Sunday, February 21, 2010

The recognition of an extreme view

The partial testimony of a Moravian named Christian David, as recorded by John Wesley in his journal entry of August 12th, 1738.

"Our constant inquiries were, —’Is Christ formed in you? Have you a new heart? Is your soul renewed in the image of God? Is the whole body of sin destroyed in you? Are you fully assured, beyond all doubt or fear, that you are a child of God? In what manner, and at what moment, did you receive that full assurance?’ If a man could not answer all these questions, we judged he had no true faith. Nor would we permit any to receive the Lord’s Supper among us till he could.

“In this persuasion we were, when I went to Greenland, five years ago. There I had a correspondence by letter with a Danish Minister on the head of justification. And it pleased God to show me by him, (though he was by no means a holy man, but openly guilty of gross sins,) that we had now leaned too much to this hand, and were run into another extreme . . . I now clearly saw, we ought not to insist on any thing we feel any more than any thing we do, as if it were necessary previous to justification, or the remission of sins.

"I saw that least of all ought we so to insist on the full assurance of faith, or the destruction of the body of sin, and the extinction of all its motions, as to exclude those who had not attained this from the Lord’s table, or to deny that they had any faith at all. I plainly perceived, this full assurance was a distinct gift from justifying faith, and often not given till long after it; and that justification does not imply that sin should not stir in us, but only that it should not conquer.

“And now first it was that I had that full assurance of my own reconciliation to God, through Christ. For many years I had had the forgiveness of my sins, and a measure of the peace of God; but I had not till now that witness of his Spirit, which shuts out all doubt and fear . . .

"Now three years since, we have all chiefly insisted on Christ given for us . . . which if we rightly believe, Christ will surely be formed in us. And this preaching we have always found to be accompanied with power, and to have the blessing of God following it. By this, believers receive a steady purpose of heart, and a more unshaken resolution, to endure with a free and cheerful spirit whatsoever our Lord is pleased to lay upon them.” ~ Christian David

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