Wesley begins at the beginning, back in Genesis with Adam, giving us the background of that perfection back in the Garden of Eden. He calls Adam perfect, holy and happy basking in the glow of God’s love. And he messed up, became mortal, separated from God through sin. We can all relate to that, but more than that, because this example of holy happiness messed up we can forgive ourselves for the messes we make.
Wesley calls Jesus – the second Adam. I know where he is coming from but I don’t like that title being applied to Jesus because he isn’t in second place to anyone on this planet, he was there before Adam and he is so much more than Adam. But there is a connection. Because of Adam we were separated from God by sin but because of Jesus we are reconnected with God, because the sinless one, the perfect one gave himself in a single act of self sacrifice he cancelled the debt, redeemed us, from the debt incurred by all the sin of all humankind. Jesus passed through death on behalf of every human (even me, even you).
One single act of sinfulness condemned us all to spiritual death so a single sinless act sets all humans free and gives us life.
Wesley point out that justification is not the same as being made righteous, is not the cancelling of an indictment, is not deception.
Justification is pardon. Pardon is the forgiveness of sins. Justification is an act of God the Father in which he shows his righteousness and his mercy by forgiving past sins. It is amazing that this sermon is the one I get to reflect on today, as it is Sunday and the service this morning was on Psalm 51 with the theme of acknowledging we sin, acknowledge that we need to be cleansed and rejoicing and praising and worshipping the Lord when we are forgiven and accept that forgiveness.
We have the assurance that we ask for our sins to be forgiven, and God forgives them and then forgets them.
God justifies those who need forgiveness, the unrighteous. If we consider ourselves righteous then we have no need to repent so we won’t be forgiven. But no one is righteous, we are all sinners, so we must seek forgiveness.
Historically and in some cases in churches today people are led to believe they should prepare to enter into a church. That we should be cleansed in some way before approaching the Lord.
The Lord meets us where we are, in our mess and stuff. He meets us no matter what we look like, what we wear. He is not concerned with outward appearances he looks into our hearts and if we have a heart for him, if in our brokenness we seek him, he knows and responds.
We can feel guilty and condemned, worthless, unloved, but we can know that the Lord iswaiting for us to turn to him. We just need to ask for him to be in our lives. It is pointless to be outwardly doing when our interior is still a slave to sin.
We are justified by faith, faith that is a gift from God. We must learn to trust, have confidence in, believe, have total dependence, have faith in the Lord. Only through this faith will our sins be forgiven.
And it is instant
There is a whole world chasing after instant self-gratification but this justification is the best instant. As soon as we believe, our faith instantaneously makes them righteous in God’s sight. A transformation takes place, a new creation is born. Hallelujah!
Wesley closes with what we now call an altar call. Come quickly he says Believe in the Lord Jesus and you, even you, will be reconciled to God. Amen