In God the Father Almighty,
Maker of heaven and earth;
And in Jesus Christ his only Son Our Lord;
Who was conceived by the Holy Ghost,
Born of the Virgin Mary;
Suffered under Pontius Pilate,
Was crucified, dead, and buried;
He descended into hell;
The third day He rose again from the dead;
He ascended into heaven,
And sitteth on the right hand of God the
From thence He shall come to judge the
quick and the dead.
I believe in the Holy Ghost;
The Holy Christian Church,
The Communion of Saints;
The Forgiveness of sins;
The Resurrection of the body;
And the Life everlasting.
—Translation from I Believe: Meditations on the Creed by William Lee Hutton, ©1922 The Board of Publications of the United Lutheran Church in America.
By Dr. Walter L. Wilson
IT WAS the custom in our office for the new stenographers to be broken in for the new work in my department. On a certain day, the office manager introduced a young lady who had applied for a position. Some mail had accumulated ready for handling, so I asked her to be seated, while I gave her the first letters in her new position.
Just before dictating, I said to her, “Miss M-, are you a good girl or a bad girl?”
She looked at me with astonishment, her face flushed a bit, as she replied: “Why, I am a good girl. Has someone been telling you otherwise about me?” It was quite evident that the thought of being bad was rather abhorrent to her.
“How good are you?” I asked. “Are you a real good, or just a little bit good?’
“I want you to know that there is nothing wrong about me,” she replied, “and I cannot understand why you should ask such a question.”
“How old are you, Miss M-?” was my next inquiry.
“Really, sir,” she said, “I cannot see what that has to do with taking your dictation.”
She certainly was ruffled and disturbed by these questions which to her mind were quite apart from the job for which she was engaged. I looked at her rather intently, and then, taking a pencil and paper, I said, “I would think that you were about thirty years of age, is that right?”
“You can say anything you please,” she said, “I came to take your letters.”
“Very well,” I continued, “if you are about thirty, then you have had at least twenty years of personal accountability. You may not have been responsible for the first ten years, but you are for the last twenty.”
I wrote down the twenty on my pad, and said: “During each of these twenty years you have lived 365 days. Let us multiply these together. You will notice that you have lived 7,300 days for which you are responsible, and perhaps you have committed one sin on each of these days. Do you think you have done so?” I inquired.
“I am quite sure I have,” she said, looking rather puzzled at the figures on the pad.
“If you have 7.300 sins against you today, Miss M-, would you call that being a good girl or a bad girl?”
“I certainly wouldn’t think that I was very good,” she said, “but I never had figured it up before. It may be I am not as good as I thought I was. Really, I think that I have committed many more than one sin a day.”
“Perhaps you have,” I answered. “There are sins of omission, sins of commission; sins of ignorance, and sins of presumption. Do you think you might have committed one of each of these each day?”
“Yes, and more than that.” Was her quick response.
By this time my friend as getting quite interested. Her mind was running back over her, life, and no doubt her memory was filled with things which she would like to have forgotten.
“Shall we make it ten a day?” I asked, kindly.
“Yes, that is not too many,” she answered.The pad lay conveniently near, where she could continually see the figures. I multiplied the 7.300 by ten, and wrote in large figures 73,000 and underneath it the words: “Sins committed by a GOOD girl.”
Turning to her again and watching her countenance closely, I said, “In view of these figures, Miss M-, do you still think you are a good girl, or are you a bad girl?” Her face was quite flushed, and the agitation of her mind and heart were quite evident. She was deeply interested now.
Do you think, Miss M-, that there might have been some days when there were more than ten sins?”
“Doctor,” she replied, “if you only knew what a temper I have and how easy it is for me to do some things that are wrong, you would not need to ask me that question. I know I have been unusually sinful on some occasions. Really, I never dreamed how bad I am.”
This was the confession which I knew preceded salvation. It was easy now to turn to the gospel story and tell of the Saviour and His power to save.
“Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners,” I quoted, (I Tim. 1:15). “He knew that you would be a sinner, and would need Him. He knew that you could not change yourself, nor save your own soul. He knew that you could not blot out the black record of these many sins by any efforts of your won. That is the reason He came to save you. Would you like to have that Saviour blot out all of these sins today?”
“I am not sure,” she answered. “This is all so new to me.”
Seeing her perplexity and astonishment, I said, “We will talk about this again when you wish it,” and took up the letters to give the dictation.
The next morning, when I came to the office, Miss M- had preceded me and was sitting at my desk, waiting for a continuation of the conference.
“I could not sleep last night,” she said. “My sins kept coming before me like a great mountain. I realized, as I had never done before, how very wicked I am. Is there no remedy for me? No way of blotting out these sins?”
We turned at once to the precious Word of God which is so full of the remedy, and which gives such a clear answer to this question. Our first passage was Isaiah 44:22-“I have blotted out, as a thick cloud, thy transgressions, and, as a cloud, thy sins: returned unto to me; for I have redeemed thee.”
“The one against whom you have sinned, Miss M- is the one who has found a way to blot out those sins. That way is by Calvary. It is the blood of Christ that blots out sins, and God has ordained it so Himself. (I John 1:7-9). It was God’s way to send the Lord Jesus to die for you. ‘The Lord hath laid on him the iniquity of us all’ (Isaiah 53:6). Peter also records that He bore our sins in his own body on the tree (I Peter 2:24). Christ will take those sins away from you, if you but trust Him today with your soul. Listen now to these words by Paul: ‘in whom we have redemption though his blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of his grace’ (Eph. 1:7).
“You have the privilege, Miss M-, of coming to Christ Jesus just as you are in your sins, accepting Him as your Saviour, and letting Him accept you. He cleanses those who bring their defilement to Him. That is His work. “As many as received him, to them gave he the power to become the Sons of God, even to them that believe on his name’ (John 1:12). Will you receive Him just now?”
The tears and the trembling hands indicated the deep work that God was doing in that heart. The Holy Spirit had convicted her of sin, and now He would reveal to her the Lord Jesus Christ, the Saviour of sinners.
“I will accept Him,” she answered, slowly and deliberately. “I want to be saved, and I want to be saved right now. I cannot go on in my sins any longer.”
“Then tell Him,” I urged; “tell Him now that you accept Him, that you trust in His precious blood, and thank Him for bearing away your sins on Calvary.”
With bowed head, she did so, and rested her all on the Lord Jesus Christ. Her subsequent life in the office, and later in the neighboring city, has testified to the good work of God by which she was born again.You, too, my friend, should examine yourself to see just how bad you are. Then when the terrible facts are revealed to your heart, you will quickly flee to Jesus Christ, who is the Refuge from the storm of wrath.