“For we know that the law is spiritual, but I am carnal, sold under sin. For what I am doing, I do not understand. For what I will to do, that I do not practice; but what I hate, that I do. If, then, I do what I will not to do, I agree with the law that it is good. But now, it is no longer I who do it, but sin that dwells in me. For I know that in me (that is, in my flesh) nothing good dwells; for to will is present with me, but how to perform what is good I do not find. For the good that I will to do, I do not do; but the evil I will not to do, that I practice. Now if I do what I will not to do, it is no longer I who do it, but sin that dwells in me. I find then a law, that evil is present with me, the one who wills to do good. For I delight in the law of God according to the inward man. But I see another law in my members, warring against the law of my mind, and bringing me into captivity to the law of sin which is in my members. O wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death? I thank God—through Jesus Christ our Lord! So then, with the mind I myself serve the law of God, but with the flesh the law of sin. There is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus, who do not walk according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit. For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has made me free from the law of sin and death.”
Man is a sinner who inherited sin
All human beings inherited sin from Adam and Eve and became the seeds of sin. We are thus originally born as the offspring of sin and inevitably become sinful beings. All the people in the world cannot help but become sinners due to one ancestor, Adam, though none of them wants to be a sinner.
What is the origin of sin? It is inherited from our parents. We are born with sin in our hearts. This is the inherited nature of sinners. We have 12 kinds of sins that are inherited from Adam and Eve. These sins—adulteries, fornications, murders, thefts, covetousness, wickedness, deceit, lewdness, an evil eye, blasphemy, pride and foolishness—are intrinsic in our hearts from the very time when we are born. The basic nature of man is sin.
We are thus born with twelve kinds of sins. We cannot but confess that we are sinners because we are born with sin in our hearts. A human being is born a sinner and is inevitably a sinner because he/she originally has sin within himself/herself, even if he/she does not sin all his/her life. One becomes a sinner because one is born with sin in one’s heart. Even if we do not sin with our flesh, we cannot avoid becoming sinners because God looks on the heart. So all human beings are sinners before God.
Man commits the sin of transgression
A human being also commits the sin of transgressions. He/she commits sins with the flesh, sprouting original sin from within. We call these sins “iniquities” or “transgressions.” They are the offenses of our outward behaviors that originate from the twelve kinds of sins in our hearts. The evil sin from within makes a human being commit lawless deeds and thereby makes all human beings sinners without exception. A human being does not seem to be a sinner when he/she is very young. Sin does not remarkably come out of an infant when he/she is very young, just as a young persimmon tree does not bring forth persimmons. But sin begins to come out more and more from within as we get older, and we come to know that we are sinners. We call these sins iniquities or transgressions, and they are the sins that are committed through behavior.
God says that both these are sins. The sin in the heart and the lawless deeds of our flesh are both sins. God calls a human being a sinner. All sins are included in the sins of the heart and in the sins of behavior. So, all people are born sinners in the sight of God, whether they sin through their behavior or not.
Unbelievers insist that man is born good originally, and that nobody is born evil. But David confessed to God, “Against You, You only, have I sinned, And done this evil in Your sight—That You may be found just when You speak, And blameless when You judge. Behold, I was brought forth in iniquity, And in sin my mother conceived me” (Psalms 51:4-5). This passage means, “I cannot but commit sin like this, because I am originally a seed of sin. I am a grave sinner. So, if You take away my sins, I can be redeemed from all my sins and become righteous. But if You do not take them away, I have to go to hell. I have sin, if You say I have sin. But I have no sin, if You say I have no sin. Everything depends on You, God, and Your judgment.”
Strictly speaking, in the sight of God, all human beings cannot help but be sinners because they inherited sin from their parents. They are born sinners regardless of their behavior. The only way to escape from sin is to believe in the salvation of Jesus. Public education teaches our children the false claim, whose key message can be summed up in the following manner: “All people are born good natured. So live virtuously according to the good nature of human beings. You can do good if you just try.” They say only positive things. Humans live under the teachings of moral principles. But why do they commit sin in their hearts or with their flesh in their society or at their home? They do so because they are originally born with sin. Humans are born as the seeds of sin. A human being cannot help but commit sins, though he/she wants to do good. This proves that we are born with sin.
You must know yourself
People cannot help but commit sin with the flesh throughout their lives because they are born with sin. This is the original state of mankind—we must know ourselves first. Socrates said, “Know yourself!” And Jesus said, “You are a sinner because you were conceived in sin and brought forth in iniquity. So you must receive the forgiveness of your sins.” Know yourself. Most people misunderstand themselves. Almost all people live and die without knowing themselves. Only wise people know themselves. Those who perceive and believe in the truth of Jesus after knowing that they are the seeds of evildoers are the wise ones. They have the right to enter the Kingdom of Heaven.
Those who do not know themselves teach people to play the hypocrite and not to sin anymore. They teach people not to express the sins that are within. Religious educators train them not to sin and to suppress their sins whenever they try to wiggle out of them. They are all on their way to hell. Who are they? They are the servants of Satan, the false shepherds. What they teach is not what our Lord taught us. Of course, our Lord did not tell us to commit sin. But He does tell us, “You have sin, you are a sinner, and the wages of sin is death. You are on your way to destruction because of your sins. So, you must be redeemed of sins. Receive the gift of salvation that saves you from all your sins. Then, all your sins will be forgiven, and you will receive eternal life. You will become a righteous, a precious saint and God’s child.”
Why did God give human beings the Law?
Paul said, “Moreover the law entered that the offense might abound. But where sin abounded, grace abounded much more” (Romans 5:20). God gave us the Law so that through it our sins would be revealed even more sinfully (Romans 7:13). He gave the sinners His Law so that they would recognize their sins seriously.
God gave the Law to the Israelites when the descendants of Jacob lived in the wilderness after the Exodus. He gave 613 kinds of commandments. Why did God give human beings the Law? God gave them the Law, first, because He wanted to let them recognize their sins, as they did not know about their sins, and secondly, because they are born with sin.
The ten commandments of the Law show what grave sinners human beings are. “You shall have no other gods before Me. You shall not make for yourself a carved image… You shall not take the name of the Lord your God in vain, for the Lord will not hold him guiltless who takes His name in vain. Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy… Honor your father and your mother, that your days may be long upon the land which the Lord your God is giving you. You shall not murder. You shall not commit adultery. You shall not steal. You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor. You shall not covet your neighbor’s house…, nor anything that is your neighbor’s” (Exodus 20:3-17).
God gave all of us the Law, and through it He taught us exactly what kind of sin we have in our hearts. God taught us that we are total sinners before God, and He enlightened us of the truth that we are sinners because we cannot keep the Law.
Can a human being possibly keep the Law of God? When God told the Israelites and the Gentiles to have no other gods before Him, He wanted to enlighten them that they were sinners who, from the very beginning, could not keep even the first commandment. Through the commandments, they came to know that they loved other creatures more than the Creator. They realized that they took the name of God in vain, that they made and served idols that God hated, and that they did not even rest when God gave them rest for their own sake. They also found out that they did not honor their parents, they murdered, they committed adultery, and they did all the lawless deeds that God told them not to do. They could not, in short, keep the Law of God.
The Law has dominion over those whose sins are not forgiven yet
Do you now understand why God gave us the Law? God gave the Law first to those who are not born again. “Or do you not know, brethren (for I speak to those who know the law), that the law has dominion over a man as long as he lives?” (Romans 7:1) God gave the Law to those who inherited sin from their ancestors and have not been born again yet to make them mourn under sin. The Law has dominion over a person as long as he/she lives. Every descendant of Adam has the twelve kinds of sin in his/her heart. God gave the Law to those who have sin in their hearts, and He told them that they had fatal sins. Thus, whenever the sins of murder or adultery come out of us and make us sin, the Law tells us, “God told you not to commit adultery. But you committed adultery again. So you are a sinner. God told you not to murder, but you have murdered with your hatred. You are a sinner who murders and commits adultery. God told you not to steal, but you stole again. So you are a thief.” Like this, sin comes into existence where the Law exists.
This is why Paul said, “Or do you not know, brethren (for I speak to those who know the law), that the law has dominion over a man as long as he lives?” The law has dominion over those whose sins are not forgiven yet. To the Gentiles, who do not know God’s Law, their conscience becomes the Law to them. When they do evil, their conscience tells them that they had sinned. Likewise, the unbelievers’ conscience functions as the Law to them, and they recognize sins through their conscience (Romans 2:15).
Why do you not serve the Creator, when even your conscience tells you that there is the Creator? Why do you not seek God? Why do you deceive your heart? You should be ashamed of your sins and afraid that other people will find out about your sins. But sinners who do not admit God and who deceive their hearts have no shame.
We are ashamed of ourselves when we look at the sky, the earth, other people, or any other creature, if we have sin. God gave human beings conscience and the law of conscience points out sin. But most of them live without God, playing the hypocrite in the sight of God and living as they please. They are bound to hell. As Paul reminds them to pay attention to the Law, “Or do you not know, brethren (for I speak to those who know the law), that the law has dominion over a man as long as he lives?” A human being must be born twice—once as a sinner, and then born again by the grace of God’s redemption to live as a righteous.
Paul explained how the Lord saved us from the curse of the law of sin in the following manner: “For the woman who has a husband is bound by the law to her husband as long as he lives. But if the husband dies, she is released from the law of her husband. So then if, while her husband lives, she marries another man, she will be called an adulteress; but if her husband dies, she is free from that law, so that she is no adulteress, though she has married another man” (Romans 7:2-3).
If a married woman has an affair, she is called an adulteress. But if her husband is dead and she then marries another man, there is nothing wrong with it. The same logic applies to our deliverance from the law of sin. The Law has dominion over all the descendants of Adam whose sins are not forgiven yet. It tells them, “You are sinners.” So, they come to confess their sinfulness under the Law saying, “I must go to hell. I am a sinner. It’s natural for me to go to hell because of the wages of my sins.” But if we become dead to the Law through the body of Christ, the Law can no longer have dominion over us, because our old selves were crucified with Christ by being baptized into Him.
Our old selves are dead
Our Lord took care of our old husbands and He enabled us to be married to Him. “Therefore, my brethren, you also have become dead to the law through the body of Christ, that you may be married to another—to Him who was raised from the dead, that we should bear fruit to God” (Romans 7:4). God gave the Law to all human beings, who were born with sin due to their common ancestor, Adam, so that sin through the commandment might be revealed even more. He had made them dwell under the judgment of God, but He saved them through the body of Christ. Jesus Christ died in our place. Is it not right for us to go to hell according to the Law of God? That’s right. However, the Lord was sent to the world, took upon all our sins with His baptism in the Jordan River, was crucified, judged and cursed by the wrath of the Law in our stead. Through this and this alone can now be saved and born again by believing it.
Those who are not born again must go to hell. They should believe in Jesus and be saved. We must die once with Jesus Christ. If our old selves do not die once, we cannot become new creatures and enter the Kingdom of Heaven. If our old selves have not been judged according to the Law through our united faith in Jesus, we must be judged and be sent to hell. All those who are not born again should go to hell.
Unbelievers live well, enjoying everything that a good life can provide, but they do not care about their eternal punishments. All human beings should receive the forgiveness of sins by the Lord Jesus while they live on this earth. Every old self has to die once in union with Jesus through faith, because we cannot be born again after our departure from this world. We must be killed once and delivered from our sins through our faith in Jesus Christ. Through whom? Though the body of Jesus Christ. How? By believing that Jesus came to this world and took away all our sins. Are you dead? Is there anyone who is not dead yet? You may wonder, “How can I become dead? How am I alive now, if I was dead?” This is the secret; it is the mystery that no religion can ever solve.
Only the born again can say that their old selves are already dead in union with Jesus. Sinners can be born again, and their old selves can be dead only when they listen to God’s Word from the born-again. And through this they can become the servants of God. All human beings must listen to the Word of God from the born-again saints. You cannot be born again when you ignore their teachings. Even Paul could not be born again without Christ, though he had learned the Word of God from Gamaliel, one of the most prominent teachers of the Law at that time. How thankful we are! We can bring forth the fruits of the righteousness for God by believing in Jesus Christ, who rose again from the dead, when we become dead through the body of Jesus Christ by faith. We can then bring forth the nine kinds of the fruits of the Holy Spirit.
The sinful passions in our members were at work to bear fruit to death
“For when we were in the flesh, the sinful passions which were aroused by the law were at work in our members to bear fruit to death” (Romans 7:5). “When we were in the flesh” means “before we were born again.” The sinful passions in our members were at work to bear fruit to death when we did not have faith through the body of Jesus Christ. The sinful passions were constantly at work in our members at that time. There are twelve kinds of sins in heart. Put differently, this means that there are twelve kinds of outlets of sin in our hearts. Today, for instance, the sin of adultery may come out of its outlet and agitate the heart. Then the heart commands to the head, “Adultery comes out of its hole and it tells me to commit adultery.” Then, the head answers, “Okay. I will command the arms and legs to execute it. Listen, arms and legs, do as you want. Hurry up!” The head commands its members to go to the place where the flesh commits adultery. Then, the body goes and does as the head commands. Likewise, when the sin of murder comes out of its hole, it agitates the heart and the heart makes its head get angry with someone. Then, the head commands the body to prepare for it. Sin works in our members like this.
This is the reason why we should receive the forgiveness of our sins. If we do not have the forgiveness of sin, we cannot help but do just as the heart commands, though this is not what we want to do. Everyone should be born again by the true gospel. One can become whole when one is born again, just as a maggot becomes a cicada. Pastors can really serve the Lord only after they are born again. Before being born again, all that they can say is, “Beloved saints, you must do good.” This is akin to telling the sick to heal themselves. They urge their congregations to cleanse their hearts for themselves, though they themselves do not know how to cleanse their own sinful hearts.
The sinful passions in our members were at work to bear fruit to death. Does a person commit sin because he/she wants to sin? We commit sin as the servants of sin because we were born with sin, because all our sins have not been blotted out yet, and because we are yet to die through the body of Jesus Christ. We sin, though we hate to do so. Everyone must therefore receive the forgiveness of sin.
It is better for the pastors whose sins have not been taken away yet to quit serving the Lord. It would be better for them to sell Chinese cabbages. I recommend them to do so. It would be better for them to do so than deceive people by telling lies to make big money and take up offerings for themselves, becoming fat like pigs.
If one has not been saved from all his/her sins, the sin and its passion in his/her members are at work to bear fruit to death. We can serve the Lord under His grace by receiving the Holy Spirit after all our sins are taken away. But we cannot serve the Lord under the Law. Our Lord thus tells us, “But now we have been delivered from the law, having died to what we were held by, so that we should serve in the newness of the Spirit and not in the oldness of the letter” (Romans 7:6).
The Law makes our sins become exceedingly sinful
“What shall we say then? Is the law sin? Certainly not! On the contrary, I would not have known sin except through the law. For I would not have known covetousness unless the law had said, ‘You shall not covet.’ But sin, taking opportunity by the commandment, produced in me all manner of evil desire. For apart from the law sin was dead. I was alive once without the law, but when the commandment came, sin revived, and I died. And the commandment, which was to bring life, I found to bring death. For sin, taking occasion by the commandment, deceived me, and by it killed me. Therefore, the law is holy, and the commandment holy and just and good. Has then what is good become death to me? Certainly not! But sin, that it might appear sin, was producing death in me through what is good, so that sin through the commandment might become exceedingly sinful” (Romans 7:7-13).
Paul said that God gave us the Law to make our sins become exceedingly sinful. He also said, “Therefore by the deeds of the law no flesh will be justified in His sight, for by the law is the knowledge of sin” (Romans 3:20). However, most Christians are trying to live by the Law while pursuing the righteousness of the Law. So many pastors, who are not born again, are sure that people are taken ill due to their disobedience to the Law, and that they can recover from their illness, if they would only live by the Law.
Can we really conclude that our disobedience of the Law causes all our diseases? Many Christians, ministers as well as their followers, think that things are not going well because they had failed to live according to the Word of God. They think that they are sick because of their sins. So they are afraid of sin. They weep everyday. They might as well add a passage to the Bible that says, “Weep evermore. Weep without ceasing. In every thing weep,” even though the Bible tells us to, “Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, in everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you” (1 Thessalonians 5:16-18). But false pastors teach people to weep evermore, to weep without ceasing, as if the wrinkles from so much crying are indicators of their faith.
Those with legalistic faith claim that weepers have good faiths. False pastors, who are not born again, appoint a woman who weeps well as a senior deaconess and a tear-prone male Christian as an elder. Do not weep in church; weep at home, if you really have to weep. Why was Jesus crucified? To make us crybabies? Of course not! Jesus took away all our grief, curses, illnesses and pains once and for all, so that His crucifixion would make us not weep anymore and instead live happily. So why do they weep? They must be sent back to their home if they try to weep in the born-again church of God.
What is the difference between the born again and those who are not born again?
The Law is never wrong. The Law is holy. It is truly righteous while we are not righteous at all. We are opposite to the Law because we are born with sin as the descendants of Adam. We do what we should not do, while we cannot do what we should do. So the Law makes us become exceeding sinful.
“For we know that the law is spiritual, but I am carnal, sold under sin. For what I am doing, I do not understand. For what I will to do, that I do not practice; but what I hate, that I do. If, then, I do what I will not to do, I agree with the law that it is good. But now, it is no longer I who do it, but sin that dwells in me. For I know that in me (that is, in my flesh) nothing good dwells; for to will is present with me, but how to perform what is good I do not find. For the good that I will to do, I do not do; but the evil I will not to do, that I practice. Now if I do what I will not to do, it is no longer I who do it, but sin that dwells in me. I find then a law, that evil is present with me, the one who wills to do good. For I delight in the law of God according to the inward man. But I see another law in my members, warring against the law of my mind, and bringing me into captivity to the law of sin which is in my members. O wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death?” (Romans 7:14-24)
Prior to this passage, Paul says that all of us, including himself, should be judged once by the Law. He says that only those who have received all the wrath and the judgments of the Law through the body of Jesus Christ can bear the fruits of righteousness for God. He also says that no good thing dwells in him, and that one who is not born again cannot help but sin. So does one who is born again. But there is an obvious difference between the two. Those who are born again have both the flesh and the Spirit, so there are two kinds of desires in them. But those who are not born again yet have only the lust of the flesh, and they only want to sin. So, all that they are concerned about is how beautifully and constantly they commit sin. This is their goal in life, common to those who are not born again.
Sin makes people commit sin. Romans 7:20 says, “Now if I do what I will not to do, it is no longer I who do it, but sin that dwells in me.” Is there sin in the heart of the born again? No. Is there sin in the hearts of those who are not born again then? Yes! If you have sin in your heart, sin works in the flesh and it makes you commit even more sins. “For the good that I will to do, I do not do; but the evil I will not to do, that I practice. Now if I do what I will not to do, it is no longer I who do it, but sin that dwells in me.” Human beings cannot help but to commit sin all their lives, because they are born with sin.
The born again can bear the fruits of the Spirit spontaneously. But those who are not born again cannot bring forth such fruits. They do not have mercy on others. Some of them even kill their own children, if their children disobey them. Cruelties come out of their hearts and kill their children in their hearts when their children disobey them. Though they do not actually kill their children, with their hearts they murder them countless times.
Do you understand what I am trying to say here? But the righteous can do no such thing. They may get into arguments, but they cannot and will not have such cruel hearts, filled with so much bitterness and anger as others have.
Instead, the righteous want to have mercy on the people with their hearts, even those with whom they may be arguing over their different opinions. “I find then a law, that evil is present with me, the one who wills to do good.” Human beings want to do good because they were created in the image of God. But while their sins still exist in their hearts, only evil things come out of them.
Christians who are not born again talk to each other, lamenting, “I really want to do good, but I can’t. I don’t know why I can’t.” They must know that they cannot do so because they are sinners who have not been saved yet. They cannot do good because they have sin in their hearts. The born again have the desires of the Spirit as well as the lusts of the flesh, but those who are not born again yet do not have the Spirit. This is the key difference that distinguishes the born again from those who are not.
Paul talks about the state of his not being born again in chapter 7. Explaining the Law from Romans 7:1 and on, He says that he could not do the good which he wanted to do, but he did the evil which he did not want to do. Paul, in other words, had no desire to sin and only wanted to do good, and yet he could only do exactly what he did not wish to do, while what he really wanted to do in his heart, he found it impossible to do. “O wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death?” He laments this sorry fate of his, but immediately praises the Lord, saying, “I thank God—through Jesus Christ our Lord!”
Do you understand what this means? We, the born again, can understand his saying, but those who are not born again can never understand it. A maggot that has never become a cicada can never understand what a cicada says. “Wow! I sing songs for several hours a day on the tree. How cool the wind is!” A maggot might reply from the ground, “Really? What is the wind?” It can never understand what the cicada is saying, but the cicada knows what the wind is.
Because Paul had been born again, he could explain exactly what the difference between those who are born again and those who are not is. He says the Savior who saved him is Jesus Christ. Did Jesus Christ save us? Of course He did! “So then, with the mind I myself serve the law of God, but with the flesh the law of sin.”
Those whose sins have been taken away serve the law of God with their hearts. What, then, do they serve with the flesh? They serve the law of sin with their flesh. The flesh likes to sin because it has not changed at all. The flesh wants the things of the flesh and the Spirit wants the things of the Spirit. So those whose sins have been taken away can and want to follow the Lord because the Holy Spirit now dwells in them. But those whose sins have not been taken away cannot help but follow sin with both their minds and flesh. The born again, whose sins have now been taken away, can follow God with their minds even as their flesh follows sin.
The law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has made us free from the law of sin and death
Let’s skip to Romans 8:1 for now. Those whose sins have been taken away by believing in the salvation of Jesus are no longer judged by the Law of God, though they were born as sinners. “There is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus, who do not walk according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit. For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has made me free from the law of sin and death” (Romans 8:1-2).
There is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus. There is no condemnation! Those who are born again have no sin, and there can be no judgment on them. No sin remains in their hearts because the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has made them free from the law of sin and death. Our Lord is the origin of life. He became the Lamb of God, being conceived by the Holy Spirit, and took upon all the sins of the world on Himself at the Jordan River through His baptism by John. Judged in our place, He was crucified for us. Through this He completely took away all our sins.
Do we, then, have to die again because of our sins? Do we have something to be judged? Do we have sin within us, if all our sins were passed onto Jesus Christ through His baptism? Of course not! We do not have to be judged, for the Lord was baptized in the Jordan River, crucified in our place, and rose again from the dead on the third day to save all sinners.
The salvation of God frees us from His judgment while the Law brings about wrath. “For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has made me free from the law of sin and death.” The wrath of God is revealed to those who have sin. God sends them to hell. But the Lord has freed us from the law of sin and death by taking away all the sins from our hearts. He made believers, who are in Jesus Christ, free from sin. Have your sins been taken away?
“For what the law could not do in that it was weak through the flesh, God did by sending His own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, on account of sin: He condemned sin in the flesh, that the righteous requirement of the law might be fulfilled in us who do not walk according to the flesh but according to the Spirit” (Romans 8:3-4).
Our Lord tells us clearly here that the flesh is weak and cannot obey the righteous requirement of the Law. The Law of God is surely good and beautiful, but we cannot live by it because our flesh is too weak. The Law of God requires us to be perfect. It requires us to reach the full obedience of God’s Law, but our flesh cannot live by all the requirements of the Law because of its weakness. The Law thus brings its wrath on us. But what is Jesus for, if we are going to be judged after all?
God sent His only Son to save us. God gave us His righteousness by sending His own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, on account of our sins. Jesus was sent to the world in the likeness of the flesh. “He condemned sin in the flesh.” God passed all our sins onto Jesus so that the righteous requirement of the Law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit. Our sins are taken away by our belief in Jesus Christ with our hearts. Our sins are blotted out when we admit what Jesus Christ did for us.
Those who live according to the Spirit and those to the flesh
There are two kinds of Christians: those who follow their own thoughts and those who follow the Word of truth. The latter can be saved and become righteous, while the former will perish.
“For those who live according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who live according to the Spirit, the things of the Spirit. For to be carnally minded is death, but to be spiritually minded is life and peace” (Romans 8:5-6). Those who think that believing in God is to live according to the Law can never be perfect. “For those who live according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh.”
It is the things of the flesh to clean only the outward self. Those who do so dust off the Bible and go to church every Sunday with their holy gaits, though they fight with their wives and are evil at home. They become angels on Sundays.
“Hi, how have you been?”
“Nice to meet you again.”
They say “Amen” many times whenever their pastor preaches in a holy voice and a merciful manner. They gently come out of the church after the worship service, but they become different as soon as the church disappears from their sight.
“What did the Word of God say to me? I can’t remember; let’s just go to drink?”
They are angels in the church, but they become carnal beings in no time when they are away from the church.
Sinners, therefore, must pray to God like the following: “God, please save me, a wretched being. I cannot enter the Kingdom of Heaven and will go to hell if You do not save me. But if You wash away all my sins that I commit until I die, I can enter the Kingdom of Heaven by faith.” They must fully rely upon God.
Every believer can receive the redemption of their sins and lead a spiritual life when he/she follows the Word of God. “Those who live according to the Spirit (set their minds on) the things of the Spirit. For to be carnally minded is death, but to be spiritually minded is life and peace.” If we think and believe according to the truth of God, peace will come to us. “Because the carnal mind is enmity against God; for it is not subject to the law of God, nor indeed can be. So then, those who are in the flesh cannot please God” (Romans 8:7-8). Those whose sins are not taken away yet and who are still in the flesh can never please God.
“But you are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if indeed the Spirit of God dwells in you. Now if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he is not His” (Romans 8:9). People are confused with these passages because Paul speaks in profoundly spiritual words. Those who are not born again are confused with Romans chapters 7 and 8. They can never understand this part of the Bible. But we, the born again, are not in the flesh, and do not live only for the flesh.
Read carefully to what Paul says in the above passage. Does the Holy Spirit dwell in you? If anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, the person is not His. If not His, then it means that this person is of Satan and is a sinner bound for hell.
“And if Christ is in you, the body is dead because of sin, but the Spirit is life because of righteousness. But if the Spirit of Him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, He who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through His Spirit who dwells in you” (Romans 8:10-11). Amen.
Our Lord was conceived by the Holy Spirit, was sent to the world in the flesh, and took away all our sins. The Lord has come into the hearts of believers, who believe in the redemption of sins, and is sitting down in every one of their hearts. The Holy Spirit comes into the heart and proves that our Lord Jesus washed away all our sins, as white as snow. God will also give life to our flesh when Jesus comes to the world again. “He who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through His Spirit who dwells in you.”
The Spirit bears witness with our spirits that we are the children of God
We must live by the faith in God and by the Holy Spirit after we are born again. “Therefore, brethren, we are debtors—not to the flesh, to live according to the flesh. For if you live according to the flesh you will die; but if by the Spirit you put to death the deeds of the body, you will live. For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, these are sons of God. For you did not receive the spirit of bondage again to fear, but you received the Spirit of adoption by whom we cry out, ‘Abba, Father.’ The Spirit Himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God, and if children, then heirs—heirs of God and joint heirs with Christ, if indeed we suffer with Him, that we may also be glorified together” (Romans 8:12-17). We cry out, “Abba, Father,” because we have received the Spirit of adoption, not the spirit of bondage and fear.
“The Spirit Himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God.” First of all, the Holy Spirit bears witness that we have received the remission of sins through the concrete Word of God. The second witness is that we have no sin. The Spirit has born witness that we are saved. The Holy Spirit has done so in the hearts of those whose sins have been taken away. “There is none righteous, no, not one” (Romans 3:10). True, but this is before God delivered us. Below that passage, it is written that we are justified freely by His grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus (Romans 3:24). It is also written that the Spirit itself bears witness that we are the children of God. The Spirit comes to us when we admit in our hearts what God has done for us, but if we do not believe it, the Spirit is nowhere to be found within us. If we receive what God has done for us into our hearts, the Spirit bears witness, “You are righteous. You are my children. You are just. You are my people.” “Then heirs—heirs of God and joint heirs with Christ, if indeed we suffer with Him, that we may also be glorified together.” It is entirely proper for God’s children to suffer with the Lord, as well as to be glorified with Him. Those who have the Holy Spirit, being led by the Spirit, rest their hope on their entrance to the Kingdom of Heaven.
We live in the hope of the Millennial Kingdom and the Kingdom of Heaven in spite of the sufferings of this present time
Let us turn to Romans 8:18-25. “For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us. For the earnest expectation of the creation eagerly waits for the revealing of the sons of God. For the creation was subjected to futility, not willingly, but because of Him who subjected it in hope; because the creation itself also will be delivered from the bondage of corruption into the glorious liberty of the children of God. For we know that the whole creation groans and labors with birth pangs together until now. Not only that, but we also who have the first fruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, eagerly waiting for the adoption, the redemption of our body. For we were saved in this hope, but hope that is seen is not hope; for why does one still hope for what he sees? But if we hope for what we do not see, we eagerly wait for it with perseverance.”
We are the first fruits of the Spirit. We who are born again are the first fruits of resurrection. We will take part in the first resurrection. Jesus Christ is the first fruit of resurrection and we are the ones who stick to Him. Those who are Christ’s take part in the first resurrection; then comes the end. The ungodly will take part in the second resurrection to be judged. This is why Paul says, “For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us.” By the glory here, he is referring to the Millennium and the Kingdom of Heaven. We will all be changed when that blessed time comes. The children of God will wholly rise again from the dead and each of them will receive the eternal life of the Lord. The flesh will actually rise again from the dead (our souls have already risen again from the dead.) God will renew all things and the righteous will live happily as kings for a thousand years.
All the creatures of the universe wait for the manifestation of God’s children. The creation will be changed as we will be changed. There will be no such thing as pain, suffering, or death at the time of the Millennium. But we groan now. Why? Because the flesh is still weak. What do our souls groan for? They groan for the redemption of our bodies.
“Even we ourselves groan within ourselves, eagerly waiting for the adoption, the redemption of our body. For we were saved in this hope, but hope that is seen is not hope; for why does one still hope for what he sees? But if we hope for what we do not see, we eagerly wait for it with perseverance” (Romans 8:23-25).
We are eagerly waiting for the adoption, for we are saved in this hope. We, whose sins have been completely taken away, will enter the Millennium and the Kingdom of Heaven. We will not perish, even if the world suddenly comes to its end. Our Lord will come to this world again at the end of the world. He will make all things new and will raise the renewed flesh of the righteous. He will make them reign for a thousand years.
The end of this world is despair to sinners, but new hope to the righteous. Paul hoped for it. Do you groan, and are you waiting for the redemption of your body? Is the Spirit waiting also? We will be changed to spiritual bodies, like the resurrected body of Jesus Christ, feeling neither pain nor weakness.
The Holy Spirit helps the righteous to have faith
The Holy Spirit helps us to have faith. Do we hope for what we see? No, we hope for what we cannot see yet. “Likewise, the Spirit also helps in our weaknesses. For we do not know what we should pray for as we ought, but the Spirit Himself makes intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered. Now He who searches the hearts knows what the mind of the Spirit is, because He makes intercession for the saints according to the will of God” (Romans 8:26-27).
What does the Spirit really want within us? What does He help us to do? What do you hope for? We hope for new heavens and a new earth (2 Peter 3:13), the Kingdom of Heaven. We do not want to live in this perishing world anymore. We are tired, and thus hope for the Day of our Lord. We want to live eternally with no sin, no illness, no evil spirit; we want to live there happily with joy, peace, love and meekness in full fellowship with the Lord Jesus and with each other.
So, the Spirit groans and makes intercessions for us, waiting for new heavens and a new earth. Frankly speaking, we, the righteous, have no pleasure in this world except for, perhaps, playing soccer once in a while with our fellow servants of God. We live on earth because we are interested in preaching the gospel. But for this Great Commission, the righteous would have no reason for being in this world.
God lets all things work together for good to the born again who love Him
Let us read Roman 8:28-30. “And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose. For whom He foreknew, He also predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son, that He might be the firstborn among many brethren. Moreover whom He predestined, these He also called; whom He called, these He also justified; and whom He justified, these He also glorified.”
In Romans 8:28 Paul says, “And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose.” This passage is very important. Many people think, “Why was I born? God should have made me in a place where Satan did not exist, and He should have allowed me to live in the Kingdom of Heaven from the beginning. Why did He make me like this?” Some people who were born into bad situations hold a grudge, first against their parents, and then against God. “Why did You make me to be born with such suffering?”
This passage provides us with the right answer to such an inquiry. We were born as creatures of God. Is this right? We are of His creation. God created us in His image according to the likeness of God, but we are still His creatures. There is a purpose for God to place us in this world. The Scripture says, “And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose.” Because of the original sin inherited from Adam and Eve, our ancestors, who were beguiled by the Devil, we were born as sinners and suffered. But God sent Jesus Christ for us in order to make us His children through faith. That is the purpose of His creating us. He is also willing to give us happy and eternal lives of gods, with Jesus Christ and God the Father in the Millennial Kingdom and the Kingdom of Heaven.
“And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose.” God’s will for us was all accomplished when our sins were taken away. Is this not right? Should we not be happy that we were born into this world? When we think of the glory we will enjoy in the future, we cannot help but be happy for being born. But most people are not happy, and this is because they reject the love of God.
Do you know why there are sins and diseases, and why everything seems to go just fine for the evil people while those who try to do good seems to only suffer? It is because only when we suffer will we come to seek God, meet Him and become His children by receiving the forgiveness of our sins. God let the evil people still live in the world to make all things work together for the good of those who love Him.
Do not think like this: “I don’t know why God made me so. Why did God let me be born into such a poor family and suffer?” God let us be born into this world under the reign of Satan and the Law to make us His children and to make us live eternally as kings with our Lord in His Kingdom. All things worked together for the better and God made us His children. This is the purpose of God in making us this way. We do not have anything to complain and murmur against God. “Why was I made so? Why am I this way?” The good will of God is accomplished through these hardships.
Do not complain about your sufferings. Do not sing such pessimistic songs about your life anymore. “And as it is appointed for men to die once, but after this the judgment” (Hebrews 9:27). There is the grace of God’s salvation between one’s birth and the judgment. We believe in Jesus Christ, all our sins have been taken away by God’s grace, and we will eternally reign in the Millennium and in the Kingdom of Heaven. We are to be called “the lord of all creation.” Do you now understand why God made you suffer? He gave us sufferings and hardships to bless us to be His children by making us come back to God.
God predestined us to be conformed to the image of His Son
It takes no time for us to receive the remission of sins, to be saved from the judgment of God and to become righteous. We are made righteous once and for all, and we can instantly become God’s children by faith. The salvation of God is not the result of a long-term process of our own sanctification. God saved us once and for all and made us righteous at once.
“For whom He foreknew, He also predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son, that He might be the firstborn among many brethren. Moreover, whom He predestined, these He also called; whom He called, these He also justified; and whom He justified, these He also glorified” (Romans 8:29-30).
Many people base “the five doctrines of Calvinism” on these passages. But they are wrong. Here, Paul says, “For whom He foreknew, He also predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son.” God predestined us to be His children in Jesus. God predestined us to be born into this world under His plan. He made us. To be conformed to whose image? To be conformed to the image of God, the image of His Son.
God allowed us to be born and set to adopt us as His children through Jesus Christ, according to the good pleasure of His will. He promised to send his Son to make us His children, who are conformed to the image of His Son. God called us through Jesus Christ when we were sinners, as the descendants of Adam. “Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest” (Matthew 11:28). He called us after taking away all our sins. He called us in order to make us righteous by faith.
God made us righteous and He glorified us
God called sinners and made them righteous once and for all. We are made to be righteous once and for all by believing in Jesus Christ as our Savior, not by being sanctified incrementally, as theologians insist. God calls sinners and make them righteous—this is the reason why He calls sinners.
“Whom he called, these He also justified.” Those who are called by God and who believe in what Jesus Christ did become righteous. We surely had sin as the descendants of Adam before, but our sins were all taken away when we believed in the truth that Jesus has indeed taken them all away. Do you then have sin or not? Of course not! We no longer have any sin left in us. “Whom he called, these He also justified.”
The righteous are those who became the children of God. It is not true that we become His children in stages, step by step. Instead, we are at once glorified as the children of God by His redemption.
“And whom He justified, these He also glorified.” God made us His children. I cannot understand why so many Christians believe in the so-called “five steps to salvation.” Salvation and becoming God’s children are done once and for all. It takes some time for us to take part in the resurrection of our bodies, for we have to wait for the second coming of our Lord, but the deliverance from sin is attained at once, in the blink of an eye. We can have redemption instantly when we respond to the Word of the remission of our sins that God, our caller, has offered to us, and accept what He has done to save us. “Thank You, Lord. Hallelujah! Amen! I am saved because You saved me. I could not have been redeemed if You had not washed away all my sins. Thank You, my Lord! Hallelujah!” Our sins are blotted out in this way.
Redemption requires neither our deeds nor our time. Our deeds have no role to play, even 0.1%, in our redemption. Calvinists say that one has to be justified step by step to be redeemed and to enter the Kingdom of Heaven. Just as a worm cannot run 100 m in a second no matter how hard it tries, people cannot become righteous by their own effort, regardless of how good they may be, or how hard they may try to keep the Law. A worm is still a worm however hard it may wash itself and put on make-up with expensive cosmetics. Likewise, as long as sinners have sin in their hearts, they are still merely sinners no matter how good they may seem.
How can a sinner be completely righteous by being sanctified step be step? Does the flesh get better as time go by? No, the flesh gets ungodly and more evil as it gets older. But the Bible says, “Moreover whom He predestined, these He also called; whom He called, these He also justified; and whom He justified, these He also glorified.” This passage arranges in a row what happens at once by the grace of God; it does not say that redemption and justification are accomplished in stages. One can be made righteous once and for all by having faith in the Lord, not incrementally.
Many theologians, not knowing what they are doing, insist on unreasonable theories and send people to hell. God promised us redemption and called us through Jesus Christ, made us righteous, and glorified those who came forth to answer His call. “But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, to those who believe in His name” (John 1:12). Did God glorify us? Of course! Could we be glorified by doing good deeds and by trials? Do we have to try harder to become righteous? Of course not! We have already become righteous.
None can separate us from the love of God
Who can be against us, if God is for us? None. “What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? He who did not spare His own Son, but delivered Him up for us all, how shall He not with Him also freely give us all things? Who shall bring a charge against God’s elect? It is God who justifies. Who is he who condemns? It is Christ who died, and furthermore is also risen, who is even at the right hand of God, who also makes intercession for us. Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? As it is written: ‘For Your sake we are killed all day long; We are accounted as sheep for the slaughter.’ Yet in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us. For I am persuaded that neither death nor life, nor angels nor principalities nor powers, nor things present nor things to come, nor height nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Romans 8:31-39).
None can separate us from the love of God. None can make us, the righteous, sinners again. None can hinder those who have become the children of God and who will live in the Millennium and the Kingdom of Heaven. Can tribulations make us sinners? Can distress make us sinners? Can persecution make us sinners? Can famine, nakedness, peril, or the sword make us sinners again? “He who did not spare His own Son, but delivered Him up for us all, how shall He not with Him also freely give us all things?” God gives us the Kingdom of Heaven. He freely gives us all things because He did not spare His only begotten Son to save us. When God was willing to make the greatest sacrifice for us, why, then, would He not make us His children?
The redemption that God bestows on us is…
God says that to be redeemed of our sins, we must first of all admit that Jesus Christ was sent in the flesh according to the will of God the Father. Secondly, we must admit that Jesus took upon all our sins on Himself through His baptism in the Jordan River. Thirdly, we must confess that Jesus was crucified for us, and, finally, that He was resurrected. We cannot be saved if we do not believe in every single one of the above requirements.
Those who do not believe that Jesus is God’s Son, or that He is God and the Creator, are excluded from God’s salvation. If a person denies the divinity of Jesus Christ, he/she becomes the child of Satan. Those who deny the fact that Jesus took upon all our sins when He was baptized by John the Baptist cannot be saved, either. Jesus cannot become their Savior. They cannot be saved in their hearts, though they believe in Jesus with their thoughts. They go to hell, though they know Jesus. Jesus Christ died in our place because He took upon all our sins with His baptism. Jesus died because of our sins, not because of His sins. He then rose again from the dead to justify all those who believe and raise them up in resurrection.
We are saved by faith in His baptism
I have so far preached on chapter 7 in connection with chapter 8. Chapter 7 says that one who has sin cannot do good. But chapter 8 says that there is now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus and that our faith in Jesus Christ makes us sinless. We are weak and cannot live according to God’s will, so God the Father sent Jesus Christ as our Savior, and He took upon all our sins with His baptism when we were still sinners. We are saved from all our sins and made righteous through Jesus Christ. This is the truth that Paul teaches through chapters 7 and 8.
“There is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus, who do not walk according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit.” We now have no sin. Are you in Jesus Christ? Do you admit what Jesus Christ did for you? Just like Paul was redeemed of his sins, all our sins have been also taken away, through our faith in the baptism of Jesus and His blood on the Cross. We have been redeemed by believing in the baptism, the blood and the resurrection of Jesus. If a person arrogantly refuses to believe in the baptism of Jesus Christ, and if the person insists that Jesus was baptized only to show us His modesty, God will send that person to hell. Do not be arrogant before the Word of God. How can pastors and ministers ignore Jesus’ baptism when Paul himself talked so much about it? How could they ignore the faith of no other than Paul, one of the greatest fathers of faith? How could they ignore the teachings of the servant of God, whom God Himself made an apostle?
If we want to preach about Jesus Christ, we must preach as it is written in the Bible, and we must believe according to the Bible. The Lord tells us, “If you abide in My word, you are My disciples indeed. And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free” (John 8:31-32). You and I came to believe in Jesus’ baptism like Paul.
When were your sins passed onto the body of Jesus Christ? All our sins were passed onto Jesus Christ when He was baptized by John the Baptist. Jesus said to John, “Permit it to be so now, for thus it is fitting for us to fulfill all righteousness.” Here, “for thus” is “hoo’-tos gar” in Greek, which means “in this way,” “most fitting,” or “there is no other way besides this.” This word shows that Jesus irreversibly took upon the sins of the mankind onto Himself through the baptism that He received from John. Baptism means “to be washed.” For all the sins in our hearts to be washed away, our sins should be passed onto Jesus Christ.
Jesus Christ took upon our sins, was crucified in our stead, and was buried in union with us. Paul thus declared, “I have been crucified with Christ” (Galatians 2:20). How could we be crucified, when in fact it was Jesus who was put to death on the Cross? We are crucified with Christ because we believe that Jesus took upon all our sins on Himself and was crucified for these sins.
I praise the Lord who has saved me from all my sins. We can boldly preach the gospel because Jesus has made us righteous. I give thanks to our Lord for saving us, whose flesh is so weak and who have come so short of His glory, from all our sins.