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Two Sorts of Christians

by R. H. Boll

100 Years ago from ‘Words in Season’

 in the August 1920 Word & Work


     A great old preacher distinguishes between two classes of professed Christians. The one class, he says, regard the Gospel as a salvation—deliverance from sin. They value this more than they prize the hope of heaven, and seek it more than to be saved from hell. They care by far more to be saved from sin itself than from its penal consequences. They find their glory and their joy in the fact that Christ is sent to deliver them from the bondage of iniquity, to lift them up from their wretched estate into the liberty of love. This is to them the good news of the Gospel.

     The other class are mostly anxious to be saved from hell. The punishment due to sin is the thing they chiefly fear. The Gospel seems to them not a means of deliverance from sinning, but as a great system of indulgences—a vast accommodation to take off the fear and danger of damnation while yet it leaves them in their sin. They seem not to notice that a scheme of salvation that removes the fear of damnation for sin, and which yet leaves them in their sins, to live for themselves, to please themselves, and which holds that Christ will at last bring them to heaven notwithstanding their having lived in sin all their days, must be a vast scheme of indulgences.

     Indeed, it is a compromise on a great scale. By virtue of it the whole Church is expected to wallow on in sin through life, and be nonetheless sure of heaven at last. You will find many in the church who are altogether worldly and selfish. If you could ask them whether they think it right, and they would answer, they would tell you that “we are all imperfect at best and cannot expect to be otherwise while we are in the flesh.” They indeed expect to be forgiven and saved at last—but how? Not on condition of sincerely turning away from all their sins now, but on the assumption that the Gospel is a system of indulgences.

     The other class of professed Christians have no thought of being saved except as they have a pure heart and live above the world. They rejoice in the fact that through Christ they are enabled so to live. Which of these two classes is right?

-R. H. Boll, 1875-1956 was Editor of Word and Work 1916-1956 and  Minister at Portland Avenue Church of Christ 1903-1956

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Philippians 4:13