The righteousness of the law given to Moses expected perfection. There was no allowance made for falling short. It was all about being perfect without interruption or intermission.
Wesley argues that righteousness of faith is different from its counterpart of the law. The law is perfect, it comes from the Lord and He is perfect. But we are not. Anyone who thinks they no longer sin is kidding themselves and Wesley points out the errors in this thinking. We are given the gift of faith and forgiveness, covered in a covenant of grace.
We don’t deserve salvation, we don’t deserve anything from the Lord. We are not entitled to anything. But He loves us so much, the whole world and everyone in it, He sent His only Son Jesus Christ. Righteousness of faith is the condition of justification and present and final salvation.
It has been described to me that to aim to be Christ like we actually have to aim. There is no gain in firing arrows at the floor if the target is on the fireplace. But we have to start somewhere. Some people won’t come to church because they think they aren’t ready enough, clean enough, good enough or worthy enough. If we are to reach out to people in this world, we have to somehow show that walking into church is just like putting a stamp on a letter and posting it. It in itself is an act of faith. The first step into a building, for some people, is a giant leap of faith. They don’t know what we will make of them or what they will make of us. There are so many barriers to that first initial step, our role is to not make ourselves a barrier too.
There is a swathe of moral relativism and being part of a church community does not change this. Perhaps we expect more of our pew partners, but why should we? Unless we walk in another’s shoes we can not know where they are at and what has brought them thus far.
John Wesley said at the end of the sermon:
Now, at this instant, in the present moment, and in thy present state, sinner as thou
art, just as thou art, believe the gospel; and “I will be merciful unto thy unrighteousness,
and thy iniquities will I remember no more.”
In our English:
Now in this very second, this moment, and just as you are, yes you are a sinner so am I, but just like that, with all your stuff, all your backstory – believe, have faith in the gospel (the good news) of Jesus Christ and He will be merciful and forgive your sins, and they will be forgotten. No need to hang onto old friends, shame & guilt, make new friends with LOVE.