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A Religious Controversy | Charles E. Orr

Conversation 4

Mrs. Wiseman (returning from the meeting)—I’m glad to find you still sitting up, dear. How kind of you to wait so late for me!

Mr. Wiseman—I don’t know that I was particularly waiting for you, but do you think I could go to bed and sleep with my wife off to a saints’ meeting?

Mrs. W.—How I wish you had been to the meeting with me! I never heard such preaching before! It was positively Bible from beginning to end, and the singing was simply heavenly. But I fear, James, you use the term “saints” quite ironically. As the preacher said tonight, everybody is either a saint or a sinner. I admit that I’m a sinner, though I’ve belonged to church many years; but I pray God to hasten the day when I shall have become a saint.

Mr. W.—I repeat it, there is no such thing as saints on earth; I’m a sinner saved by grace, and we can he nothing more in this life.

Mrs. W.—If a sinner gets saved by grace, is he any longer a sinner? To save a sinner is to save him from being a sinner. To save a drunkard—is it not to save him from being a drunkard? If he still continues to be a drunkard can we say he is saved? All are sinners sometime in life; but when a person is saved by grace, he’s something else than a sinner; and what is it? It is a saint. When a sinner gets saved by grace, he then becomes a Christian, or a saint. I wish you could have heard the sermon tonight.

Mr. W.—I told you I didn’t expect to hear them, and I don’t. I suppose he told you all about how to be holy.

Mrs. W.—He preached from Ephesians 2:8: “For by grace are ye saved through faith.” He read a great many other texts. He was careful to give us the references so we could read the texts in our homes out of our own Bibles, for he said that oftentimes people accuse him of having a Bible different from theirs.

Mr. W.—If his Bible says we can live in this world without sin, it’s not like mine.

Mrs. W.—I’ll get your Bible and let you read a few of the texts he referred to. His first text told us how we’re saved. His next text taught us who it is that saves. Turn and read Acts 4:12.

Mr. W.—Is Acts in the Old Testament or the New?

Mrs. W.—Well, Husband! I’m afraid you haven’t read your Bible enough to know whether or not it says we can live without sin.

Mr. W.—I. know as much about what it is to be a Christian as those preachers, I assure you. They can’t teach me anything; I’ve been a Christian too long for that.

Mrs. W.—You’ll find Acts of the Apostles in the New Testament. It comes after the Gospel of St. John.

Mr. W.—Yes, I knew, but I had forgotten for the moment. “Neither is there salvation in any other; for there is none other name under heaven given among men whereby we must be saved.”* (Acts 4:12)

Mrs. W.—You remember that Free Mason man we were talking with a few evenings ago said that being a member of the Free Mason order would save us, but this text teaches us that only Christ can save.

Mr. W.—I don’t agree with that man, but we must belong to some church or we can’t be saved.

Mrs. W.—Just belonging to some sect doesn’t save us. It’s only Jesus that saves. The preacher tonight then taught us from Matthew 18:11 who it is that Jesus came to save.

Mr. W.—Matthew—let me see—yes, here I have it. Eighteenth chapter and eleventh verse—“For the Son of man is come to save that which is lost.” We all knew that.

Mrs. W.—Then he read in 1 Timothy 1:15. I have it here and will read it. My Bible is just like yours. “This is a faithful saying, and worthy of all acceptation, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners.” So the lost are the sinners, and the sinners are lost. Now read “Matthew 1:21”* (Matthew 1:21). This text, he said, would teach us what sinners were saved from.

Mr. W.—“And she shall bring forth a son, and thou shalt call his name Jesus; for he shall save his people from their sins.”

Mrs. W.—You see, dear, if a man sins he’s a sinner. Now, Jesus saves a sinner from his sins. It was his sins that made him a sinner. If he gets saved from his sins, will he still be a sinner? If a man who is a thief gets saved from stealing, will he any longer be a thief? Certain]y he’ll not, for he has ceased to do that which made him a thief.

Mr. W.—Well, I know my Bible says, “He that saith he liveth and sinneth not is a liar, and the truth is not in him.” But I think it’s time we were going to bed.

Mrs. W.—Just a few moments more. Suppose thieves should form an organization with the claim that joining it would make them saved thieves, and would go right on stealing, wouldn’t they still be thieves? Certainly! And their profession of salvation wouldn’t shield them from punishment by the law.

Mr. W.—Of course, anybody knows that.

Mrs. W.—If a sinner professes to get saved, but still commits sin, he’s yet a sinner. Though he claims to be a saved sinner, yet he’s still doing the things that make him a sinner. Won’t God punish him just the same as if he were not making any such profession?

Mr. W.—I think it’s time we were going to bed.

Mrs. W.—Just another text or two. The preacher then told us what sin is. He read in 1 John 3:4: “Whosoever committeth sin transgresseth also the law; for sin is the transgression of the law.” If we knowingly do anything that God commands us not to do, we commit sin; and if we commit sin, we’re sinners, and if we’re sinners, we’re lost. He then referred us to Colossians 3:9. Will you please read it? Here, you may read it from my Bible if you can’t find it in yours.

Mr. W.—“Lie not one to another, seeing that ye have put oft the old man with his deeds.”

Mrs. W.—Next read Ephesians 4:25.

Mr. W.—“Wherefore putting away lying, speak every man truth with his neighbor.”

Mrs. W.—Now, James this is very plain. We must some day meet God. Oh, let us fear Him and make ready. To tell a lie is a sin because God’s Word forbids it, and to sin is to be lost. Now listen to what it says: “All liars shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone.”* (Revelation 21:8) You believe the Bible, do you not?

Mr. W.—Certainly I believe the blessed old Bible. I’ve been reading it for many years. It has been a lamp to my feet: it has comforted me in many a trying hour. I believe it, every word.

Mrs. W.—Well, now, I don’t want to give offense, dear, but I do want to be right with God, that we may not be cast into the lake of fire. You know last fall when you sold old Dan to Mr. Nead, you told him he was eleven years old, and you know that we’d had him for twelve years and that he was four years old when we got him.

Mr. W.—He was eleven years old and older, too.

Mrs. W.—Yes, but that doesn’t make it a truth. God will not excuse you on such a plea. Oh, Husband! Let us live pure and sinless lives.

Mr. W.—I told you those preachers were going about making trouble in families, and if you keep this up there will be trouble here. There’ll be no living with you if you listen to those preachers and read that paper. I’m glad its ten weeks is about out. But I’m going to bed.

Mrs. W.—I received a letter from Cousin Jane today, and she said she had subscribed for the paper to be sent to us for a whole year.