Wesleyan Theology II - Lesson 13

Entire Sanctification (Part 2)

In this lesson on Entire Sanctification (Part 2), Dr. Collins emphasizes the importance of clarifying what John Wesley believed entire sanctification was not. He refers to John Wesley's treatise, "A Plain Account of Christian Perfection," to address common misunderstandings. He reviews Wesley's assertation that believers are not perfect in knowledge and that there is always room for spiritual growth. He warns that even mature Christians can fall from grace and need the continual guidance of Christ. Entire sanctification does not mean sinless perfection but is a state of love, where evil thoughts and tempers are replaced by pure love. Christians are free from the power and being of sin, but temptation still exists. 

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 13
Watching Now
Entire Sanctification (Part 2)

I. Introduction to Entire Sanctification

II. Wesley's Approach to Discussing Entire Sanctification

III. Clarifying Misunderstandings about Entire Sanctification

A. Believers are not perfect in knowledge

B. No state of grace is so lofty that one cannot fall

C. Believers still depend on Christ for atonement

D. Infirmities are consistent with holiness

E. Temptation remains even for the entirely sanctified

F. Christian perfection is not static but dynamic

II. The Nature of Entire Sanctification

A. Wesley's Perspective on Mature Christians

B. Freedom from Evil Thoughts

C. Freedom from Evil Tempers or Dispositions

D. Renewal of the Imago Dei in Believers

E. Christian Perfection as Holy Love

III. Assurance of Entire Sanctification

A. The Witness of the Holy Spirit

B. Direct and Indirect Witness of Sanctification

C. Parallel Between Assurance of Justification and Sanctification

  • 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 2) 
Lesson Transcript


I mentioned earlier that whenever Wesley wanted to stress something because it's very important, he often preceded by a v a negative. In other words, he started out by saying what a thing is not. And we're going to find that to be the case here as well. And so when Wesley considers the broad topic of entire sanctification, he's going to start out by saying precisely what it is not in order to clear up mis misunderstandings. And so perhaps the best window on Wesley's conception of entire sanctification is to be found, Of course, in his treatise, a plain account of Christian perfection, which was produced in 1766, in fact, because this doctrine was an apt was apt to be misunderstood. And it was misunderstood by a number of different people, by Moravian Ends, by Calvinists and others. Wesley took great care in his work to state in what sense Christians are not and can never hope to be perfect. And so on this topic we're going to see Wesley will affirm many of the statements that he had made earlier in his sermon on Christian perfection, which was written in 1741. And so we start out here with the basic observation that believers, first of all, are not perfect in knowledge. They're not perfect in knowledge. Freedom from ignorance is not promised to those who utterly embrace the love of God and offer no resistance to divine grace. There is always the need to grow in knowledge. Indeed, as I said earlier, Wesley believes we are going to grow in knowledge, the knowledge and love of God throughout all eternity. We're always becoming more we're always receiving more experience, and we're growing in knowledge. Second, for the mature Wesley, the seasoned Wesley, there is no state of grace that is so lofty that one cannot fall. 


And so. Wesley wants to make sure that. It's realize one can fall from this state of grace. He writes, quote, We do not find any general state described in scripture from which a man cannot draw back to send. Okay. At one time, Wesley thought that this would not be the case, but then he changed his mind and realized that those who bore witness to entire sanctification, some of them had fallen from this grace and indeed had fallen into open willful sin. In fact, in 1766, when Wesley examined 50 erstwhile professors of Christian perfection, he quickly discovered that about two thirds of them had suffered loss. He therefore stressed the continual need of the pure and heart to walk closely, to work closely with Christ, and not to take the grace of God for granted. Beyond this, Wesley reveals in his plain account that believers still depend upon Christ not simply to keep them from the shoals of the reemergence of inbred and actual sin, but also to make atonement for their omissions, for their shortcomings. These mistakes in judgment and practice and these defects of various kinds. Wesley writes, How can we express that in another way? Remember when we gave our definition of sin, as Wesley understood it? What is sin? Properly speaking, Properly speaking sin is a willful transgression of a known law of God. We had that on the table. But that means there is sin. Improperly speaking. What is sin? Improperly speaking? Any violation of a known law of God, whether willful or not. And what Wesley is saying here in this context, that even the pure in heart, they need the atonement of Jesus Christ for sin, improperly speaking, because perfection, Christian perfection is not a perfection of performance. They will still make mistakes in judgment. 


They may judge others to be better or worse than they actually are. They will still be troubled by lack of knowledge and difficulty in judgment. They will make mistake mistakes. There will be defects of various kinds. The atoning blood of Christ is necessary for those things as well. And so in one of his letters, Wesley discourses on this same theme by writing, quote, For as long as they end, he means the entirely sanctified are in the body. They are liable to mistake and to speak or act according to that mistaken judgment with the result, of course, that they cannot abide the rigor of justice, but still need mercy and forgiveness. Put another way. Wesley maintains that the entirely sanctified still deviate from the perfect law, though not willfully. And therefore, it is these acts which we're calling sin, improperly speaking, which still need the atoning blood of Christ. On this subject, Wesley elaborated. Here's what he writes quote, To explain to explain myself a little farther. On this head, quote, not only sin properly, so-called. That is a voluntary transgression of a known law, but send in properly so called. That is an involuntary transgression of a divine law. Known or unknown needs the atoning blood. Second, I believe there is no such perfection in this life as excludes these involuntary transgressions, which I apprehend to be naturally consequent on the ignorance and mistakes inseparable from mortality. And so Wesley is is really connecting this to our mortal nature, our human condition. Consequently, given this, that the atoning blood of Christ is necessary for sin. In properly speaking, Wesley did not like to use the words the phrase sinless perfection. He did not like that. That's a phrase that Wesley did not use less. It be implied that believers are free from any violation of the perfect law. 


They are not so free. Those who are perfected in love are still subject to ignorance and mistakes, a condition which is inseparable from their finite condition. Therefore, involuntary transgressions of the law of love are not sins, properly speaking, yet they still need the atoning blood of Christ. Listen to Leslie on this quote. Absolute perfection belongs not to man, but to angels. Wesley writes, Oh, wait, excuse me. Absolute perfection belongs not to man, nor to angels. I should have said, But to God alone. But to God alone. Thirdly, Christians are not so perfect as to be free from infirmities. That is from, quote, quote, weakness or slowness of understanding dullness or confused ness of apprehension, incoherence, c of thought, irregular quickness or heaviness of imagination. What Wesley probably has in mind here is the interaction between the soul and the body and the resultant confusion of thought that can occur due to the limitations of the body and to the fact that human beings are creatures, embodied souls. They're not disembodied spirits, they're not pure spirits. And so along this line, Wesley writes, quote, As long as we dwell in a house of clay, it is liable to affect the mind sometimes by dulling or darkening the understanding and sometimes more directly by damping and depressing the soul. More important, perhaps, Wesley maintains, quote, that a thousand infirmities are consistent with the highest degree of holiness, which is none other than pure love. Note, then, that an infirmity is not a license to sin. And so Wesley cautioned some for calling their pet sin and infirmity. Wesley rejected that and so on. And infirmity is not a license to send, nor can it ever be used as an excuse of such. Listen to Wesley on this score. 


Very interesting quote. Let us not give that soft title to known sins as the manner of some is. And so what Wesley is saying here and infirmity is simply an amoral temporal limitation, which is expressive of human finite ness. Okay. Again. In what way are Christians not perfected in love? Fourth, perfect love does not eliminate temptation. Nowhere in the Bible is the promise made to believers concerning this. Instead, the Scriptures, as Wesley clearly observes, continually exhort all the sons and daughters of God to remain steadfast in the face of manifold temptations. In fact, so concerned was Wesley with the danger of temptations co-mingled with ignorance to the life of the soul that he wrote a sermon in 1760 on this very topic entitled Heaviness through Manifold Temptations. More specifically in this sermon, Wesley maintained that freedom from trial, quote, belong if not to this life. It belongs not to this life. Now, sometimes my students, I've had students ask from time to time, Well, how can someone who is pure in heart be tempted? Well, my immediate response to that is how could Jesus Christ be tempted? Because Jesus Christ was really tempted by the devil in a three fold way. And if Jesus Christ, who was without sin, could be tempted, those who are pure and heart could be tempted as well. Think about all you need for temptation is a person with a measure of freedom, the knowledge of God's will and the freedom to do otherwise. There you have all the elements necessary for temptation to occur. Now, it would be true that for those who are entirely sanctified, their own inbred sin or corrupt nature is no longer tempting them because that has been cleansed away. So that is true. So the temptation would not come from this inward corruption within, you know, the carnal nature, original sin, inbred sin. 


What we were talking about earlier. So there would be that difference. There would be that difference. But even those who are pure in heart, like that four year old girl we talked about earlier, could be tempted and could possibly form. And then lastly, Wesley rejected the idea of a static perfection that would not admit of continual increase and advance as one improves the rich graces of God. Now, we had our beakers up on the screen before. The same principle is operative here. There's no place in Wesley's theology for having arrived because we are always growing. We are always becoming more through experience, through increase in judgment. We're becoming more over time. But it is a pure heart that is growing and that is dynamically growing over time. And so Christian perfection, as understood by Wesley and Albert Outlaw, made a distinction between perfects. As the Latin perfects as a static understanding. And Chelios says, I think if I got that right would be the perfecting perfection. And the point is to understand this in a dynamic way. There's always growth. There's always growth, always growth and grace. So starting out with this via Negativa, we've mentioned five major points here. Now, Wesley is going to proceed with a a positive. Describe what entire sanctification is. And so Wesley now addresses in what sense Christians are perfect in his treatise on perfection and immediately points out and I think this is rather remarkable, he immediately points out in this treatise that he is not. Now speaking of babes in Christ, of Babes in Christ, but he writes of adult Christians. But don't misunderstand what he means there by adult Christians because he immediately writes. But even babes in Christ are so far perfect as not to commit sin. 


Okay, so, Wesley, he's. He's writing a treatise on entire sanctification. But what is he doing as he opens up this treatise? He is immediately reminding people of the liberties enjoyed by those who are born of God, the children of God. Because he's writing that even babes in Christ, meaning those who are justified and born of God, are so far perfect as not to commit sin. And by that, we can express that another way. In other words, those folk are free from the power and dominion of sin. Even a child of God is free from the power and dominion of sin. Now, it's interesting that Wesley stresses this because this distinction between the liberties enjoyed by those who are born of God and the liberties enjoyed by those who are entirely sanctified. Sometimes they're confused. They're confused by the subsequent tradition. And so if one maintains that perfection in love is simply the power not to sin willfully, as. Even Albert Outlaw seemed to suggest, then it must be noted that this power, according to John Wesley, is a grace that marks even the children of God are babes in Christ. Listen to Wesley quote Whosoever is born of God cannot voluntarily transgress any command of God. More to the point, Christian perfection goes beyond the issue of the power of sin to deal principally with its being. And so the major distinctions here and maybe I'll put this up on the board again, we talked about justification. We talked about regeneration. And here we're thinking of hematology. We're thinking about the sin issue. And then here we're thinking about entire sanctification. Okay. And what Wesley is emphasizing at the beginning of this treatise. Justification one is free from the guilt of sin. In terms of regeneration, one is free from the power of sin. 


In terms of entire sanctification. One is free from the being of sin. The being of sin. Even even the carnal nature. Even the carnal nature. Okay. And so Christian perfection and some in the subsequent tradition did not get this right. Christian perfection goes beyond the issue of the power and dominion of sin to focus principally on the issue of the being of sin. In fact, it is nothing short of remarkable that in Wesley's plain account of Christian perfection, as well as in a crucial sermon on the same subject. Wesley takes such great pains to discuss the privileges of the children of God, those initially sanctified by the grace of God. He does this no doubt, because he realized that even in his own 18th century context, that many of his readers would mistakenly identify the freedom of the children of God. They would identify that with the entirely sanctified. Now, if you make that kind of confusion, all sorts of problems result. Here's here's what happens if you take the marks or traits of a child of God, move them over to entire sanctification. Okay, then you have emptied out the new birth. You basically emptied it out. But people are not troubled because they would say, well, I'm not entirely sanctified. You know, why fuss with me? But you've basically emptied out the new birth, this kind of freedom which a child of God should enjoy, that is freedom from the power and dominion of sin. And you've moved it on up to entire sanctification. And so that's probably why Wesley, at the head of this essay, reminds folk that even a babe in Christ is so far perfect as not to commit sin. Okay. Now, Wesley, past the liberties of the gospel with respect to freedom from the various debilitating effects of sin in the following fashion. 


And I've got that up on the board here. But now I'll give you Wesley's own words. Quote, The guilt is one thing. See, the guilt is going to relate to justification and the forgiveness of sins. The guilt is one thing, the power another, and the being yet another, that believers are delivered from the guilt and power of sin. We allow that they are delivered from the being of it. We deny. And what Wesley is saying there is that a child of God, someone who is justified and born of God, is free from the guilt and power of sin, but they're not free from the being of said. This is why a second work of grace is necessary. Because sin is a twofold problem. It's not a singular problem. It's a problem in terms of guilt and power, in terms of the one complex. But it's also a problem in terms of being as well. And so Christian perfection will focus on the issue of the being of sin, okay, on the being of said. And so the guilt is one thing, the power, another, the being, yet another. Wesley writes that believers are delivered from the guilt and power of sin. We allow that they are delivered from the being of it. We deny. Now we can express that, in other words, by noting freedom from the very being of sin, even the carnal nature or original sin is the third great liberty of the gospel, and is not only the concern of the second evangelical repentance, but it also makes up an important part of what is called entire sanctification. See, actually, we can talk about four liberties. We have the first liberty here, freedom from guilt, and that results from receiving the graces of justification. 


It's a wonderful freedom. And then secondly, we have freedom from the power and dominion of sin that slavish bondage is broken. How is it broken by the grace of God as a gift? Okay. And then there is the third freedom here, freedom from the very being of sin, that inward corruption within the inbred said. And then fourthly, I think more positively, because this is all negative, this is all this is all freedom from this is all freedom from here. And but the gospel is also freedom, too. So we have to write. Freedom. Two as well. And what is it? Freedom to? It's freedom to love God. And it's freedom to love our neighbor. The twofold great commandment of which Jesus talked about. I mean, that that in a sense also in in some is what Christian perfection is. It's it's the twofold great commandment that Jesus talked about. Okay. And so if we ask the question, then what is entire sanctification? Wesley asserts that the graces of mature Christians, those that are strong in the Lord, exceed exceed those of babes in Christ. Now, I caution you here. He's not thinking of chronological maturity here. He's thinking of more of a sociological maturity. But he's seeing distinction in two key respects that those who are perfected in love, they are free from evil thoughts. They are free from evil thoughts. Thus, if the heart is no longer evil, Wesley reasons, then thoughts involving ill will, lust, envy, or the like will no longer be present in the heart. Listen to say quote, But it is only of grown Christians. It can be affirmed. Wesley States in 1766 that they are, in such a sense, perfect as to be free from evil thoughts. Secondly, those who are perfected in love, in whom dwells the mind, which was in Christ Jesus, our Lord, are free from evil, tempers, evil tempers or dispositions. 


This deliverance, which is so crucial in many ways, can be expressed both positively and negatively, negatively speaking. It entails freedom from such unholy tempers or dispositions as pride and self-will and love of a world which earlier had issued in a heart bent towards backsliding. The believer now feels, quote, No contrary principle within the heart has been cleansed of inbred sin by the sanctifying presence of the Holy Spirit, and he experiences, to use Wesley's own words, a total death to sin. Now that's to express things negatively, but we can also express things positively. Positively speaking, entire sanctification not only entails the actual renewal, the transformation and purification through the ever potent grace of God, but it also marks a genuine healing of the soul, what Wesley calls a therapy a suitcase by perfection, Wesley notes. I mean the humble, gentle patient, love of God and man ruling all the tempers, the words, the actions, the whole heart, the whole life. Again, what is entire sanctification? It's love. Excluding sin, love full of love, filling the heart, taking up the entire capacity of the soul. And so, again, positively speaking. Wesley elaborates, quote, Christian perfection entails the freedom now graciously restored to obey the two great commandments of which Jesus spoke to. Love God with all our heart, our mind, our soul, our strength, and our neighbor as ourselves. No wrong temper, none contrary to love remains in the soul, Wesley observes. And all our thoughts, our words, our actions are governed by pure love. So let's just look at this piece a little more carefully in terms of entire sanctification being understood as the transformation of our tempers and dispositions of the heart. And what Wesley is arguing here, and we've talked about tempers and dispositions as making up the will, that those dispositions are all now rightly oriented towards God. 


They have their proper object. In other words, in all our doing, we are aiming at God, we love God, we love God with our mind, our hearts, our words, our thoughts are dispositions are properly directed and oriented towards a God of holy love. That's another way of speaking of entire sanctification in a positive way, in a very positive way. So we can do this again by saying entire sanctification is love. It's simply love, It's love, holy love, replacing sin, holy love, conquering every vile passion and temper. It not only includes a quote, heart and life all devoted to God, but it also embraces the purification of the relation between God and humanity, such that the Imago day, which we were talking about earlier, especially the moral image, has now been renewed in glory and splendor. The creature who was once steeped in sin now reflects the goodness of the Creator in a remarkable way. Being properly related to the most high believers give evidence of the divine glory that shines through their being. And so Christian perfection to describe it another way is another term for Holy Love. That's what Christian perfection is. It is. Only love, wholly love raining without a rival. It is holy in that believer's so marked by this grace are free from the impurities and the drag of sin. It is loving in that believers now love God as the goal of their being, as the goal of their being, and they love their neighbors as they should. Blessed be God, Wesley exclaims. We know there is nothing deeper. There is nothing better in heaven or earth than love. There cannot be unless there were something higher than the God of love. Wesley writes. Okay, now we've described here, and I think I'm going to take off my jacket now. 


I now have the proper shirt to do it. We've described entire sanctification on the one hand, in a negative fashion, freedom from we've described sanctification, entire sanctification just now in a positive sense. Freedom two. Now we have to raise this issue that was addressed earlier. How do we know that this great work of grace has taken place in our lives? And so that raises the whole topic of entire sanctification and assurance and assurance. And so in answering the basic question, how can believers know that they are entirely sanctified? Wesley once again draws a relation between the two foci of the Wesleyan Order. Salute us, and so we can observe the parallel language in Wesley's following account. Quote. But how do you know that you are sanctified, saved from your inbred corruption? I can know it. No. Otherwise. Then I know that I am justified here by I know we that are of God in either sense by the spirit He has given us. End of quote. And then Westley continues along the same lines. We know it, meaning our entire sanctification by the witness and by the fruit of the spirit. And so Wesley here is talking about assurance. He's talking about the direct witness, as well as the indirect witness, because he's referring to the witness as well as the fruit of the spirit. And so in a letter to Peggy Dale in 1767, Wesley exclaims, quote, The witness of sanctification as well as justification, is the privilege of God's children. And you may have the one always clear as well as the other, if you walk humbly and closely with God. What's what's going on here? I hope you've picked up on this. I hope you've noticed this, that Wesley is setting up a parallel judgment. 


He is suggesting that just as the justified and born of God believer is assured of their redemption, so too is the one who is entirely sanctified, assured of their sanctification by both the direct witness and by both the indirect witness. And so the similarities that are implied in the preceding examples that I've just offered. They occur on two levels. First of all, entire sanctification like justification, entails a direct witness of the Holy Spirit, which means that it is the Holy Spirit who witnesses to believers indeed assures them that the gracious work of God has been accomplished in their souls. Listen to Wesley quote None, therefore, ought to believe that the work is done. Wesley writes. Till there is added the testimony of the spirit, witnessing his entire sanctification as clearly as his justification. Wesley setting up a parallelism here. He's setting up the parallelism between the first focus of the Wesley and Order salutes and then the second focus of the Wesley in order salutes in terms of entire sanctification as clearly as so he's drawing the relation between justification on the one hand and the witness to entire sanctification on the other. Now, obviously there are going to be differences and the differences have to be understood to the growth in grace that takes place in the interim between these two foci of attention. And so the differences between initial and subsequent assurance, we speak of initial assurance in terms of justification and subsequent assurance in terms of entire sanctification. These differences occur on two levels as well. That is in terms of both the direct witness and the indirect witness. For example, in terms of the direct witness, Wesley points out, as when we were justified, the spirit bore witness with our spirit that our sins were forgiven. 


So when we were sanctified, he bore witness that they were taken away in a similar fashion. Wesley explores the differences in terms of the transition from a babe in Christ to a young man to a father. And he writes this, quote, A natural man has neither fear nor a love one that is awakened fear without love a babe in Christ, Love and fear a father in Christ. Love without fear distinctions which had numerous examples among 18th century Methodists. Secondly, the differences in terms of the indirect witness are equally significant. Wesley notes, for example, that the fruit of the spirit that accompanies entire sanctification is What would that fruit be? Well, it's love, joy, peace are always abiding. And by invariable long suffering, patience, resignation, gentleness, triumphing over provocation. And so to the question as he listed these things. But what great matter is there in this? Wesley responded with some measure of astonishment. In other words, people were saying, Well, that just sounds like the fruit of the spirit to me. What's the big difference here? You know, it sound like you're just simply naming fruit of the Spirit. So Wesley responds to that by saying, quote, What? Total resignation to the will of God without any admixture of self-will, gentleness without any touch of anger. Even the moment we are provoked. Love to God without the least love to the creature. But in in for God, excluding all prime love to man, excluding all envy, all jealousy and rest, judging, meekness, keeping the whole soul enviably calm and temperate in all things. Deny that any ever came up to this, if you please. But do not say all who are justified do. And so what Wesley is is arguing in this excerpt here. He's basically, in effect, saying there is a strengthening here of the fruit of the spirit, because he used that language here, always abiding, invariable, long suffering, meaning continually ongoing, uninterrupted. 


And so he is making a distinction. He is making a distinction in terms of the fruit of the spirit as indirect evidence as to entire sanctification and the fruit of the spirit as indirect evidence as to justification, because there is this filling out, this invariable illness, this fullness which is present in the latter, that is not present in the former. And so it is the completeness, the thoroughness of this work of grace, then to which Wesley appeals here, is underscoring the constancy of its fruit elements that bespeak of the efficacy of God's entirely sanctifying grace. Now, having considered this issue of assurance, I would like to take up a few considerations here on the way to eternity, if you will. Tough for us to understand entire sanctification more clearly. And so and we've already begun this conversation now where we're fully going to engage it. Though Wesley affirms throughout his writings that the grace of entire sanctification is available now to the children of God to be received by simple faith. At other times he talked about by naked faith. He nevertheless pointed out in a very pastoral fashion that this gift is not usually given to just prior to death. Indeed, this teaching appears not only in the conference minutes of 1744 and 1747, but it's also expressed in Wesley's plain account produced in 1766. This is what Wesley writes We grant that many of those who have died in the faith say the greater part of those we have known were not perfected in love till a little before their death. And then the very next year, Wesley states to his brother Charles that he believes that the instant of entire sanctification generally underscore that word generally is the instant of death, the moment before the soul leaves the body. 


Notice in this context then, that Wesley still insists that Christian perfection is instantaneous, even though for many it will not occur until prior just prior to their demise. Since Wesley rejected the possibility of cleansing after death in Purgatory, a notion held by Roman Catholics, and since he also repudiated the idea that death itself is a pure of fire found among some Lutherans, he therefore insisted repeatedly that entire sanctification must take place this side of eternity. Indeed, in a letter to Elizabeth Hardy, written in 1758, this is what Wesley counseled, quote, Therefore, whatever degrees of holiness they did or did not attain in the preceding parts of life, neither Jews nor heathens, any more than Christians ever did or ever will enter into the New Jerusalem unless they are cleansed from all sin before they enter into eternity. Okay, well, if such is the case, then what would happen if a child of God, one who is genuine, genuinely justified and born of God, dies before their heart is fully cleansed of inbred sin? Remarkably enough, Wesley entertained just such a speculative question in his own day and responded in both a negative and in a positive way. This is going to be interesting. Negatively speaking, he cautioned Mr. Potter. Mr. Potter in 1758. Not to be insincere in his prayers for present cleansing. The council that Wesley gave this man, Mr. Potter, is pungent, even trenchant, and is worth quoting at length. This is what he wrote to him. Quote, Sir, did you ever read morning prayer? On the 10th day of the month. You then said, Make me a clean heart. Oh, God. And renew a right spirit within me. Did you mean what you said? If you did not, you was guilty of the grossest hypocrisy. 


If you did. When did you expect God would answer that prayer? When your body was in the grave. Too late. Unless we have cleaned hearts before we die. It had been good. We had never been born. Now, I grant this is a very trenchant statement that Wesley makes here. What is odd about this trench, and some might say even harsh nature of Wesley's advice to Mr. Potter is that just a few months earlier, Wesley had written in a far more pastoral way, a far more positive way to Elizabeth Hardie on this very topic. And he offered he put the whole matter on a more positive footing, and this is how he counseled her. Quote yet. I do not say he is in a state of damnation or under the curse of God till he does attain entire sanctification. No, he is in a state of grace and in favor with God as long as he believes. Neither would I say. If you die without it, you will perish. But rather, till you are saved from unholy tempers, you are not ripe for glory. There will therefore more promises be fulfilled in your soul before God takes you to himself. So we see in this second account a more positive statement of it. What is Wesley saying to Elizabeth Hardy? Well, till you are saved from unholy tempers, you are not ripe. You are not ripe for glory. Moreover, in this same letter to Elizabeth Hardy, Wesley shares his conviction that, quote, None that has faith can die before he is made ripe for glory. A statement that is more in line with what the Methodist Conference had decided earlier in its observation that, quote, Nun who seeks at meaning entire sanctification sincerely shall die without it, though possibly he may not attain it till the very article of death. 


So why is it, then, that for most people they will not realize the graces of perfect love until just prior to death on the threshold of eternity? It may have to do with the specific nature of this grace in which God reigns supremely. Here, from the perspective of the believer in whom the carnal nature still remains, the prospect of entire sanctification, that is the presence of the Holy Spirit reigning in the heart without a rival may be fraught with fear. Put another way the self may appear to be lost in this flush of purity, but observed that this fear is not the fear of death in the sense of guilt and condemnation. For in commenting on Romans chapter eight, verse one. Wesley had already pointed out quite clearly there is no condemnation for the children of God who are in Christ, Jesus, our Lord. It's a different kind of fear that we're referring to. It's even a kind of existential fear striking at the very heart of our being that emerges in the shadows of this grace. It is a fear, not of condemnation, but of annihilation. Such a spiritual and existential fear which some traditions really don't even grapple with. They say this is never on the table. They're never looking at this kind of challenge to one's being. They'll pull. Tilak looked at it very clearly in his book, The Courage to Be and other traditions as well. But this is a deep, a spiritual, existential fear, and it is has attendant struggles. We see good examples of this in the Roman Catholic tradition, understanding the nature of the problem. Here I appeal to the writings of Teresa Mazu, a Roman Catholic saint and 19th century Carmelite nun. She experienced this kind of trial, if you will, this grappling with the specter of nothingness and annihilation that that emerges in the highest flush of grace as she was grappling with that in her holy life, as she was struggling with her own belabored dying process. 


She was dying, actually, of tuberculosis and dying over a period of time. And in her story of a soul which has sold millions of copies and has really, you know, galvanized her cause in the Roman Catholic Church, she writes this, quote, Hope on hope on and look forward to death. But it will give you not what you hoped for, but a still dark night, the night of annihilation. And though John Wesley himself had once feared death and the specter of condemnation. Remember those powerful Atlantic storms on the way to Georgia? Nevertheless, by the time he was elderly and even earlier, this fear was. Been gone. However, in 1766, in a letter to his brother Charles, a rather depressing letter that John Wesley writes. He reveals a different kind of concern as he's thinking through the issues of sin and grace and as his thinking of his own struggle and in a way that looks like it's similar to that of Tyrese. Wesley writes, quote, I have no more fear than love or if I have any fear. It is not that of falling into hell, but of falling into nothing. And so entire sanctification then may not occur until just prior to death. Not because the children of God fail to comprehend what is implied in this highest measure of grace, but precisely because they do understand are simply put to the carnal nature which is mistakenly identified with the substance of self. There yet remains, even in the regenerated soul, the prospect of what looks like annihilation and nothingness. And in a sense, it is. It is for God is now all in all, raining in the heart without a rival. And though on one level, Wesley rejected the Dark Knight of the Soul, he rejected the Dark Night of the Soul as an era of mysticism. 


He nevertheless kept backing into its logic. Fear and the specter of nothingness rightly understood bar the way but perfect love. In the end, it will triumph. And as Scripture points out, it will cast out all fear. That is the light of divine. Holy love will shine in the midst of such darkness, in the face of death, in the face of the death of the carnal nature. Or to use the language of Thomas Merton, even in the abandonment of the false self that has been identified with the carnal nature to the true self and to the other glory and adoration of God. Okay, let's take some questions or comments that you might have in terms of what has been said. So we've talked about how to. Recognize this entire sanctification and what it is in a practical way in pursuing that. Do we pursue knowledge of the Scripture and love for God? And that comes as a byproduct of that pursuit. Yeah. I like once again, I like your question. I think what the believer would have before one is really the command of Christ, you know, the summarization of the law to love the Lord, that God with all my heart, all my mind, all my soul, all my strength. And to love thy neighbor as thyself and to be directed towards God, mindful of this twofold great commandment. And then also, I think in a very positive and helpful way to be focused on God rather than the self. In other words, this sufficiency and I would underscore that word sufficiency, the sufficiency of God's grace for all our need, in other words, for the entire need of the sinner, both in terms of of guilt and power, but also in terms of the being of sin, that that the grace of Jesus Christ is sufficient for all our need in this life. 


In this life. Wesley's going to be emphatic about that. It's not going to be a progression process after death. Death itself will not cleanse because it's an enemy of God that will be judged rightfully so at some point. But it it it glorifies Christ. The eyes are taken off the self and are focused on Christ and the sufficiency of God's, the sufficiency of God's grace. Now, of course, unbelief can bar the way if you believe God cannot do this in life, that's the end of the matter. It's over. It's done. Unbelief bars the way. But if you are open to the possibilities of being transformed at this depth in this dimension, then one is open to receiving the grace of God in a new way. And so, you know, I would advise in light of what Wesley's teaching here, and this is also found in the writings of others throughout the history of the church that, you know, this is something that should be realized in the Christians life. Yeah. It'd be interesting to take this class and listen to this lecture in context of what scriptures Wesley was using to come up with this theology. That would be really. It seems like it would give it just more of a depth. Yeah. And there are many scriptures, as you might imagine, that underscore the importance of entire sanctification and the writing that Wesley turned to repeatedly when he was writing on this topic. And some important work has recently been done in this area. Is the first letter of John, the first letter of John that Wesley sees really what he's writing about there in terms of entire sanctification being described in detail in the first letter of John, but also elsewhere in the New Testament? I would say there seems to be a difference between the Old Testament and the new in that now that Christ has died and is risen. 


You know, even Jesus talked about John the Baptist as great as he was, he's, you know, he's least in terms of those who are the children of God. There is there is a transition here. And I think there is an intensification of graces, especially since the Holy Spirit has now been given at Pentecost. And so in answer to your question, Wesley especially focused on the first letter of John to fill out also the book of Romans and other writings as well. Yeah. Just one more question. Yeah. You mentioned that Wesley believes if the heart is if we're perfected, our heart is not evil. And all thoughts of evil, temper, disposition, jealousy, all of that will go away. That we will not willingly fall into those those that evil thought, the yes, that evil thinking. Yeah. He talks about Christian perfection as being free from evil thoughts and being free from evil tempers, tempers and dispositions. Now you know, what do you mean by being free from evil thoughts? I mean, a thought can come into our mind quickly, you know, and I think that's just a part of human existence. The thought might come in, but is that thought entertained? Does it correspond to any love from, you know, the carnal nature which is no longer there? I think that's what Wesley is driving at when he's talking about freedom from evil thoughts. You know it. I do admit this is difficult to understand. It's much easier to understand the freedom from evil tempers. In other words, the temper of pride, a sinful pride, a temper of jealousy or self orientation or selfishness. It's easy to understand entire sanctification in terms of freedom from evil tempers. But if we're going to talk about freedom from evil thoughts, I think we have to qualify that in a certain sense, in that, you know, we as human beings, we may be introduced to thoughts just simply through others. 


They're going to give us thoughts. And we those thoughts are in our minds. But I think then the question becomes, what do we do with those thoughts? You know? Yeah. So negatively speaking, if these resurface, have we fallen out of grace at that moment? Yeah, that's well, in turn, I think it would be easy to answer that question in terms of the tempers. And so if if if sinful pride is emerging in the heart again, in other words, a kind of self curvature or self orientation or turning within an inward corruption of pride or even of lust, okay, then, yes, that would be evidence that one has fallen from this highest grace, what Wesley is describing as entire sanctification. Because the heart is no longer pure, it is now impure. It is been polluted within. But notice that that heart so polluted is not ready for the face to face encounter with God in heaven. So although this teaching may sound difficult on one level, you in your theologies are going to have to work out where the sin problem is dealt with, where and when it is dealt with. Because everyone, I think, is in agreement that there is no sin in heaven, there is no sin in heaven. We may differ in our theologies in terms of when the sin problem is dealt with. That is the problem of inbred said, which is a filth penis. It's a filth fitness. It's an it's an utter opposition to a god of holy love. It is in rebellion against the God of holy love when that is dealt with and by what means and by what means. And that's when all the Christian traditions are going to differ. But we're all united. Everyone's united. There is no sin in heaven. 


Because if there were sin in heaven, guess what? It wouldn't be heaven. Yeah, I think so. Equivocation. I just want to make sure I understood you. Yes. If a person is entirely sanctified, all those in at point of death, say, earlier in their life. Yes. That means that they have lost, that they no longer have any evil inclinations in their heart at all. And I kind of I think it must be what Adam and Eve were like before. They said they didn't have anything pushing them towards sin. So there so there are people that are are fully sanctified who have no evil inclinations. The heart is no longer corrupt. And yet then they just do. They decide to start sinning again. But it's interesting to think of that if your heart was absolutely pure, what would draw you back down to sin? Is it a choice if it's not an inclination or is is that too broad of a question? No, I think it's a very good question. And, you know, in a real sense, it relates to the human condition and the human condition in that because we don't see God face to face now, we have the possibility of being deceived. And so we being human embodied souls can mistake an apparent good for real good, and thereby embrace evil. And this is done all the time by human beings that they see a good they value that good, they desire it, but it's not a real good it's only an apparent good. And they embrace evil and so they fall. And then there are consequences to that, and they come to a full realization of the evil that they have done. So it even those who have pure hearts can fall. They don't escape the human condition. 


They don't escape the possibility of aiming at, you know, their own selfish world emerging once more. Yeah, Yeah. There's a question I wanted to ask you. You're talking about the role of first John in in Wesley's studies. Yes. And the verse has been going through my head. The last couple of lessons is if we say that we have not seen we make God a liar, and his word is not in us. Right? But then, thankfully for the forgiveness for. So my question is, what does Wesley do with that kind of verse? And first, John Yeah, I think is that the 10th verse? Yeah, he said that the 10th verse has to be understood in terms of the eighth, the eighth. In other words, if we say we have not said the truth is not in us, you know, etc., etc., and what that means is if we say that we're not a sinner, basically, if we say we're not a sinner and we that we don't need salvation, that's the meaning of that. But it's not a statement that we are ongoing, least so ongoing, so steeped in sin and under its power and dominion. I mean, that interpretation would fly against everything else. The author of the first letter of John is saying. And so I think if you take a. Look at Wesley's notes upon the New Testament. He says, The 10th verse fixes the the sense of the eighth or the eighth verse fixes the 10th, the sense of the 10th. I have to look at that again. But it is this issue. It is this issue of saying that we don't need we don't need God because we're not sinners. We have not said well, we've never said no. All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God. 


That's what is meant by that verse. Not that Christians must remain forever under the power and dominion of sin that runs contrary to what the first letter of John is teaching. Yeah. Just to follow up, is this curious to me? More than curious? Yeah. Is that like verse seven, if we walk in the light? Well, why don't you read seven through? Let's say maybe 11. Just read it. But if we send the an IV. But if we walk in the latest season, the light, we have fellowship with one another. And the blood of Jesus. The sun purifies us from all sin. So that's to me, that sounds like just an ongoing life. Verse eight, But it says, purifies us from all sin. Yeah. And mostly interprets that in terms of entire sanctification that we're being purified from all sin. But the very next verses, if we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves. And the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, his faithful just so forgive us. So there's this. I'm just more curious. What? What? So. So Wesley would not see verse seven and verse eight as an ongoing condition that this is this is what happens before you first become a child of God. Wesley is affirming the basic teaching of the first letter of John, which is holiness. I mean, I think that's clear in in the first letter of John and the verse here, you know, if we say we have not seen, you know, we deceive ourselves, I mean that that's clearly understood that we're all sinners and needs a need of God's grace. But that verse is not suggesting that Christians presently, you know, those who are born of God, those who have received redemptive graces, are ongoing thee so under the power and dominion of sin, but unto one just to push the point, he says, My dear children, he's addressing the church. 


He's addressing a group of Christians. And he's and he's telling him that if they say they don't have sin, that they're dead. I think you're giving an improper interpretation. In the first letter to John, it also says no one born of God commits sin, for God's nature abides in him. And he cannot send because he is born of God. And so, you know, your interpretation flies in the face of that. You know, no one, you know, who senses as either seeing him or known him. You know, first, John is affirming a tremendous freedom here. And it sounds to me that your interpretation of that particular verse is running counter to what he's saying in other parts. And one of the basic things of interpretation would be context is everything that the verse eight and ten there have to be interpreted in light of the entirety of that letter. And, you know, I've heard this verse used, and I'm not suggesting you did this, but I've heard this verse used that we cannot be free from the power and dominion of sin in our lives. Well, that's to turn first, John, on its head. That's exactly the opposite of what he is saying. He's saying that the grace of Jesus Christ is so significant and so efficacious that we can be free. Free indeed, we can be free from the power and dominion of sin. Yeah, I would I would never agree with that other position. Yeah, right, Right. And here we have the differences of of traditions, because I know the reformed tradition will interpret Romans seven as descriptive of the Christian life. The Wesleyan tradition will not. Wesley's very specific in his notes. His notes all upon the New Testament. Paul is talking about someone who is under the law, someone who is in the legal state, someone who is not received the vigor of salvific graces in terms of regeneration, whereby they are free from the power and dominion of sin.