It took eight years of earnest Bible-study for two young men in England, one of whom was John Wesley, to make the discovery, "that men are justified before they are sanctified." "God then," while they were still in eager pursuit of heart purity, "thrust them out to raise a holy people."
This incident in the life of the founder of Methodism would not be deemed worthy of a place on the first page of the book of Discipline of the Methodist Episcopal Church over the signature of every one of her American bishops, living and dead, if it were not for the vital truth connected with it, "that men are justified before they are sanctified," and that the great purpose of this great religious movement is to raise a holy people by spreading scriptural holiness over all lands.
A clarified theology lies at the basis of the incandescent zeal of early Methodism. As Luther cleared the doctrine of justification of the rubbish which Romanism had piled upon it, burying it out of sight of despairing millions, so Wesley cleared the doctrine of sanctification of the errors which for ages had thickly encrusted it, purification by works, by growth, by imputation, by death, and by purgatorial fires after death. He taught believers to magnify the intercessory office of our adorable risen Saviour in procuring and sending down the Holy Spirit in pentecostal power to flow through the ages a river of water, thoroughly cleansing all who will plunge therein.
— Milestone Papers, Part 1, Chapter 6.