This is a brief excerpt from John Wesley’s book “A Plain Account of Christian Perfection.” Wesley tells us that these questions were written by a group of British Christians in the 1760s. I thought these questions were really insightful and got me thinking about sanctification in a totally new light. I especially think questions 7 – 12 are really interesting to think about.
QUESTIONS, humbly proposed to those who deny entire sanctification is attainable in this life.
1 Has there not been a larger measure of the Holy Spirit given under the Gospel, than under the Jewish dispensation? If not , in what sense was the Spirit not given before Christ was Glorified? John 7:39
2 Was that ‘glory which followed the sufferings of Christ,’ (1 Peter 1:11) an external glory , or an internal, viz., the glory of holiness?
3 Has God anywhere in Scripture commanded us more than he also promised us?
4. Are the promises of God respecting holiness to be fulfilled in this life or only the next?
5 Is a Christian under any other law than those which God promises to ‘write on our hearts?’
6 In what sense is ‘the righteousness of the law fulfilled in those who walk not after the flesh but after the Spirit?’
7 Is it impossible for anyone in this life to love God with all his mind, all his soul, all his heart and all his strength? and is the Christian under any command that is not fulfilled by doing this?
8. Does the soul’s departing from the body effect its purification from indwelling sin?
9. If so, isn’t it something else besides the blood of Christ which cleanses us from all sin?
10. If his blood cleanses us from all sin while the soul and body are united, is it not in this life?
11. If when that union of body and soul ceases, is it not in the next? and is this not too late?
12. (On the death bed;) what situation is the soul in, when it is neither in the body nor out of it?
13 Has Christ ever commanded us to pray for something he never intended to give us?
14 Did he not teach us to pray ‘your will be done on earth as it is done in heaven,’ and in heaven is God’s will not done perfectly?
15. If so, has he not taught us to pray for perfection, and if so does he not intend on giving it to us?
16. Did the Apostle Paul not pray according to the will of God when he prayed that the Thessalonians might be “Sanctified wholly and preserved” (in this world not the next, unless he was praying for the dead) and “blameless in body, soul, and spirit until the coming of Jesus Christ.”
17. Do you sincerely desire to be freed from indwelling sin here and now?
18. If you do, did not God give you that desire?
19. If so, did He give it to you to mock you, since it is impossible and can never be fulfilled?
20. If you do not have enough sincerity to even desire it, are you not worrying about topics that are too high for you?
21. Do you ever pray for God to “cleanse the thoughts of your heart” so you may “perfectly love him?”
22. If you neither desire what you ask, nor believe it is attainable, are you not praying in vein?