John Wesley wrote over and over that without holiness no one will see the Lord, quoting Hebrews 12:14. And he was convinced that holiness of heart would be readily spotted by its fruit in the life of a Christian. Those who were holy — or moving toward it — would display an active love of God and neighbor that penetrated every aspect of their life. Those without the fruit, no matter how sincere or right-thinking, were not Christians in the true sense. Those who had some degree of holiness and therefore bore some fruit needed to continue to grow toward full holiness because if they did not, they would lose what they had.
His essay “The Character of a Methodist” gives a summary of what a fully formed Christian would look like.
After years of striving to attain this character himself, Wesley discovered at Aldersgate that it was not something he could do through effort. It was, rather, something he could only receive as grace.
Holiness. Fruit. Grace. These to me are the hallmarks of Wesley’s preaching. Each one would need to be discussed and elaborated upon to fully explain, but these three words are good touchstones for what it means to stand in the same tradition as he did.
Of course, nothing about these three words is unique to Methodism, which is just as Wesley would like it.