John Wesley: The World His Parish

Ron Geschwendt

READ : Ephesians 2:1-10

For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith. (v. 8 NIV)

The son of a pastor in the Church of England, John Wesley (1703-1791) was one of 19 children born to Suzanna and Samuel. John inherited his father’s work ethic and his mother’s character and discipline.

At Oxford he was part of what was dubbed a “holy club” because of the discipline of its participants. He fasted, prayed, and read the Greek New Testament. But all that he did offered him little emotional peace. John and his brother Charles sailed in 1735 as missionaries to Georgia. Meeting Moravian believers he was asked by one of them, “Do you know Jesus Christ?” John could only reply, “He is the Savior of the world.” He struggled with the inner assurance of salvation.

On hearing Martin Luther’s preface to the Commentary on Romans read, Wesley wrote in his journal, “I felt my heart strangely warmed. I felt I did trust Christ, Christ alone, for salvation; and an assurance was given me that he had taken away my sins, even mine, and saved me from the law of sin and death.”

Salvation by faith alone had gripped the heart of John Wesley. This conviction propelled him into itinerant preaching on horseback across England. He preached faith in Christ and personal holiness. Wesley declared, “The world is my parish.”


Lord Jesus, the whole world needs you. Help me to share you with everyone.