Wesleyan Accent
Close this search box.


What Happens When Everyone Stops Sinning by Maxie Dunnam

Share the Post:

The preaching must have been powerful. In a recent cartoon, as he leads his parents from worship, Dennis the Menace confronts the preacher. “What happens when everyone stops sinning? What will you do?”

While we are not strangers to sin, Dennis stuns us with his  statement and questions. We may not reflect or talk much about it. Yet, the great majority of theologians talk a lot about it. Often they use the term original sin, contending it is the root of all human problems. The truth is, there is nothing original about sin. It is a center piece in the Genesis story of the creation. Adam and Eve are not alive in the Garden long before they eat the “fruit” which was the one thing God told them not to eat.

Since that time, in every generation, if reflective and honest, all persons could join Paul in expressing our feelings,

For I do not do the good I want to do, but the evil I do not want to do — this I keep on doing. … Now if I do what I do not want to do, it is no longer I who do it, but it is sin living in me that does it… (Rom. 7:19-20)

As he continues his confession, Paul screams,”What a wretched man I am! Who will rescue me from this body doomed to death?” He then, with a deep breath of relief, concludes in confidence, “Thanks be to God—through Jesus Christ our Lord. (vs. 25-26)”

We are all infected by it. Some Wesleyan scholars have expressed the expansive nature of it in what we refer to as the “four alls”: All have sinned and need to be saved; all can be saved; all can know they are saved, and all can be saved to the utmost.

I wrote earlier here in Wesleyan Accent about salvation as Wesley’s prevailing emphasis. The “four alls” were implicit in that entire discussion. In reflection, I am aware that not enough was said about the last two of the “four alls,” all can know they are saved, and all can be saved to the utmost. 

Assurance and perfection are cardinal dimensions of Wesley’s teaching. The teaching was grounded in his own experience. He was a man desperately seeking salvation and assurance of his salvation. In a despondent mood because his struggles were providing no peace, he went to a prayer meeting and had the watershed experience that gave him the assurance of salvation. Naturally, this became a part of his teaching.

Assurance is the privilege of every Christian; all persons can know they are saved, and they can be saved to the uttermost.

Share the Post:


Get articles about mission, evangelism, leadership, discipleship and prayer delivered directly to your inbox – for free