“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.’”
All the Word of the Bible is a mystery to the false teachers who are not yet born again. They therefore try to interpret God’s Word in their own way with man-made thoughts. However, they themselves are not even convinced of what they are teaching. As a result, even among those who believe in Jesus, there are not many who have the conviction of their salvation.
Why is this the case? It is because they say that they believe in Jesus even as they do not clearly know the gospel of the water and the Spirit. Such Christians think that they would not be destroyed because they believe in Jesus. But they need to realize that when looked from a biblical perspective, it is only an accomplished fact for them to be destroyed unless they are born of water and the Spirit.
It is a generally held belief for people to think that although they do not know the truth, because they believe in Jesus blindly, they would at least not be destroyed. However, as they do not understand the scriptural Word correctly, they cannot realize from the Word that they are actually misbelieving, even as they have not been properly saved.
So if people interpret the Word of the Bible literally and come up with their own doctrines based on their own thoughts, then such people, even if they believed in Jesus, cannot receive the remission of sin and will ultimately end up in hell because of their sins. As such, the Bible is not something to be unraveled in our own way, but we must wait for God to bring us our understanding through His born-again saints with the Word of the truth. We must also realize that all the Word of God is explained within the gospel of the water and the Spirit.
Jesus said, “Unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God” (John 3:5). Those who know and believe this passage correctly can indeed be delivered from all sins and enter the Kingdom of Heaven. Jesus said that only those whose hearts have been cleansed from sin by believing in the gospel of the water and the Spirit can enter Heaven. But if people believe without understanding the gospel of the water and the Spirit given by the Lord—that is, the truth manifested in the blue, purple, and scarlet thread and the fine woven linen of the Tabernacle—they will then be destroyed for their sins.
Just how utterly dismaying would it be if we were to be destroyed for our sins even as we believed in Jesus? It saddens me deeply to think that although there now are so many people in this world who believe in Jesus as their Savior, many of them cannot answer confidently when asked if they are really convinced that they have been saved from all sins. It is no mistake to say that all sinners, regardless of whether they profess to believe in Jesus or not, are to be destroyed for their sins. How many people would really be destroyed even as they believe in Jesus?
Matthew 7 tells us that although many who believe in the Lord would say to Jesus that they had prophesied, cast out demons, and done many wonders in His name, they will still be forsaken by Him. Jesus said that He would declare to such people, “I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness!” (Matthew 7:23) Our Lord said that not everyone who calls on His name would enter Heaven. Like this, the Lord will rebuke those who have misunderstood the gospel of the water and the Spirit.
Yet many people do not even realize that they have misunderstood and misbelieved in Jesus, a situation that is deeply saddening to our Lord. There are too many people who, oblivious to the fact that the Lord is actually rebuking them for their flawed faith, are heading toward their own destruction.
This is why our hearts lament for today’s nominal Christians. They believe in Jesus only vaguely, still unable to reach a clear and biblical definition of what the true gospel of the water and the Spirit is. This is why it is such an important and urgent task for us to preach the gospel of the water and the Spirit to all of them.
It is critically important for all of us to know and believe in the gospel truth of the water and the Spirit. How, then, can we know the gospel truth of the water and the Spirit? By hearing, of course, the teachings on the gospel of the water and the Spirit contained in the Word of God. We really must know and believe in the gospel of truth and be called by God as His saints. It is by doing so that we can enter the Kingdom of God by faith, receive the remission of sin by faith, and become His own children by faith.
This is why Christianity focuses on salvation received by faith. The religions of the world prize one’s own acts. But the real truth tells us that salvation is the gift of God, not of human works, lest anyone should boast (Ephesians 2:8-9). True Christianity points out the way to be saved from sin and enter Heaven only by knowing and believing in the gospel of the water and the Spirit.
Today’s main passage from John 13 is also about the gospel of the water and the Spirit. Knowing that the time had come for Him to die on the Cross, Jesus sought to wash the feet of His disciples. This was right before the Feast of the Passover. The Feast of the Passover is of deep import to Jews. As it was the day when the people of Israel escaped from Egypt and were saved from their slavery, it had become a great holiday for Jews. So the people of Israel recalled the Old Testament’s Feast of Passover and held it in remembrance by performing Passover rituals together.
During the supper, Jesus gathered His disciples together and sought to tell them something holding great significance. By washing the feet of His disciples before He Himself died on the Cross, He wanted to teach them the truth that has washed their actual sins. With the advent of the Feast of Passover, Jesus knew that He would be captured as the Lamb of Passover, be crucified, die, and rise from the dead again. So Jesus wanted to teach His disciples that as the Lamb of sacrifice, He has washed away even their actual sins. Put differently, He washed the disciples’ feet in order to give them a very important teaching before dying on the Cross.
The Reason Why the Lord Washed Peter’s Feet
Let us see what Jesus said when He sought wash the disciples’ feet and Peter refused: “If I do not wash you, you have no part with Me” (John 13:8). How critical and fearsome is this saying? However, Jesus really wanted to teach His disciples what kind of faith it took to wash away their actual sins, and how important it was for both His disciples and Himself that He should wash their feet before He died on the Cross.
So Jesus rose from the meal, laid aside His garments, took a towel and girded Himself, then poured water into a basin and began to wash the disciples’ feet. It then came to Simon Peter’s turn, but Peter kept declining. He said to Jesus, “Lord, are You washing my feet?” Peter was awe-stricken that Jesus would want to wash his feet. Because he had believe in Jesus and served Him as the Son of God, it was hard for him to accept such a preposterous situation. This is why Peter asked how come the Lord sought to wash his feet, thinking that if anyone should wash feet, it should be Peter himself washing the Lord’s feet, and that it was neither proper nor courteous for him to let the Lord wash his feet. So literally shocked by this, Peter said, “Lord, are You washing my feet?” and refused to be washed.
Jesus then said in verse 7, “What I am doing you do not understand now, but you will know after this.” This meant, “You don’t understand now why I am doing this. But after I die on the Cross, rise from the dead and ascend to Heaven, you will then realize the reason why I washed your feet.” And then Jesus said forcefully, “If I do not wash your feet, you have no part with Me.” Unless Jesus washed Peter’s feet, Peter and Jesus would have nothing to do with each other. Having no part with Jesus meant having no relationship with Him, and so Peter had no choice but to put forth his feet before Jesus. Jesus then put Peter’s feet into the basin, washed them, and then wiped his feet with the towel.
When the Lord said to Peter, “If I do not wash your feet, you have no part with Me,” Peter, shocked by this, said, “Then wash me even more so that I may have part with You. Wash my hands, my head, and my whole body!” Hearing this, Jesus then said, “He who is bathed needs only to wash his feet. He is completely clean. You are completely clean, but not all of you.”
Jesus often mentioned what made people momentarily perplexed and confused. Unable to comprehend what Jesus said, people tend to misunderstand, misbelieve, and do some bizarre things. Those who have not received the remission of sin by not believing in the gospel of the water and the Spirit cannot properly understand what Jesus said to Peter here. Why? Because those who do not have the Holy Spirit cannot understand the correct meaning of the Word of God.
Not just anyone can realize the truth revealed in the Bible, even if he/she is a genius gifted with prodigious worldly brilliance. While such people clearly understand the Word of the Scriptures in its literal sense, unless they know the truth of the water and the Spirit, they just cannot fit all the puzzles together and find out with what kind of faith they can wash their actual sins no matter how hard they try.
The Lord said, “He who is bathed needs only to wash his feet, but is completely clean; and you are clean, but not all of you” (John 13:10). This passage is a very difficult passage to understand for many Christians today, for they cannot convince themselves with this passage whether they have already been remitted from all their actual sins or not. Actually, they hold this passage as the basis of the doctrine of prayers of repentance, one of the so-called orthodox doctrines in Christianity.
They interpret this passage like this: “Once we believe in Jesus as our Savior, then we are forgiven of all our sins including original sin. But, because we are too insufficient to not to sin everyday, and thus become sinners again, we have to ask God’s forgiveness to be remitted from of these actual sins. By doing so, we can be cleansed of our sins, and restore our relationship with Him again.”
Nonsense! Can you really cleanse your actual sins by offering prayers of repentance? What about the sins that you might fail to ask for forgiveness from your carelessness? How could these sins be forgiven then?
The Church, the body of God, is in fact the gathering of those who believe in the gospel of the water and the Spirit given by our Lord. So when Jesus said that the body is completely clean, but not all of the disciples are clean, He had said this in reference to Judas who did not believe in Him. It was because He knew that Judas did not believe in Him that He said, “not all of you.”
We must believe that the Lord has washed away all our sins once for all with the gospel of the water and the Spirit, the pivotal truth of the Bible. So if we fail to know the key points of the Word and try to understand the Word of God in our own way, we can fall into great fallacies. Even now, many people, having fallen into great fallacies, are giving up all their belongings and even being martyred when they do not even believe in Jesus correctly, but in the end, they will ultimately be destroyed for their sins.
The Reason Why Jesus Has to Wash Our Feet
Why could Peter have anything to do with Jesus only if Jesus washed his feet? The reason was because Jesus could become Peter’s true Savior only if He blotted out all the sins of his entire lifetime. Jesus came to this earth, took upon the sins of mankind through the baptism that He received from John, died on the Cross, rose from the dead, and thereby washed away Peter’s sins and all the sins of His disciples once for all. Jesus wanted to imprint this truth on their minds. But because the disciples had thought of His washing of their feet only as a matter of ethics, they did not know the reason why Jesus washed their feet.
They had to realize that not only their present sins but the future sins that they would commit later would also threaten to kill them spiritually. So they had to realize that even the sins that they would commit in the future were already all passed onto Jesus by faith. Because Peter would have no part with Jesus unless this was the case, Peter had to realize the great lesson of Jesus washing his as well as the other disciples’ feet. Jesus had to teach Peter the truth that by being baptized, He has washed “every and each sin” committed by Peter from his insufficiencies and weaknesses. This is why Jesus had to wash Peter’s feet, and Peter had to have his feet washed by Jesus. Peter could have a part with Jesus only if he believed that all the sins committed by him during his lifespan on account of his weaknesses and insufficiencies were also washed away once for all when Jesus was baptized by John.
We can understand the truth of the water and the Spirit by hearing the Word of God. It is by knowing and believing in the Word of the gospel of the water and the Spirit that has remitted all our sins that we can be cleansed from all our actual sins also. Jesus said, “He who is bathed needs only to wash his feet.” Because Jesus has already washed away all our sins and made us clean, those who believe in this are the ones who have been remitted of all sins.
Jesus Christ has in fact washed away all sins by being baptized in the Jordan River and taking upon all our sins. And by going to the Cross, being crucified, shedding His blood, dying, and rising from the dead again, He has become our eternal Savior. With the baptism that He received and the blood of the Cross, the Lord has become our perfect Savior. Like this, through the gospel of the water and the Spirit, our Lord has enabled all those who believe in Him to be washed from all their sins once for all by faith.
Those who know this truth and believe in it can be perfectly remitted of their actual sins also. Seen from God’s viewpoint, it is true that the entire mankind has been washed from all sins by Jesus’ righteous acts. All that we have to do to be actually washed of all our sins is receive this grace freely by having faith in the gospel of the water and the Spirit. Is this not the case? Of course it is! By our faith that believes in this truth, we have become those who have already been bathed.
Jesus said that those who have thus been bathed need to wash only their feet, because although we sin everyday on our part, Jesus already took upon all sins when He was baptized and has wholly saved us. By being baptized, Jesus has washed away all the sins of our entire lifetime, and it is by affirming this everyday on our part that we can be resolved of our actual sins.
This is what this passage is telling us. The reality is that even those who have received the remission of sin by believing in the gospel of the water and the Spirit—that is, Jesus accepted all sins through the baptism that He received from John, died on the Cross while shouldering the sins of the world, and rose from the dead again—still live their lives while sinning, for they too have the flesh. However, God already took upon even all the actual sins that people commit day in day out after believing in Jesus, for He is mighty.
Transcending time, from eternity to eternity, God has at once fulfilled this work that has blotted out all the sins of mankind. Like this, Jesus accepted all the sins of our entire lifetime through John after being baptized, died on the Cross while carrying them all, rose from the dead again, and has thereby washed away all our sins. Yet in spite of this, how do we believe? Despite believing in this truth, everyday we are still troubled by the sins that we commit in our lives and our insufficiencies.
This is why everyday we must reaffirm, with our faith, the truth that Jesus took upon all these sins that we commit throughout our entire lifetime while we walk on this earth. By being baptized, Jesus has washed away the sins of the world once for all, but we must affirm this truth with our faith day after day, time after time.
As Peter, to remain united with Jesus by faith, had to remember that Jesus had washed his feet, for us to stay within His salvation, we, too, must affirm everyday the truth that He has already blotted out all our sins with His baptism and the blood of the Cross. But those who do not believe in this truth cannot wash away any of their sins forever. Those who have not washed all their sins by not believing in the gospel of the water and the Spirit are the ones who have no part with Jesus. Though everyday they ceaselessly try to wash away their sins, their sins are not washed, for the sins that they try to wash by giving prayers of repentance are not such light sins. Every sin is followed by God’s fearful judgment.
As such, those who try to wash away their sins with their own prayers of repentance, instead of washing them by believing in the gospel of the water and the Spirit, will experience and realize that not even a penny’s worth of their sins is washed away. Could we wash away our sins by giving such prayers of repentance everyday? Even if we ourselves believe that we have washed away our sins with our prayers of repentance, these sins actually still remain in their entirety.
Only those who have bathed their whole bodies by believing in the gospel of the water and the Spirit are qualified to wash their feet as they live their lives, and only they are also clothed in the grace that enables them to wash away their sins with faith everyday and thereby keep their cleanness forever.
By being baptized, Jesus took upon all our actual sins once for all. We therefore believe that with His baptism, Jesus also took upon all the sins that we commit from our insufficiencies as we live our lives, and that He bore all their condemnation as well. Jesus told us, in other words, that there must be no such a thing as stumbling or dying from falling into our own weaknesses.
After Jesus washed the disciples’ feet, all that now remained of Him was to die on the Cross, rise from the dead again, and ascend to Heaven. Jesus would now no longer be at the disciples’ side, but as according to the written Word, He would be at the right hand of the throne of God the Father. And He will come again.
But if Jesus had died on the Cross without teaching His disciples about this, how could they have remained on this earth and spread the gospel of the water and the Spirit? Jesus’ disciples would have lived while committing actual sins, for they were weak and insufficient, and not knowing what to do when they commit the sin of jealousy, avarice or hatred, they would not have been able to live by faith. How could they then have spread the gospel to others? They could not have done this. This is why Jesus certainly had to tell His disciples that He had already washed away even all these sins, and this is why He washed their feet.
Like the Remission of Sin Manifested in the Tabernacle
When we open and enter into the gate of the court of the Tabernacle, we would first see the altar of burnt offering and the laver of bronze. The first lesson that the Tabernacle provides us for our lives of faith is that if we have sin before God, the condemnation of sin awaits us. Our lives of faith, as indicated by the altar of burnt offering also, fundamentally begin with the condemnation of sin and death. We are to be condemned before God for our sins, but the Lord came to this earth to take upon our sins.
As the Old Testament’s offering of sacrifice accepted the iniquities of sinners with the laying on of hands, shed its blood and died, and its flesh was placed on the altar of burnt offering and burnt with fire, thereby being vicariously condemned for the iniquities of sinners by bearing the judgment of fire, so did Jesus do this for us. Instead of us dying, Jesus received the laying on of hands from John, shed His blood and died on the Cross, and thereby paid the wages of our sins with His own death.
We sin everyday, and we will continue to sin until the day we die. You and I were the ones who could not but die for our sins. But to save such people like us from our sins and condemnation, the Lord forsook the throne of the glory of Heaven and came to this earth, took upon our sins by receiving baptism from John on His own body, gave up His body on the Cross, was crucified, and shed His precious blood, rose from the dead, and has thereby become our true Savior. Realizing and recognizing the law of death, that we must be condemned and die for our sins, is the starting point of faith.
Only those who know and believe that they must die for their sins can become the ones who can take the bath of the washing of sin and receive the remission of sin by passing all their sins onto Jesus by faith. True faith begins from such a belief. And we who have begun from this belief have become whole by confirming our faith that Jesus Christ has blotted out all the sins that we commit on a daily basis and washed away even the sins that we are to commit in the future.
Even the High Priest and his sons shown in the Tabernacle gave their burnt offering every morning and evening. They regularly brought their offering of sacrifice, laid their hands on its head, drew its blood, and offered it to God. This is why there was no chair in the Tabernacle. They, in other words, continued to give offerings at all times that there was no time for them to sit down and rest. Like this, we were such people who sinned ceaselessly and could not avoid His judgment for those sins, but Jesus Christ has wholly saved us from all our sins with the baptism that He received and His bloodshed.
We must begin our faith by believing that we cannot but always die for our sins. For such people like us, Jesus came to this earth and took upon our sins once for all by being baptized. Having taken upon our sins with His baptism, Jesus Christ then carried all sins to the Cross and paid the wages of these sins with His bloodshed by giving up His own life. And rising from the dead again, He has become our everlasting Savior.
Romans 6:23 states, “For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.” We really were someone who had to die for our sins, but Jesus Christ has saved us perfectly. In other words, by being baptized, dying on the Cross, and rising from the dead again, our Lord has given us the remission of sin and eternal life. Do you believe this? It is from here that faith begins.
By any chance, do you not think, “I can follow Jesus no more because I am too insufficient”? Do you perhaps think that you are just too trashy and too carnal, and so even as you believe in the gospel of the water and the Spirit, it is too hard for you to plow ahead? This is the faith that draws back to perdition.
Let us turn to Hebrews 10:36-39: “For you have need of endurance, so that after you have done the will of God, you may receive the promise: ‘For yet a little while, And He who is coming will come and will not tarry. Now the just shall live by faith; But if anyone draws back, My soul has no pleasure in him.’ But we are not of those who draw back to perdition, but of those who believe to the saving of the soul.” It is said that we are not of those who draw back to perdition. Those who believe in this truth are heavily persecuted, despised, and face many difficulties. But the inheritance of Heaven, which does not decline forever, awaits us. All things in Heaven are waiting for us their owners.
Hebrews 10:34-35 says, “For you had compassion on me in my chains, and joyfully accepted the plundering of your goods, knowing that you have a better and an enduring possession for yourselves in heaven. Therefore do not cast away your confidence, which has great reward.” That is right. For you and I who believe in the gospel of the water and the Spirit, the enduring inheritance of Heaven awaits us. God has given Heaven as His gift of inheritance to those who have received the remission of sin.
This is why He told us not to cast away our confidence in His promise. Knowing that we are to receive great reward for our faith, we must not draw back to perdition, but we must make our faith even more firm and do not cast away our confidence. We must have the faith that believes in the gospel of the water and the Spirit, the real truth, fight our spiritual battle until the end, save souls and overcome.
We the saints must surely possess this faith that believes in the gospel of the water and the Spirit. We must have this faith, that even though we are so insufficient that we sin everyday as long as we live on this earth, the Lord has still saved us wholly by being baptized by John and shedding His blood on the Cross for us. It is by this faith that we can have great confidence and live our lives in uprightness until the end of the world. We must come before God by faith, run the race of faith with this true gospel, spread the gospel, and live our lives by serving the gospel. This is why the Bible tells us, “For you have need of endurance, so that after you have done the will of God, you may receive the promise” (Hebrews 10:36).
“‘Now the just shall live by faith; But if anyone draws back, My soul has no pleasure in him.’ But we are not of those who draw back to perdition, but of those who believe to the saving of the soul” (Hebrews 10:38-39). We who live with faith in the gospel of the water and the Spirit, are the ones who can also save others from all sins. When this is the case, despite having the faith that can save others from all sins, how could we draw back to perdition? If we do not keep looking toward the gospel of the water and the Spirit, then our faith will decline and we will end up falling into the swamp of death to die completely. Having received the remission of sin, our task now is to continue to run with our faith following the will of God, not to fall into our own weaknesses, remain where we are, and end up dying.
We who believe in the gospel of the water and the Spirit are not of those who draw back to perdition. We are the ones who have the kind of faith that can save other people’ souls also. When we are such people, how could we just fold down and die because of our weaknesses? We could never do so. Those who believe in the gospel of the water and the Spirit are never the ones to draw back to perdition. No matter how insufficient and weak you and I may be, we are the righteous who live our lives of faith with great conviction in the gospel of the water and the Spirit.
You and I must think about from where our faith began, come out of perdition and live by faith. Fundamentally, we had been someone who could not but die for our sins, but by believing in the gospel of the water and the Spirit, the gospel through which our Lord has saved you and me from all sins, we have received our eternal salvation.
In other words, because we began our faith by completely acknowledging all our weaknesses, insufficiencies, incapacity and evilness for 100 percent, when we, having received the remission of sin, walk on this earth while sinning, we will not overcome unless we pass all our sins onto Jesus Christ by believing in the gospel of the water and the Spirit and wash them away with the faith in His baptism. This is why we must realize for sure that we are not of those who draw back to perdition, and really live our lives by faith.
Sometimes, bound by our own circumstances and situations, we may fall into various trials and difficulties, and as we are weak, our lives of faith may also collapse, unable to keep on moving. But we are not to die. It was to teach this to Peter that He said to him, “If I do not wash you, you have no part with Me.” Jesus wiped out all Peter’s sins. Just as the Lord was baptized and took upon all the sins committed by Peter throughout his entire lifetime, died on the Cross, rose from the dead, and thereby saved him, the Lord has also saved you and me from all our sins and condemnation.
Unless He had done so, how could you and I have anything to do with Jesus? Were it not for the gospel of the water and the Spirit, how could we have been saved from all our sins and lead others to be saved also? We could not have done any of this were it not for the gospel of the water and the Spirit. This truth is what Jesus wanted to teach Peter.
You and I have heard and understood this teaching, but how are we really? Don’t we often feel depressed in spirits owing to our insufficiencies? Do we then fall into our own weaknesses or not? Because we see that we are so insufficient and weak, we are prone to fall into self-contempt easily. You may even talk to yourself, “How can I follow Jesus to the end? I’d better stop following Him at this point! I am sure the Lord also thinks it better for me to quit His Church.” Were it not for the gospel of the baptism that Jesus received, we would therefore have ended up falling into eternal perdition.
Believe in the truth that, even as you and I essentially had no other choice but to die for our sins, our Lord has already delivered us from our sins and condemnation. Even if our flesh is too weak and we cannot but sin again even after receiving the remission, we must still acknowledge the perfect and everlasting salvation of Jesus completed by the baptism that He received and His bloodshed.
You and I must confess our faith, “Fundamentally speaking, I cannot but die for my sins. That is right. But didn’t the Lord come to this earth for me and took upon all my sins by being baptized? Didn’t Jesus accept all my sins passed onto Him through His baptism? And didn’t He die on the Cross? Didn’t He rise from the dead again, and doesn’t He now live? Since my sins were passed onto Jesus Christ, no matter how I am insufficient, and no matter how my insufficiencies are revealed, I am still sinless. I am therefore not of those who draw back to perdition and die.” By thus believing in this way, we must cast aside our weaknesses.
Even if we have insufficiencies yet again tomorrow, by believing in the baptism that Jesus received in the gospel of the water and the Spirit, we can always cast aside our weaknesses. By our faith, we must cast aside the spiritual death and curses that visit us from our weaknesses.
We have to ruminate on this truth as often as we can, saying, “The Lord has saved me. Since all my sins were passed onto the Lord, do I still have sin or not? Of course I don’t!” By thus believing, we can cast aside our weaknesses and sins, affirm the gospel of the water and the Spirit once again, and validate the fact we have been perfectly saved by faith. This is how we can run toward God everyday.
All Sins Disappeared When Jesus Was Baptized
Brothers and sisters, how important was this Word that Jesus spoke to Peter and His disciples? He washed their feet in order to make them stand steadfastly on the gospel of the water and the Spirit even after His death, especially when they would fall into their weaknesses. If Jesus had not washed the feet of Peter and the other disciples, what would have happened to the disciples when Jesus died on the Cross, rose from the dead again in three days, and ascended to the Kingdom of God? How would the disciples have resolved their weaknesses when they were revealed? They had to resolve them by the faith that believes in the baptism that Jesus received, and if they had not believed so, then it would have been difficult for them to resolve their weaknesses.
We must solve the problem of our weaknesses and actual sins with the faith that knows and believes in the truth manifested in the blue, purple, and scarlet thread and the fine woven linen, the ministries of Jesus. Had Jesus not taught His disciples about the power of the baptism that He received, His disciples would also have despaired and died spiritually. They would not have had the strength to possess the faith to dedicate their entire lifetime to the gospel, commit their lives to save the others’ souls, and, in the end, even to be martyred, and they would therefore ultimately have failed to defend their faith and despaired.
But according to the oral tradition handed down to us, it is said that the twelve disciples of Jesus all preached the gospel and they were all martyred. Among the twelve disciples of Jesus, the name of the disciple who had the most doubt was Thomas. But even this Thomas went to India and was martyred there.
Where, then, was this faith that enabled all the disciples of Jesus to be martyred? This faith filled with confidence, that Jesus took upon all the sins of their entire lifetime by being baptized, that they had become perfectly clean as all their sins were passed onto Jesus, and that they had wholly become God’s own children and would inherit Kingdom—it was precisely because they had this faith that they could spread the gospel of the water and the Spirit on this earth and go to God when He called them. All of us, in other words, can also be martyred with this faith when God so desires.
When Peter denied Jesus for three times at the High Priest’s courtyard, he came to realize even more keenly what Jesus meant when He had said to him, “If I do not wash you, you have no part with Me.” After Jesus ascended to Heaven, Peter and the other disciples of Jesus came to realize why Jesus had washed their feet, and to believe in and preach the gospel of the water and the Spirit with great conviction.
Today’s Christians, if they do not know this truth held in the baptism of Jesus, will also find it hard to live their lives of faith and eventually quit believing in Him. If we are bound by our own weaknesses, our consciences would be corrupted from our inability to resolve this problem, and because of our corrupted consciences, we would no longer be able to come out to church. This is true for each and every member of His Church, even for our children.
Brothers and sisters, if you were bound by sin, would you be able to worship God? Today, even those who have not been born again go to church, give their prayers of repentance for their sins, and worship God, and they do so because they believe in Jesus only as a matter of religion.
But for those who believe in the gospel of the water and the Spirit, if they feel that their souls have sin because of their weaknesses and for being bound by them, they cannot come before God and worship Him. In times like this, we must cleanse our souls by believing in the power of the baptism that Jesus received, by believing that Jesus accepted all our sins through His baptism.
Those nominal Christians who are ignorant of the truth of the gospel of the water and the Spirit do not know the path of faith, either, and so they blindly try to be remitted of their sins through their prayers of repentance. Just as those who follow the religions of the world blindly supplicate to their gods, pleading, “I beg you, please forgive my sins and bless me and my family. I will do anything; I will give you more offerings, I will do good deeds; please forgive my sins,” such nominal Christians are merely following a religion of their own making.
Jesus said to Peter, “What I am doing you do not understand now, but you will know after this. If I do not wash you, you have no part with Me.” Had Jesus’ disciples not realized the truth hidden in this Word even after this, they could not have been born again in this gospel of the water and the Spirit given by Jesus and do the works that saved even others from sin. Had Jesus, while washing Peter’s feet, not planted in him the conviction of perfect salvation through the power of the baptism that He received, Peter would not have been able to be martyred and fulfill his role as the leader of God’s Church.
Were it not for the truth of the gospel of the water and the Spirit, neither would we have been able to come before God and give Him the worship of faith because of sin, because of the sins that we continue to commit. Those who have been cleanly remitted of their sins by believing in the gospel of the water and the Spirit can come to His Church. And they are able to wash away their sins by faith wherever they are. Just as the Lord said that those who whose whole bodies are clean need to wash only their feet, whenever we sin out of our weaknesses, we must remember and believe that such sins of ours were also passed onto Jesus when He was baptized.
Our sins were passed onto Jesus when Jesus was baptized (Matthew 3:15). If the sins that were in our hearts were passed onto Jesus, do we or do we not have sin? We have no sin. Because our sins were passed onto Jesus once for all through His baptism, we have become clean as our sins were blotted out by faith, and because we are clean, no matter how insufficient we may be, we are still priests before God. This is why those who believe in the gospel of the truth of the water and the Spirit can swiftly come out of their weakness and go to God by faith, do His works by faith, thank Him for the salvation that He has given them, give Him the praises that glorify Him, and spread the gospel of the water and the Spirit to others also.
“What I am doing you do not understand now, but you will know after this.” Did you know this truth when you first received your remission of sin? You might not. However, we all have heard this teaching and come to know it. Although you and I sin everyday and our insufficiencies are revealed, just as Jesus had washed Peter’s feet, He has also washed our feet everyday.
At the beginning, we were rejoiced when we first believed that the sins that had been in our hearts from long ago and the sins that we had committed recently were all passed onto Jesus, but we have seen how our insufficiencies are revealed and how we are bound by our weaknesses even after receiving the remission of sin. In such times, it is by knowing and believing that Jesus took upon even such sins through His baptism that we can actually pass onto Him all the sins that we would commit in the future also.
Do the righteous, then, sin freely because of this? They never do so. Romans 1:17 says, “The just shall live by faith.” Some people had stood against the gospel of the water and the Spirit, saying absurdly, “Let us do evil that good may come” (Romans 3:8). Can the born-again sin more freely after they have received the remission of sin? Absolutely not!
When we think by believing in the gospel of the water and the Spirit, brothers and sister, do we have sin or not? Of course we don’t! Also, even if we have insufficiencies, are we imperfect or perfect by faith? We are perfect. When Jesus told us that our whole bodies are clean, He meant that through His baptism, blood, and resurrection, He has made us perfectly clean.
We, too, came to know the power of the gospel of the water and the Spirit after believing in Jesus. As such, we must apply this power of the gospel of the water and the Spirit to our lives everyday. As we apply this faith everyday, we may perhaps become tired of it later on, wondering how long we have to do this. But, at this very moment, to where must we return once again? We must return to the Lord by believing that although we basically could only die for our sins, the Lord has saved us from all sins by taking upon our sins through His baptism, dying on the Cross, and rising from the dead again.
Remember that the priests had to give burnt offerings in the court of the Tabernacle everyday and wash their hands and feet at the laver of bronze every time they passed by it. Like them, we must think of the first love of the Lord and ruminated on it with our faith. We could not but die fundamentally, but the Lord took upon our sins and washed them away, and by being condemned for our sins on the Cross, He has brought the condemnation of sin to its complete end. In this way, with the baptism and blood of the Lord, He has saved us perfectly from all our sins and condemnation.
Everyday, we must engrave in our hearts this love that has wholly saved us, who could not but only die, and come before God by the faith that believes in this. We had no choice but to die, but because of the Lord, we have been perfectly saved and become the perfectly righteous children of God. When the Lord has given us such faith, should we not always have this faith with us?
We are the pilgrims who live on this earth only for a while and then leave. The word ‘pilgrims’ means travelers. Travelers mean those who move from one place to another. We are the travelers who stay in a place for only a short while and then leave for another place when we have finished our mission there. We are the pilgrims who are to return to the Kingdom of Heaven after living in this world for only a short while. As we live our lives as pilgrims to pass through this earth and go to the Kingdom of Heaven, there are times when we just wish to call it quits and flop down on the ground. There will be times when you, too, would also want to flop down, both carnally and spiritually. Times like these might come because while you yourselves are whole, your circumstances are not be so ideal, or while your circumstances are fine, the evil thoughts of your flesh keep rising.
To us who are like this, our Lord has given the Word that is so necessary for us. “You do not understand now, but you will know after this.” Yes, now do we know. As we live our lives as pilgrims, whenever our many insufficiencies are revealed, and whenever we are bound by our weaknesses and trapped by our circumstances, we must remember that we have wholly received the remission of sin by believing in the baptism of Jesus who has blotted out even these things, and in the blood of the Cross. By believing in the gospel of the water and the Spirit, we have received the remission of sin perfectly.
When we look at the Tabernacle, we discover just how elaborate it is. As manifested in the altar of burnt offering as well, the wages of sin is death. Because we sin everyday, we had to be condemned and put to death everyday for these sins of ours. In the altar of burnt offering is manifested the truth that Jesus Christ came as the sacrificial Lamb, received the laying on of hands and died in our place. Passing the altar of burnt offering, the laver of bronze appears, where we ruminate on the gospel of the water and the Spirit to cleanse away our sins that we commit everyday. This gospel of the water and the Spirit is the perfect truth that has saved us from our original and actual sins.
What is the gift of God that is in Jesus Christ our Lord? Is it not the remission of sin and eternal life? The Lord has saved us perfectly. He has wholly saved us, we who were to die for our sins at anytime. All the sins that we commit throughout our entire lifetime have been cleansed away by our faith in the water and the blood, and by the Word, that the Lord has washed even our feet. Because the Lord took upon all our sins when He was baptized and all the sins that we commit in our entire lifetime were passed onto Him, Jesus Christ, carrying our sins, was condemned for them on the Cross and died, rose from the dead, and has thereby become our perfect Savior. It is when we wholly believe in this Jesus Christ that we become whole. And although our flesh may be insufficient, as we have the perfect faith, we will live spiritually blessed lives and enter the eternal Kingdom of God.
Are You Not Like Peter Now?
Just as Jesus had washed Peter’s feet, has He not also washed your feet? It is right that Jesus has also washed our feet everyday. This is why Jesus took upon all our sins by being baptized, and for these sins, He died on the Cross in our place. And He rose from the dead again in three days. Like this, through His baptism, His blood on the Cross, and His resurrection, Jesus has become our perfect Savior. We believe in this Jesus Christ wholly.
It is by faith that we worship God wholly, and it is by faith that we do His works wholly. Our acts cannot be perfect. It is our faith that makes us perfect. This is why we must live as the disciples of Jesus by believing in the gospel of the water and the Spirit. We are not the ones to draw back to the perdition of faith. Though we may be insufficient, we can run by faith, and we must in fact run even more by faith. “The just shall live by faith.” “Seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness.” Given the fact that we have become upright by faith, and thereby the ones who save other people’s souls, if we do not dedicate ourselves to God-given mission of saving others, we will then fall into the swamp of perdition and despair and end up dying in our sins.
The sinless are rejoiced while doing His righteous works. They are rejoiced to spread the gospel of God that saves other souls. But the sinful are not rejoiced to do what is right. For those who have received the remission of sin, doing what is right becomes their spiritual bread. Spreading the gospel throughout the whole world is the right thing to do that saves other souls, but at the same time, it is also our own bread of life. From doing what is right, our hearts are filled with the Spirit, and new strengths spring up in us. As our spirits grow and mature, we become braver. So to live like Abraham, to be blessed by God and to share these blessings with others, we must love righteousness, love what is right, and love to spread the gospel. Even though we are weak, unless we continue to do these righteous works, our souls will die. We the just will surely die spiritually if we stop working for His righteous mission. This is why Jesus said, “Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be filled” (Matthew 5:6).
Jesus also said, “Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God” (Matthew 5:8). Those who have received the remission of sin and believe that the Lord has completely washed away all our sins come to see God. And they come to believe in God, to follow, and to spread heavenly blessings throughout the whole world.
We have become perfect by faith. We could not but die for our sins, but the Lord came to this earth, was baptized, and died on the Cross in our place, and has thereby saved us perfectly. This is the truth, and the way to the Kingdom of Heaven. Realizing it is realizing the path of faith. There is no other way but this. We cannot enter Heaven by our good deeds. Only by realizing and believing in what the Lord has done for us can we enter Heaven.
By and large, if we were to divide people into two kinds, there are those who are used for what is right, and those who are used for what is evil. Those who are used for what is evil are not the ones who have properly received the remission of sin. By believing in what the Lord has done for us, we have become the instruments of righteousness, but those who have not received the remission of sin still cannot but remain as the instruments of the Devil, regardless of their own will.
At this hour, I say to you confidently that God has given us His perfect salvation, the perfect faith, and the perfect remission of sin. Are your deeds insufficient even as you believe in this gospel, and, by any chance, are your hearts drawn back by this? There is no need to be so, for the righteous can live by faith. Didn’t the Lord, who cannot possibly be ignorant of our insufficiencies and weaknesses, already take upon all these things with His baptism?
Let me give you an everyday example of how insufficient we are. We play soccer together sometimes. When my team was in trouble, with the ball coming down from high toward our goalpost, I often just tossed it out or grabbed it with my hands. Was I a goalie? Of course not. I just wanted to win. On such a situation, all of us, the ministers, saints, and workers of God all alike do everything possible to try to win. You can forget about going easy; to win, we make all kind of foul plays. The game is so fiercely fought that everyone does everything possible just to win, so much so that there seems be no other game that reveals the naked, essential self-portrait of human behavior better than soccer. If our team is in trouble, we don’t hesitate to makes foul moves, to play tricks, and to insist on our ways.
All these things are permissible for us, but if the other team wrongs us, we cry foul and demand the referee to issue a yellow card, but even the referee’s ruling cannot be expected to have any effect at all. This is who we really are. We always want what is advantageous for what is ours, for our team, and for ourselves, and we only want what benefits us. Yet God has saved such people like us. Though we are still full of blemishes and rampant with lawlessness, as far as our faith is concerned, we have become the ones who have been born again without blemish.
The Lord has completely saved us from all our sins. This is why we call the Lord as the God of salvation, and the God of salvation as the Lord. The Lord is our God of salvation. Peter confessed, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God” (Matthew 16:16). And the Lord approved his blessed faith as God-given one. The word Christ here means the One who took our sins upon His own body and blotted them all out. Jesus Christ is the Son of the living God. As the Son of God and our Savior, He has saved us perfectly. So, be bold in your hearts nonetheless, even if you may feel too insufficient and weak to serve the gospel.
Your souls, hearts, and bodies should not be drawn back and stooped; instead, straighten them out by faith and become the bold, great people of righteousness who are spreading God-given faith wide and far. Look at me. I have nothing to show in my flesh, but am I not spreading the gospel throughout the world? Are you not like this also? Do not think that those who seemingly appear to have no insufficiency are really free of any shortcomings. Sinners are only hypocrites. Hypocrites, too, are the same human beings as you are, and so how could their flesh be so good, dignified, and clean? What is always insufficient is the flesh of human beings. You have to realize that those who are showing off their virtuousness, especially in Christian communities, are merely showing off their hypocritical and fraudulent nature.
Our God has saved us perfectly. Therefore, we can serve the gospel of the water and the Spirit by our faith that has perfected us, empowered by this perfect righteousness of God. We thank God for enabling us to be saved by faith, through the truth of salvation that He had planned even before the foundation of the world. All your sins were already washed away when Jesus was baptized and shed His blood on the Cross. I hope you all believe in this truth.