“The woman said to Him, ‘Sir, I perceive that You are a prophet. Our fathers worshiped on this mountain, and you Jews say that in Jerusalem is the place where one ought to worship.’ Jesus said to her, ‘Woman, believe Me, the hour is coming when you will neither on this mountain, nor in Jerusalem, worship the Father. You worship what you do not know; we know what we worship, for salvation is of the Jews. But the hour is coming, and now is, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth; for the Father is seeking such to worship Him. God is Spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth.’ The woman said to Him, ‘I know that Messiah is coming’ (who is called Christ). ‘When He comes, He will tell us all things.’ Jesus said to her, ‘I who speak to you am He.’”
Did you enjoy your meal? Just a moment ago, a brother stood before you and testified how the Lord has saved him from sin through the gospel of the water and the Spirit. As I was able to see the work of salvation that Jesus Himself fulfilled in him, I give all thanks to God. I thank Him even more, for the One who has saved that brother is our Lord, who came by the gospel of the water and the Spirit. Moreover, Jesus is the very One who has also save you from the sins of the world through the gospel of the water and the Spirit.
This evening, I would like to share the Word with you on the following subject: “In order for our souls to be led to spiritual revival, what kind of faith must we have before God?”
In today’s Scripture passage, we see our Lord talking with a Samaritan woman by a well in a town in Samaria. While conversing with Jesus, this woman realized that Jesus knew all about her circumstances and her sins, and so she said to the Lord, “I perceive that You are a prophet.” The woman also said to Jesus, “Our fathers worshiped on this mountain in Samaria, but the Jews claim that the place where we should worship is in Jerusalem.” The Lord then said to her, “The hour is coming when you will neither on this mountain, nor in Jerusalem, worship the Father. You worship what you do not know; we know what we worship, for salvation is of the Jews. But the hour is coming, and now is, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth; for the Father is seeking such to worship Him. God is Spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth” (John 4:21-24).
Then Who Are Those Who Worship God “in Spirit and Truth”?
For us to worship God in spirit and truth is to worship the holy God after being remitted from all our sins by believing in the gospel of the water and the Spirit. When Jesus said that we must worship God in spirit and truth, He meant that we must first become sinless by believing in the God-given gospel of the water and the Spirit, and then worship the holy God. Spiritual worship refers to the honest worship of the saints who believe in the gospel of the water and the Spirit with heart. Those who worship God in spirit and truth are those who have received the remission of sin into their hearts by believing in the gospel of the water and the Spirit, and who worship God after having received the Holy Spirit.
Do you believe in the gospel of the water and the Spirit with your heart? Put differently, do you truthfully believe in the gospel of the water and the Spirit with which Jesus Christ has washed away all your sins? Have you been remitted from all your sins by wholeheartedly believing in the gospel of the water and the Spirit? Like this, God is telling us to believe in the gospel Truth of the water and the Spirit and worship Him in spirit and truth. For us to worship God in spirit and truth, we must abide with those who believe in the God-given gospel of the water and the Spirit. God is saying that He is looking for people who have such faith and their gatherings.
So those who worship God in spirit and truth look for His Church. Even though we may be far away from the Church, we can unite with God’s Church in our hearts and thoughts. Because our faith is the same for all of us, through literature we can share our faith and hearts with each other. Our coworkers overseas can write to each other through email or snail mail.
God the Father is now looking for those who have received the remission of sin by believing in the gospel of the water and the Spirit given by Jesus, and who worship Him in spirit and truth. The Samaritan woman knew that the Messiah would come to this earth, and she also said to the Lord that when the Messiah came, He would tell us all truths. Jesus then said to her at that time, “I am the One you speak of. I am the Messiah whom you are waiting.” He said to her, “Now is when you can worship in spirit and truth.”
We can now come before God and worship Him in spirit and truth. By believing in the gospel of the water and the Spirit, which pleases God, we can be remitted from all our sins and worship Him in spirit and truth. God said that He would accept the worship offered by those who have such faith and be glorified by them. If one worships God by believing in the gospel that we now know and believe in—that is, the gospel of the water and the Spirit—then this worship will indeed reach our God and He will also accept it. And God will bestow all spiritual blessings to such people, and He will enable them to fulfill the work of spreading the gospel on this earth, which fulfills all the righteousness of God. Therefore, all Christians who believe in Jesus as their Savior must now receive the remission of sin first, so that they may offer this kind of spiritual worship.
As such, you yourselves should also examine your faith now and see if you are indeed worshiping God in spirit and truth. For you to have a spiritual revival before God, you must first examine whether you are spiritually qualified to offer the kind of worship that God would accept in pleasure. And you must first believe in the gospel of the water and the Spirit. That’s because God has told all of us to worship Him in spirit and truth. We were all able to become God’s children by believing in the gospel of the water and the Spirit that He has given us.
All Christians today are trying to receive the remission of sin into their hearts by believing in Jesus as their Savior. Yet most of them do not know the gospel of the water and the Spirit. It is because they are ignorant of the plan of God’s salvation hidden in the Old and New Testament.
How, then, were the people of Israel saved from sin in the age of the Old Testament? The Israelites were washed from their sins gathered together in the Tabernacle. There was a House of God in Israel where its people could gather together and be washed from their sins before God. There, those who recognized that they had sinned before God offered sacrificial animals to Him.
Now in this age too, there is a place where people worship God spiritually by believing in the gospel Word of the water and the Spirit. It is a gathering of the family of God who has become one by believing in the gospel of the water and the Spirit. That place is God’s Church. In the age of the Old Testament, when any one of the people of Israel had committed sin, he should bring a sacrificial animal to the Tabernacle. He then passed his sins to it by laying his hands on its head, drew its blood, and handed it over to a priest. “Then the priest shall take some of its blood with his finger, put it on the horns of the altar of burnt offering, and pour all the remaining blood at the base of the altar. He shall remove all its fat, as fat is removed from the sacrifice of the peace offering; and the priest shall burn it on the altar for a sweet aroma to the LORD. So the priest shall make atonement for him, and it shall be forgiven him” (Leviticus 4:30-31).
This was the sin offering of the sacrificial system. The Israelites received the remission of sin by offering such a sacrifice. To receive the remission of sin, they had to confess their sins to God, saying, “God, I’ve fought with others, I’ve stolen, and I’ve committed all kinds of sins.” They then had to lay their hands on the head of the sacrificial animals and pass their sins to them. Only then could these sins be passed onto the head of the sacrificial animals. So it was by laying their hands on an unblemished sheep or goat that the people of the Old Testament could pass on their sins.
In the Old Testament, people’s sins were passed onto the head of the sacrifice through the laying on of hands. This is the method of salvation established by God (Leviticus 1:1-4; 4:20-39). The entire sacrificial system of the Old Testament is a shadow of the gospel of the water and the Spirit that the Lord has given in the New Testament. All the sacrificial rituals of the Old Testaments were shadows of the gospel of the water and the Spirit that the New Testament speaks of.
Let’s first examine here how the people of Israel in the Old Testament obtained the remission of sin. This world is divided into two ages: one is the age before the coming of Jesus, and the other is the age after His coming. The time before Jesus came to this earth is called the age of the Old Testament. And the time subsequent to the fulfillment of Jesus’ ministry of salvation—that is, after He came to this earth, received the baptism and died on the Cross to blot out the sins of the world, and saved us humans by rising from the dead again—is called the age of the New Testament.
Like this, the history of mankind is divided into two ages: Before the advent of Jesus on this earth, and after His arrival. Now is the age of the New Testament, when it’s been 2005 years since Jesus came to this earth. Most countries use A.D. (Anno Domini; Greek words that mean ‘in the year of our Lord’) as the calendric base. People across the world use this calendar, from Filipinos to Americans, Thais to North Koreans, Chinese to Eskimos.
No one can be remitted from his sins through his own effort no matter how hard he may try. Mankind’s remission of sin is fulfilled when one believes in the gospel of the water and the Spirit that the Lord has given us. Although our Lord gave us the gospel Truth of the water and the Spirit when He came to this earth, many people in this world still do not know this Truth. This means that there still remain a lot of people who will come to receive the remission of sin once they just hear this gospel. So if we preach this gospel to them, they will also be saved.
To reach a correct and concrete understanding of the gospel of the water and the Spirit that the Lord Jesus has fulfilled, we should first examine how and by what method God had blotted out the sins of those who were living prior to the coming of Jesus.
It’s Written in the Old Testament That the Remission of Sin Was Obtained by Offering Sacrifices to God
Let’s turn to the Word of God and take a look at Leviticus chapter four. Let us turn to Leviticus 4:27-31: “If anyone of the common people sins unintentionally by doing something against any of the commandments of the LORD in anything which ought not to be done, and is guilty, or if his sin which he has committed comes to his knowledge, then he shall bring as his offering a kid of the goats, a female without blemish, for his sin which he has committed. And he shall lay his hand on the head of the sin offering, and kill the sin offering at the place of the burnt offering. Then the priest shall take some of its blood with his finger, put it on the horns of the altar of burnt offering, and pour all the remaining blood at the base of the altar. He shall remove all its fat, as fat is removed from the sacrifice of the peace offering; and the priest shall burn it on the altar for a sweet aroma to the LORD. So the priest shall make atonement for him, and it shall be forgiven him.” Like this, the people of the Old Testament offered sacrifices to God for their sins.
God is holy. So, to make His Holiness known to everyone, God gave the Word of the Law that enabled human beings to realize their sins. Let’s examine our sins first through the Ten Commandments. The Lord gave ten statutes to all of us:
“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.
Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy.
You shall honor your parents.
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” (Exodus 20:3-17).
The first four statutes are requirements that human beings must keep toward God, and the remaining six statutes are requirements that must be kept between fellow human beings. God said that if one of the Israelites broke any of His Law, and if he realized his sin before God, then to be washed from this sin, he should bring a sacrificial animal to the altar of burnt offering and lay his hands on the head of the unblemished offering of sacrifice. This man’s sin would then be passed onto the sacrificial animal. God also told the people of Israel that after passing on their sins by laying their hands on the head of their sacrificial animal, they had to kill the animal, draw its blood, and give it to the priest. The priest then had to put this blood on the horns of the altar of burnt offering.
This means that for us to approach God, we must first pass our sins to the sacrificial animal by laying our hands on it (Leviticus 1:3-5). Because God is holy, if we want to come to His presence, we must examine whether we have sinned against Him or not. That’s because if we have done wrong before God, then we have to first admit this sin and realize that we deserve to receive the just judgment of God for this sin. Even if it does not seem like a sin in our own thoughts, we must realize that according to the statutes of God’s Law, it is unrighteousness and that it must be condemned.
So the Bible says, “If anyone of the common people sins unintentionally by doing something against any of the commandments of the LORD in anything which ought not to be done, and is guilty” (Leviticus 4:27). This indicates that even when people sin, they do not know that it’s a sin. For how long do they the commit sin like this? They are committing sins of trespass until the day they die. To be washed from their sins, the Israelites had to bring sacrificial animals before God and lay their hands on the heads of the sacrifices whenever they had committed sins. God had promised that when they laid their hands on the head of the sacrifice, their sins would be passed onto the sacrificial animal and they would be atoned for the sins.
People’s sins are written in each of their own consciences, as well as the Book of Judgment in the Kingdom of God. As their sins are written in two places like this, they have to wash away their sins from both these places. Everyone is tormented so much by their sins precisely because his sins are written in the tablet of his conscience. People who had been fine just a moment ago suddenly turn sad and miserable all because their sins are written in their conscience. In the Old Testament, God had given the sacrificial system to the people of Israel in order to save such people from sin. When an Israelite brought a sacrificial animal, laid his hands on its head, and confessed, “Lord, I’ve committed such and such sins,” then according to the God-given sacrificial system, the sins of the tablet of his conscience were passed onto the sacrificial animal. Therefore, when this man thus sacrificed to God the flesh and blood of the sacrificial animal on his behalf, then God saved him from his sins.
That is how everyone in the Old Testament was remitted from his sins. The priest in the Old Testament took the blood of the sacrifice from the hands of the sacrifice offerer and put it on the horns that were on the four corners of the altar of burnt offering. He did this because God had said, “For the life of the flesh is in the blood, and I have given it to you upon the altar to make atonement for your souls; for it is the blood that makes atonement for the soul” (Leviticus 17:11). And it is also said, “And according to the law almost all things are purified with blood, and without shedding of blood there is no remission” (Hebrews 9:22).
One’s life is found in its blood. That the blood of the sacrifice had to be put on the horns of the altar of burnt offering signifies that the sacrificial animal bore the sins of the sacrifice offerer and paid off all their wages. As such, the sacrificial animals of the Old Testament laid down their lives to bear the Israelites’ sins. These animals accepted their sins on their behalf and died in their place. In other words, every sinner in the Old Testament had to pass his sins onto a sacrificial animal by laying his hands on its head, cut its throat, draw its blood, and then handed it over to a priest. The priest then put some of this blood on the horns of the altar of burnt offering, poured the rest on the ground, cut its flesh into pieces, put the flesh and fat on fire on the altar of burnt offering, and offered them to God. Only then did God accept this sacrifice. Through this sacrificial system of the Tabernacle, God had prepared a way to solve the problem of sin for all mankind.
God cannot just say to us, “Did you commit sin? Well, I will declare just with My lips that this sin no longer exists.” That’s because God is just and honest. So to blot out mankind’s sins, these sins must be passed onto a sacrificial offering without fail, and its life must be sacrificed. Only when one’s sins are condemned justly with the price of the animal’s life can he be said that the judgment of sin has ended and this person has received the remission of sin.
Koreans are so forgiving that even when someone does wrong to them, they are prone to tolerate it and just say, “It’s okay; don’t worry about it.” We Koreans forgive everything good-naturedly like this. But can true forgiveness be attained in this way before God? Unless you pay off the wages of sin before God, true forgiveness is not attained. God is just. He is completely honest. Because God is the God of both love and justice, to blot out the sins of mankind perfectly in accordance with these two requirements of love and justice, He had established the sacrificial system. And He made people pass their sins to the head of a sacrificial animal and kill this animal without fail according to the law. It’s because God loves mankind that He accepts a just sacrifice that’s offered by passing one’s sins to the sacrificial animal, killing it and burning it. And in the days of the Old Testament, God made those who believed in this just sacrifice sinless.
The people of the Old Testament also committed sin repeatedly day after day, and throughout their entire lives. How often do people commit sin in a day? If someone committed sin in the morning by cursing another man, he had to bring one of his sheep or goats to the Tabernacle and offer the sacrifice of atonement. But let’s say that this man, while returning home after sacrificing, came across a beautiful woman and lusted after her in his heart. This would then mean that he committed sin again. He would then have to bring another sacrificial animal. So the people of Israel in the age of the Old Testament raised such livestock as bulls, sheep, and goats to blot out their sins. They raised a lot of livestock to offer sacrifices to God, rather than to eat them. But since they all committed sin everyday, could there ever be an end to the sacrifice of atonement?
So knowing our human weaknesses, God permitted the Israelites to offer just one sacrifice in a year in the age of the Old Testament, while in the age of the New Testament, Jesus Christ offered the sacrifice of salvation that forever blotted out all sins of mankind once and for all. This sacrifice of salvation that Jesus offered for us is all written in the gospel of the water and the Spirit. The Lord is the Master of the gospel of the water and the Spirit.
The Sacrifice of the Day of Atonement Offered by the High Priest
In the era of the Old Testament, the High Priest sacrificed once a year, on the tenth day of the seventh month, to blot out the yearly sins of the people of Israel. This is the sacrifice of the Day of Atonement. Let’s turn to Leviticus 16:29-34 here: “‘This shall be a statute forever for you: In the seventh month, on the tenth day of the month, you shall afflict your souls, and do no work at all, whether a native of your own country or a stranger who dwells among you. For on that day the priest shall make atonement for you, to cleanse you, that you may be clean from all your sins before the LORD. It is a sabbath of solemn rest for you, and you shall afflict your souls. It is a statute forever. And the priest, who is anointed and consecrated to minister as priest in his father’s place, shall make atonement, and put on the linen clothes, the holy garments; then he shall make atonement for the Holy Sanctuary, and he shall make atonement for the tabernacle of meeting and for the altar, and he shall make atonement for the priests and for all the people of the assembly. This shall be an everlasting statute for you, to make atonement for the children of Israel, for all their sins, once a year.’ And he did as the LORD commanded Moses.”
Aaron was the first High Priest of Israel, and to make atonement for the people of Israel once a year, he passed their sins onto a sacrificial animal by laying his hands on its head. Redemption is fulfilled when one’s sins are passed onto a sacrifice and are thereby atoned. God had set the tenth day of the seventh month as the day to blot out the yearly sins of the people of Israel. On this day, on behalf of all the people, the High Priest passed their yearly sins onto a sacrificial animal, drew its blood, took its blood into the Most Holy, sprinkled it on the mercy seat above the Ark, and burnt its flesh.
Let’s turn to Leviticus 16:6-15: “Aaron shall offer the bull as a sin offering, which is for himself, and make atonement for himself and for his house. He shall take the two goats and present them before the LORD at the door of the tabernacle of meeting. Then Aaron shall cast lots for the two goats: one lot for the LORD and the other lot for the scapegoat. And Aaron shall bring the goat on which the LORD’s lot fell, and offer it as a sin offering. But the goat on which the lot fell to be the scapegoat shall be presented alive before the LORD, to make atonement upon it, and to let it go as the scapegoat into the wilderness.”
“And Aaron shall bring the bull of the sin offering, which is for himself, and make atonement for himself and for his house, and shall kill the bull as the sin offering which is for himself. Then he shall take a censer full of burning coals of fire from the altar before the LORD, with his hands full of sweet incense beaten fine, and bring it inside the veil. And he shall put the incense on the fire before the LORD, that the cloud of incense may cover the mercy seat that is on the Testimony, lest he die. He shall take some of the blood of the bull and sprinkle it with his finger on the mercy seat on the east side; and before the mercy seat he shall sprinkle some of the blood with his finger seven times. Then he shall kill the goat of the sin offering, which is for the people, bring its blood inside the veil, do with that blood as he did with the blood of the bull, and sprinkle it on the mercy seat and before the mercy seat.”
For the High Priest to pass the Israelites’ yearly sins onto the sacrificial animal on their behalf, he and his family had to receive the remission of sin first. So the High Priest first took a bull as his sacrificial animal and passed his sins and his house’s sins onto the bull by laying his hands on its head. And then killing this animal, he took its blood into the Most Holy and sprinkled this blood on the mercy seat and before the Ark of the Covenant. Thus, He offered a sin offering.
After this, he brought two goats for the entire congregation of Israel and cast lots for them, setting one as a sacrifice to be offered before Jehovah, and the other to be offered before the people. Aaron first confessed the Israelite’s sins by laying his hands on the sacrificial animal to be offered before God, cut its throat, drew its blood, took the blood into the Sanctuary, and sprinkled the blood before the mercy seat seven times. When he sprinkled the blood, the golden bells upon the hem of the robe of the High Priest (Exodus 28:34) rang seven times accordingly.
After thus sacrificing to God, Aaron then brought another goat. Let’s turn to Leviticus 16:20-22 here: “And when he has made an end of atoning for the Holy Place, the tabernacle of meeting, and the altar, he shall bring the live goat. Aaron shall lay both his hands on the head of the live goat, confess over it all the iniquities of the children of Israel, and all their transgressions, concerning all their sins, putting them on the head of the goat, and shall send it away into the wilderness by the hand of a suitable man. The goat shall bear on itself all their iniquities to an uninhabited land; and he shall release the goat in the wilderness.”
Because Aaron had offered the first sacrifice inside the House of God, the people of Israel could not see what was happening inside, even though they were standing near the House of God. The linen fence of the court of the Tabernacle was 2.5 m in height. Most people could not see over this fence. Inside this fence were the altar of burnt offering and the laver of bronze, and next to the laver was the Tabernacle, that is, the Sanctuary. Because Aaron went past the veil of the Sanctuary, the Israelites could not see what he did inside. There was another small house in the Tabernacle, so the people of Israel could not see what Aaron did at the very moment. They just heard the sound of the golden bells ringing seven times, and that’s the only way that they realized, “Ah! The first sacrifice for our sins was completely offered to God!”
With the people of Israel waiting outside, Aaron brought another goat and laid his hands on it while they were watching. Verse 21 says, “Aaron shall lay both his hands on the head of the live goat, confess over it all the iniquities of the children of Israel, and all their transgressions, concerning all their sins, putting them on the head of the goat, and shall send it away into the wilderness by the hand of a suitable man.” All the iniquities here refer to every sin. They refer to all the yearly sins that the people of Israel had committed out of their weaknesses, intentionally or unintentionally. Aaron confessed all the yearly sins and trespasses of the Israelites, saying, “Lord, the people of Israel have committed adultery, murder, and theft; they have failed to honor their parents; they have stood against You; and they have done crazy things.” After thus confessing their sins, Aaron then took his hands off of the goat’s head.
The goat was not killed right away after Aaron took his hands off. What did I say happened when Aaron laid his hands on the sacrifice? Yearly sins of the Israelites were passed onto the head of the goat. The laying on of hands means to pass on something. When Aaron, as the representative of the people of Israel, laid his hands on the head of the goat and confessed, “The people of Israel have committed such and such sins,” their yearly sins were passed onto the goat. After passing sins onto the goat, Aaron then handed it over to someone else to be led into the wilderness. This man then took the goat into the completely waterless and barren desert, and abandoned it there before returning. The goat then wandered in the wilderness until its death while shouldering all their iniquities and sins.
Why did this goat die? It’s because the goat had accepted all the yearly sins committed by the people of Israel. The Bible says, “For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Romans 6:23). This means that although the love found in Jesus Christ brings us everlasting life and salvation, sin is never tolerated before God unless it is paid by the price of life. The wages of sin is death. God loved the people of Israel, but because He could not embrace them while they remained sinful, He took their sins away from them and passed them onto the goat. God killed this goat on their behalf out of His love for them. That is what the sacrifice of the Day of Atonement means. This is how the Israelites were atoned for their sins by offering their sacrifice to God.
But When the Day of Atonement Passed by, Didn’t the Israelites Commit Sin Again?
Did the people of Israel somehow not commit sin again, once they offered the sacrifice of the Day of Atonement? They sacrificed to God because they committed sin everyday, but many of them were too disappointed being tired of doing this everyday. The more devotedly one offered sacrifices, the greater his disappointment was. So some Israelites gave up offering daily sacrifices, thinking to themselves, “When the tenth day of the seventh month returns, I can solve this problem of sin once and for all.” Like this, the people of Israel had commonly waited “one day” to make atonement for all their yearly sins with one annual sacrifice, and it was for Aaron the High Priest to offer sacrifice on the tenth day of the seventh month. That was the only way for the people of Israel to receive the remission of their yearly sins.
This is how the Israelites in the Old Testament obtained the remission of sin. The Bible says that this sacrificial system foreshadowed the everlasting propitiation of Jesus, who would come to this earth and blot out the sins of mankind once for all (Hebrews 10:1-14).
Then by What Kind of Faith Do the People in the Age of the New Testament Receive the Remission of Sin?
We are now living in the age of the New Testament, after Jesus had come to this earth. By what kind of faith do we then receive the remission of sin? In the age of the Old Testament, the people of Israel received the remission of sin by believing that Aaron had passed all their sins to the sacrificial animal once and for all by laying his hands on its head on their behalf. In the age of the New Testament, the remission of sin is obtained by believing that all the sins of this world were passed onto Jesus once and for all when John the Baptist, who fulfilled a role similar to Aaron’s, baptized Jesus in a form of the laying on of hands. In other words, it is by believing in the gospel of the water and the Spirit, the Truth, that one is remitted from all his sins to enter the Kingdom of God.
The Samaritan woman whom we read about today had also said, “I know that Jesus Christ the Messiah is coming,” but what did Jesus say to her? He told her that He was the One whom she spoke of. Put differently, the remission of sin is received by believing that Jesus came as the Messiah, accepted all our sins through His baptism, and paid off all the wages of our sins by shedding His blood and dying on the Cross.
Let’s turn to Matthew 3:13-17: “Then Jesus came from Galilee to John at the Jordan to be baptized by him. And John tried to prevent Him, saying, ‘I need to be baptized by You, and are You coming to me?’ But Jesus answered and said to him, ‘Permit it to be so now, for thus it is fitting for us to fulfill all righteousness.’ Then he allowed Him. When He had been baptized, Jesus came up immediately from the water; and behold, the heavens were opened to Him, and He saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and alighting upon Him. And suddenly a voice came from heaven, saying, ‘This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.’”
Jesus was incarnated and born through the body of the Virgin Mary. And according to how the Angel Gabriel had instructed, He was named “Jesus.” As Matthew 1:21 says, “She will bring forth a Son, and you shall call His name JESUS, for He will save His people from their sins,” the name “Jesus” means the Savior. Jesus is God’s own Son and the very God Himself who created the universe and everything in it. Yet because human beings, whom God made, fell into sin and had to bear the just condemnation of sin, to deliver them His creatures from sin, He came to us incarnated in the flesh of man.
When Jesus turned 30 on this earth, He sought to be baptized by John the Baptist. The reason why Jesus was baptized by John the Baptist is explained here: Matthew 3:14 says, “John tried to prevent Him, saying, ‘I need to be baptized by You, and are You coming to me?’” Who was John here? He was a descendant of Aaron. The High Priest worked only between the ages of 30 and 50. When the High Priest turned 50, he retired from his priesthood. And once he passed down his priesthood to his son by laying his hands on him, this son began to work as the new High Priest to represent the people of Israel. When this High Priest turned 50, he then passed down his priesthood to his son. The office of the High Priest was passed down from generation to generation until finally it came to rest on a man named John the Baptist. It was God who had sent John the Baptist to this earth and established him to be the representative of mankind. We can see this by looking at the genealogy of John the Baptist, and what Jesus said about this man.
John the Baptist’s father was Zacharias. As described in Luke, Zacharias was a descendant of Aaron, and a priest of the division of Abijah, one of the grandsons of Aaron (Luke 1:5, 1 Chronicles 24:1-10). The reason why Jesus sought to be baptized by John the Baptist here is because he was the representative of mankind and the last High Priest of the Old Testament. So it was John the Baptist who passed the sins of this world onto Jesus by baptizing Him.
Why did Jesus come to the Jordan River? He came to John the Baptist in order to accept our sins, just like the scapegoat of the Old Testament. That’s why Jesus wanted to be baptized by John the Baptist in the Jordan River, and why John the Baptist had to baptize Jesus. Yet when Jesus appeared suddenly and said to John the Baptist, “Baptize Me,” John the Baptist recognized who Jesus was, and so he said, “How can I baptize You, when I should be baptized by You?”
Here we can see that the duty of John the Baptist differs from that of Jesus Christ. Who is the higher of the two? Jesus Christ the Son of God who came as the Savior of mankind, or John the Baptist the greatest of all men? Isn’t it of course the Son of God who is higher? Yet Jesus lowered His head willingly before John the Baptist, and said to him, “Permit it to be so now, for thus it is fitting for us to fulfill all righteousness” (Matthew 3:15). Jesus meant to say, “You must baptize Me to pass all the sins of everyone in this world onto Me. I must become the propitiation for these sins, and you, as a descendant of Aaron, must pass mankind’s sins onto Me once and for all by laying your hands on My head. As you baptize Me and I am baptized by you, I can save all human beings from their sins and condemnation. So you must allow it now.”
Everyone in this world has committed sin, and all people sin until the day they die. The people of Israel had brought sacrificial animals to God for their sins and guilt, and the people of the New Testament must also bring a sacrificial offering to God the Father for their sins and guilt, lay their hands on this offering’s head, and believe that the offering bore all their sins. Only then can you be washed clean from your sins.
Everyone commits sin from his birth until his death. To be frank before God, we have all committed sin in our lives until now, we are sinning even now, and we will continue to sin in the future even if we were to live for a hundred years. Won’t we all find ourselves committing sin again? Of course we will commit sin again. Aren’t we all blemished? We are indeed all blemished. All these blemishes are sins in God’s sight, and these sins are committed with both our hearts and acts. But most people think that only what’s committed with their acts constitutes a sin. Nevertheless, the Bible says that all the sins committed with the heart and acts alike belong to “the sin of the world,” and it declares that by being baptized, the Lord took away all these sins of the world.
Jesus said, “Permit it to be so now, for thus it is fitting for us to fulfill all righteousness.” Saying to John the Baptist to permit Him to be baptized, Jesus explained the reason why He was to be baptized. The Lord was saying, “It is fitting for you to pass everyone’s sins onto Me by laying your hands on Me and baptizing Me, and for Me to save all of mankind by receiving this baptism, accepting everyone’s sins, and being crucified to death. You must therefore baptize Me, and I must be baptized by you.”
Jesus was baptized by John the Baptist in the same manner as laying on of hands. It is at that moment that He forever took upon Himself all the sins of this world. That is why He could go to the Cross and become the sacrificial offering for the sins of mankind. That’s how Jesus was baptized by John the Baptist. Today, people are washed from their sins and freed from the condemnation of these sins by believing that Jesus shouldered the sins of this world by being baptized by John the Baptist, and that He atoned for the condemnation of sin by being crucified.
Therefore, those who believe in Jesus are baptized in the name of God the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. True baptism must be received after believing in the gospel of the water and the Spirit. Baptism by immersion, where hands are laid on one’s head and his body is fully submerged in water, is the correct baptism. Baptism by effusion, where water is held in a container and just sprinkled, is a shortened form of baptism. Baptism is also performed by laying hands on one’s head, and this refers to the laying on of hands in the Old Testament. That John the Baptist laid his hands on the head of Jesus was to pass onto Jesus the sins of everyone in this world; that Jesus went into the water with the laying on of John the Baptist’s hands manifests the Lord’s death; and that He emerged from beneath the water means His resurrection. This word “baptism” entails such spiritual meanings as “to be washed, to be buried, to be transferred, and to be passed on.”
We humans commit sin throughout our entire lifetime. However, Jesus was baptized by John the Baptist. When Jesus was baptized by John the Baptist, the sins of the world were passed onto Him. All the sins of the entire human race were passed onto Jesus. Are the sins in your hearts then washed away or not? They have already been washed away. So if you believe that Jesus was baptized to accept all your sins and mine, then your heart’s sins are washed away right now. Even though you have wronged God and man alike, your sins are washed away when you believe, “All these sins were already passed onto Jesus when He was baptized. Lord, I believe in this. You are My Savior.” It’s by faith that your sins are cleansed away.
That is why when Jesus came out of the water after His baptism, God the Father said that Jesus was His beloved Son, in whom He was well pleased. Jesus was the Son of God, and according to the will of God the Father, He had accepted all the sins of all mankind through John the Baptist, the representative of mankind.
God the Father did not want everyone to lay his hands on His Son Jesus. For everyone in the world to lay his hands on Jesus, He would still have to be living on this earth, and He could not have gone to the Cross. They say that the current world population is about 6.5 billion, and I did a little calculation with it. If all these people stood on a line and each of them laid their hands on Jesus even just for a second, it would take over 206 years. Given this, it’s impossible for us to each lay our hands on Jesus individually to pass our sins. So instead of doing this, Jesus wisely raised one representative of mankind, and by receiving His baptism from this representative in a form of the laying on of hands, He accepted all the sins of mankind once and for all. It’s through this baptism that Jesus accepted all the sins of the world once for all.
Jesus Is the Lamb of God Who Carried the Sins of the World, and He is the Savior of Mankind Who Bore Its Sins and Shed His Precious Blood
Let’s turn to the Word of God here. John 1:29 says, “The next day John saw Jesus coming toward him, and said, ‘Behold! The Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!’” Because Jesus had received His baptism from John the Baptist, in God’s sight, He was now the scapegoat that accepted the sins of the world and had to die. Jesus carried the sins of the world. Just like the scapegoat had shouldered the yearly sins of all Israelites in the era of the Old Testament, when Jesus was baptized, He accepted all the sins of the world and fulfilled everything perfectly for us, and therefore He was now carrying the sins of the world.
All the sins ever committed until the day this planet disappears are the sins of the world. In other words, every sin committed from the cradle to the grave, from the moment one is born to the moment he is buried, belongs to the sins of the world. Since Jesus carried the sins of the world, weren’t your parents’ sins also included in them then? Of course they were. What about your children’s sins? Were they included as well? They were all included. What about the sins you committed in your distant past? These sins, too, were included. Were these sins passed onto Jesus then? Indeed, they were all passed onto Jesus. In short, Jesus took away all your sins once and for all, even the sins that you will commit in the future. And since God loves not just you but everyone on this planet, He accepted all of mankind’s sins once and for all. Jesus has now made it possible for anyone to be saved if he would just believe in Him as his Savior. This is the amazing love of God’s salvation prepared for us.
On the next day he baptized Jesus, John the Baptist said, “Behold! The Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!” (John 1:29) Jesus had become the Lamb of God. It’s because He had accepted the sins of the world that He was crucified later on. Were the sins of the world passed onto Jesus when He was baptized, or were they not? Of course they were. Since the sins of the world were passed onto Jesus, and since the wages of sin is death, must Jesus then die or not? He has to die. Only if He dies on the Cross and rises from the dead in three days can you and I be saved. Because Jesus was baptized, carried the sins of the world, died on the Cross, and saved us, it is by believing in this Jesus that we are freed from all sin, all our sins are blotted out, and we become God’s children to enter Heaven.
So we must pay close attention to the fact that Jesus has carried the sins of the world. The Lord took away even the sins that we will commit in the future. Even though we have no merit before Jesus, and even though we cannot offer Him much and we have not done anything for Him, by believing in Jesus, we have been remitted from all the sins of our hearts. It’s not because we have some sort of merit that we have attained our salvation, but it is all by believing in Jesus. You and I have reached righteousness by believing in Jesus with our hearts, for what He has done for us constitutes our perfect salvation. That is how salvation has come to us.
After taking upon all your sins and mine through His baptism, where did Jesus go bearing the sins of the world? Let’s turn to the Word here. John 19:17-18 say, “And He, bearing His cross, went out to a place called the Place of a Skull, which is called in Hebrew, Golgotha, where they crucified Him, and two others with Him, one on either side, and Jesus in the center.” Jesus was crucified. Why did Jesus have to be crucified? That’s because He had accepted the sins of the world through His baptism. Jesus had to give up His body on the Cross because the wages of sin is death. That is why He was crucified on both His feet and hands. And because of this, all the blood that was in His heart was spilled. Why did this happen? Because Jesus had accepted all your sins and mine by being baptized, He was condemned for these sins. This is why He was crucified.
John 19:28-30 continue on to say, “After this, Jesus, knowing that all things were now accomplished, that the Scripture might be fulfilled, said, ‘I thirst!’ Now a vessel full of sour wine was sitting there; and they filled a sponge with sour wine, put it on hyssop, and put it to His mouth. So when Jesus had received the sour wine, He said, ‘It is finished!’ And bowing His head, He gave up His spirit.” My fellow believers, when Jesus died on the Cross, He said, “It is finished!” He had come to this earth to make us sinless, and He completed this work by being baptized by John the Baptist and shedding His blood unto death on the Cross.
Let’s turn to Hebrews 10:5-18 here:
“Therefore, when He came into the world, He said:
“Sacrifice and offering You did not desire,
But a body You have prepared for Me.
In burnt offerings and sacrifices for sin
You had no pleasure.
Then I said, ‘Behold, I have come—
In the volume of the book it is written of Me—
To do Your will, O God.’”
Previously saying, ‘Sacrifice and offering, burnt offerings, and offerings for sin You did not desire, nor had pleasure in them’ (which are offered according to the law), then He said, ‘Behold, I have come to do Your will, O God.’ He takes away the first that He may establish the second. By that will we have been sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all.
And every priest stands ministering daily and offering repeatedly the same sacrifices, which can never take away sins. But this Man, after He had offered one sacrifice for sins forever, sat down at the right hand of God, from that time waiting till His enemies are made His footstool. For by one offering He has perfected forever those who are being sanctified.
But the Holy Spirit also witnesses to us; for after He had said before, ‘This is the covenant that I will make with them after those days, says the LORD: I will put My laws into their hearts, and in their minds I will write them,’ then He adds, ‘Their sins and their lawless deeds I will remember no more.’ Now where there is remission of these, there is no longer an offering for sin.”
My fellow believers, God said here in Hebrews 10:16-18, “‘This is the covenant that I will make with them after those days, says the LORD: I will put My laws into their hearts, and in their minds I will write them,’ then He adds, ‘Their sins and their lawless deeds I will remember no more.’ Now where there is remission of these, there is no longer an offering for sin.”
Why did God say so? The Lord said so to explain that after He came to this earth and fulfilled our salvation to perfection through His baptism and Cross, God made a covenant with us, promising that for us who believe in the gospel of the water and the Spirit, He would place His law of salvation in our hearts. God also said that He will not remember our sins and our lawless deeds anymore. Why? “Because,” says the Lord, “I have blotted out all your sins. When I turned 30 after being born on this earth, did I not take upon all your sins? Isn’t it written here? The Bible records what I achieved when I came to this earth, and so haven’t you seen and heard it?” To those who believe in this, God has given a new law into their hearts.
The Lord remembers none of our sins any more. Why? Because when He came to this earth, He accepted all our sins by being baptized by John the Baptist, was condemned to death on the Cross, rose from the dead again in three days, and now sits at the right hand of the throne of God; because He has thus become our Savior; and because He has blotted out all our sins; He has eradicated these sins too because His believers are still lacking. That is why God is saying that He will no longer remember our sins. Do you believe in this, my fellow believers?
God also said in verse 18, “Now where there is remission of these, there is no longer an offering for sin.” This means that God has remitted the sins of the world. Just as the yearly sins of the people of Israel had been passed onto the scapegoat through the laying on of the High Priest’s hands in the Old Testament, when Jesus was baptized on this earth, He forever took upon Himself all sins. Do you grasp this?
Are you a person or an animal? Jesus did not take upon any animals’ sins. But Jesus bore each and every sin of all human beings, regardless of whether they are white or black, old or young, and Buddhists, Muslims or Confucians. Jesus took upon Himself all the sins of even your forefathers. While I do not know how long your genealogy goes back and how long it would continue until the end of the world, Jesus nonetheless shouldered all the sins of your house. That is why Jesus is the Savior of all mankind. He is everyone’s Savior. Do you then have any sin left? No, there is none. Is it possible for your sins to exist so far? No, it’s impossible.
Let’s turn to Hebrews 10:19-22 here: “Therefore, brethren, having boldness to enter the Holiest by the blood of Jesus, by a new and living way which He consecrated for us, through the veil, that is, His flesh, and having a High Priest over the house of God, let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water.”
By believing in the baptism Jesus received when He came to this earth, we gain the boldness to enter the Holiest Heaven where God dwells thanks to the blood of Jesus. He died on the Cross because of this baptism. We can enter Heaven “by a new and living way which He consecrated for us, through the veil, that is, His flesh.” Our Lord blotted out all your sins and mine with His flesh. The youngest among us is Brother Dongwook; when he grows up, he will get married and bears his children. What about these children’s sins then? Did Jesus blot out their sins also when He was baptized? Or did He leave them alone? He blotted them all out about 2,000 years ago.
Jesus lived on this earth for 33 years. At the age of 30, He received His baptism, and at the age of 33, He died on the Cross, rose from the dead again, and ascended to Heaven. And the Lord promised that He would return someday. You and I living in this present age are made righteous by hearing and believing in what happened nearly 2,000 years ago with our hearts. We are saved from our sins. This work of salvation that Jesus fulfilled 2,000 years ago was effective for everyone in the past, is still effective, and it will remain effective forever. The effectiveness of the gospel of power that the Lord has given us is eternal. If anyone who yearns to go to Heaven believes in the Word of God in the Old and New Testaments, his desire will surely be met and he will be delivered from his accursed fate that had destined him to hell. The Bible says, “With the heart one believes unto righteousness, and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation” (Romans 10:10). It is by believing in the Word of Truth that we are saved.
“Therefore, brethren, having boldness to enter the Holiest by the blood of Jesus, by a new and living way which He consecrated for us, through the veil, that is, His flesh.” Jesus received the baptism through which He bore mankind’s sins on His flesh, and he bore the just judgment of sin on His flesh. He took upon all our sins by being baptized on His own body. He shouldered all our sins once and for all through His baptism, without asking us for anything. Even though we commit sin until the day we die, God had compassion for us lest we should be condemned for our sins. God so loved us that Jesus took upon Himself all our sins through His baptism and blotted out all those sins with His blood. And Jesus fulfilled all His ministry as the High Priest of the Kingdom of Heaven. This High Priest made you and me sinless, not by offering a goat or any such sacrificial animals, but by accepting all the sins of mankind onto His own body and giving up this body on the Cross as our propitiation. Do you believe in this, my fellow believers? Who are we to ever reject such love of God?
The will of God for us was fulfilled. Who in this world would bear someone else’s sins and die for him? Some parents may die for their children and some others for their country, but is there any reason or duty for God to do this for you and me? Jesus is indeed the God of love, the Creator God who made the universe and everything in it. He is the God of love who has saved you and me through the gospel of the water and the Spirit.
Hebrews 10:21-22 said, “And having a High Priest over the house of God, let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water.”
My fellow believers, didn’t we all have sin before? We all had sin. None of us probably had blasphemed God intentionally. Or, on a second thought, perhaps some of us have done so. If some great disaster had come to you to render you completely wretched and miserable, wouldn’t you have blamed God? Just recently New Orleans of the United States was devastated by a huge hurricane; wouldn’t some of the people who lost their homes have cursed God and pointed their fingers at Him? All that is a sin. Every one of us had sin, and we all were inevitably destined to hell. Yet despite this, didn’t the Lord wash our bodies and hearts with pure water? Didn’t He blot out our sins once and for all by being baptized? He blotted them all out.
Through His baptism, Jesus accepted all our sins once and for all. For those who believe in this, their bodies have been washed with pure water, and therefore they can now draw near to God with a true heart in full assurance of faith. Even though we have no merit at all, we can still come out to God, confessing, “Lord, everything I have ever done is only committing sin. And I am ignorant. I tried hard not to sin, but I’ve sinned again. But you bore these sins also. You have done all these things for me, and so I thank You. I cannot thank You enough, Lord.” Like this, we are now able to stand before the presence of God with a true heart in full assurance of faith.
Aren’t you all grateful for this? Isn’t it true that you can now enter Heaven? Isn’t your heart rejoiced by this? Spiritual revival unfolds when you thus receive the remission of your sins and believe in the Truth. The Lord took upon Himself your sins and mine alike when He was baptized. He carried these sins of the world to the Cross and was condemned for them. He then rose from the dead. Jesus Himself then said, “It is finished!” He said that He would remember our sins and our lawless deeds no more. He also said, “Now where there is remission of these, there is no longer an offering for sin.” Jesus has saved us to perfection, so that we would no longer be condemned for our sins nor be cast into hell.
It is by believing in the gospel of the water and the Spirit that we worship God in spirit and truth. If you and I believe with our hearts that all our sins were passed onto Jesus when He was baptized, then we have no sin in our hearts. Is there any sin left in your hearts? No, there is no sin left. If we believe truthfully, then our hearts have no sin. Since we have no sin, we now have the Holy Spirit. And God accepts our worship precisely because the Word of Truth and the Holy Spirit are now in our hearts. God accepts the worship offered by those who call Him “Abba, Father,” that is, by those who have received the remission of sin from Him. God accepts such worship offered in spirit and truth by people like us today who listen to this Truth with their ears, and know and believe in it with their hearts.
None other than this is spiritual revival. When one receives the remission of sin into his heart and becomes a righteous person, this heart is rejoiced, and he has nothing to worry about no matter when his death may come. It’s in such people’s hearts that spiritual revival arises. One can enter Heaven by faith. You go to Heaven by believing that Jesus accepted all the sins of your entire lifetime by being baptized for you when He came to this earth; by believing that He was condemned on the Cross in your place; and by accepting into your heart and believing that this Jesus is your God of salvation. God has blessed your heart and mine to be able to worship Him in spirit and truth. You must first become a sinless person by faith, and then worship God in spirit and truth based on His Word. And you must stir up such spiritual revival in people’s hearts, and help them to also go to Heaven by faith. God is pleased by such people, and none other than you and I are these people.
Do you believe so, my fellow believers? Are you grateful to God, or do you feel that there is little of which to thank Him? You should all thank God. I, too, believe as you do. Had the Lord not blotted out my sins, I would have perished away in this world long ago. The Lord has saved me, my heart has been spiritually revived, I have come to preach this Truth to others, and for all these things I am grateful to God. The born-again servants of God and His people have all put on His grace. God is looking for those who worship in spirit and truth, and we have become such people who worship in spirit and truth.
I give all my thanks to God, who is forever true. I give my thanks to Him, knowing and believing that the gospel of the water and the Spirit is His gift. For our hearts to have a genuine spiritual revival, we must cherish the salvation the Lord has given us. And we must believe in this salvation.