The New Life Mission

Sermons

Subject 18 : GENESIS

[Chapter 2-5] (Genesis 2:1-3) God Has Given True Rest to Mankind

(Genesis 2:1-3)
“Thus the heavens and the earth, and all the host of them, were finished. And on the seventh day God ended His work which He had done, and He rested on the seventh day from all His work which He had done. Then God blessed the seventh day and sanctified it, because in it He rested from all His work which God had created and made.”
 
 
From the first day of creation to the sixth day, God made the heavens and the earth, and the universe and its entire array; every plant, every fish, every beast, every animal that creeps on the earth, and lastly mankind. God created everything in the heavens and the earth. And on the seventh day when He completed His work, He rested and blessed this day. This means that God finished everything on the seventh day. Today’s Scripture passage tells us that God created all the realms of both Heaven and the earth, and fulfilled His every intention.
What is important here is not just knowing that God created the universe like this, but to believe so. While many people know that God created the world, they do not necessarily believe in it. Knowing and believing are entirely different to each other. What we need, and what gives us life, is faith, not knowledge.
God created the universe. Faith begins from believing that God made this universe. It begins not from just knowing, but by believing. This world exists only because God created everything under the heavens. Just as the Bible says, “The heavens and the earth, and all the host of them, were finished,” God indeed created everything. Because God completed all His work of creation until the beginning of the seventh day, He could rest on this day, and He blessed the day and sanctified it. What we should realize from this passage is that since God had continued to do His work of creation from the first day to the sixth day, and rested on the seventh day, this seventh day is ‘His day’, not the day of mankind. God rested on His day, sanctified it and blessed it.
We can find a spiritual meaning here, and it is this: God does not rest until He is finished with everything. In other words, God rests only after completing all His work. God made us humans and everything under the heavens until the sixth day; this means that God has planned and completed His perfect salvation because He foreknew that mankind would commit sin. He did everything Himself, from blotting out our sins to bringing salvation to us and giving us everlasting life. This is what is implied in today’s Scripture passage.
Some people have misinterpreted today’s Scripture passage and fallen into deception. They say that the Sabbath must be kept and even claim that if one observes this day, they would be blessed and sanctified to enter Heaven. The believers of the Adventist Church argue that God’s seventh day is from Friday sunset to Saturday sunset, and they observe this day strictly as the Sabbath. So they hold worship service on Saturday. They consider it crucial to observe the day and the hour. So they believe that by keeping the Sabbath exactly according to this passage, they can be blessed, become holy, find rest, receive the remission of their sins, and eventually enter into Heaven.
Even amongst the many Protestant denominations such as Presbyterians or Methodists, the churches that are not born again of water and the Spirit emphasize the act of observing the Lord’s Day, arguing that God rested on the seventh day. They think and believe that while they must believe in Jesus to enter Heaven, they must also keep the Lord’s Day faithfully and come to church on that day to receive the remission of their sins and put on holiness by offering prayers of repentance. That however is not what today’s Scripture passage means. Rather its message is this: “God made everything and solved all problems of sin and death. And God blessed everything, sanctified it, and gave all His creatures the Sabbath to rest comfortably.”
 
 
What Is This Truth Really Saying to Us?
 
God finished making the heavens and the earth, and everything in them. In other words, on the seventh day, God completed everything He was doing. He created mankind and everything in the universe in six days. Put differently, until the arrival of His day, that is, the seventh day, He completed to perfection everything He intended to do.
Therefore, God rested on the seventh day, and blessed and sanctified it. Jesus said that He is the Lord of the Sabbath. He is the Lord of holiness and the Lord of blessings. He gives rest and holiness to both our human hearts and bodies. In other words, Jesus has blessed us, given us rest, and solved all our problems. That you and I have no sin is not just a hypothetical notion. We are indeed actually sinless.
Who has cleansed away our hearts’ suffering and filthiness stemming from our defiled and weakened hearts? Jesus has done this with the gospel of the water and the Spirit. It is Jesus Christ who has made us sinless. He has cleansed our hearts. He has blessed our hearts, our bodies and our everyday life. He has thus given rest to our hearts. All these things came about because of Jesus Christ. God has given every blessing, rest and holiness to all the creatures that He has made. God completed everything to perfection. However, for you to find true rest, you should believe in the salvation that Jesus Christ has brought to us. In other words, everyone can receive holiness and blessings when they go to Jesus Christ.
Who has perfected us? Who made us be born again and turned us into God’s people? It is none other than Jesus Christ who has transformed us, we who were no more than mere creatures, were changed into God’s own children. No one can attain holiness on his own no matter how hard they might try. If we should rely on our human strength alone, we can neither find rest nor be blessed. He who sanctifies us, gives us rest, and remits away all our sins is none other than God Himself, Jesus Christ our Lord.
Today’s Scripture passage informs us that God perfected everything, gave us the remission of sins, bestowed rest on us and granted us all our happiness. We must believe in this Word. If we should attempt to find rest on our own, then this by itself is to challenge God head on, asking thereby for our own destruction, and to stand in the ranks of the Devil. Trying to attain holiness on one’s own is likened to that of, lining up behind the Devil’s march.
Long ago, there was a certain pastor who only slept two or three hours a day, and spent the rest of the day to offer prayers of repentance, pray for his country, read the Bible, and work diligently. This pastor prayed all night long trying to blot out his heart’s sins, and stayed up two nights just to prepare a single sermon. Trying to come before God with his heart sanctified, he fasted constantly, and sleeping not even three hours a day, he tried to carry out his ministry as diligently as possible. As a result, he eventually fell ill and had to be hospitalized. Since he had worked so diligently before God, he was sure that God would heal him, and so he just waited on Him.
However, his illnesses only got worse and eventually he was nearing his very demise. Saddened, he thought to himself, “Why doesn’t God recognize people like me? I have tried so hard not to commit sin, and if I somehow committed sin despite all my pious efforts, I prayed fasting, and I offered my prayers of repentance. I have labored so hard for God’s work, and so why doesn’t He heal someone like me from my illness, but wants to take me away?” When his time came, he left these last words: “I have realized an amazing mystery. Resting in allotted time is also doing the Lord’s work. “Just working constantly does not mean God’s work is now carried out well. Resting when exhausted is also doing the Lord’s work. Had I worked more wisely taking more rest, I would have not fallen ill, and I would have achieved far more things before leaving like this. But due to the fact that I took too little rest and worked too hard, I have as a result fallen seriously ill, and I am now about to die. So learn from me and rest whenever you get too weary from your work.”
You receive the remission of sins by believing with your heart that God has blotted out all your sins, not by trying on your own. You must realize that your heart is evil and arrogant if you think by any chance, “I have lived virtuously, prayed hard, and found God as a result. So as the result of all my efforts I have become a righteous person, have I or have I not?” Everyone should realize this fact that it is Jesus Christ alone who has made us holy and given us rest.
No one in this world can be sanctified just by offering prayers of repentance. Nor is there anyone who can attain holiness by keeping the Law, no matter how faithful they may be. Many people know that they can never reach holiness by observing the Law or offering prayers of repentance faithfully. So they combine their faith with their work as follows: “One is made a proper Christian by believing in Jesus, offering prayers of repentance as well, and keeping the Law also.” Others say also, “When we believe in Jesus, we are remitted from our original sin, and while we cannot be remitted from our everyday sins just through our prayers of repentance, when we offer these prayers, so Jesus prays on our behalf sitting on the right hand of the throne of God the Father. So by believing in Jesus, we are therefore sanctified.” In other words, they come up with a man-made formula of the remission of sin by adding the interceding prayers of Jesus to the one mentioned before. When viewed in human terms, it sounds like a brilliant idea. But when viewed spiritually, it is complete nonsense.
When our Lord was on this earth, He blotted out all the sins of everyone in this world by being baptized and dying on the Cross. After being baptized, put to death on the Cross and resurrected from the dead, Jesus now sits at the right hand of the throne of God the Father. That is correct, but we should not believe that He blots out our sins from the throne whenever we pray to Him, “Lord, please forgive my sins,” every time we commit sins.
Of course, Jesus does pray to God the Father on our behalf. Whenever His redeemed people are in trouble or unable to make spiritual discernment, the Lord prays to God the Father for us: “Father, those saints are going astray, not knowing how to obtain Your blessings. Steer them in the right direction, give them spiritual faith, and restore their faith. Help Your people that have received the remission of sins.” Jesus Christ does give such prayers. But your heart can rest only if you are remitted from all your sins. The reason why our hearts can rest in peace from our sins, condemnation, and all our curses together is because we know fully and believe that Jesus Christ has completed everything for us. Just by believing that He has blotted out all our sins, we can attain rest for our souls.
If you don’t realize that the Lord has given you the Kingdom of God, then you cannot enjoy rest. You would then have to get up in the middle of the night to work, experience sleep depravation, struggle constantly, and keep your doctrinal convictions that you have relied on ever since you first believed in Jesus. In contrast, if you believe in God and know that the Lord has blotted out all your sins, then you can enjoy rest in your heart all thanks to the Lord. It is by believing in Jesus Christ and God the Father that we are blessed, and it is by believing that the Lord has blotted out all our sins with the water and the Spirit that we attain holiness. That is why God rested on the seventh day and blessed this day after making the heavens and the earth and everything in them in six days.
Today’s Scripture passage mentions God repeatedly. It means that God did everything. It is God who has solved all the spiritual and physical problems in this world and including every human being by intervening on behalf of them all. In other words, it is God who has given us rest, blessed us, and solved away all the problems of our sins. We must believe in this to be blessed and sanctified to enjoy true rest.
The Lord of the Sabbath is God Himself. The number seven, rest, blessings, and holiness all belong to God, and they are what God has given us through the gospel of the water and the Spirit. Although we now gather together on one day out of a week to rest our bodies, worship God, listen to His Word, and share fellowship with one another, all these do not mean that we would be blessed or find rest in our hearts just by keeping this day literally. Rather, it is because God has given us the remission of sins, bestowed upon us the blessing of everlasting life, and granted us rest that we gather together like this on this day to praise God, listen to the Word, and meditate on it. In other words, we gather together on the Lord’s Day to thank God for blessing us. It is to thank and praise Him for bestowing upon us His blessings, for giving us rest, and for blotting out all our sins that we gather together to listen to His Word again and meditate on it. That is why we observe the Lord’s Day.
The Lord has already given us three blessings: The blessing of enjoying true rest, Heavenly blessing to become His children, and the blessing of having been sanctified. You have to realize that the Lord’s Day is a day in a week set aside and observed to glorify God and praise Him, and that you do not receive the above three blessings just by keeping this day literally. It is because we believe that God has blotted out all our sins and because we are grateful for this, that we have chosen one day out of a week to worship God.
There is a time difference of 14 hours between Korea and New York. With Moscow, there is a five-hour difference. If it is Sunday 6 AM in Korea, it is Saturday 4 PM in Eastern United States, and Sunday 1 AM in Moscow, Russia. So depending on the country, the same hour may or may not fall within the Sabbath Day. If you travel by air, you have to set your clock to the local time, and sometimes this would lead you to go through the Sabbath Day twice. When we travel across the International Time Lines, keeping the Sabbath Day according to the local time becomes a big problem. So you are not blessed just by observing a particular day of the week. You have to realize that God has blessed us on this day, and that you are not blessed by keeping the specific day and the hour. And you must believe that God has given you rest on His day, blessed you, and has already remitted away all your sins.
The number seven is God’s number. The number 6, on the other hand refers to mankind. God made mankind on the sixth day. So when we turn to the Book of Revelation, we see a man making everyone accept the mark of 666 to try to ascend to the place of God and pretend to be God, the Bible tells us that none other than this man is the very Antichrist. Only God rested on the seventh day when He created the heavens and the earth; this does not mean that everything and everyone rested on that day. In other words, it is God who completed everything, solved every problem, and rested on the seventh day of creation. That is why by believing in God, we can now also receive rest and enjoy it.
When we are upset and worry, how can we find rest? In times like this, it is by believing in God that we find true rest. Because we call on God, believe in Him, and have entrusted all our problems to Him, our hearts can find rest. God has blotted out all our sins with the gospel of the water and the Spirit. It is because of this God that we are now sinless. Do you have rest in your heart? Because you have now found true rest is the result of believing in God. There is no rest unless you believe in God. No one has the power of the remission of sins that brings perfect rest, but only God can blot out our sins; and therefore, it is by believing in Him that we can attain rest.
Who is this God? He is God the Father, Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit—this Triune God finished making the heavens and the earth and its entire array to perfection.
 
 
What about Satan Then? Did God Also Make the Devil from the Beginning?
 
God at the beginning did not make Satan as he is now. God made everything good, and He gave a free will to all spiritual creatures. However, the head of the angels challenged God, and turned into the Devil as he was driven out from God’s very presence. God did not make the Devil fall by telling him to do something evil. This is not who our God really is.
What is so wrong for the Almighty to help the wretched, and desire to be glorified through those who are poor in spirit? The Almighty God made everything to perfection and blessed it, but should He be blamed for this? No, of course not! God wanted us to be blessed by believing that He is the God who gives holiness and blessings, and He wanted to give us everlasting life and rest, and bless all of us. God also wanted to be glorified through all of His creatures.
This is how Satan emerged: Lucifer was the chief of all the angels. He was the commanding angel who ordered his subordinate angels to carry out God’s work. So you can imagine that Lucifer had countless angels working under him. Therefore, no one else was higher than him but God, and this led him to think that if he rose up against God and overcome Him, he could then become God. So Lucifer gathered together all his angels and challenged God by informing them, “Sure, God is almighty, but let us pool our strengths and challenge Him.” Many angels then ended up challenging God.
God then said, “Are you challenging Me? Do you covet My place? Will you rise up to Heaven? You shall fall down to Hades. I have given you a glorious position and blessed you, and yet are you challenging Me? You are My creatures, made by Me, but you do not recognize Me. I will teach you a lesson. I will show you that I am God the Judge who discerns and judges good and evil.” So God drove out Lucifer and all the angels that joined with him. As a result, these fallen angels turned into evil spirits called demons, and Lucifer in particular is now called Satan or the Devil.
After this, the evil angels that were driven out by God turned their attention to mankind and tempted it. Appearing through a serpent, Satan said to Eve, “Eve, did God really tell you not to eat from the tree of knowledge of good and evil? If you eat its fruit, you will become like God. That is why God told you not to eat it. So go ahead; give it a try.” Even after being driven out from Heaven by God, Satan still did not get back to his senses and challenged Him once again.
Although it is clearly not written in the Bible, considering the fact that God’s creation of mankind is recorded in the Bible, while that of angels or demons is not, we can see from this that we humans were created after angels. You may then wonder, “Why didn’t God record these things?” The Bible could not contain everything within a given space. Nonetheless, God wrote in the Scriptures every Word that is necessary for our salvation leaving nothing behind. The Bible says that if one were to record everything that God did to create and work in the universe and all its hosts, even the whole universe would not have enough space to write it all (John 21:25).
After the fallen angels had been driven out from Heaven, God showed two aspects of His divinity: God manifested Himself as the Judge to Satan and his followers that challenged God, and He made humankind and bestowed upon them His grace and love to manifest Himself as the Merciful God. Therefore, through what God has done for us and to Satan, we have come to realize what kind of God He really is. Our God is the God of judgment, the Almighty and the God of love.
Satan tempted Adam and Eve to eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. Although he told them that they would become like God if they ate from the tree, this was in fact impossible. Why did Satan then tempt mankind? Because the Devil had challenged God and was defeated, he is someone who only pursues whatever is opposite to God’s will. He saw that God, having made mankind, wanted to give it rest, bless it and sanctify it. That is why Satan attacked mankind. However, God already knew that His creatures would challenge Him, and so with His foresight that mankind would fall into sin by being tempted by Satan, He made it with a prior plan for its salvation. So when God made mankind, He made it especially in His image. Like this, God made mankind knowing beforehand that Satan would attack it, and by bestowing His grace of salvation upon the human race, He manifested His love and mercy; and through us who believe in this and follow it, God was glorified.
Did God tell mankind not to eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil because He was afraid that we would come to know good and evil just like Him? No, that is not why God said this. He said this to show that only the Supreme Being has the right standard of good and evil. It is wrong for us to discern good and evil based on our own human standard. If human beings were to have their own standard of good and evil, it will change constantly, since they will define as good whatever is to their advantage, and whatever is disadvantageous as evil.
In contrast, when there is a standard set by the Absolute One, good and evil will never change. It was to make it known to mankind that God alone is the Supreme Being; that He alone has the unchanging standard of good and evil, and that no one should breach this standard—it was to make this point clear that God had told Adam and Eve not to eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. In other words, God made it clear to mankind that it should never breach His sovereignty nor challenge it. He said that anyone who challenges His sovereignty would die. Because God is the Supreme Being, He does not tolerate anyone who challenges Him. That is why God said to Adam and Eve not to eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.
However, Satan went against the will of God and led mankind to eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. He did this because God had defeated his earlier challenge. This was why he once again challenged Him through mankind trying to undermine the will of God by ruining mankind. But God knew all about this, for He is omniscient and omnipotent as well. That is why God permitted Satan’s scheme, and after mankind ate from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, Jesus came to this earth as our propitiation and made atonement for all our sins. As Jesus was condemned in lieu of our destruction, the two requirements of God’s just judgment and His love were both met. In other words, as Jesus Christ came to this earth, completely bore all our sins by being baptized, and was condemned on the Cross, God manifested that He is at once both the God of judgment and the God of salvation. Through the baptism of Jesus Christ and His death on the Cross, God fulfilled these two laws. God has thereby sanctified us and strengthened us.
A while ago, a certain denomination became quite influential in Korea, claiming the following: “Lucifer turned into a demon as he challenged God and was cast out. Even now, such demons are wandering around and entering into people’s hearts. While Satan made mankind commit sin, Jesus Christ took away all its sins and was condemned for it on the Cross, and therefore He has defeated this Devil with His power. He also has given us His power to defeat demons. That is why we cast out demons in the name of Jesus.” So they would perform rituals of exorcism all the time, praying to cast out demons. Before sharing the Word, saying that they had to first drive out demons from people, they would shout out, “Get out, demons!” On the last day of this group’s retreat, the representative of the group would stand and the congregation would come to him one by one; the pastor would then hit their foreheads and say, “I command you in the name of Jesus Christ, get out Satan!” It’s clear that such pastors themselves are demon-possessed.
We the born-again people of God do not first say to other souls, “Get out, demon!” Rather, we tell them about the gospel of the water and the Spirit. When we preach to them how Jesus has blotted out their sins, demons are inevitably bound to run away from everyone who believes in this. If anyone only accepts the gospel of the water and the Spirit, no demon can ever enter him. That is because Jesus Christ’s mercy, love, holiness, blessings and rest are all found inside this gospel of the water and the Spirit. A certain pastor in Korea who claims to be an expert in casting out demons says with weird noise with his lips, “Get out, demon!” But does a demon enter or leave just because someone tells him so?
It is when people seek spiritually unclean things that Satan works in their hearts. Do you think that a demon can enter into those who are truly born again? No, a demon can never enter any born-again soul (1 John 5:18). No demon can enter into the heart of anyone who has received the remission of his sins by believing in the gospel of the water and the Spirit. After all, how could any demon come into the heart where the Spirit of God dwells? He cannot. Of course, when we the born again are spiritually confused and unable to discern, Satan can from the outside of our hearts torment us and confuse us even more, but that is as far as he can go. Through His water and blood our God has sanctified us, strengthened us and blessed us. If despite all this you still dismiss it as insignificant, then you will not only be unable to receive the remission of sins, but it will also be impossible for you to attain God’s rest, holiness and blessings.
 
 
God Is the Absolute Being
 
God is the absolute One. This absolute God has given us rest, sanctified us and blessed us. Do you believe in this, my fellow believers? God made everything from the first day to the sixth day of His creation, and on the seventh day, He blessed mankind, sanctified it and made it rest in peace. In His blueprint of salvation, God had already fulfilled all righteousness. In fact Jesus Christ fulfilled it in the New Testament for the entire human race.
Adam and Eve in the Old Testament received the remission of sins. Even though they had fallen, God still looked after them, clothed them with the garments of skin that He made by killing a sacrificial animal, and saved them both. So among their descendants, Abel and Seth who followed their parents’ upright faith sacrificed lambs as their offering of atonement. When we turn to the sacrificial system of the Tabernacle that God gave afterwards, we see that the law of atonement is written in more detail; in it a sinner passed his sins onto his sacrificial animal by laying his hands on its head (Leviticus 1:3-5). This foreshadows the fact that Jesus would take upon all the sins of mankind by receiving His baptism in a form of the laying on of hands.
However, today’s Christians have not passed their sins onto Jesus by believing in His baptism, but rather they believe only in His blood on the Cross, arrogantly omitting His baptism from the original gospel. This means that the gospel has been corrupted. Adam and Eve knew that God had remitted away all their sins by killing an animal in their place, and they believed accordingly. After their fall, God called Adam and said to him, “Where are you?” Already knowing that they had broken His Word, He said, “You ate the fruit that I told you not to eat. Who made you do this?”
Eve answered, “The serpent made me do it.” God then said to the serpent, “You shall be accursed! And you shall live all your life crawling on the ground and eating dust.” In other words, God cursed the Devil to feed on the carnal thoughts of mankind. That is why people get possessed by demons when they are not careful with their thoughts. If one eats too much fleshly leaven, he will die from its poison. While demons work in human thoughts, God works in the hearts that believe in His Word.
The tree of life refers to Jesus Christ. The tree of the knowledge of good and evil refers to the Law. Anyone who has not received the remission of sins cannot avoid the bondage of the Law, nor can he avoid God’s judgment. God made everyone to be under the rule of the Law before they met the gospel of the water and the Spirit, and let them be freed from this Law, one should therefore believe in the gospel of the water and the Spirit. God has given us the remission of sins, strengthened us, bestowed upon us everlasting life, granted us rest and blessed us all.
What about you then? Have you been blessed by God? The born-again saints must realize that they have indeed been blessed. God has blessed you, and He has given you true rest. Those who believe in this will rest in the Kingdom of God for eternity. They have obtained everlasting life by faith. We are holy because God has made us holy. Is your heart without sin? I therefore admonish you all that you should believe in the gospel of the water and the Spirit, and thereby receive the remission of your sins of your hearts, cleanse it and find true rest. In other words, I earnestly desire you all to know the true meaning of the Sabbath Day.