bear as the exclusive interpretive model, as as it is done today at times of Wesley's practical theology, then some may mistakenly believe that they have all the bases covered, so to speak. In other words, they say, Well, there's a role for God. God works and God initiates, and then there is human response, and that is the end of the matter. 


We've explained all that's entailed in terms of grace, but what is missing here and what is falling through the gaps in that understanding of grace is precisely what John Wesley learned from the Moravian. It's precisely what he learned from Peter Burleigh. And then later on, through his own Anglican tradition, as he dug deep and tried to explain the insights that he had learned from Peter Burleigh and to explain them in light of his own Anglican tradition. And so the thing to see here is in Wesley's understanding of grace, especially in this context of entire sanctification, he understands that God is so good, God is so gracious and merciful that the most high works alone giving benefits not on the basis of prior human working or merit, but out of the sheer bounty and richness of the divine love. In other words, the proper conjunction here, which depicts Wesley's twofold understanding of grace, is not merely divine and human working. And even if the emphasis is on divine working, it still would not be sufficient for that. Synergism itself would constitute only one half of the larger of the larger, more generous conjunction that Wesley painstakingly had. Old in place, not simply co-opting grace, but the conjunction of cooperation and free grace. Cooperation and free grace. Now, I have said earlier in this course that John Wesley was quintessentially a Western theologian. Now, I know in Wesley's studies, you know, there was this whole thing, John Wesley in Eastern Orthodoxy. John Wesley in the Eastern Fathers. And, you know, the Eastern fathers were helpful to Wesley in his understanding of the process of sanctification. But as I noted earlier, John Wesley was quintessentially a Western theologian because of his Augustinian understanding of of sin in terms of, you know, total depravity, as we had mentioned earlier. 


And so he's quintessentially a Western theologian in terms of his Augustinian understanding of sin. Okay. And then for Wesley, that is going to be met with prevailing and grace, the prevailing and grace of God. But he's also a Western theologian, quintessentially So I mean, no surprise here. He's an Anglican because that he is drawing deeply from the wells of the Reformation in his understanding, not only of justification, but his understanding of entire sanctification as well, especially as entire sanctification is received. And this will become more clear. This balance that Wesley has, although he's quintessentially a Western theologian. This balance will become more clear as we examine the temporal dimensions of entire sanctification. And so it should therefore come as no surprise in light of what we've said to learn that Wesley taught that sanctification. Broadly understood here we're thinking most broadly understood is both gradual and instantaneous. Okay. Sanctification as a process. After someone becomes initially holy, they become a child of God. That process of sanctification is gradual. One is growing by degree, a little holier, becoming more patient, more kind. Over time. Okay. We. We see that. Okay. But Wesley's also going to stress the instantaneous as well. Look at it this way. This might be helpful to you that if we think of synergism, if we think of gradual growth and development, the process of sanctification, that is a change in degree. Entire sanctification is not a change in degree. It's not a little more of what already was. It's something new is in place. It's the transition from impurity to purity. And so we can distinguish the process of sanctification from entire sanctification itself. And saying that the process of sanctification marks a change in degree, a little more of what already was. 


Whereas entire sanctification is unlike that, It's not a change in degree. It's not a little more of what already was. Something new is here. It's a threshold change, a qualitative change, the change from impurity to being pure for the first time. Okay. And so we're going to see this nice balance in Wesley's theology for both the gradual and the instantaneous. So a gradual work of grace constantly precedes the instantaneous work of both. Justification on the one hand and entire sanctification on the other. But the work itself, sanctification and justification is undoubtedly instantaneous. It cannot but be instantaneous. Once you understand what that temporal element suggests. And so after a gradual conviction of the guilt and power of sin, Wesley writes, You was justified in a moment. So after a gradual increase in conviction of inbred sin, you will be sanctified in a moment. Okay. And so here Wesley is arguing both in terms of justification and entire sanctification, that they're instantaneous. The instantaneous and this is where lots of people have gone wrong in interpreting. Mostly because they're looking at that instantaneous ness and they're thinking of 19th century revivalism with all its jump and stir. Come to the altar now, and they want to be rid of that. But that's not what's being suggested here. What is being suggested here in terms of the instantaneous, it highlights the divine role. It says that God is sovereign here because you don't have to be or do something else first in order to be entirely sanctified. That one can be entirely sanctified. Now, why? Because it is a sheer sovereign gift to be received by grace through faith alone. Now, if the notion of perfection as a process and is understood in a second sense, drawing on a Catholic paradigm such that the qualitative difference of purity itself entailed in Christian perfection is thought to be brought into being through a process and therefore in an incremental way, then we must disagree, if that's your understanding of entire sanctification. 


We have to disagree because I can cite chapter and verse from Wesley's writings showing that that's not how he understands the approach to entire sanctification, because that understanding is neglecting Wesley's well-worked distinctions between process and instantaneous ness. And those distinctions of process and instantaneous are also a window on the distinction of what graces are possible and what graces have been actualized or realized. So the tension between process and instantaneous is a reflection on the other tension between possibility What might we be by the grace of God? And then the question, what are we actually today? By God's grace, what grace is have been realized actualize. So if perfection itself is subsumed under, if we subsume perfection under a possessive paradigm, if it is ever a flying goal, in other words, we're always a, you know, in process, but we never quite reach it. If it is a flying goal, as even Albert Outlaw said at one point, if it's always moving, you know, if it's like the horizon, we're in an airplane where we're heading towards the horizon, but it's always going away from us. Then it's never actualized, then it's never actualized. It's never realized in the warp and woof of life and so on just stood. Perfection would be, you know, a thing always just beyond the horizon, forever remaining elusive. And one is always approaching. One is always going, but one never actualized as one never realizes. And so instantiation, the qualitative distinction before and after is important. Precisely in this area there is a qualitative difference of purity. Okay. And so Wesley's instantaneous motif, then drawn from his rich Protestant heritage, held the salient truth in place. That process must not remain forever open ended as ever, a possibility to be actualized, but must in time eventuate in closure that marks the realization of qualitatively distinct graces, even the difference between an impure heart and a pure one. 


Again, if entire sanctification occurs, if it is actualized, there will be a moment of its instantiation whether that moment is recognized or not. For it marks not a change in degree, but a change in quality. It is, for want of a better terminology, a threshold change. Okay, let me back up. Let me look at this in a slightly different way. I again, as we talked about the new birth, I can give a parallel discussion in terms of entire sanctification. I would make a distinction between the so teria logical and the psychological OC. And by that I would argue that one may not realize at the precise point in time when one is entirely sanctified. In other words, it would be psychological diversity here, but there is so teria logical. Same in the sense that the event has occurred. It has occurred. I would use the analogy of falling in love with your spouse. Okay. Can you tell you can you tell me the first day to the date when you fell in love with your spouse? Probably not. Oh, he thinks he can hook would. There's always one in the group. He thinks he can tell the exact date and hour that he first fell in love with his wife. Okay. For many people, they can't. But they know. They know that they love their spouse. They're in that reality today. In other words, that transformation has taken place. They're not quite sure exactly where it took place, but they know they're different today. And we saw that same sort of discussion in terms of justification and regeneration. We see that discussion playing out here as well. There is psychological diversity, but there is sociological sameness, meaning that the same kind of reality has been entered into, that God is all and all that. 


We love the Lord, our God with our whole heart, our whole mind, our whole strength and our neighbors as ourselves. And so where we're stressing both, there's a kind of sociological unity, but a psychological diversity. And we certainly wouldn't want to take some Saints experience and make it a paradigm and say, okay, everyone has to be entirely sanctified like this because Sister so-and-so experienced it this way, that that would be a grave mistake, to be sure. Now, for those who emphasize the process of nature of the order of salvation to the virtual exclusion of the instantaneous, in other words, they they wipe the instantaneous off the table for a number of reasons. They will fail to see that entire sanctification is a whole work. It's an entire work, as the name suggests, a wholeness and an entire che that can only be lost in a nearly exclusive emphasis on process and Christian nurture along the way. And so the genius of Wesley as a practical theologian then, is that he held both of these elements in tension. Yes, process leading up to entire sanctification. But entire sanctification is not a process. Entire sanctification is a sociological event. When I hear from my students in class, they talk about, oh yes, the process of entire sanctification. I know right away they don't understand Wesley because entire sanctification is not a process. It is a sociological event. There is process that leads up to entire sanctification, and we've distinguished that earlier. That's our second understanding of sanctification. The process, the change in degree on the way to and to entire sanctification. But entire sanctification itself is a discrete work. It's a threshold change. It marks a qualitative difference, not a change in degree. Okay. And naturally, after the realization, the actualization of this grace, there will, of course, be process afterwards. 


There will be divine human cooperation afterwards and growth and grace. But notice this. It is a pure heart that will continue to grow in the favor of God. Now, sometimes people have problems with this. How can a pure heart grow? Not a problem. We can illustrate it this way in terms of three large beakers, and they're all filled with water to the brim. And so my question to you would be, is any one of these beakers more full than the others? The answer is no, because they're both. They're all full. All three are full. Okay. Now. Or do they represent different quantities? Of course they do. And so we understand that this way it is a pure heart that is growing. We are growing over time. We constantly are increasing in the knowledge and love of God. We are becoming a more. But the thing is, all of that more is immediately given to God and God immediately fills us. And so it's not a contradiction to say that one can be entirely sanctified, have a pure heart, and yet be called to continue growth in grace. Indeed, Wesley thought that we would grow in grace, in the knowledge and love of God for all eternity, because God is inexhaustible. And so, you know, this this may be helpful. This may be helpful here, though, Wesley clearly claimed that both justification and Christian perfection are instantaneous events that are preceded and followed by a gradual work. Nevertheless, the imagery that he employed in each case was markedly different concerning regeneration. You will recall that Wesley used the imagery of birth with great effectiveness to underscore the instantaneous element. So, for example, when we're in the context of justification regeneration, Wesley wanted to illustrate that spiritual truth by appealing to the natural event of a woman pregnant, a woman with child. 


There is process. To be sure the child is in its mother's womb. It is growing over time, but it's not all process because there comes a point and it is a point when that baby is born and when the baby is born, it's born. That's a threshold change. You know, it can't be more born than it is. It's born. And in the same way, to flesh out the temporal elements, Wesley appealed not to birth, but to death. He noted that dying is a process. There's a process that leads up to it, but it's not all process because there comes a point and it's a threshold change. It's a qualitative distinction. One is dead, one is dead in the same way. Entire sanctification, there's process that leads up to it. To be sure, no one's denying that. But entire signification itself is not a process. If you think it is, you've misunderstood it. You've misunderstood the nature of this kind of change. And so Wesley illustrates the temporal elements of entire sanctification by appealing to this issue of dying and then finally being dead. Okay. And these are powerful images that Wesley has in his writing. Now, it's often difficult to perceive the instant Wesley writes when a person dies. Yet there is an instant, he adds, in which life ceases. Now, if we think of another possible error here, misrepresentation with respect to the temporal elements of entire sanctification, it would concern the matter of utterly equating perfect love with Christian maturity. In other words, with adult states, with the don't Christian states or what might be called chronological maturity. OC Wesley is very clear on this. Well, let me tell you a little story. I can illustrate this by telling a little story. I was at a a scholarly event and one professor was teaching on entire sanctification, and he basically was saying entire sanctification is Christian maturity. 


That's basically what he was saying. And then I was thinking about, you know, how I read in Wesley's journals, you know, that there was an 11 year old girl who was entirely sanctified, obviously not rich in experience, not rich in judgment either. She's only 11 years old. So I raised my hand and I said, you know, what about this young girl Wesley refers to in his journal? He was entirely sanctified at 11 years old. And then the scholar folded his hands and asked me to cite the text. Well, I couldn't cite the text right off hand, so I sheepishly sat down. Well, I met this person later on in a public forum, and we were debating going back and forth. And I started out with an apology. I said, you know, I was wrong. You know, I said that the girl was 11 years old. She was actually four years old. Four years old. Yes. Wesley has in his Islam and an 11. And as well, there was an 11 year old girl, 11 year old girl who Wesley affirms was entirely sanctified. But in his journal he records the case of a four year old girl who died. Notice the language here in the full assurance of faith. The full assurance of faith is that which marks entire sanctification. Now, there's actually a lot to get at here because we adults, we tend to miss prize the spiritual life of children. That's. That's a very bad mistake. We shouldn't do that. We should stop. We don't have to be intellectually developed to give our hearts to God. Salvation, principally, as Wesley understood, is a thing of the will, a thing of the heart, the dispositions and tempers. A four year old girl can give her entire heart to God. 


She can love God with all that she is. She doesn't have to be intellectually developed. She doesn't have to have experience upon experience, which will issue in just wonderful judgment. She doesn't need any of that. Okay. That's not that's not required. You know, because once again, you're saying you must be you must be something else first before you can be entirely sanctified. And then you're saying it's not by grace, you're saying it's not a gift. You're saying that God can't sovereignly give this gift of grace. And so we don't want to confuse entire sanctification with Christian maturity. If we mean by that Christian maturity that those of tender years could not be entirely sanctified because the very highest graces can characterize children who obviously do not have the wealth of experience that adults do. It's important, therefore, neither to underestimate the spiritual life of children nor to miss prize their love. And since Christian perfection is principally a matter of the heart and its dispositions, those of tender years can indeed love God with all their soul, with their very being. And so on September 16, 1744, Wesley observed in his journal, Listen to what he writes. Quote, I buried near the same place, one who had soon finished her course, going to God in the full assurance of faith when she was little more than four years old. Since the phrase the full assurance of faith in Wesley's writings corresponds to Christian perfection, the reference is remarkably clear. Later, in 1764, and this was what I was thinking of when I met that scholar, Wesley took note of the efficacious ness of grace at its highest reaches. Oh, I got the age wrong. In the life of a 12 year old girl. I said 11. 


She was actually 12, but one case of a four year old girl. The second case of a 12 year old girl. And then Wesley continued, I have seldom known so devoted to soul as eight as S.H. at Macclesfield, who was sanctified within nine days after she was convinced of sin. She was then 12 years old and I believe was never afterwards heard to speak an improper word or known to do an improper thing. Her look struck an awe into all who saw her. She is now in Abraham's bosom. And then, a decade later, in a letter that Wesley writes to Ms.. March, Wesley waxed eloquently on the notion that a great work of grace can take place in a relatively short period of time. Quote, God makes young men and women wiser than the aged. Wesley declared, and gives to many in a very short time a closer and deeper communion with himself than others attain in a long course of years. Okay, let's stop there and we'll take some questions or comments that you might have in terms of anything we've said. I have a couple clarifying questions. Okay. One is, how can any human being declare another human being to be entirely sanctified? How can anyone who can only see the outside declare that this person wholly loves God? Yeah. I mean, it's a matter of indirect evidence here. It's a matter of evidence says. And so in terms, for example, of the four year old girl, Wesley is describing her experience in light of what she's saying, that sort of thing. And he's referring to it as the full assurance of faith. Now, during the revival in the 18th century, there would be, of course, testimony. In other words, true. On one hand, we don't know the inward soul of anybody but our own soul. 


Okay. But when that person tells you and shows you by word and action and makes a profession of perfect love, I mean, you know, you that's evidence to be looked at. And Wesley did believe there were some who were testifying to the reality of entire sanctification and he believed their testimony to be true. Now, he didn't believe all testimonies were true, but he did believe others. But, you know, the problem you raise is the problem having to do with human beings as being embodied souls. No one is privy, you know, to our to the depths of our heart, our will, but ourselves. And so we face that, you know, just by being human beings, embodied souls. But what we have and this is good evidence, we have the life being lived out by that professor, and we have their testimony itself. And Wesley looked at this material very carefully, and he did believe that there were some who were perfected and loved by God's grace. Yes. Okay. My other question was, back at the beginning of this talk, you talked about I may not get the words right. But you said that. Wesley said that. Holiness because it is a goal, needs to be an attainable goal. These are my words and attainable goal in our life. And my question is. Not on a not what the theological basis for that is, but is there a biblical basis for that? I'm not aware of any biblical basis for saying a goal has to be attainable. Well. If we think about Scripture and we think about salvation and redemption and we think about what? What does it mean to be redeemed? It is I think it's abundantly clear, actually, in Scripture that salvation is the restoration, the renewal of the image in which we have been created. 


In other words, the Imago day. I think Scripture is clear about that. And what is that image in which we have been created? Well, Wesley refers to it as the moral image we have been created coming from the hands of the Creator in righteousness and true holiness. Now we have fallen from that in sin. So therefore, salvation in some sense will be directed towards that goal of a renewal of the Imago day in which we have been created. I think Scripture, the New Testament is abundantly clear about that, that whether one's reading the first letter of John, whether one's reading Romans 6 to 8, the whole point of it is the renewal in holiness, because God is holy, be holy for I am holy. I mean, that is the goal. That is what is held before all believers. And I think especially today, in the 21st century, when there's so much relativism around us, cultural relativism, Christians need to be properly rooted. And one way we are properly rooted is that we are directed towards the high end, towards which we are called. And therefore, all our small doings in our day to day life are geared or are pointed towards that higher end of being renewed in the image and likeness of God. Yeah. Yeah. I'm just curious. I just. I think I need to say about that later. Yeah, okay. Given there's at least in Western, seems to be no pre-condition of age for, for this particular, for the work of entire saying we know it goes at least down to four years. So he cites that. Is there anywhere in his works or can we extend that to also when we talk to people about people with special needs. Um, I don't know if Wesley addressed that directly, but but based on what I'm hearing, it feels like we can extend that since there's no seems to be no cognitive limit on that. 


Yeah, I this is a difficult area and I've I've heard this question before in different contexts and it's important issue. And I think what I've already said, I think wisely does affirm that you do not have to be intellectually developed in order to be redeemed. That redemption, principally for Wesley, I think, is a volitional as though it affects our mind. Redemption is a thing of the heart of the will, of the transformation of what we love. So we're properly oriented to a God of holy love. People with special needs, people who are mentally deficient they can love and they can be redeemed. So I would want to be pastoral here. I'd want to be understanding, I'd want to be generous. And, you know, we have to we have to leave this to God. We really do. I'm a judge of no man. I don't judge God. I don't judge man. I have a hard time even judging myself at times because I'm so complicated at times. And so, you know, I want to be generous here in this context, but it's a very good question. Yeah. Going back to the beginning of the lecture. Yeah. Why would God withhold the gift of sanctification for those who have already received his free gift? Why would he wait ten, 20, 30, 40 years? Yeah, this is a good question. I mean, if we have someone who is a child of God who there justified the borne of God, they're obviously a disciple of Jesus Christ. They're walking in grace through faith. Why is it that this gift is withheld? As you correctly noted, Wesley mentions in his writings for some 1020, you know, all these many years when some receive it so quickly, even though they were hardly seeking it? I don't know. 


I don't I don't have an answer to that other than other than the sovereignty of God, the freedom of God, the sovereignty of God in giving gifts as God sees fit. Yeah. But if we receive the Holy Spirit at the point of salvation, does that not begin to walk sanctification? It does. But here Wesley was referring specifically to entire sanctification or heart purity. And, you know, he knows that a person is a child of God. But when will they receive this gift of hard purity? They are not in control. They are not in control. Remember when I said earlier in the context of justification, regeneration, I said I was quoting Wesley here. Wesley wrote, A person can be redeemed if he will see that. That's Wesley, the Armenian speaking. But then he also added, But not when he well, meaning that the person is not in control. They don't set the timetable because God is sovereign and God gives God's gifts when God freely decides. So in answer to your question, I would list the sovereignty of God. I'd also list mystery. I'd also want to. Again highlight that we are not in control, that God is in control. Those sorts of things. And humility and humility, I would add to that. Yeah. I just want to make sure I'm understanding. So what you're saying is that the free gift of entire sanctification is not always on the table. It's not always available for us as Christians. Well, Wesley, there's actually two things going on simultaneously, so I'm glad you're asking this. On the one hand, he is arguing that it is a valuable. Okay. And so we're speaking so teria logically that this gift is available, as I quoted the language earlier. You don't have to be or do something else first in order to be entirely sanctified. 


That's the whole instantaneous board. And this is what some of the subsequent tradition for God, like I'm thinking of actually some of the folk in the 19th century holiness movement, they picked up this piece of Wesley, you know, the instantaneous that entire sanctification is available now by grace through faith. And then that's all they brought forward. But if you do that, then you're going to distort Wesley's view and also the view of of the Methodist Conference. Why? As precisely because of the issue you're raising that not only did Wesley teach that this gift was available now precisely because it is a gift, but the pastoral. Wesley This is the pastoral Wesley now speaking, and this is also the Methodist Conference. They accurately indicated that for most people, and this is the majority of people, they will not be entirely sanctified until just prior to death. And so here, on the one hand, you have the proclamation that this is a gift. And because it's a gift, it therefore can be received by grace through faith today. But then you have the reality that for most people, they won't receive that gift today and that they won't receive it until just prior to death. And we were suggesting in an earlier lecture what may be the way and what what likely bars the way is fear. What likely bars the way is fear of some sort, some being. So there are two aspects of Wesley here, and your question helps to bring up the two aspects. On the one hand, you know, the theological Wesley's saying this gift, since it is a gift, is available now. But then the pastoral Wesley along with the Methodist conference speaking well for most people it will not be until just prior to death. 


Now, this may come as a surprise to you, but some denominations within the Wesley and household, they basically have made it a requirement for ordination to have a profession of entire sanctification. You know that. Yes, that's true. But see, that is to misunderstand, Wesley. That's to misunderstand Wesley, because Wesley himself realized that for most people they would not be entirely sanctified until just prior to death. And that piece wasn't brought forward by many folk in the 19th century holiness movement. And therefore they actually ended up distorting Wesley's teaching on entire sanctification. Okay. Yeah. Mike, are you familiar with what I was saying there? See, he is. You see, you want to amplify that or fill that out a bit more on the which part? Well, the part that a requirement being made for ordination and a profession of entire sanctification would be required for ordination. Yeah, well, so in that, you know, the Nazarene tradition, certainly we we. I want to make sure I get this right because I want to, but. Excuse me. Hey, I would say our our understanding with our excuse is more of a it's not a purely Wesleyan understanding, but it has that kind of alter theology of Phoebe Palmer coming in there. And the certainly the the revivalists of that 19th century coming in. Right. That that gives that idea that to the church. And as we will take that idea that if if God has entire sanctification kind of always available, that's always available. It's instantaneous available now therefore it should be realized. So that ultra theology says, well, if it's available now than than the, you know, the 19th century revival, somebody will say, well, if it's always available, then why wouldn't God want to give it kind of all your question of why wouldn't God want to give it now? And so if God has it available and God wants to give it, then what is necessary is when God moves us to accept, to simply accept that. 


Right. And and so that that is a history by old tradition. True. Yeah. So you can see once again, though, that Wesley has a greater balance because he has the balance of the theological and the so to your illogical disgrace is available now however he recognized and this is the piece that wasn't brought forward, you know that for most people it will not be until just prior to death. And so we need to and so entire sanctification is no surprise here. A high a very high measure of grace. It's a very high measure of closeness to God almost that the self looks we talked about this earlier like an emptiness. Like an emptiness because God is all in all, we love the Lord, our God with all our heart, all our mind, all our soul. Yeah, but that resonates richly with the idea of sacrifice. You think of sacrifices offered to God that the entire being is offered to God in sacrifice because one loves God so much. Take it all. Take everything of me. Right? Yes. Some people want to love God that way. They do. They do want to love God that way. Yes. She talked about the gradual element of sanctification and then the instantaneous, and that the gradual part still is operative after the instantaneous. That's right part. So how do you know when that happens, if you're still in the process of doing things in a gradual way and with our ability to rationalize ourselves, you know, how how can we be really confident that we have that? Or is it really even important to know that if the gradual part is still. Part of the process. And we're still growing in that way. We can maybe look back and see some things like you were talking about the example of, you know, relationship and marriage. 


Is it important to know at the time it is is it even important for us to know that at all if we're still continuing in that process? Yeah, I hear a couple of things in your question. And actually because Wesley's theology is parallel, I can begin to illustrate it actually through the dynamics on the way to justification and regeneration. A new birth. You know, you're asking the question of knowledge. How do we know? How can we be assured? You're asking the question of assurance on one level here. And when we think of the believer, well, we see it and we think of the sinner approaching justification and the new birth. They will have the direct witness of the Holy Spirit that they're a child of God, so they're not left in the dark. So in terms of the question, how do they know? Well, there is the direct witness of the Holy Spirit also in terms of the believe, there's the indirect witness of the Holy Spirit in terms of such things as conscience, the fruit of the Spirit obeying Christ through the moral law, etc., etc.. So there are a number of evidences we can look at to to come to the conclusion I must be a child of God. But we have the direct witness of the Holy Spirit. Okay, now watch this. Since there is such a parallelism in Wesley's theology, there is. It's very orderly, coherent. There is a witness of the Holy Spirit, a direct witness of the Holy Spirit. That one is entirely sanctified. Okay. And there's also an indirect witness of the Holy Spirit. That one is entirely sanctified. So just as in terms of justification or regeneration, the believer is not left in the dark in the same way, in terms of entire sanctification, the believer is not left in the dark because the spirit will bear witness to one's entire sanctification. 


And there are indirect evidence of it as well. And Wesley wrote about those. And so, yeah, yeah.