John Wesley was one the greatest church leaders in the history of the church and was used mightily by God in His reviving work in England in the 18th century. How do we explain the great legacy that this man left the church? Had it not been for his friends insisting on him attending a religious meeting in Aldersgate Lane in London, where he heard the preface of Martin Luther’s commentary on Romans read, John Wesley would be unknown to the world today. John Wesley had returned from the Colonies of America a broken man. He had gone to America with the view of converting the Red Indians. His missionary efforts proved to be a terrible failure. He arrived back in England a broken man realising that he was not even a Christian, because he trusted in his own works to save him. Upon his return to England he wrote this in his journal.
All the time I was at Savannah I was thus beating the air. Being ignorant of the righteousness of Christ, which, by a living faith in Him, bringeth salvation to everyone that believeth, I sought to establish my own righteousness; and so laboured in the fire all my days….. In this vile, abject state of bondage to sin, I was indeed fighting continually, but not conquering. Wesley’s Journals p.32
John Wesley’s mistake was a mistake that many people make, he presumed that he could earn his salvation by good works. There was a time in Paul’s life when he was seeking to attain salvation by his own good works. God brought him to a point where he realised that salvation is from beginning to end a gracious work of God. Paul, in his letter to the Church in Ephesus wrote:
NIV Eph. 2:8-9 For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— 9 not by works, so that no one can boast.
If you are trusting in your own good works to save you then you have been deceived by the devil. If it were possible to be saved by one’s own good works then Jesus Christ died needlessly on the cross. Trust in the Lord Jesus Christ alone for your salvation.