“And they heard the sound of the LORD God walking in the garden in the cool of the day, and Adam and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the LORD God among the trees of the garden. Then the LORD God called to Adam and said to him, ‘Where are you?’ So he said, ‘I heard Your voice in the garden, and I was afraid because I was naked; and I hid myself.’”
Tempted by Satan, Adam and Eve came to disobey God’s commandment that stated, “You shall not eat of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil,” which was in the middle of the Garden of Eden. As a result, they could no longer see God as their spiritual eyes were blinded, and, in the end, they only saw the sin that had come into their hearts. Today’s Scripture passage provides the first description of the religious life of mankind.
After sinning against God, Adam and Eve tried to cover themselves with garments of fig leaves. And they hid themselves from the presence of the Lord God among the trees of the garden. Before, they were glad to hear God’s voice, but now that they had eaten of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, sin came into their hearts, and they became afraid of God, the light of Truth. It’s because they turned into darkness that they came to fear and dislike God, who is light (John 3:19-20).
After Adam and Eve, the forebears of mankind, sinned, they heard the sound of God and hid themselves among the trees. Spiritually speaking, this means that sinners are trying to hide themselves in a large crowd to cover their sins and escape from the presence of the Lord—even now, this is what sinners do and like to do. They want to burrow themselves into the religions of the world and keep themselves always hidden. Such people like to join religious groups with many followers. Rather than washing away their sins by believing in the gospel of the water and the Spirit, people want to cover their sins by trying even more to hide themselves in the deep forest of the worldly religions. Even though they are all clearly sinners before God, they still desire to be approved as virtuous religionists by others.
Chapter three of the Book of Genesis nicely illustrates such people’s faith. Chapter four, on the other hand, contrasts Cain’s faith with that of Abel, thus providing us with an excellent description of true faith that pleases God. As described in chapter four, Abel offered the firstborn of his flock and their fat to God, whereas Cain offered the fruit of the ground. The offering that Cain gave was no more than a religious act, in the same vein as what his parents, Adam and Eve, had done after their fall by covering themselves with the garments of fig leaves according to their instinctive thoughts.
Even now, we can still see countless people taking the fruit of the ground as their offering and presenting their legalistic faith to Jehovah. Even though everything was created by the Word of God, and our salvation was all completed by God as well, many people still try to come before the presence of God with the fruit of the ground, that is, with their own acts.
Today’s Christians all over the world are so used to their religious lives that they are looking for God in complete vain. Offering the things of the earth to God, people hope that God would accept them in pleasure. To bring the things of the earth as an offering to God is nothing more than an indication of religious faith, and all those who adhere to such faith are fools. No one can receive the remission of his sins by offering the things of the earth to God.
In their mistaken bias that a religion followed by many must be true, people seek to find peace in a religious group with a large gathering. However, God said, “You shall not follow a crowd to do evil; nor shall you testify in a dispute so as to turn aside after many to pervert justice” (Exodus 23:2). Those of you who believe in the gospel Truth of the water and the Spirit should know beyond any doubt that the doctrines believed by the so-called mainstream Christian denominations of today are untrue. However, countless people still remain deceived by Satan’s temptation and trapped in the “bias of the majority,” and as a result, they are unable to be freed from the mire of false Christian doctrines and continue to live as sinners.
God still called Adam and Eve who had hidden themselves, saying, “Where are you?” Adam then answered, saying, “I heard Your voice in the garden, and I was afraid because I was naked; and I hid myself.” Does God blame us for sinning? God did not say anything about the nakedness of Adam and Eve. After their fall, Adam and Eve thought that they could hide from God’s eyes if they hid themselves among the trees. But God already knew all about our true selves and sees us always. He wants to call sinners and make them righteous.
Yet despite this, people are still trying to hide their sins by themselves. The Bible says, “There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear, because fear involves torment. But he who fears has not been made perfect in love” (1 John 4:18). Why do people fear? Isn’t it because of their hearts’ sins that they are afraid? But if we know the gospel Word of the water and the Spirit, the very Word of God, and if we really believe in it with our hearts, then there is no need to fear God.
Can We Really Wash Away Our Sins through Prayers of Repentance?
God made human beings to live in the Garden of Eden. But they came to fall into sin by the temptation of Satan and hid themselves from the presence of God, saying, “I heard Your voice in the garden, and I was afraid because I was naked; and I hid myself.” This tells us that mankind was now disqualified from living in the Garden of Eden. What disqualified us humans from living in the Garden of Eden? It was sin.
Now that we have become sinners, how can we then solve this problem of sin? We have the following Word from 1 John: “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness” (1 John 1:9). That we should confess our sins means that we should admit ourselves to God, saying, “Lord, I have committed all these sins until now. I commit them everyday, and I am bound to hell.” God will then save us from all our sins.
But let’s say here that we, who have already received the remission of our sins, found ourselves committing sin again. Does this then mean that we now have sin, or do we still remain sinless? We still remain sinless. Where there is no sin, no one can say otherwise. We have to know the Truth. Why is there no sin then? Because Jesus took upon all the sins of this world, and because we believe in this, all our sins were washed away, and so there is no longer any sin left.
Despite this, people still demand daily prayers of repentance from us, citing this one passage from 1 John 1:9 that says God would forgive our sins if we confess them. But if we confess our sins everyday, do we really receive the remission of our sins every day? No, we cannot receive it.
It is written, “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” This passage means that since the Lord has already blotted out all our sins once for all with the gospel of the water and the Spirit, we can remain sinless by admitting the sins we’ve committed trusting in the gospel Truth that has blotted out all our sins. Through the gospel of the water and the Spirit, in other words, God has already forgiven not only the sins that we commit now, but also the sins that we will commit until the day we die.
Yet countless Christians in this present age still say that the sins they commit today are forgiven today if they confess today. However, what the Bible says is completely different: It tells us that through the gospel Truth of the water and the Spirit, the Lord has already forgiven all our sins once for all, all the sins that we have ever committed and will ever commit until the day we die.
As such, we need to deal with our sins by faith, by applying the gospel of the water and the Spirit. When researchers develop new drugs, they make sure to study what kind of reactions might follow when different drugs are mixed. It’s only after an extensive period of clinical trials confirms the effectiveness of the new drugs that they are introduced into the market. Likewise, you should verify for yourselves if your sins are indeed washed away once and for all by believing in the gospel of the water and the Spirit, the Word of God. As the gospel of the water and the Spirit is the gospel of Truth that is more than able to blot out all your sins, we have every confidence to encourage you to believe in it.
Now then, you should also verify if your prayers of repentance have really blotted out your sins. When you offered prayers of repentance after committing sin, saying, “God, forgive me my sins please,” did you see this sin really disappearing from your hearts? No, that is not the case.
What the gospel of the water and the Spirit says in the Bible is not that we are forgiven from our sins everyday, but we are forgiven all at once, at a single instance. This is what the Apostle John meant in 1 John 1:9. Because the Lord has already washed away all our sins, those who believe in the gospel of the water and the Spirit have already been remitted from all their sins by saying, “God, I am such a sinner. But I believe that you have already forgiven all my sins.” By washing away not only our present sins but also our future sins, the Lord has made it possible for His believers to live as God’s people.
In other words, if we confess our sins by trusting in the gospel of the water and the Spirit, God cleanses us from all unrighteousness. However, those who now have sin in their hearts believe that if they say, “God, I’ve committed this sin. Please forgive me,” only this sin is forgiven and all the other sins still remain intact. So when they sin again tomorrow, they will have to say once again, “God, please forgive me for my sin.”
People tend to interpret the Bible in light of its historical or cultural background. Some say, “Look! The First Epistle of John was written to the brethren of faith. Wasn’t it then addressed to the righteous?” Bible scholars say that the three Epistles of John were written to the righteous who believed in the Word of God. Of course they were! After all, is there any epistle that was not addressed to the righteous? Acts, Hebrews, and Romans alike were all written to the righteous.
However, the writers of the Bible are speaking about the love of God not only to the righteous, but also to sinners. To both us the righteous and sinners alike, the Bible speaks the same. God is God to all of us. Therefore, the Bible should not be interpreted by applying it to just one type of people.
“I Was Afraid Because I Was Naked; and I Hid Myself”
My fellow believers, if you only know your sins and remain oblivious to the gospel of the water and the Spirit given by the Lord, and if you do not apply this gospel of Truth to yourselves, then you will just become foolish Christians in the end. We should examine ourselves carefully with the Word of Truth to see whether we are hiding ourselves among people, or we are indeed abiding by faith in the gospel of the water and the Spirit, which is in Jesus Christ. If you are hiding in a religious organization, then for this sin, you will bear terrible punishments and be driven from His Kingdom, the spiritual Garden of Eden.
When the last day comes, God will judge our sins justly and then drive out sinners from the Garden of Eden. Didn’t God cast out Adam and Eve? So you must first examine for sure whether you are now sinners or the righteous who have been born again by believing in the gospel of the water and the Spirit. We must know where we belong, now! God asked Adam to examine himself carefully by saying, “Adam! Where are you now?” We need to know where we are, whether in our hearts we are sinners or righteous people.
My fellow believers, you need to know exactly who you are—whether you are standing outside the gospel of the water and the Spirit and thus remain sinners, or you are the righteous who know and believe in the gospel of the water and the Spirit. One may say, “God, I believe that I have received the remission of my sins by believing in the blood of the Cross. I am a righteous person,” but if he still has sin in his heart, then he is still a sinner. We live amid so many people claiming to believe in Jesus. But if we still have sin, and if we still are afraid of God because of our sins and fear the condemnation of sin, then we should realize that we are still sinners to be condemned, and we should learn about the gospel of the water and the Spirit and believe in it as soon as possible.
Today’s Scripture passage said that Adam and Eve hid themselves among the trees. But the righteous do not hide themselves among people. Only sinners live hiding behind the trees. Through this passage, God is asking us, “Where are you now?” He is saying, “Aren’t you now hiding behind the trees? You are then hiding in a religion. Come out of your hiding, believe in the gospel of the water and the Spirit, and receive the remission of sin into your hearts.” In other words, God is telling us to be saved by the light of Truth. No matter what kind of sin we might have committed, if we bring our sins before God—that is, if we bring them before the gospel of the water and the Spirit—then we will be remitted from all our sins.
Darkness loses its power when it stands before light. No matter how dark a room might be, darkness disappears instantly the very moment you flick the switch and turn on the light. Like this, the power of darkness is helpless before the light. No matter how insufficient we might be, if we come to the Truth proclaiming that Jesus Christ has blotted out all our sins with the gospel of the water and the Spirit, then all these sins will be washed away once and for all as white as snow.
As told in the Book of Judges, Delilah bound Samson’s body with seven fresh bowstrings, but as soon as Samson exerted his strength, the bowstrings broke apart as a strand of yearn is broken when burnt by fire (Judges 16:6-9). No matter how tightly Delilah had bound Samson with the bowstrings, they all broke apart when the power of Jehovah was wielded.
What does this event tell us? It tells us that God has blotted out all the sins of this world once and for all with the gospel of the water and the Spirit. No matter how many sins one might have, and no matter what kind of sin he might have committed, if he comes before the gospel of the water and the Spirit given by Jesus Christ, then all his sins are rendered powerless. And the condemnation of sin is all finished. Like this, this thing called sin is completely powerless when one comes before Jesus Christ and before the gospel of the water and the Spirit. So why would anyone hide behind the trees? It is wrong to still try to hide among people.
Those who were to receive the remission of their sins from the Lord all came before the gospel Truth of the water and the Spirit. Before whose presence did they come? They came before the presence of Jesus Christ, who came by the gospel of the water and the Spirit. Jesus Christ came to this earth to save all of us from the sins of the world, took all these sins upon Himself by being baptized by John the Baptist in the Jordan River, and bore all the condemnation of sin on the Cross in our place. It is by believing in this Truth that we can be remitted from all and any of our sins once for all, if only we would come before God. We can be forgiven from all our sins, from murder to fornication, thefts, dishonoring our parents, and idolatry alike. Even if we have broken not only the Ten Commandments but all of the 613 statutes of the Law throughout our entire lifetime, we can still be forgiven from them all by believing in the gospel of the water and the Spirit.
People tend to distinguish sin into great and small sins. They might have the conviction that they have been forgiven for their small sins by confessing them in the name of Jesus Christ. But when it comes to great sins, they just can’t be fully convinced that they have been forgiven from these sins, no matter how ardently they might give their prayers of confession. Does God easily forgive certain sins, but not so easily when it comes to such a great sin? It’s only humans who distinguish between great and small sins all on their own; before God, every sin is alike, great or small, and He has already blotted out all these sins once and for all with the gospel of the water and the Spirit.
Buddhism teaches that the killing of life is an unforgivable sin. Some Christians, on the other hand, claim that adultery and sexual immorality cannot be forgiven, based on the passage that says, “Flee sexual immorality. Every sin that a man does is outside the body, but he who commits sexual immorality sins against his own body” (1 Corinthians 6:18).
Such people are of those who have not received the remission of their sins from Jesus. This is not what the Bible actually says, and yet they themselves determine it to be so on their own thoughts. Those whose faith is on a higher dimension—that is, those who believe in the gospel of the water and the Spirit—do not say such a thing. People who say, “All other sins may be forgiven, but this sin just cannot be forgiven,” believe in their own thoughts that are not even found in the Bible.
The Ten Commandments say: “You shall not have other gods before Me; you shall not make for yourself a carved image; you shall not take My name in vain; you shall keep the Sabbath 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; and you shall not covet your neighbor’s house.” All these commandments are the same statutes of the Law. Each of the 613 statutes of the Law is equally important. The notion that some sins are greater than others came out of Confucianism.
The worldly religions tend to categorize certain sins as mortal sins. The Catholic Church also espouses a doctrine that differentiates between mortal sin and venial sin. Confucianism holds the lack of filial piety as a mortal sin, Buddhism takes the killing of life as a mortal sin, and Christian churches that are not born again claim that adultery is a mortal sin. Most Christians claim that breaking the Ten Commandments constitutes mortal sin. Some people tend to take the sins they commit out of their human weaknesses more seriously than this sin of disbelief. However, the Bible has no notion of mortal sin, but every sin is the same. Whether one lies to someone or murders someone, both acts equally constitutes sin before God, sending the perpetrator to hell.
Once people are captured by such man-made standards, and then commit some mortal sins, they become desperate, thinking, “God has abandoned me.” They judge their own sins by themselves, and they hide behind the trees out of fear.
God placed human beings in the Garden of Eden for the purpose of making them live there. Why, then, did Adam and Eve hide themselves among the trees, instead of confessing their sin and receiving their forgiveness? When today’s Scripture passage says that Adam and Eve hid themselves behind the trees, it implies that today’s people have hidden in the forest of religion. Some people have hidden themselves in Confucianism, others have hidden in Buddhism, and still others have hidden in Christianity.
While an extremely small number of Christians have been born again and are leading their lives of faith as the righteous, most Christians still do not believe in the gospel of the water and the Spirit, because they are trying to find relief only in a man-made religion called Christianity. They actually think that it is the believers in the gospel of the water and the Spirit who are weird.
The fact of the matter is that if one really believes in the gospel of the water and the Spirit, then he will receive the remission of his sins and be made righteous, but if he does not, then he will remain a sinner bound to hell. Yet despite this, most Christians continue to think, “There is no one righteous.” In other words, as they listened to Satan’s words and were deceived by his tricks, even the irrefutable Truth appears strange to them. Adam and Eve began to doubt when they heard Satan’s words, saying, “No, God told you not to eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil because He was afraid that you would become like God.” Just like this, when people keep hearing the Devil’s lies, they also begin to have doubts about God’s Word.
Even a child hides from his parents’ eyes when he does something wrong. So do all sinners before God. To preach the gospel of the water and the Spirit, we must first pull out those who are hiding behind the trees from their hiding place. And we have to deliver the good news that Jesus Christ has blotted out all these sins once and for all with the gospel of the water and the Spirit. Jesus has blotted out everyone’s sins in this world, no matter who he is. He has blotted them all out, except for the sin of denying and challenging the Word of God.
Do you know why the fallen angel could not be forgiven from his sin? That’s because he was so arrogant that he challenged God to the end. Why do people go to hell? It’s because they challenge God until the end. Anyone can find grace from God and receive the remission of his sins to live happily, if only he would come out to God. Those who fully expose their sins before God and honestly reveal themselves, saying, “This is who I am, and I will continue to be insufficient,” will receive the remission of their sins. However, those who hide themselves cannot receive the remission of their sins.
When we look at those who have received the remission of their sins, we see that they all admitted their sins to God frankly. But those who have not received the remission of their sins all hide themselves. They hide among a crowd of religionists, saying, “Are all these people then misbelieving?” Those who hide like this cannot receive the remission of their sins, and they are all driven out to hell. Only those who fully reveal their sinfulness to God can receive the remission of their sins. This is what God is saying in today’s Scripture passage.
So, to enable others to receive the remission of their sins, we must point out and expose what they are hiding. People don’t like to hear us saying to them, “Aren’t you someone who commits such sins?” They hid their sins deep in their hearts, and so they get upset when we find their sins and point them out. But that is what we must do. When we point out hidden sins, those who admit them are saved, but those who stubbornly hide them until the end cannot receive the remission of their sins.
We should never hide ourselves from God. To be transformed spiritually before God, all that one has to do is to open what is hidden in his heart before God and admit it. He will then become spiritually bright. And there will be no more condemnation to him. We should admit that our success is because of God, and our failure is because of the sin that we originally inherited from Adam. Even those who have received the remission of their sins try to hide their weaknesses. Does God not know that we humans are weak? He knows it all. Why then do we try to hide, when God knows it all? When our faults are revealed, our pride is hurt and we get all upset.
But it is those who reveal everything before God that are blessed and healed. If we try to hide, we’ll be discovered sooner or later. Even if we hide our sins until the end, when we ultimately stand before the Throne of Judgment, we will no longer be able to hide our sins and be cast into hell. Our Lord said, “Agree with your adversary quickly, while you are on the way with him, lest your adversary deliver you to the judge, the judge hand you over to the officer, and you be thrown into prison” (Matthew 5:25). We have to reveal our true selves before God as soon as possible and receive the remission of our sins.
The Word of God is the real Truth of salvation. When God asked Adam why he hid himself from God, he should have just confessed, “I ate the fruit that You commanded me not to eat,” but instead, he came up with an excuse, saying, “The woman whom You gave to be with me, she gave me of the tree, and I ate.”
But wasn’t it Adam who ate the forbidden fruit in the end? Regardless who gave it to him, the end result was that Adam ate what he was told not to eat. If Adam ate what God commanded him not to eat, then he should have just admitted his fault and confessed that he disobeyed God’s Word, regardless of the process that took him there. But instead, he tried to excuse himself, saying, “The woman whom You gave to be with me, she gave me of the tree, and I ate.” Essentially, Adam was claiming that it wasn’t his fault. Isn’t this just another way of shifting the blame to God in the end? Adam was basically saying that he had done nothing wrong, since the woman whom God made had tempted him.
When we go astray, it is important to admit the result to God, but it is also important to reveal the process. However, people have a tendency to ignore the process and emphasize only the result. I happen to be a bit too impatient at times, and so when someone goes on a long-winded talk, I often ask him to just get to the point. When my wife and I get into occasional arguments, one of us gets too impatient and often blurts out, “So? What’s your point? Just tell me your point. I have no time to hear all this talk. What are you trying to say? Just tell me your point and I’ll understand it all.” However, God traced back the fall of man all the way to its origin, found out exactly who made him do what he did, and cursed the serpent that perpetrated this, saying, “You shall eat dust all the days of your life.”
For us to receive the remission of our sins, we shouldn’t come up with self-centered excuses. Yet people have so many excuses. Every why has a wherefore. Who ever commits sin without an excuse? Everyone has his own plea, but all that we have to do is just admit that we have committed sin. Does the Almighty not know this? He knows it all. If we were to come up with excuses, there would be plenty of things to go around.
Some might say, “I have tried to never sin, but Jane came to me and wanted to sin together, and so I ended up sinning against my will”; others might say, “I didn’t mean to kill him, but he kept coming after me. So I hit him and he just died. Now I’m being unjustly accused of murder”; and still others might say, “I attended a big church and believed in what my pastor was saying, and so I was sure I would go to Heaven. But this pastor taught me all wrong! I didn’t even know that there were such words as the remission of sin in the Bible.” No matter how people might babble on like this with their excuses, if they have sin, then they will be cast into hell. Hell is filled with excuses.
That is why it’s said that those who are cast into hell gnash their teeth. They gnash their teeth because they have so much to say. It’s a complete chaos. People sometimes say, “All hell broke loose” to describe a chaotic situation, and, “It’s a living hell” to describe extreme suffering. So from these usages alone, we can gather what kind of a place hell is without even going there.
You, too, came very close to going to hell, right? While Heaven is quiet, clean, and peaceful, hell is a complete mess. Just how hard would it be to protest one’s innocence in a burning fire? Those who fail to receive the remission of their sins and are consequently cast into this place will forever protest their innocence and come up with all kinds of excuses, just like Adam.
God is saying to all sinners to come before His presence as they are, placing their faith in the baptism and blood of the sacrificial Lamb Jesus Christ. If God says that Jesus Christ has blotted out all our sins once and for all with the gospel of the water and the Spirit like this, then all that we have to do is just believe in it and simply bring this faith with us. Whoever has sin should come to Jesus and say, “I am a sinner. I can’t help but continue to sin in the future. I am insufficient. Lord, please save me.”
Jesus Christ will then say, “I took upon all your sins through My baptism. And by being crucified and shedding My blood on the Cross, I have already blotted out all your sins. This is how I have wiped out your sins.” Then all that would now remain for the sinner to do is just say, “Thank you, Lord! You have saved me,” and enter and live in the Garden of Eden forever. The Bible is not such a complicated Truth. It is so pure and simple.
We must pull out sinners from hiding and bring them into the light. That is why when we preach the gospel to people, we point out and expose their sins. This is the right step when we preach the gospel to sinners. People, of course, do not like this. So the so-called orthodox denominations claim that people’s character should be respected, and they accuse us of heresy for pointing out the sins that are in people’s hearts before preaching the gospel.
However, dragging out sin is not a heretical teaching. Actually, to preach the gospel, one must first reveal the sins hidden in sinners’ hearts. Is there any doctor who treats a disease without first diagnosing it correctly? If any doctor does this, then he must be a “quack”.
Pastors who are not born again never do call people’s sins into question. They don’t say a single word about sin. They don’t even say, “What sin have you committed?” But when you come to God’s Church, you will hear us saying, “You have committed such and such sins. You are a murderer, an adulterer, and a rogue.” Only the servants and saints of the born-again Church can say such things.
We preach the gospel according to this order: First of all, we make people recognize themselves as grave sinners; to do so, we should point out the sins that are in their hearts and the sins they are committing with their acts in detail; and then we teach that Jesus Christ, by blotting out all these sins with the gospel of the water and the Spirit, has saved the entire human race, and that He has ended condemnation. This is all that we have to do. Everything the Bible says is all about this.
We are preachers of the gospel of the water and the Spirit. We are not campaigners extolling people to live virtuously, but we are preachers of the gospel of the water and the Spirit. The gospel of the water and the Spirit is the absolute Truth. If we are too lofty, we cannot preach the gospel of the water and the Spirit. If we pretend to be spiritually elevated, we cannot expose the hidden iniquities of sinners. So gospel preachers must not be supercilious. While they are lofty inside, they should not be too lofty outside. Is mankind itself noble? No. Only the Lord in us is noble. One can pretend to be lofty all he wants, but he will soon be exposed for who he really is.
When we preach the gospel, we must first pull out sin from people. This is how we should preach the gospel. Some people admit their sins right away as soon as we pull them out just a bit. Others, on the other hand, do not admit that they are sinners, and are thus bound to hell, regardless of how we might have pulled out all their sins. We have to talk to such people until they admit their sins. In fact, if people just admit that they are bound to hell, it’s easy to preach the gospel. It’s because people do not recognize themselves as sinners that they cannot receive the remission of their sins. Once they recognize this, they will be saved in no time.
By any chance, if some of you have not received the remission of your sins, then I admonish you all to examine your hearts to see whether you are righteous people or sinners. If one admits to God that he is a sinner, then he will be made righteous right away by believing in the gospel of the water and the Spirit. It’s because people have not recognized themselves as sinners before God that they remain unable to become righteous people. It’s because people have not become sinners before God that they find it hard to believe even when they hear the gospel of the water and the Spirit. But if they recognize themselves as sinners destined to hell before God, then becoming righteous people is only a small step away. Whoever has sin, even as small as a penny, must be cast into hell for this sin, but if people admit this, they can soon become righteous.
We have to realize that if we have sin, we will be cast into hell. Many people do not take sin seriously enough, but if one has sin, he will infallibly face death and hell. You have to understand what the Bible means exactly when it says, “The wages of sin is death.” The word death here does not refer to bodily death, but it refers to being cast into hell. Death is hell.
If one says, “I’m bound to hell because I have sin. How can I be saved from hell? How has Jesus saved me? When Jesus was baptized in the Jordan River, He took upon all my sins, and He was then condemned on the Cross in my place. Lord, I believe in this Truth,” then he will be moved from hell to Heaven. Once one recognizes himself as a sinner, he can be made righteous shortly. The fact that countless people cannot be saved even as they hear the gospel means that they still have not recognized themselves as “grave sinners bound to hell.”
While attending seminary, I constantly asked, “Why?” “Why was Jesus baptized? Why must we be baptized?” So even while I was in the so-called orthodox denomination, I was treated as a strange man. But still, I continued to raise such questions. There were many who claimed to know them all, but there was no one who provided me with a satisfying answer. I read the Bible all the time, but I still had many questions. “Why did Adam and Eve hide behind the trees? Why does the Bible say that the wages of sin is death? What is the biblical meaning of death?” When I read the New Testament, I made sure to look for matching passages in the Old Testament. And I found that both the New and Old Testaments were invariably speaking of the same message.
After believing in Jesus for ten years, I finally became a real sinner. After having believed in Jesus for ten years, I came to admit that I was not just a sinner, but I was a sinner who was truly bound to hell. I had been possessed by a demon as well, and the demon had whispered into my ears, saying, “You’ve sinned, haven’t you? I know you have committed such and such sins.” I was so tormented in those days. However, the Lord has met me in the gospel of the water and the Spirit. As I realized that I was bound to hell after ten long years since becoming a Christian, it finally dawned on me, “Oh! Jesus bore all my sins through His baptism like this and took them all away like this.” While it had taken me ten years to realize that I was bound to hell, from there, it did not take long to receive the remission of my sins.
For Christians to realize that they are bound to hell, they usually have to lead a religious life for a considerable period of time. It takes about a decade to realize this. But some people still remain oblivious to the fact that they are grave sinners destined to hell even after 50 years of religious life. However, those who try to lead their religious lives properly with a clear conscience eventually come to realize that they are bound to hell. So for those among us who have received the remission of sin into their hearts without leading much of a religious life, I consider them to be truly blessed and happy.
Today’s Scripture passage from chapter three of Genesis says that after Adam and Eve fell, they covered themselves with garments of fig leaves and hid behind the trees. This implies that those who have left God because of sin are also all living in their hiding places. Only if we unearth this and expose sin from their hearts can we make them receive the remission of their sins.
Just as God said, “In the day that you eat of it you shall surely die,” if one has sin, he is bound to hell. It is written, “The wages of sin is death” (Romans 6:23). God’s Truth will render its judgment. When you preach the gospel, you have to make sure to expose what is inside sinners before delivering to them the true gospel of the remission of their sins. We should all remember this. And we should preach the gospel of the water and the Spirit with this understanding and this faith.
I thank God for allowing us to share with Him by being His willing workers.