Rev. John Wesley (1703-1991) sermon based on this scripture:
“By grace are ye saved through faith.” Eph. 2:8
Wesley establishes his premise with his initial sentence:
“All the blessings which God hath bestowed upon man are of his mere grace, bounty, or favour; his free, undeserved favour; favour altogether undeserved; man having no claim to the least of his mercies.” Wesley continues, “
“It was free grace that “formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into him a living soul,” and stamped on that soul the image of God, and “put all things under his feet.” The same free grace continues to us, at this day, life, and breath, and all things. For there is nothing we are, or have, or do, which can deserve the least thing at God’s hand. “All our works, Thou, O God, hast wrought in us.” These, therefore, are so many more instances of free mercy: and whatever righteousness may be found in man, this is also the gift of God.”
“If then sinful men find favour with God, it is “grace upon grace!” If God vouchsafe still to pour fresh blessings upon us, yea, the greatest of all blessings, salvation; what can we say to these things, but, “Thanks be unto God for his unspeakable gift!” And thus it is herein “God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died” to save us “By grace” then “are ye saved through faith.” Grace is the source, faith the condition, of salvation.”
Welsey in essence preaches what is faith that saves? It is faith in Christ and God in Christ from the heart vs the faith of demons who know all the truths of Christianity but don’t believe and the faith of a heath which is moral faith.
“Christian faith is then, not only an assent to the whole gospel of Christ, but also a full reliance on the blood of Christ; a trust in the merits of his life, death, and resurrection; a recumbency upon him as our atonement and our life, as given for us, and living in us; and, in consequence hereof, a closing with him, and cleaving to him, as our “wisdom, righteousness, sanctification, and redemption,” or, in one word, our salvation.”
What is salvation that comes through faith: it is present, saving from sin (original and actual, past and present sin, guilt, fear and power of it) leading to the new birth where he who is born again sins not.
Often the charge is then made that to preach salvation by faith alone undermines holiness, good works, the Law leading to pride, encouragement to sin, despair since he can’t contribute to his own salvation until finally they say just don’t preach it.
Wesley says, “But what saith the Holy Ghost?”…“Go and preach the gospel to every creature.” For in preaching the grace of God is revealed from which all of the favour of God is portioned out to man.