Moody's Anecdotes, pp. 99-100
Let Him that Stole Steal No More
Professor Drummond once described a man going into one of our after meetings and saying he wanted to become a Christian. "Well, my friend, what is the trouble?" He doesn't like to tell. He is greatly agitated. Finally he says, "The fact is, I have overdrawn my account"&md;a polite way of saying he has been stealing. "Did you take your employer's money?" "Yes." "How much?" "I don't know. I have never kept account of it." "Well, you have an idea you stole $1,500 last year?" "I am afraid it is that much." "Now, look here, sir, I don't believe in sudden work; don't steal more than a thousand dollars this next year, and the next year not more that five hundred, and in the course of the next few years you will get so that you won't steal any. If your employer catches you, tell him you are being converted; and you will get so that you won't steal any by and by. "My friends, the thing is a perfect farce! "Let him that stole, steal no more," that is what the Bible says. It is right about face.
Take another illustration. Here comes a man, and he admits that he gets drunk every week. That man comes to a meeting, and wants to be converted. Shall I say, "Don't you be in a hurry. I believe in doing the work gradually. Don't you get drunk and knock your wife down more than once a month?" Wouldn't it be refreshing to his wife to go a whole month without being knocked down? Once a month, only twelve times in a year! Wouldn't she be glad to have him converted in this new way! Only get drunk after a few years on the anniversary of your wedding, and at Christmas, and then it will be effective because it is gradual! Oh! I detest all that kind of teaching. Let us go to the Bible and see what that old Book teaches. Let us believe it, and go and act as if we believed it, too. Salvation is instantaneous. I admit that a man may be converted so that he cannot tell when he crossed the line between death and life, but I also believe a man may be a thief one moment and a saint the next. I believe a man may be as vile as hell itself one moment, and be saved the next.
Christian growth is gradual, just as physical growth is; but a man passes from death unto everlasting life quick as an act of the will&md;"He that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life."