This post will wrap up the series on Christian perfection, or entire sanctification. I simply want to gather together some final thoughts about the subject.

A very good question might arise in one’s mind: did the idea of Christian perfection spring forth merely from Wesley’s mind, and if so why should anyone believe it? The answer to this is an emphatic “no.”  In A Plain Account of Christian Perfection, Wesley explained that the doctrine of Christian perfection was drawn from the words of Jesus himself (in Matthew 5:48):

it is the doctrine of Jesus Christ. Those are his words, not mine: Esesthe oun teleioi, hOsper ho PatEr HymOn ho en tois ouranois teleios esti, — “Ye shall therefore be perfect, as your Father who is in heaven is perfect.”

Entire sanctification is meant to be a process of growth in the life of a Christian. It is a process of spiritual growth, one which is clearly led by the grace of the Holy Spirit. It is also a process which Christian must intentionally seek; one cannot experience God’s justification through the atoning blood of Jesus and then simply stand still.  It is expected that a Christian does not just seek to grow in God’s perfect love, but that the Christian dedicates their entire life to the process:

“it is purity of intention, dedicating all the life to God. It is the giving God all our heart; it is one desire and design ruling all our tempers. It is the devoting, not a part, but all our soul, body, and substance to God.” — Wesley, A Plain Account of Christian Perfection

When a Christian dedicates themselves in such fashion Wesley preached that they experience,

“a restoration not only to the favour but likewise to the image of God, implying not barely deliverance from sin, but the being filled with the fullness of God.” — John Wesley, Sermon, “The End of Christ’s Coming”

 A second question which easily arises when studying entire sanctification is this: is entire sanctification permanent?

Again, the answer is “no,” because it is possible to fall from grace because of sin. Christian perfection represents freedom from impure intentions, freedom from pride, and — most importantly — freedom from willful rebellion against God. Yet the righteousness imparted by the atoning blood of Christ does not relieve Christians of free will, and they can still sin either by choosing to go against God or by involuntarily sin (as Part Two discussed). Entirely sanctified Christians are no more free from temptation to sin than anyone else, and they continue to hold the need to pray for forgiveness and holiness.