“Now before the Feast of the Passover, when Jesus knew that His hour had come that He should depart from this world to the Father, having loved His own who were in the world, He loved them to the end. And supper being ended, the devil having already put it into the heart of Judas Iscariot, Simon’s son, to betray Him, Jesus, knowing that the Father had given all things into His hands, and that He had come from God and was going to God, rose from supper and laid aside His garments, took a towel and girded Himself. After that, He poured water into a basin and began to wash the disciples’ feet, and to wipe them with the towel with which He was girded. Then He came to Simon Peter. And Peter said to Him, ‘Lord, are You washing my feet?’ Jesus answered and said to him, ‘What I am doing you do not understand now, but you will know after this.’ Peter said to Him, ‘You shall never wash my feet!’ Jesus answered him, ‘If I do not wash you, you have no part with Me.’ Simon Peter said to Him, ‘Lord, not my feet only, but also my hands and my head!’ Jesus said to him, ‘He who is bathed needs only to wash his feet, but is completely clean; and you are clean, but not all of you.’ For He knew who would betray Him; therefore He said, ‘You are not all clean.’”
I arrived a day earlier than planned, so I would like to take this opportunity to share with you John 3:1-11 from the Word of God which I had meant to do this past Thursday evening at the discipleship training camp, but didn’t have enough time. Here in today’s Scripture reading, we see Jesus washing His disciples’ feet. Jesus wanted to wash Peter’s feet and all the other disciples’ feet as well, but Peter refused at first. As written here Peter protested embarrassingly, asking how the Lord could wash his feet. From today’s Scripture reading, let’s find out how Peter was able to follow the Lord so faithfully.
Do You Love Me More Than These?
Last Thursday morning at the discipleship training camp I gave a sermon based on John chapter 21. When we turn to this passage we see the Lord saying to Peter, “Simon, son of Jonah, do you love Me more than these?” Peter then said to Him, “Yes Lord, you know that I love You.” “Feed My lambs,” said the Lord. He then asked Peter again, “Simon, son of Jonah, do you love Me?” “Yes Lord, you know that I love You,” answered Peter. “Tend My sheep.” The Lord asked the third time, “Simon, son of Jonah, do you love me?” Jesus was asking Peter the same question three times. But the third time Peter answered and said, “Lord, You know all things, and you know that I love You.” It’s to the resurrected Lord that Peter made this confession. From here onwards Peter would go on to work faithfully as a disciple of Jesus Christ and a servant of God, and the reason why he could do this is because the Lord had blotted out all the sins of his entire lifetime. It’s because the Lord Himself had borne all the sins of mankind including Peter’s sins when He was baptized by John the Baptist, had been crucified to death, had risen from the dead again, and had thereby become Peter’s Savior—including our Savior.
Peter could follow the Lord and fulfill his duties as an apostle because the Lord had already blotted out all his sins. Even though Peter had denied Jesus no less than three times, he was still able to follow the Lord, and the Lord permitted him to do so, because He had blotted out all his sins. If the Lord had not blotted out Peter’s sins once and for all—that is, if Jesus Christ had not borne all his sins when He was baptized by John the Baptist, and if He had not been condemned for these sins by being crucified—then Peter could not have followed Him. Nor could Peter have made such a confession when the resurrected Jesus appeared before him. He couldn’t have given the same answer three times to Jesus, saying, “You know that I love You.” When the Lord asked Him the third time, Peter said, “Lord, You know all things.” Peter could answer like this because even though he knew just how weak and inadequate he was, he also knew that the Lord had blotted out all his sins already.
Why Did Jesus Seek to Wash Peter’s Feet?
Today’s Scripture passage records what transpired before this conversation between Jesus and Peter took place in John chapter 21. Just before He was to be seized, the Lord wanted to observe the Feast of the Passover for one last time. After sharing the Last Supper with His disciples and speaking with them, the Lord rose from the table, took a towel, poured water into a basin, and began washing the disciples’ feet, then wiping them dry with the towel. After washing several disciples’ feet, it was now Peter’s turn. But Peter said to Him, “Lord, how can you wash my feet?” Jesus then said to him, “What I am doing you do not understand now, but you will know after this.” Peter said to Him, “You shall never wash my feet!” But Jesus said to him, “If I do not wash you, you have no part with me,” to which Peter replied, “Then wash my whole body!” But, Jesus said, “Since you are already completely clean, you only need to wash your feet.”
It looks like Peter had a rather fastidious personality. The Lord washed the other disciples’ feet also, but they did not protest. In contrast, when it came to Peter’s turn, he protested and refused, saying, “Lord, how can You wash my feet?” Earlier, Jesus had asked the disciples what the people were saying who He was. Peter had answered at the time saying that the Lord was the Christ, the Son of the living God. Peter knew that Jesus was the Son of God, God Himself who created the universe, and his Savior who had come to save mankind from their sins. So when the Lord tried to wash his feet, he protested and said how his Savior could wash his feet. It appears that the other disciples’ faith was as strong as Peter’s faith. Jesus then said to Peter, “What I am doing you do not understand now, but you will know after this.” When the Lord told Peter that he would have no part with Him unless He washed his feet, Peter asked Him fervently then to wash his whole body. The Lord then said to Peter, “He who is bathed needs only to wash his feet, but is completely clean.”
What we can see from this conversation that Jesus had with Peter here shows us just how much the Lord loved His people in this world. How much did He love them? He loved them to the end. This means the Lord’s love for us is not circumstantial, as though He would stop loving us when it is no longer convenient for Him. Just as John 13:1 says, “Having loved His own who were in the world, He loved them to the end,” the Lord loved His disciples to the end. He had already borne all the sins of mankind and all the sins of Peter once and for all by being baptized. Because Jesus had shouldered all the sins of this world through the one baptism He received from John the Baptist, He had already washed away Peter’s sins. So the only thing remaining for Jesus to do was to be crucified to death and to rise from the dead again, thereby completing the salvation of mankind.
However, Peter here did not know himself well enough to realize that he would deny Jesus no less than three times. Peter and the other disciples did not realize that they would still continue to commit many sins. That is why Jesus wanted to wash their feet before being crucified, so as to teach them how to deal with their future sins. He also wanted to show and demonstrate to the disciples that He would love not only them but also all the people of God forever, and that’s why He said, “What I am doing you do not understand now, but you will know after this.” Jesus said this because He wanted to teach Peter that He had washed away all his sins long before he would come to deny Him three times in the course of Pilate, and long before he would fall into despair upon the death of Jesus and go back to fishing as he did before.
People tend to think that if they do something too wrong to another person, there would be no forgiveness. They also have a tendency to run away in shame when they think they have committed a sin that is too great. However, the Lord is teaching us here that He has also washed away all the sins that we commit after receiving the remission of sins by believing in the gospel of the water and the Spirit. It’s to teach this important lesson that the Lord washed the disciples’ feet. When and where did the Lord bear and wash away all the sins of the disciples? He did so when He was baptized in the Jordan River, saying in Matthew 3:15, “Permit it to be so now, for thus it is fitting for us to fulfill all righteousness.” As this passage explicitly says, all the sins of mankind were washed away when Jesus bore them once and for all by being baptized by John the Baptist. It was God the Father’s will for the Lord to bear all the sins of the world on His body, and it was for this very reason that He was baptized by John the Baptist. At that time, the Lord took upon all the sins mankind once and for all and washed them all away. Jesus washed Peter’s and the other disciple’s feet so that they may know this. And, it’s because Jesus knew that He would be arrested soon, and Peter was such a weak person that he would deny Him no less than three times before His crucifixion.
Even after receiving the remission of sins by believing in the righteousness of our Lord, whenever our weakness is exposed, we must ruminate on this righteousness. Yet, it’s easy for us to get discouraged when too many of our weaknesses are exposed repeatedly while following the Lord, and the many lusts that we have been trying to suppress are stirred up in our hearts. We fall into despair, wondering to ourselves, “Why am I so weak? Is this all that I’m capable of?” Recently, we have received many testimonies of salvation from people all over the world, telling us that they have been saved from their sins from reading our books on the gospel of the water and the Spirit. When asked how they have received the remission of sins, they say that they have received it by believing in the gospel of the water and the Spirit. When asked about the sins they will commit in the future, most of them say they believe the Lord bore all their sins, but some of them say that they can settle their daily sins by living according to the will of the Lord.
Those who have just recently received the remission of sins by believing in the gospel of the water and the Spirit do not know their weaknesses that well. Even if they do, they have little knowledge. So they find it intolerable when they see themselves sinning again. They try to overcome their weaknesses and shortcomings with their own willpower. Since they have received the remission of sins by believing in the gospel of the water and the Spirit, they do their best not to sin again. However, although their own effort may help them avoid sinning for a short while, but in the end, they cannot resist and succumb to sin. How can we resist sin then? We resist it by trusting in the righteousness of God, by uniting ourselves with the Church, and by receiving guidance of the servants of God. That’s why we carry out the Lord’s work as instructed by God’s servants.
To a large extent, the righteous can overcome the lust of sin stirring up in their hearts by focusing on and actually doing the righteousness work. We overcome the world by doing the righteous work like this, sharing fellowship with our fellow righteous saints, and listening again to the gospel of the water and the Spirit, the gospel of God. It is when we hear the gospel of the water and the Spirit in the hour of worship that we know we are walking in the light always. By once again confirming that the Lord bore not only your sins but also all the sins of everyone in this world when He was baptized, and that He was crucified to bear the condemnation of these sins, you can realize that your heart has already been cleansed.
That is actually what happens. However, the newly redeemed do not fully understand this well enough, so they may find themselves intolerable and struggle with these issues for a while. Lately I’ve been preparing a sermon book titled, “How Do You Wash Away Your Personal Sins?” This book teaches about personal sins. There is a compelling need to teach the believers in the gospel of the water and the Spirit about their sins. Although they believe in the gospel of the water and the Spirit, they are bound to fall into their weaknesses again, so the Word of Truth needs to be preached to them again.
Of course, as a matter of knowledge, the gospel of the water and the Spirit can be understood in just five minutes. But there is a huge difference between knowing the gospel of the water and the Spirit and hearing it again when you actually sin and darkness descends on your heart. Although we know the gospel power of the water and the Spirit, but when we hear and confirm the Word of power once again, darkness is lifted from our hearts. Our hearts are already clean; it’s just that darkness had come momentarily. It’s because of the Devil accusing us of our sins. It’s then that our hearts are darkened. The way to drive out this darkness with the light is to once again confirm in our hearts the glorious news of our salvation, that our Lord bore our sins once and for all by being baptized by John the Baptist, died on the Cross, and rose from the dead again. Our hearts are then brightened by confirming that all our sins and all the sins of everyone in this world were passed to Jesus when He was baptized.
It is for this very reason that Jesus said to us the believers in the gospel of the water and the Spirit, “You are the light of the world.” We are indeed the light of the world, for we have received the remission of sins by believing in the God-given gospel of the water and the Spirit. However, if there is something that is blocking this light, then darkness can envelop us. So we may feel as though the light of salvation is hidden from us. In turn, we may find ourselves becoming disheartened amid Satan’s accusations, and it may seem as though we are once again under the judgment, even though we are actually - the light of the world. As a result, some people end up dwelling under the shadow of sin and losing their spiritual strength even after believing in the gospel of the water and the Spirit.
Because such darkness is felt in one’s conscience, it’s absolutely indispensable for us to ruminate on the gospel of the water and the Spirit again and again driving out the darkness by faith. We must give prayers of confession trusting in the gospel of the water and the Spirit by renewing our faith that the Lord had already bore all our sins once and for all when He was baptized by John the Baptist, and we must ruminate on this Truth. The darkness of our hearts is lifted when we remind ourselves once again that our sins have already been washed again.
When we ruminate on the gospel of the water and the Spirit and fully realize, “Our everyday sins were also passed on to the body of Jesus. That’s why the Lord is my Savior. Knowing that I would sin like this, He bore all these sins by being baptized by John the Baptist!” It’s then that our hearts become brightened once again. So, it’s quite understandable for us the believers in the gospel of the water and the Spirit to have these mood swings and periodically go through different emotions, feeling happy one day and disappointed in another. What does not change, however, is the fact that you and I who know and believe in the gospel of the water and the Spirit have no sin in our hearts.
It’s just that our hearts can still be darkened momentarily despite our sinless state. Why does darkness come? It comes when we allow ourselves to follow the desires of the flesh or act on them. In times like these when our hearts become darkened momentarily, the way to be freed from this darkness is coming to the hour of worship and listening to the gospel Word of the water and the Spirit. It is by sharing fellowship with our fellow brothers and sisters in the faith, meeting with God’s workers, and carrying out His work that we can dwell in the light of the Lord. By ruminating on the written gospel Word of the water and the Spirit, reflecting on it, and reaffirming it in our hearts, our darkened hearts are once again illuminated by the light of Truth.
We are the saints who reflect the true light of the water and the Spirit to the whole world. Our hearts are like a mirror that can collect dust and lose its clarity with the passing of time. However, just as a mirror turns clear and reflects everything spotlessly when it is wiped clean with microfiber cloth, so our hearts turn crystal clear again when we wipe it clean with the gospel of the water and the Spirit and ruminate on it. This is how we are able to live as the light of this world. And this is what the Lord is teaching us here in today’s Scripture reading.
By what kind of faith can the redeemed follow the Lord even when they sin? It’s having faith in the gospel of the water and the Spirit. This is possible because our Lord has already washed away all our sins with the gospel of the water and the Spirit, just as He washed Peter’s feet. We have found the gospel of the water and the Spirit, and we have received the remission of sins by believing in this true gospel. So we know that on account of our faith in the gospel of the water and the Spirit, we have already been remitted from all the sins that we commit after receiving the remission of sins. That’s because our Lord bore all our sins beforehand when He was baptized by John the Baptist. And because He was already condemned for our sins on the Cross, we the believers in the gospel of the water and the Spirit can always dwell in the light and follow the Lord. In short, our Lord has become our everlasting Savior. You and I, therefore, are able to follow the righteous Lord.
However, some people have a hard time trying to understand this truth. In particular, they struggle to understand the full meaning of John 13:10-11, “Jesus said to him, ‘He who is bathed needs only to wash his feet, but is completely clean; you are clean, but not all of you.’ For He knew who would betray Him; therefore He said, ‘You are not all clean’” (John 13:10-11). Question: Are the believers in the gospel of the water and the Spirit completely clean or just partially clean? They are completely clean, for they have already been remitted from all their sins.
Ever since I first encountered the righteousness of the Lord, I have been preaching the gospel of the water and the Spirit faithfully to this very day. When I preach this gospel in God’s Church, I tend to speak softly. But when I preach it at a large revival meeting, I speak with even more energy. I could preach the gospel of the water and the Spirit forever. And when I preach this gospel, those who already believe in it are strengthened spiritually. Some people may think that I speak of nothing else but the gospel of the water and the Spirit because that’s all I know. But that is not the case at all. I preach the gospel of the water and the Spirit every day because it is so precious and majestic. It’s because this Word has the power to give new life to people. Of course, if someone says what you already know time after time, you may get tired of it, and this is true even for the speaker. However, the gospel of the water and the Spirit is very different. It is wonderful to preach it day after day.
The gospel of the water and the Spirit must be preached every day because even though you and I have received the remission of sins by believing in this gospel, we still continue to commit many sins in our lives. Sometimes we may sin by making the wrong choices in our lives, or sometimes we may follow our own thoughts and end up going in the opposite direction from the way of the Lord. That’s why all of us need the gospel of the water and the Spirit. Just as we need oxygen every minute of our lives, so we need the gospel of the water and the Spirit every minute of our lives. That’s because it is the gospel of the water and the Spirit that has given us new life, and we have this duty to shine the true light on the whole world.
Misunderstanding of Today’s Scripture Reading
Unfortunately, many contemporary Christians do not understand this passage of scripture. Let’s turn to John 13:1 and read what the Bible says so clearly: “Now before the Feast of the Passover, when Jesus knew that His hour had come that He should depart from this world to the Father, having loved His own who were in the world, He loved them to the end.” The Lord spoke this to the righteous, His very own people in this world, knowing that He would soon pass away. He spoke this not only to His disciples at that time, but also to us in the future who believe in the gospel of the water and the Spirit. How long does the Bible say Jesus loved His people? Does it say He loved them for six month? For 60 years? No, it says that He loved them to the end. It is to teach us this lesson that the Lord did what He did at the Last Supper. And the Apostle John, a disciple of Jesus, wrote about in detail how He washed the disciples’ feet to address this important subject.
It is because Jesus loved us to the end that we can follow Him. How did He love us? We can find the answer when we turn to the gospel of the water and the Spirit. Because Jesus forever bore all our sins once and for all by being baptized, we can follow Him by believing in His righteousness. Some people say, “Isn’t this passage speaking of prayers of repentance?” So they think that Jesus was speaking of our everyday sins when He said that Peter was completely clean and needed to wash only his feet, and they claim mistakenly that we are cleansed from our daily sins by offering our own prayers of repentance.
This, however, is totally unfounded. We need to look back at what our Lord actually did for us. We need to know and grasp fully what the Lord said when He was baptized by John the Baptist. Let’s turn to Matthew 3:13-17, “But Jesus answered and said to him, ‘Permit it to be so now, for thus it is fitting for us to fulfill all righteousness.’ Then he allowed Him. When He had been baptized, Jesus came up immediately from the water; and behold, the heavens were opened to Him, and He saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and alighting upon Him. And suddenly a voice came from heaven, saying, ‘This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.’” When the Lord was baptized, He said that it was thus fitting for them to fulfill all righteousness. The word “thus” here refers to the method by which all righteousness was fulfilled. In other words, it refers to the way of salvation, by which the Lord shouldered all our sins, was crucified to death and condemned for them. Like this, Jesus is speaking of our salvation. He is saying that He bore all the sins of mankind by being baptized by John the Baptist. By baptizing Jesus, John the Baptist passed all the sins of mankind to Jesus.
John the Baptist was the representative of all mankind, for he was the greatest of all those born of women. He was therefore greater than even the prophets. Representing everyone, John the Baptist fulfilled his role as the last earthly High Priest. He is the one who passed the sins of mankind to Jesus by baptizing Him. Therefore, it is by ruminating on this Word once again that we can abide in the light always. We know and believe that all our sins were passed to Jesus once and for all when He was baptized by John the Baptist. It’s because Jesus was baptized that He was crucified and shed His blood to death as the Lamb of God who took away the sins of the world. And rising from the dead again, He has become our everlasting Savior. That’s why Jesus cried out in His last breath before He passed away on the Cross as the final confirmation, “It is finished!” These were the very last Words of the Lord on the Cross. The Lord Himself had completed the final work of salvation. If it were a book, He put the final period at the end of the book. This was the end and the completion of His work. When Jesus died on the Cross, in other words, His work of salvation was finished.
Jesus poured out all the blood that was in His heart. Do you know what happens when people bleed out too much? Their hearts beat very fast, their faces turn white, and sometimes they even faint from shock to the system. When I was a kid, my hand once got impaled by a piercing machine. But I didn’t hear anything. It all happened so fast that I only saw my hand getting impaled. I was too shocked to say anything or even scream in pain. I just stood there and began sweating becoming cold all over my body. Someone else nearby me saw my injury and took me to a hospital to get it treated. If your whole body were wounded and bleeding all over, would you be able to say, “It is finished”? No, of course not! Only Jesus could do this. He had come to this earth incarnated in the flesh of man. He had been born on this earth from the body of Mary, and He had taken upon our sins by being baptized by John the Baptist. He was crucified because He had shouldered all our sins. And just before He passed away, He found the last bit of strength to say, “It is finished!” In this way, He wanted to tell us that our everlasting salvation had now been completed.
Until the very moment the Lord’s earthly life ended, He preached the gospel of the water and the Spirit, saying, “It is finished!” Sister Soyoung recently hurt her hand while cutting something. So several of our sisters and the wife of one of our pastors took her to hospital, and the doctor there asked for her guardian to come into the office. But Sister Soyoung panicked at the sight of her blood, her face turned all blue, and she got so frantic that instead of calmly asking one of the accompanying sisters to come into the office as her guardian, she blurted out hysterically, “Come into the office, Soyoung Kwon’s guardian! Hurry up! Whoever you are, come now!” Sister Soyoung was not being herself. She panicked because she was terrified when she saw her blood. When you see your own blood, you can get frantic like this or even go into a shock. At any rate, Sister Choi went in as her guardian, and fortunately, her injury was not a serious one, so they all had a good laugh about it. When I heard this story, I also laughed.
Of course, bleeding is no laughing matter. People get scared when they get injured and see even a little bit of blood, and some people even go into a shock. People panic when they see themselves bleeding. It’s because the blood is life. When you get hurt, you can even die from a shock. Biblical scholars say that when Jesus was crucified, his arteries were pierced by the nails. With both His hands and feet nailed, Jesus bled to death. The cardiovascular system runs on the heart, which pumps blood regularly to circulate it around the body. The blood that is pumped away from the heart returns to the heart, which is then pumped out again. That’s how our blood circulates in the body.
When Jesus was crucified, His arteries were pierced, and His blood poured out of these holes. Bleeding out is followed by dehydration. As the blood is a fluid composed of water and other components, profuse bleeding leads to severe dehydration. That’s why Jesus said He was thirsty. Like this, Jesus poured out all the blood that was in His body. He was nearing death. Having lost so much blood, He was losing consciousness. Yet even in that traumatic condition, Jesus could cry out before passing away on the Cross, “It is finished!” He wanted to teach us about His work of salvation. He was saying to us that He had come to this earth, taken upon all your sins and mine through His baptism, and borne all the condemnation of our sins by being crucified and shedding His blood.
It’s absolutely important for us to realize and fully understand that our sins are not blotted out by offering our own prayers of repentance. How, then, was our sins blotted out? They have been blotted out because the Lord actually bore them by being baptized by John the Baptist. It’s because Jesus was condemned for all our sins by being crucified to death while shouldering these sins of the world. And it’s because He rose from the dead again, and has thereby become our true Savior. It is the Lord who has become our Savior. Therefore, whoever believes in this work of the Lord has no more sin. This is what people must realize. They need to grasp how the Lord has indeed washed away all their sins. By being baptized by John the Baptist in the Jordan River, the Lord took upon all the sins of our entire lifetime. He bore each and every sin on this earth once and for all, from its beginning to its end. That is what we must know and believe. I can’t emphasize enough just how important it is for us to realize this and believe in it.
We have already been cleansed. We have received the remission of all our sins by believing in the gospel of the water and the Spirit. However, as we carry on with our lives, we still continue to sin. But all these sins have also been washed away by the Lord. Just as the Lord washed Peter’s feet and the other disciples’ feet as well, the Lord bore all our personal sins also when He was baptized by John the Baptist. He was then condemned for all our sins by being crucified. And rising from the dead again, He has made us forever whole. All your sins have therefore been washed away already. That is why Peter could become the Lord’s head disciple. Because the Lord blotted out all of Peter’s sins and loved him to the end, Peter could also love the Lord until the end, even though he had denied Jesus three times when Jesus was interrogated in the court of Pilate before His crucifixion. So, when asked by the Lord if he loved Him, Peter told Him that He knew that he loved Him. Peter couldn’t help but love the Lord, for the Lord loved him first to the end.
You and I have also received such love from the Lord. Yet, some people still mistakenly think, “I don’t know about this sin. It’s so heinous that even I can’t forgive myself. Jesus couldn’t have blotted out such a terrible sin.” Some other Christians say that while nearly all sins can be remitted away, the sins that are committed with the body cannot be forgiven. But where is such a thing written the Bible? It’s nowhere to be found in Scripture! But nevertheless, some pastors still claim that while every other sin can be remitted away, the sin of adultery cannot be forgiven? If this were the case, then wouldn’t it mean that anyone who commits adultery cannot enter Heaven? Wouldn’t it imply that there can be no complete remission of sins? Don’t these mistaken teachings then suggest that Jesus had failed to blot out the sin of adultery?
Everyone speaks based on their own experiences. The pastors who have not been born again do not speak based on the Word, even after reading it. Both the preachers and the listeners of the Word must speak based on this Word of God. Only then can they share meaningful fellowship, plant the Word in hearts, and find the answer to the questions by faith. Yet, those who do not know the gospel of the water and the Spirit say that while every other sin can be forgiven, the sin of adultery cannot be forgiven or remitted away. This, my fellow believers, is totally wrong. The Lord has blotted out each and every sin. No matter what kind, there is not a single sin in this world that the Lord has not blotted out. He has blotted out all the sins that are committed with our bodies.
However, there is one sin that cannot be forgiven. What is this sin? It is the sin of blaspheming the Holy Spirit. This sin is committed when one denies that the Lord came to this earth incarnated in the flesh of man, took upon the sins of mankind by being baptized by John the Baptist, shed His life blood to death on the Cross, rose from the dead, and has thereby become our everlasting Savior. This sin cannot be forgiven. Those who deny the gospel of the water and the Spirit are forever unable to receive the remission of sins. Even when they hear the gospel of the water and the Spirit, they continue to deny that Jesus bore their sins when He was baptized, and they claim that the remission of sins is received by offering their own prayers of repentance instead.
This is the wicked act of altering Scripture. It is an act that nullifies the Lord’s work and corrupts it. That’s why those who believe only in Jesus’ blood on the Cross for salvation cannot receive the remission of sins. It’s because they have fallen into grave fallacy. Such people cannot be remitted from their sins. Why? It’s because they do not believe in what the Lord has done for them. It’s because they nullify the work of salvation done by the holy Lord. And it’s because they are stomping on the Lord’s work of salvation, neither believing in nor accepting it. That’s why they cannot be forgiven. Except for this sin, every other sin can be forgiven.
Let me explain once again. Some Christians have a different interpretation of what is meant by the sin of blaspheming the Holy Spirit and claim, “When the believers speak in tongues and cast out demons, this is the work of the Holy Spirit. To dismiss this teaching or to oppose it is the sin of blaspheming the Holy Spirit. So this sin cannot be forgiven.” A lot of Christians hold such a misinterpretation. This, however, is not the sin of blaspheming the Holy Spirit. Such things are not the work of the Holy Spirit, and therefore, opposing such false teaching is not the sin of blaspheming the Holy Spirit. What is the real work of the Holy Spirit? It is the Biblical fact that to save us from our sins, the Lord was born on this earth from the body of Mary, bore our sins by being baptized by John the Baptist, bleed to death on the Cross while shouldering the sins of the world, and rose from the dead again. Jesus, through this, has become our Savior. This is the work of the Holy Spirit. It is God’s work. Therefore, whoever denies this work of God cannot receive the remission of sins in this world or the next.
How, then, should we follow the Lord to become His approved workers? Let’s turn to John 15:3-4, “You are already clean because of the word which I have spoken to you. Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in Me.” The Lord said clearly here that we are already clean because of the Word He has spoken to us. Here in John chapter 15, the Lord is telling us that we have been cleansed by His work of salvation. The remission of sins is received by believing in the Word of God. The Word of God is written in the gospel of the water and the Spirit, and it is by believing in this Word that the remission of sins is received.
We are made sinless by believing in the Word of the Lord. It’s then that we can abide in the Lord, and the Lord can abide in us also. Therefore, when we accept the Word of the Lord, we shouldn’t do so based on our own experiences. It is when we accept it exactly as it is written that we receive the remission of sins. When you hear the gospel Word of the water and the Spirit, all that you have to do is say Yes to this Word and accept it into your heart with an Amen. It’s then that you receive the remission of sins. The Scripture says, “Faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God” (Romans 10:17). Faith indeed comes by hearing, and hearing by the Word of God. How do we abide in the Lord? We abide in the Lord by believing in His Word. How does the Lord abide in us then? He comes into and abides in the hearts of those who believe in His Word. In other words, the Lord abides in the hearts of the redeemed. This Lord is none other than the Holy Spirit.
The Lord said that He is the true vine as written here in John 15:1-2, “I am the true vine, and My Father is the vinedresser. Every branch in Me that does not bear fruit He takes away; and every branch that bears fruit He prunes, that it may bear more fruit.” The fruit bearing branches are those who accept the Word of the Lord. What about the branches that do not bear fruit then? They are those who, despite having heard the Word of God, do not accept it with an Amen. Such people cannot bear any fruit.
My fellow believers, you and I are now working hard to spread the gospel of the water and the Spirit throughout the whole world. We are doing everything we can to support this ministry. It is through you and me that the Lord is spreading the gospel of the water and the Spirit. The gospel is spread as new buds emerge. As the vine grows, it branches out and sprouts out new buds. These branches work as a bridge to channel nutrients from the roots. Where is the fruit born then? When new buds sprout and blossom, that’s where the fruit is born. It’s from the new buds sprouting in the spring that flowers blossom and grapes are born. We are all like the branches of the vine.
We tap into the Lord’s nutrients and channel them to people all over the world. And when they hear the gospel from us, they blossom. That’s how they receive the remission of sins. And that’s how fruit is born. The gospel continues to be preached through these new believers who have received the remission of sins by hearing the gospel from us. When the gospel work unfolds like this, the new believers come to support the ministry just like us so that others may also bear fruit. Who, then, are the branches that bear fruit in the Lord? They are those who have received the remission of sins by believing in the Lord’s Word.
How Can We Follow the Lord When We Have So Many Shortcomings?
We can follow the Lord and live as His disciples despite our shortcomings because the Lord has already blotted out all your sins and mine. It’s because the Lord already bore all our sins once and for all when He was baptized by John the Baptist in the Jordan River. That’s why the Lord could become our Savior by dying on the Cross and rising from the dead again. Therefore, now that we have received the remission of sins, we can all carry out the Lord’s work and continue to follow Him. In other words, we can follow the Lord because the Lord has made it possible for us to do so. It is not we who loved the Lord first, but it is the Lord who loved us first. Not only this, the Lord loves us to the end. That’s why we can love the Lord. And that’s why it’s now possible for us to live as the Lord’s disciples. It’s precisely for this reason that those whose faith is mature do not boast of their own righteousness. They instead submit to the Lord in all things to His pleasure.
The righteousness of the Lord is made theirs, their righteousness is made the Lord’s, and in the end, they become one with the Lord in unity. Even we the redeemed may continue to commit many sins, but we can still follow the Lord because He has already blotted out all our sins once and for all, including our personal sins. That’s why you and I can follow the Lord. That’s why Peter and the other disciples of Jesus could love the Lord and live according to His will even unto martyrdom. Among the disciples of Jesus was a man named Thomas. Thomas did not believe when the other disciples told him that they had seen the resurrected Lord. He was so incredulous that he said he would not believe unless he could put his hand into Jesus’ wounds. For this reason, Thomas is sometimes called the Doubting Thomas. Yet even such a doubtful man was one of the twelve disciples of Jesus. And when he finally saw the resurrected Lord, he exclaimed, “My Lord and my God!”
According to the Christian tradition, Thomas is believed to have gone to India to spread the gospel and was martyred there. Perhaps for this reason, the Hindus consider the Ganges River in India as a sacred river, believing that they can cleanse away all their souls’ sins if they bathe in that river. The devout dip themselves in the Ganges regularly. Many Hindus nearing death also come to the Ganges so they can spend their last moment at the river. The dead also have their bodies cremated on the banks of the Ganges and their ashes scattered in it. They think this would grant them salvation. Perhaps this is a belief derived from or influenced by the Christian faith. It may be that someone went to India and preached to its people about the baptism of Jesus, teaching that Jesus had born and washed away all their sins by being baptized by John the Baptist, but this teaching somehow got corrupted and led to the Hindu belief in the sacredness of the Ganges. This, of course, is entirely my own speculation. It is not the truth. Only what’s written in the Scripture is the truth.
Although the history of the world may seem very long, it is actually quite short. Modernity is traced back to only about 500 years. Prior to this, the world was full of superstitious beliefs. When we look at the whole span of world history, we can see that humanity did not begin to make significant advancements until about 500 years ago. There are now billions of people living on this earth, but in the ancient times, the world population was rather small, numbering less than a hundred million for a long time. At the time of Noah’s blood, the size of the population must have been even smaller, though we don’t know the exact number. In many ways, we are very lucky to have been born in this present age.
Being Koreans, if we had been born 70 years ago, we would be living under Japanese colonial rule. During the colonial rule, the Japanese exploited Koreans as though they were mere slaves. If we had been born at that time, we would have held so much hatred for the Japanese that we would think of nothing else but how to exact revenge. If I had a chance to preach the gospel to the Japanese during the colonial period, I would have probably sworn at them in my pent-up anger. A while ago, I actually did get to preach the gospel to a Japanese man named Sakamoto. I explained to him that Jesus had taken away even the smallest sins, but he had trouble understanding me. I got so frustrated that I blurted out to Sakamoto that he was being too dense. But, instead of being offended by this, Sakamoto just said that he was not the brightest bulb in the box.
He seemed like a good man. At least he knew his limits. Intellectually speaking, it is not that difficult to grasp the gospel message that all the sins of this world were passed to Jesus when He was baptized by John the Baptist, and that Jesus was crucified to death subsequently. But Sakamoto struggled to understand this, and so I ended up losing my patience, which I shouldn’t have. I’m sure that once Sakamoto reaches a clear understanding of the gospel, he will be able to preach it to the whole world. The Japanese are selfish and calculating, so they can’t serve the gospel with as much devotion as we can.
At any rate, Koreans are ideal for God’s use. They are not just good for God’s use, but they are perfect for it. Koreans don’t flinch at asking others whether they are sinful or not. They don’t really have any business asking such a direct question, but they can be rather blunt. When Koreans see someone going somewhere, they like to ask where that person is going. When they are told where the person is going, they keep asking why he is going there, what the purpose of the trip is, and what he will be doing there. Wherever someone else might be going and whatever he might be doing, it’s none of their business, but they still ask with an inquisitive mind. Yet, Koreans don’t mind telling them where they are going and what they are doing. So, when we look at Koreans, we see that they are rather empathetic.
Perhaps that’s why God loves us Koreans so much and lets the gospel be preached through you and me. And Koreans are also honest. There are however, many dishonest Koreans, but most Koreans tend to be on the honest side. When they get angry, they show this bluntly. But being honest is not the right answer for all occasions; if it can hurt others, you shouldn’t be too honest. Being too frank can be counterproductive many times. However, we must be honest before the Lord.
All of us must abide in the Lord, but how can we achieve this? We can abide in the Lord by faith. It’s by faith that we become the Lord’s disciples. It’s also by faith that we can follow the Lord. Even those who have received the remission of sins continue to sin out of their shortcomings, but they can still follow the Lord. How is this possible? It’s because the Lord has already washed our feet—that is, washed all our personal sins away. This is not something that is still ongoing. It is not as though the Lord is still washing away our sins. Rather, it is something that has already been done and finished. The Lord already bore all our sins once and for all by being baptized by John the Baptist when He came to this earth over 2,000 years ago. He has already washed away our sins. And while shouldering these sins, He was condemned for them by being crucified and shedding His blood to death. He then rose from the dead again
All of these things were done a long time ago. Since this year is 2014 and Jesus died at the age of 33, all these works of salvation were finished about 2,000 years ago. There is nothing more to be done; everything was completed a long time ago. What we have heard, believe in, and are preaching now is something that has been completed already. It is by faith that the remission of sins is received. And it is by faith that we have already received the remission of sins. It is also by holding fast to the Word that we can follow the Lord despite our many shortcomings.
If we sin before the Lord, we admit and confess it. And we believe that all such sins were also passed on to the Lord. By believing that the Lord has already remitted away these sins also, we can follow the Lord with a clear conscience. We can always live as the Lord’s disciples carrying out His work. The Lord has blessed us as such holy people. That’s why we are so grateful to the Lord. We can’t help but thank the Lord for such wonderful blessings.
My fellow believers, no matter how many shortcomings you may have, as long as you believe in the gospel of the water and the Spirit, you can become the Lord’s approved worker. And you can follow the Lord always. Even though you may feel as though are not cut out to follow the Lord when you look at yourself, if you look towards the Lord, you will be more than able to follow Him. All that you have to do is just look towards Jesus Christ who has made us whole. The Lord has blotted out not only our sins but also all the sins of the whole world. He has blotted out even the sins that we have committed after we first received the remission of sins. And by doing so, He has turned us into the workers of righteousness. I give all my thanks to our Lord!