The 'Four Alls' Of Methodism
All Need To Be Saved - Universal Sin
For all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God. This state of separation from God into which all are born is the legacy of Adam's Fall. All stand under the divine condemnation.
All May Be Saved - Universal Salvation
This salvation is freely offered through faith in Christ's atoning work. in Wesley's doctrine of the Atonement the central emphasis is on Christ the Representative of all mankind, dying on the Cross to open a new covenant of grace, so that mankind can be taken out of the legal order of merit and justified and sanctified by faith alone through this new relationship to God mediated by Christ. It is all of grace.
All May Know Themselves Saved - Christian Assurance
Wesley's emphasis on the assurance of salvation was looked upon, especially by the bishops of the Church of England, as arrogant and presumptuous as it had no place in the mind of right thinking people. However, Wesley proclaimed that the Gospel offers men the assurance of divine forgiveness. This assurance is the work of the Holy Spirit witnessing to our spirit that we are now the children of God saved by grace.
All May Be Saved To The Uttermost - Christian Perfection
Wesley included under this heading the concepts of Holiness, Entire Sanctification, Perfect Love and Full Salvation.
This doctrine of Christian Perfection was the central feature in Wesley's ministry. He termed it "the grand depositum which God has lodged with the people called Methodists, and for the sake of propagating this chiefly He appears to have raised us up".
To be perfected in love is the goal of Christian discipleship. Wesley describes such a disciple in these words :
"He loves the Lord his God with all his heart, and serves him with all his strength. He loves his neighbour, every man, as himself; yes, as Christ loves us. Indeed, his soul is all love, filled with bowels of mercies, kindness, meekness, gentleness, longsuffering. And his life agrees thereto, full of the work of faith, the patience of hope, the labour of love....This is to be the perfect man, to be sanctified throughout; even to have a heart so all-aflaming with the love of God as continually to offer up every thought, word and work, as a spiritual sacrifice, acceptable to God through Christ"
Colin Williams, in his book," John Wesley's Theology Today ", points out that reception of this fullness of faith, and having one's heart aflame with the love of God, doesn't mean that there is no deviation from the will of God, and he goes on to add " in fact, 'the perfect man', because of his unbroken relationship to Christ, becomes more and more aware of his moral, psychological, and intellectual imperfections. For this reason Wesley emphasises that the perfect grow in grace as the unbroken relationship to Christ brings increasing sensitivity to God's will" (pp 182-183)
Wesley, like St Paul, does not contend that in this life perfect is attained in one's morals or motives. But both are agreed that perfection in love is the goal of all who love the Lord.