“Therefore many of His disciples, when they heard this, said, ‘This is a hard saying; who can understand it?’ When Jesus knew in Himself that His disciples complained about this, He said to them, ‘Does this offend you? What then if you should see the Son of Man ascend where He was before? It is the Spirit who gives life; the flesh profits nothing. The words that I speak to you are spirit, and they are life. But there are some of you who do not believe.’ For Jesus knew from the beginning who they were who did not believe, and who would betray Him. And He said, ‘Therefore I have said to you that no one can come to Me unless it has been granted to him by My Father.’ From that time many of His disciples went back and walked with Him no more. Then Jesus said to the twelve, ‘Do you also want to go away?’ But Simon Peter answered Him, ‘Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life. Also we have come to believe and know that You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.’ Jesus answered them, ‘Did I not choose you, the twelve, and one of you is a devil?’ He spoke of Judas Iscariot, the son of Simon, for it was he who would betray Him, being one of the twelve.”
What Are You Grumbling About?
John chapter six is difficult to understand for today’s Christians also. So even pastors rarely give any sermons on this passage. They usually interpret the message of this chapter as the following: “That Jesus gave us His body means that He has saved us by being crucified to death.” However, they make reference only to the blood of Jesus, not His flesh. The flesh of Jesus refers to the fact that Jesus took upon our sins once for all by being baptized and suffered on the Cross, and so unless one knows the gospel of the water and the Spirit, he cannot understand this passage.
That is why today’s Christians who have not been born again simply cannot understand the passage from John chapter six, and as a result, their hearts end up leaving Jesus to pursue the things of the world. In other words, if people do not know the gospel of the water and the Spirit, then while they may at first come to believe in Jesus as their Savior, they will eventually leave Him. At the time when Jesus spoke this passage, there were over 5,000 people who had witnessed His miracles and were following Him, but when Jesus told them to eat His flesh and drink His blood, they all left Him, as they couldn’t understand Him. Even worse, many of the very disciples who identified themselves as Jesus’ followers also left Him, saying, “This is a hard saying; who can understand it?”
For Christians in this age also, that Jesus told them to eat His flesh and drink His blood is a very difficult truth. However, because the gospel of the water and the Spirit is the definitive Truth, if you know this gospel and believe in it, then it’s very easy for you to have the flesh and blood of Jesus spiritually, and if you believe in this Word with your heart, then you will receive everlasting life.
Jesus Himself knew that His disciples were complaining about what He said, and so He told them, “Does this offend you? What then if you should see the Son of Man ascend where He was before?” Put differently, our Lord was saying, “Does this confuse you? You seek to follow Me, but do you now find yourselves unable to follow Me and want to leave Me, all because of what I said?” Then the Lord spoke even more clearly that He Himself was the bread that came down from Heaven, saying to them, “I am the bread that came down from Heaven, but what will you do when you see Me ascending back to Heaven? Will you then believe in Me? I’ve explained Myself to you, that I have come from Heaven. Should you see Me ascending to Heaven again, will you then stop complaining and believe in Me?” The Lord is the bread that came down from Heaven. He has fed us with this bread of life, and having ascended back to Heaven, He is now sitting at the right hand of the throne of God the Father; and He will return to this earth again to take us away.
Just as the people at that time could not understand what Jesus was saying, today’s Christians are equally ignorant of the gospel of Truth, and therefore few actually understand what the Lord meant when He told us to eat His flesh. Even worse, few actually want to understand it. In other words, many Christians do not understand what the Bible is saying precisely because they believe in Jesus only as a matter of religion. If we believe in the Word of the Scriptures without even understanding it, then this can only mean that we don’t believe in Jesus properly, but instead we have reified Him on our own and believe in this reified Jesus.
The Lord said, “It is the Spirit who gives life; the flesh profits nothing. The words that I speak to you are spirit, and they are life” (John 6:63). He made it clear here that it is the Spirit who gives life. Put differently, this is what He was saying: “You must believe in what God has done for you with your heart. You shouldn’t believe in Me motivated only to gain great benefits for your own flesh. What I am now saying to you is life. I have blotted out your sins and given you everlasting life, and on the last day, I will bring your body back to life also. If you receive new life by faith, then your body will also live again. The blessings that I give are the blessings of eternal life that belong to Heaven. And you can attain these blessings by believing in My Word. Therefore you should not believe in Me just to gain carnal benefits.”
In other words, we should reach our salvation by believing in what the Lord has done for us with our hearts, rather than believing in Him just to fulfill our own carnal purposes, thinking that we would somehow be healed from our illnesses, succeed in our businesses, or become rich if we believe in Jesus. Today’s Christianity is oriented toward healing physical illnesses, succeeding in the world, and moving up the ladder, but this is a very wrong orientation.
The Apostle John said to the people of God, “Beloved, I pray that you may prosper in all things and be in health, just as your soul prospers” (3 John 1:2). Quoting this passage, many pastors preach that if one believes in Jesus, he would be blessed to be healthy and prosper in all things, as much as his soul would prosper. They call this teaching as the precept of “three-fold blessings in Christ.” As people struggling in the world are told that they would become rich and successful if they believe in Jesus, they are only too happy to hear this, and so there is a pronounced trend in today’s Christianity where people devote themselves to their own churches and revere their pastors even more, all to gain blessings and benefits for their own flesh.
In particularly, the followers of the Pentecostal Church in Korea are apt to believe that their children would be admitted to the college of their choice if they pray hard, but be rejected if they don’t pray enough. They think that all their problems can be solved just by praying to Jesus, but this is a very mistaken notion. Of course, to the born-again, God does bestow His grace, and if they are sick, the Lord does open the way for them to be healed. However, for those who have not received the remission of their sins, just because they believe in Jesus, this does not mean that they would be blessed in their flesh. The notion that you can be healed from your illnesses and become rich if you believe in Jesus is a complete fraud.
I once watched on a Christian channel a world-renowned Korean revivalist named Rev. Cho holding a revival meeting. Quoting this passage from 3 John 1:2, he said from the pulpit, “Put your hands on where it hurts. God will heal your physical illnesses immediately.” So the people gathered there prayed putting their hands on different parts of their own bodies, and then among the multitudes, some of them began to stand up testifying that they were healed from their sicknesses. The wave of joy swept across the whole congregation. The pastor then ended his sermon by concluding, “If you believe in Jesus, you will be healed from your illnesses, you will drive away demons, your poverty will go away, your family will be in harmony, and all such blessings will be yours.” The congregation were so rejoiced to hear him that they said, “I’ve never heard such a great sermon!” However, this kind of faith is a superstitious faith, called Christian shamanism. It is extremely wrong to believe like this.
Are demons driven out just by believing in Jesus blindly? Those who have not been born again sometimes claim that they drove out demons by believing in Jesus, but it’s actually nothing more than a show, with the demons pretending to have left. If you believe in Jesus, does your flesh prosper unconditionally? If you really believe in Jesus and follow Him, there is so much suffering that you must bear because of your faith. So how can anyone say that his flesh will prosper?
Jesus said, “It is the Spirit who gives life; the flesh profits nothing.” Our Lord wants to give us new life by saving our souls from sin, not to bring prosperity to our flesh. He came to this earth to blot out our sins, to give us new life, to make us God’s children, and to bestow us with the eternal blessings of the next world. We must grasp this clearly.
The core message of 3 John 1:2 is that above all, our souls must prosper. That is the key premise. What, then, does it mean by the prosperity of the soul? First of all, for our souls to prosper, we must believe in what the Lord has done for us with our hearts, and thereby receive the remission of our sins, attain eternal life, and become God’s children. It is after then that we can see how the Lord helps us and blesses us in our everyday life. This is what the above passage means. Jesus never said that we can be healed from our illnesses and become rich just by believing in Him, without first receiving the remission of our sins.
The Lord made it clear here that pursuing the prosperity of our flesh profits nothing. If you want to believe in Jesus as your Savior, you must first receive the remission of your sins by believing in the gospel of the water and the Spirit. And once you receive the remission of your sins, it is fitting for you to carry out God’s work. However, if you believe in Jesus just to prosper in your flesh, then your faith is completely wrong. Any pastor that teaches like this is utterly wrong. As countless Christians are deceived by false pastors, they sell their houses and offer the money to their churches, thinking that if they donate a house they would gain two houses. In a similar vein, they even take out loans to give their tithes, thinking that they would be blessed far more if they offer more tithes. They think, “My income is $1,000, and so I should offer $100 for my tithe, but I actually gave $1,000. So I am sure that God will reward me with $10,000.” If you believe in Jesus based on such a calculation, then you are being defrauded spiritually. However, unfortunately enough, countless pastors are swindling their congregations out of their money with such a lie. To believe like this is nothing more than believing in Christianity only as one of the many religions of the world.
Of course, the born-again are able to offer even their entire possessions to the Lord if this is necessary. Our workers are actually living such a life. To serve the gospel, they only spend about one-tenth of their hard-earned money for themselves on what they absolutely need, and they offer the rest, 90 percent of their income, to the ministry of spreading the gospel. However, they don’t do this just to receive more material blessings by offering more to God. Rather, they do this out of their thankful and willing hearts, because they want to serve more the precious gospel that the Lord has given to mankind.
Christians who have not been born again also dedicate themselves to their churches, but it is to achieve their own carnal desires. This is simply wrong. For instance, many of them think that if they carry on with their lives of faith and eventually become elders, God would somehow bless them. But this is all nothing more than a lie. Yet because they think that God would bless them and make them rich if they become elders, they try everything in their means to be appointed as elders, devoting themselves to their churches and being slavishly loyal to their pastors. They do this precisely because they have been deceived by the false teachings of their pastors. So, when you visit a prison, you will be surprised to see that quite a few inmates had actually been elders or pastors in worldly churches. What is the explanation for this? As they tried to serve their churches beyond their means, they couldn’t help but resort to swindling.
The pastors who have not really been born again exalt those who are powerful and rich in this world onto elevated positions in their churches. When such people attend their churches, they appoint them to eldership in a short time. In doing so, they deceive the rest of the congregation into thinking, “That man’s business is prospering so much, now that he has become an elder. I should become an elder as well.” However, you should also remember the fact that there are many Christians who, ensnared by such a trap of deception, end up going broke or even imprisoned, despite becoming elders.
Our Lord said, “The flesh profits nothing.” This Word is the Truth. The flesh is indeed profitless. If God brings prosperity to some aspects of your life after you are born again, it’s all because this is related to the Lord’s spiritual work. Do you think that even if you pray according to your own carnal desires for something that has nothing to do with the Lord’s work, He would still answer such prayers? No, that is not the case. All those who believe so and preach so are completely foolish.
The Lord is the bread that came down from Heaven. He is the only Son of God the Father. He is God Himself who created the world in the beginning. So He knows everything. Would our Lord not have known that Judas would betray Him? Of course He knew this. As John 6:64 says, “‘But there are some of you who do not believe.’ For Jesus knew from the beginning who they were who did not believe, and who would betray Him.” Jesus had twelve disciples following Him, but one of them did not believe in Him as the Savior. Our Lord knew beforehand that Judas would betray Him. He knew very well that for Him to be crucified and bear all the condemnation of sin, Judas had to betray Him.
With Judas in His mind, the Lord said, “Therefore I have said to you that no one can come to Me unless it has been granted to him by My Father” (John 6:65). This means that no one can believe in Jesus properly unless the Father leads him. In other words, not just anyone is allowed to recognize and believe in Jesus, who came by the water and the Spirit.
The Lord said, “Blessed are the poor in spirit, For theirs is the kingdom of heaven” (Matthew 5:3). If anyone wants to believe in Jesus properly, then he must first admit himself as a completely helpless sinner. In other words, he must confess that he cannot avoid but commit sin and be cast into hell, and he must demonstrate his helplessness by asking for God’s mercy. Only when such a humble heart is relayed to God the Father does He have mercy on him when He sees him, saying, “I will save you through My Son.” It is such people whom God the Father leads to His Son, and it is such people to whom Jesus gives His flesh and blood, allowing them to receive the remission of sin and everlasting life. They will then be remitted from all their sins and attain eternal life by believing in Jesus with their hearts.
No One Believes in Jesus as His Savior Just Because He Wants to Believe So
Judas always called Jesus “rabbi,” not “Lord.” This means that he did not believe in Jesus as His Savior who came down from Heaven. The title rabbi, which means teacher, may seem good in the secular realm, but in the born-again realm, it is not a good title. In God’s Church, some other titles, such as “Mister” or “Miss,” are not honorable titles either. If our servants of God call you “Mister so-and-so,” then this is the evidence of the fact that they consider you as someone who has not been saved. In Jesus’ sight, Judas was an offspring of the Devil. God cannot bestow His mercy on such people. God the Father does not lead such people to His Son Jesus.
Some of our brothers and sisters say, “I recognized and believed in Jesus who came by the water and the Spirit. When I first heard this gospel, I was so happy to hear it that I couldn’t help but believe in it. But my friends did not believe. I don’t understand why they wouldn’t believe, when all that they have to is just believe.” When we see people who don’t believe in this wonderful gospel, we just can’t understand them. So we think, “Why won’t they believe, when that’s all that they have to do? They must be so foolish!” However, when God sees them, they are utterly evil, and therefore He cannot have mercy on them. In other words, it is only too fitting for them to just live like this and end up in hell.
God extends His helping hands and gives the blessing of the remission of sin to someone who comes before His presence and asks Him for His mercy, not to anyone who shamelessly stands against God even in His presence. Such ungrateful people think, “Why did God make me like this only to suffer so much? Why did He allow me to be born in such a destitute family? If there is God, how could He have done this to me? Is this who God is?” Those whose hearts stand against God like this, who do not mourn for themselves, whose hearts are hardened, and who are satisfied only by the things of the world and not by the things of God—all these people are rejected by God. In other words, the Lord does not lead such people to the Father.
That is why it is absolutely indispensable for everyone to be humble before God. Even if the wickedness of the flesh arises, one should wake up, admit himself in all honesty, “I am such a worthless person,” and ask God for His help. It is only such people whom God the Father leads to Jesus to be saved. Put differently, it is these people whom Jesus teaches His Word, thus enabling them to recognize their sins, as well as to receive the remission of their sins through the gospel of the water and the Spirit, and thereby making them God’s children.
Today, even though there are countless Christians on this earth professing to believe in Jesus, they do not believe in the gospel of the water and the Spirit. What explains this? The answer to this puzzling question is found in today’s Scripture passage. The Lord said, “No one can come to Me unless it has been granted to him by My Father.” No one can reach his true salvation unless God the Father leads him, whether he is your friend or your own family member. That is precisely why we must pray to God on behalf of our beloved ones, asking Him, “Father, please lead my family. Please save them all.” On their part too, they must also lower their hearts and ask God for His help, saying to Him, “God, please save me, for I am an evil person.” Otherwise they will never believe in Jesus no matter how often they hear us explaining how He came by the water and the Spirit. On the contrary, their hearts will only be hardened to say, “I don’t want to see you ever again if this is all you want to talk about.”
Even though the gospel of the water and the Spirit is the real Truth, there are so many Christians who stubbornly refuse to believe in it until the very end. Yet despite this, I still preach this gospel of the water and the Spirit time after time, thousands and tens of thousands of times. These Christians must also put on God’s mercy. We must pray for them so that God would have pity on them. We have to pray, “Lord, please have compassion on these souls and save them.” That’s because they are saved only if God the Father has mercy on them. Yet even after all this, if their souls still remain too hardened to deserve any compassion from God, then they will be cast into hell in the end. How could God the Father save such people, when they continue to stand against Him even as He wants to bestow His mercy on them? There is no other option but to cast them all into hell.
Even though more than 5,000 people were following Jesus in today’s Scripture passage, when the Lord said to them, “No one can come to Me unless it has been granted to him by My Father,” most of them simply left. All those people in the crowd had followed Him around, saying, “Jesus, my Lord,” but almost all of them went away like tidal ebb. The crowd was so large that it had over 5,000 men alone, who had followed Jesus around and said to Him, “Rabbi, You are our King and our hope,” but they all left. So, it is written in John 6:66, “From that time many of His disciples went back and walked with Him no more.” In other words, when the Lord said, “I give you My flesh and blood. Eat My flesh and drink My blood. You will then attain everlasting life and receive the remission of your sins,” many of His followers could not understand this, and so they turned against Him and left, saying to themselves, “It’s so hard to understand. He doesn’t give us any more bread, but only says that the flesh profits nothing. It’ll be all in vain to follow Him any longer. I guess He is not who I thought He was.”
The Bible says that many of the disciples of Jesus went away and walked with Him no more. The Lord then asked the twelve disciples, “Do you also want to go away?” Of more than 5,000 people, it appears that all of them had left except for the twelve disciples of Jesus. So the Lord asked them, “Do you also want to leave Me?” Then Simon Peter answered Him, “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life. Also we have come to believe and know that You are the Christ, the Son of the living God” (John 6:68-69).
It is written in the Bible, “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life” (John 3:16). God the Father sent His Son to this world, and this Son, coming incarnated in the flesh, took upon all our sins by being baptized, was crucified to death, arose from the dead, and has thereby become our Savior. If God says that this is how He has saved us from our sins, then we should grasp it and believe in it with a yes. How can anyone know the Truth unless he believes in God? If we don’t realize from the Bible that God has spoken like this, or if we don’t believe in it even when we realize it, then how would we be able to know that Jesus is God Himself and our Savior?
Peter answered Jesus by saying, “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life. Also we have come to believe and know that You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.” Jesus’ disciples knew and believed that He was God Himself. And they understood what He said. However, those who did not understand the Word of the Lord all left Him. The Word of our Lord is the Word of eternal life. Because the Word of Truth that saves us is with the Lord, we can never depart from Jesus. Therefore, no matter what persecutions and temptations might come on our way, we can never forsake our faith in the Lord, nor ever leave His Church.
Given the fact that the Word of everlasting life resides inside God’s Church, where would we go by turning away from it? Would you leave God’s Church to pursue money? If you leave the Church, it’s only because you don’t believe in the Word; if you really believe in the Word, you can never bring yourself to leave. Would you be able to hear the Word of eternal life if you were to leave the Church? No, you won’t hear it anywhere else. Would you be able to worship properly at this hour then? Do you think, “Well, I’ll just establish my own church; I don’t see why I shouldn’t be able to worship”? Not just anyone can establish a church and minister. God said,
“Unless the LORD builds the house,
They labor in vain who build it;
Unless the LORD guards the city,
The watchman stays awake in vain” (Psalm 127:1).
You can plant a church and minister only if God is with you, works on you, and gives you His Word and faith; it is not the case that anyone can minister at a church just with his own determination. While anyone can preach the gospel, not anyone can establish a church and lead other souls.
When the Lord said, “Do you also want to go away?” Peter had the following answer: “When You have the Word of eternal life, where will we go, and where will we look for the Word of everlasting life?” While the other disciples remained quiet, Peter answered like this. Peter was the first among the disciples, a true pioneer of faith.
What the Lord said is the Truth. Today, people keep translating the Bible into new versions. There is a load of money to be made with every new Bible publication, and so targeting this, they continue to translate the Bible into new versions. But could they really come up with a better translation of the Bible than what we have now, even if they were to live for 5,000 years to research and translate the Scriptures all that time? There is a saying in Korea that an ignorant man is a brave man—like such a fool, these people plow ahead recklessly to translate the Bible all on their own without even knowing the gospel of Truth that would enable them be really born again, but once they are finished, their translation is actually full of mistakes.
Even if one considers himself to be a man of great learning with impeccable writing skills, once he tries to express his convictions in writing, he will likely hit a dead end after writing only a few pages. Perhaps that’s why we respect novelists. We respect them because while their stories are fictional, it’s never so easy to observe our physical surroundings and human relationships to such a penetrating depth, reconstruct them all, and put them together into a book. However, human ability is nothing in the realm of the Spirit of God. So, we must humble our hearts before God and listen carefully to what He is saying through His Word.
The Word of eternal life is with the Lord. That is why we listen to His Word, and why we believe in it upon realization. Our Lord is the bread that came down from Heaven, and He is the One who, having ascended to Heaven, will return to this earth one day. The day when the Lord returns is the day when the history of this planet earth will end. When war and famine break out everywhere, you should realize that that this very day has come near.
When the Lord returns to this earth, He will raise our bodies back to life again. This is the Word of Truth. Jesus Himself said, “For assuredly, I say to you, till heaven and earth pass away, one jot or one tittle will by no means pass from the law till all is fulfilled” (Matthew 5:18). The salvation that our Lord has brought to you and me through the gospel of the water and the Spirit is forever effective. It will remain effective even when we are in the Kingdom of Heaven.
I thank God for giving us His Word of eternal life.