John Meunier

'An arrow through the air'

Holiness as highway to heaven

In a letter to a Samuel Sparrow, John Wesley wrote:

We set out upon two principles: 1. None go to heaven without holiness of heart and life: 2. Whosoever follows after this (whatever his opinions be) is my “brother, and sister, and mother:” And we have not swerved an hair’s breadth from either one or the other of these to this day.

This letter was written in 1773. We could go back to 1738 and find him writing nearly the same thing about holiness of heart and life. As he writes, he did not waiver a hair’s breadth from these points.

“None go to heaven without holiness” is a bold claim. Notice it does not say “none go to heaven without Jesus.” This is because Jesus is the means to holiness for Wesley. Jesus has an instrumental role. He breaks the power of sin. His Spirit works holiness in us. But without actual holiness, belief in Jesus does not open the way to heaven either now or in eternity.

I don’t think Wesley would put it exactly that way, but this is my interpretation of his writings.

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Written by John Meunier

April 17, 2012 at 10:05 pm

4 Responses

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  1. My reading of Wesley is the same.

    I asked Dr. Ken Collins today if he knew of any churches that consistently taught this kind of Wesleyan theology AND had the kind of accountability he required in classes and bands. He knew of none and nobody in class piped up to share.

    We have this message for those “in Recovery,” but why not for everyone else?

    John Leek (@johnleek)

    April 17, 2012 at 11:24 pm

  2. PS. This kind of theology, though thoroughly biblical, is really challenging me. How do I live it AND what would it look like to preach it / teach it / expect it?

    John Leek (@johnleek)

    April 17, 2012 at 11:25 pm

    • On the ‘expect it’ side, John, I start from the point-of-view that a person has to agree to the expectation or even ask for it.

      John Meunier

      April 18, 2012 at 3:25 pm

  3. Without Jesus you cannot have holiness….but without walking in holiness you don’t have Jesus. Wesley was 100% right.


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