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John Wesley believed and taught the doctrine of Entire Sanctification, the idea that it is possible for a believer to achieve perfection in this life, based on Bible verses like:

Those who have been born of God do not sin, because God's seed abides in them; they cannot sin, because they have been born of God. — 1 John 3:9

and Jesus' command:

Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect. — Matthew 5:48

Can someone explain what Christian Perfection or Entire Sanctification means?

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There is a detailed explanation on one of the answers to this question. –  Ben Miller Nov 9 '13 at 3:01

1 Answer 1

up vote 8 down vote accepted

Unfortunately, I can't say it any better than an article I found.


Wesley believed that Christ's death on the cross made it possible not only for sinners to be saved by grace, but, indeed, for them to be saved to the uttermost. Entire sanctification was restoration to the image of God, being made perfect in love toward God and neighbor.

(emphasis added)

It goes on to say:

Entire sanctification was not a goal to be achieved, but a gift to be received. Like justification, sanctification is the gracious gift of God, received by faith.

Wesley claimed that this was not a new doctrine but merely a revealing of an old doctrine.

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This doctrine seems very similar to the old doctrine of "theosis" made explicit by St. Athanasius in De incarnatione verbi Dei: paraphrased roughly, "God became man that man might become God," i.e. "partakers of the divine nature" (2 Peter 1:4). –  Robert Haraway Aug 27 '11 at 2:40
This answer would have been better with a link to the source, or at least an attribution. –  King David Mar 20 at 19:53

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