The New Life Mission

Sermons

Subject 18 : GENESIS

[Chapter 4-4] (Genesis 4:1-5) Spiritual Offering versus Carnal Offering

(Genesis 4:1-5)
“Now Adam knew Eve his wife, and she conceived and bore Cain, and said, ‘I have acquired a man from the LORD.’ Then she bore again, this time his brother Abel. Now Abel was a keeper of sheep, but Cain was a tiller of the ground. And in the process of time it came to pass that Cain brought an offering of the fruit of the ground to the LORD. Abel also brought of the firstborn of his flock and of their fat. And the LORD respected Abel and his offering, but He did not respect Cain and his offering. And Cain was very angry, and his countenance fell.”
 
 
Through the offerings of Abel and Cain, in today’s Scripture passage we learn in detail about spiritual faith and carnal faith. In other words, God is explaining to us in exact terms who among today’s Christians are the ones that have the true spiritual faith before God, and who are the ones that have carnal faith.
While Cain worshiped God with an offering of the fruit of the ground, Abel offered the firstborn of his flock and their fat. That Abel here offered the firstborn of his flock and their fat means that Abel worshiped God by placing his faith in God’s Word and His righteousness. The offering that God wants from us is the offering that is given by believing in the baptism of Jesus Christ, who is the firstborn of the flock and in His blood of sacrifice. In the Old Testament, we consistently discover the sacrifice of atonement that was offered with a lamb.
This not only speaks of the truth that the remission of sin cannot be received without the sacrifice of redemption, but it also tells us what kind of faith we should have when we approach God. Indeed, when we approach and stand before the presence of God, we should do so by holding onto the righteousness of Jesus Christ and believing in the truth of the everlasting sacrifice of redemption that Christ fulfilled. In essence, today’s Scripture passage is asking, “Have today’s Christians been truly born again? Do they have the Holy Spirit in the center of their hearts? Are they approaching God by believing in His Word?” Are Christians today approaching God by placing their faith in His righteousness, which is the faith that pleases Him? Are they standing before God’s presence by His righteousness, having united to the faith demanded by God? The answer is implacably no.
My fellow believers, why does the Bible specifically mention the “firstborn” of Abel’s flock here? Could it not have just said that Abel offered “his flock” without mentioning anything about the firstborn? After all, the Bible tersely says that Cain offered the fruit of the ground. It is quite plausible then that the Bible could have just written that Abel offered his flock instead of mentioning the firstborn in particular, but this is not what is written. This implies that Jesus Christ is the Son of God the Father. That is why the Bible says, “Abel also brought of the firstborn of his flock and of their fat.” That Abel offered the firstborn of his flock and their fat means that God sacrificed His Son as the propitiation for our sins.
As described in the Book of Leviticus, when a sacrifice was offered on the altar of burnt offering, one who sought to be redeemed from his sins first put his hands on his sacrificial animal; this animal was then killed, its flesh was cut into pieces, and the fat covering the entrails and the liver was taken and was burnt together with the flesh to be offered to God. It was then that Jehovah God accepted the offering in pleasure. Likewise, Abel offered the fat of the firstborn of his flock. This means that Abel gave his offering according to God’s will, for he knew His desire, and that is why God accepted it in pleasure. In other words, Abel did not give his offering according to his own thoughts, but according to the Word of God. Abel’s sacrifice was offered by faith, according to God’s desire.
The Bible speaks of two kinds of people: The spiritually minded and the carnally minded. God had made tunics of skin for Abel’s father and mother and clothed them. From his parents, Abel inherited their faith in God’s righteousness intact, and he approached God by placing his faith in this righteousness as well. In other words, he stood before the presence of God by believing that God had saved him from sin through the offering of sacrifice. In contrast, Cain approached God with the fruit of the ground, that is, his own merits. This implies that down the road, those professing to believe in Jesus would be divided into two kinds of people; the people of spiritual faith and the people of carnal faith.
Adam and Eve gave birth to Cain and Abel, and in the process of time it came to pass that these two sons came to give offerings to God: One of them offered the fruit of the ground, and the other offered a sacrificial lamb from his flock. People’s faith is invariably divided into these two types. We must deny our instinctive thoughts of the flesh, and emulate the faith of those who believe in God according to His Word. God will destroy all those who do not deny their thoughts, but instead live their lives of faith according to the instinctive desires of their flesh.
We can divide Christians on this earth into the following two kinds; those who run toward God by their spiritual faith, and those who seek to fill only their fleshly lusts with their completely carnal faith. They supplicate God only for their carnal welfare, pleading to Him for their businesses to prosper and their children to succeed. What happens when they prosper as a result of their supplication to God? They say that God is alive and that they have been blessed by this living God. Faith like this is a completely carnal and lustful faith. In other words, they believe in God for what would perish away, and their faith is completely self-centered. They are serving God on their own by saying, “I believe in God.” Essentially what they are really saying is, “God, I will believe in You if You do this for me.” So their faith is conditional and self-centered. Faith like this is the very faith that Cain offered to God with the fruit of the ground. People like these are leading their lives of faith only for their earthly prosperity.
But what good does it do if only earthly prosperity is secured? Human beings, after all, live only for 70 or 80 years at utmost. This earth also will disappear in time. And those who live without being washed from their sins cannot be blessed by God. My fellow believers, it is your spirits that must prosper, not your flesh. Your spirits should flourish more than your flesh; you should be more interested in what lasts forever; and above all, you should attain eternal life. We should make our supplications to God for what is everlasting. The Lord is saying to us, “Seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you” (Matthew 6:33). Before God, we should live for what is eternal, that is, to save souls from sin. And we must prepare what is needed for this work.
God has given us the firstborn of the flock and their fat. It is when we believe according to God’s desire based on His Word, and when we approach God by faith, that we receive both the remission of our sins and everlasting life. Everyone has to yearn to attain these things. If anyone were to approach God only for the earthly prosperity of the flesh, that person will be ruined in both body and spirit. Referring to such people, the Bible calls them the descendants of Cain.
Who then inherited Abel’s faith after his death? It was Seth. God gave Seth in place of Abel. Cain’s descendants did not call on the name of the Lord. Unlike them, however, Seth and his descendants lived by their faith in God, as the Bible says, “As for Seth, to him also a son was born; and he named him Enosh. Then men began to call on the name of the LORD” (Genesis 4:26).
Adam and Eve gave birth to Cain and Abel, and two different faiths were forthcoming from them. These two faiths have been passed down to this day, and even now there are two kinds of Christians living all over world: Carnal Christians who are attached to earthly things and spiritual Christians who have set their minds on heavenly things. The latter who yearn to obtain the things of Heaven believe in the righteousness of God according to His written Word, and this is how they receive what they seek. In contrast, carnal Christians who just want to attain earthly things cannot even get what they want, but in the end, their souls will only face destruction in hell.
 
 
Like This, Christians in This World Are Divided into Members of the Visible Church and the Invisible Church
 
The Book of Exodus in the Old Testament records a series of events in which God called Jacob’s descendants out of Egypt and led them to the land of Canaan. The people of Israel called out from Egypt are a model of the Church. The Latin word for “church” is “ekklesia,” which means “those who have been called out from the world.” Does this then mean that only the people of Israel constitute God’s Church? Alternatively, since we who are Gentiles, are approaching God by believing in the gospel of the water and the Spirit, which is the righteousness of God, and by offering the sacrifice of faith, is it we who constitute God’s Church? Which is God’s true Church? The true Church of God in this world is the gathering of those who have been saved from their sins through Jesus Christ.
Abel worshipped God with the firstborn of his flock and their fat. Like Abel, we must have the perfect faith which is placed in the gospel of the water and the Spirit, which constitutes God’s righteousness; we must unite our hearts with God; and we must live by this faith that believes in everlasting life. We are members of God’s Church those who have become saints. It is this gathering of believers in the gospel of the water and the Spirit that constitutes God’s Church.
In general, the Church is categorized into the visible church and the invisible church. The visible church refers to the church whose existence in the world is actually seen, while the invisible church refers to the spiritual gathering of those who have received the remission of their sins through the Word of Truth. Although the visible church is recognized by the world and behaves as if it has been approved by God, it is in fact, mostly a religious group that has nothing to do with the faith that God desires us to have. However, the invisible church is the gathering of those who like Abel, offer to God their faith in His righteousness, and thus, it is the gathering where the righteous come together to worship God. None other than this invisible church is God’s Church. Even if a gathering is not recognized by the people of this world, if it is a gathering whose faith is upright before God, then it is God’s Church; on the other hand, if the gathering is not constituted according to the will of God, then it is not God’s Church, irrespective of the credence confided by the people of this world.
Put differently, a church that God approves as the gathering of His children is God’s Church regardless of the assessments or approval of worldly people. However a church that is established by the kind of faith that worships God with the fruit of the ground, like Cain’s offering, is not God’s Church, even if its adherents claim their gathering is God’s Church, for this kind of church is not centered around God, but it is based on humanism. What then does the Bible call such a church that is not God’s Church? It calls it as a “synagogue of Satan” (Revelation 2:9; 3:9). The members of such a church do not deny themselves, nor believe in God according to the Word of God, and like Cain they try to approach God without putting on the God-given righteousness.
What kind of a place is God’s true Church then? God’s Church is the place where the faith of those gathered around is approved by God. The gathering of those who have the very faith of Abel in today’s Scripture passage is God’s Church. Abel denied his own thoughts, and by believing in God’s Word, he offered Him the firstborn of his flock and their fat. Abel’s faith is the prototype of the faith of God’s Church. God’s Church is the gathering of those who have entirely denied themselves, who completely acknowledge only the Word, and who have thus received the remission of sins and received the gift of the Holy Spirit, all by believing in the gospel of the water and the Spirit that the Bible speaks about. Those who belong to God’s Church are people who, whenever the Holy Spirit convicts their hearts with the Word, accept this Word with a yes, and unite their hearts with God and follow His will. God’s Church is precisely the gathering of such people.
Cain was someone who failed to deny his own thoughts. He perceived God according to his own thoughts, and he brought his offerings to God in whatever way he wished. But would Cain’s parents not have taught him what the appropriate offering to God was? Since Cain’s father and mother wore tunics of skin, would he have not asked them about their clothes and the implication of these tunics? And would his parents not have explained to him the meaning of the tunics of skin? Adam and Eve would certainly have explained it to their children saying, “These are the tunics of skin that God made for us. Listen to us closely as we will explain what they mean. Long ago, daddy and mommy were deceived by Satan into sinning against God, and as a result we were facing death. But God killed a living animal instead and clothed us with its skin. At that time, God passed our sins to this animal and condemned it in our place. That is how God saved us. It was to deliver us from sin that God killed the animal. He passed our sins to the animal and blotted them all out. So we believe in God as our Savior. God is the God of love. We were saved like this, despite all of our wrongdoings.”
If Adam and Eve did not explain to their children like this, how else could Abel have offered the firstborn of his flock to God? The tunics of skin that they got from God were extraordinary gifts. If you won a medal of great honor, wouldn’t you display it in a prominent place for all to see? Isn’t it then probable that Adam and Eve would have also put up the tunics of skin God made for them? And wouldn’t they have always boasted about these garments to their children?
The Apostle Paul said, “Brethren, join in following my example” (Philippians 3:17). Faith is inherited from above. The faith of the Apostle Paul, which was placed in the gospel of the water and the Spirit, was passed down to us intact. Paul tried to pass down his faith to his disciples. Otherwise it could not have been passed down. Why then would we not tell our children about the gospel of the water and the Spirit, the very Word of Truth?
“Daddy was so weak that I couldn’t live according to God’s Word, but the Son of God will come to this world, take upon all my sins by being baptized in the Jordan River, and shed His blood on the Cross in my place. This blood is my life. It was daddy who had to shed blood and die, but the Son of God will be baptized and bleed to death in my place. And He will rise from the dead. Do I then have sin or not? I have no sin, right? Yes, I am now sinless. That’s because the Lamb of God loves daddy so much that He will take upon all my sins like this and die for me.”
Adam and Eve told the story of God’s gospel of salvation to their children, but when time passed by, these children came to give different offerings to God. Mankind’s history of faith is the history of these two types of people. It is the history of those who are spiritual and those who are fleshly. In other words, people’s faith before God was divided and was passed down like this. Even now, the entire human race can be divided into these two types. And while one of them will go to hell, the other type will go to Heaven.
As Irving Jensen shows in his Bible study chart, Christianity was born in this world because of Jesus Christ. A large crowd then came to believe in it. So there is a thick line drawn in the chart. But below this thick line, there is another line running in parallel, so thin that it’s almost invisible. The thick line eventually falls off a cliff in the chart, indicating that its final destination is hell. But the thin line, representing the righteous, soars above, indicating how the righteous will be lifted up in rapture. It is a very revealing chart. Like this, countless people in the churches of this world will tragically fall off the cliff despite believing in Jesus.
Jesus said, “Enter by the narrow gate; for wide is the gate and broad is the way that leads to destruction, and there are many who go in by it. Because narrow is the gate and difficult is the way which leads to life, and there are few who find it” (Matthew 7:13-14). What a wide way is the way of Cain! This way is the way of destruction that is followed not by God’s Church, but by all the worldly churches of this earth. Since those who belong to worldly churches worship God according to their own wishes, they think this is just wonderful for them. Not caring whether God would accept their offerings or not, they bring just about any produce of the field, from potatoes to corns, and say to God, “Lord, please accept our offerings. Aren’t they wonderful? Accept them from us, Lord.” They bring their offerings to God with the following attitude: “We’ve labored so hard to prepare these things, and they are so wonderful. If You don’t accept them, then You are not even God.” They think by doing this that they are doing God a favor.
Because Cain’s heart was like this, Cain’s countenance fell when God did not accept his offering. Although Cain himself considered his offering to be great, God did not accept it, and so he was disappointed and upset. This is the very faith of the fleshly people. They think, “I have been so zealous for You, and so how could You not accept me?” In essence, what they are actually saying is, “This is how devoted and faithful I have been for You, and so if You say You don’t know me, then You are not even God.” Among today’s Christian leaders, there are those who say, “I have studied theology for 20 years, I have planted five churches, I have gone abroad to study theology and struggled so much to put myself through school and earn my doctoral degree, and I have fed so many of Your sheep. So if You don’t recognize how I labored so much for You, then You are not really God.” This is the very faith of Cain.
Today, many people are leading their lives of faith according to Cain’s stance. What is on the earth is not something that can be gained without toiling. The earth brings forth thorns and thistles. The yield of the earth can be obtained only if mankind’s labor is put in. That Cain took and offered the produce of the ground to God means that he approached God with his hypocritical acts, thinking that God would somehow be pleased by the virtuous deeds of his own flesh.
However, God did not accept Cain’s offering. Although he had labored for God, God did not accept him. Cain had not come to God by faith in His righteousness. The Bible is making it clear here that God cannot accept any product of man’s own labor, other than the gospel of the water and the Spirit. On the other hand, the fact that Abel offered the firstborn of his flock and their fat means that he believed in the gospel of the water and the Spirit.
Knowing that Adam and Eve would sin and fall from His grace, God had decided even before the foundation of the world to save them from sin and make them His own children. He determined this in His providence. And according to His providence, God accepts those who believe in His righteousness, those who come to Him by this faith. God accepts them because they stand before His presence by trusting in the law of salvation that is completely devoid of any human labor. In other words, God does not accept anything that entails man’s own labor. Yet the faith of those who are not yet born again contains so much of their own labor. But they just can’t bring themselves to throw it all away, since it would be such a waste as they had put in so much effort, and so they instead choose to give it to God as their offering of their own works.
Such people’s faith is nothing more than that of the produce of the ground. Their entire lives of faith are marked by their own devotion, from the beginning to the end. They are all filled with their own labor. They think, “I began to believe in Jesus to live virtuously, and after believing in Him, I have born witness many times, prayed a lot, volunteered a lot and gave tons of offerings!” Everything from them is of their own effort and their own devotion. All Christians who are not born-again approach God only with the faith of their own devotion. Their first priority is devotion, their second priority is also devotion, and their third priority is yet again devotion, until the day they die. Isn’t this the case?
Those who are not yet born again have nothing else but only the faith of their own devotion. Do they have faith? Do they have the Truth? Do they have Jesus Christ? Do they have the Holy Spirit? Are they approaching God knowing His heart and believing in Him? No, they are approaching God without knowing His righteousness nor believing in it. Cain’s offering, in other words, was given with his own labor. Today’s Christians who follow Cain’s offering can never be born again because they have never met the gospel of the water and the Spirit. They all first began to believe in Jesus simply because they were thankful for His death on the Cross. And as they began to attend the so-called church, they came to know the justice of the Law of God. They then came to regard and believe in Christianity only as a matter of doctrine thinking to themselves, “Oh, so Jesus just took away my sins. I’ll be saved if I believe only in Him with much fervor.” For all those years of their so-called faith they have never been fully washed from their sins and truly born again through the gospel of the water and the Spirit.
Although they have never met Jesus Christ by true faith, they have served the Lord from the beginning with complete devotion, only to find out that sin keeps piling up in their hearts. However, worldly churches still demand even more devotion from them, even unto death. So they double their efforts at piety. There is no end to their devotion. So, for the believers who have not been born again and who give Cain’s offering, when the time of death nears them, they think, “Gosh, it’s so hard that I can’t even lead my life of faith anymore. Should I just quit? If I knew this life of faith was going to be so hard, I would not have started to believe so early. I should have just waited until my deathbed. It was a huge mistake to believe so early! I am such a fool! If only someone had taught me this beforehand! I have only toiled away all my life!”
However, when they see new believers they think, “You are clueless as I was, and so you are going to suffer like me! I have suffered much from believing in Jesus, now is your turn. At any rate, you are my game. You are a stepping stone to my reward.” That is how they are led into Christianity and how they are killing many souls, those who should not die. In other words, it is not for God that they preach Christianity, but only for themselves saying, “No matter what, believe in Jesus as your Savior, whether you are misguided or not just believe. I am also suffering just like you. So believe in God just like me.” They do this hoping to be rewarded by God and to fulfill all their duties, but this is invariably a fallacious belief.
People like this lead their lives of faith for their own carnal prosperity—to gain reputation, to become rich and to secure their own social status. Those who have never been born again through the gospel of the water and the Spirit give the ‘offering of Cain’. When asked, “When and how were you born again?” some of them even say that they were born again in a dream. They claim that while they were praying in their dream, Jesus appeared to them and said, “Brother so and so, I love you. I have saved you.” “Lord, is that true? I believe.” They say that this is exactly how they were born again. To adhere to such a belief is to offer the produce of the ground.
Still others claim that while praying, they saw a vision where Heaven was opened to them. Long ago, I too saw another world while praying, even though my eyes were open. As it opened up, the sky was so high and so blue. I saw dark clouds gathering together, but light came down from a tiny hole among the clouds, and from there Jesus appeared and descended toward me. Soon water began to cascade down from the tiny hole, and so much water poured down from such a high place. I saw this vision even though my eyes were wide open. It was such a spectacular sight!
Imagine Jesus appearing before you and saying, “Brother so and so, I love you. You are My servant.” If you saw this in a vision even ‘just once’, what more would there be left to say? You would be completely convinced. Cain was also fully convinced 100% that God would be pleased by his offering. Those who are captivated by such a vision might say, “God, I believe in You like this. I believe that You have saved me.” They are completely convinced of themselves and ironclad in their conviction. Why? Because even though it was only a vision, they think that they have actually heard Jesus Christ telling them how He loves them and has saved them, and that is why they believe in it.
It is because they are convinced by their own mystical experience. But one’s own willful conviction that the Lord has saved him is a belief all of his own making. Anything that comes out of one’s own will and own thoughts is invariably nothing more than the produce of the ground, and such beliefs are the very beliefs that would lead him to hell. It is from the Word of God that we should affirm our salvation. If anyone has not affirmed his salvation with the Word, then he is not someone who has received the remission of sins.
Some people claim to have been born again even though their hearts still have sin. But if they have been truly born again, how can they still be sinners? When I ask such people, “Then based on what passage do you claim to have been born again?” they answer that it is based on John 3:16, which says, “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.” They then add, “I believe in this Word. So I believe that God loved me so much that He sent Jesus to this earth, and Jesus died for me like this, to redeem my sins.”
I then ask them again, “Being born again means to have your sins blotted out and be born for the second time. So were you born for the second time? And do you have the Holy Spirit in your heart that has no sin? Is your old self now dead?” From then on, they are completely lost and can’t understand what I am saying. Then they leave in anger, saying, “Only God knows whether one has been born again or not. Are you God? Exactly what are you accusing me now of? You are just talking gibberish. If you keep saying things around this place, you are going to be labeled as a heretic of the so-called Guwonpa (a branch of the so-called ‘Salvation Sect’ in Korea)! So be careful and repent!”
Those who are truly spiritual are most certainly going to be separated from those who are carnal. Anyone who lives without believing in the Word of God from the center of his heart is someone who is yet to deny himself. If God’s Word says that He has saved mankind through the gospel of the water and the Spirit, then one must be able to renounce his own thoughts and stubbornness all the time and always obey the will of the Lord. People like this are spiritual Christians. On the other hand, those who deny what the Word of God says are fleshly Christians. Such people are the ones who approach God with the produce of the ground. Their own ‘rightness’ exceeds the Word of God or what God has done for them. They are arrogant people who have exalted themselves onto a higher place than even God. Such fleshly people will be doomed in the end.
God drew the line of salvation to the descendants of Adam and Eve. He has given us His Word, so that we may be able to discern what kind of faith is the right faith, what kind of beliefs are spiritual beliefs and carnal beliefs, and what kind of faith God accepts in pleasure or rejects in disgust. We must discern true faith from false faith.
What about us then? Do we really follow what is spiritual for God from the center of our hearts? Or do our hearts follow something visible for our flesh to prosper? Both spiritual and carnal elements coexist together in us. Nevertheless, we should follow what is spiritual. Even though both elements coexist, we must cast aside the carnal mind to follow the spiritual mind. The offering accepted by the Lord is the offering that is given with the firstborn of the flock and their fat. God does not accept any offering that is not spiritual. It is only spiritual offerings that God accepts; anything else that comes out of our flesh is not accepted.
To walk by the will of God is to be spiritual. Although this realm is not seen with the physical eye, to believe in God’s Word exactly as it is and live for the salvation of souls is to seek after the Spirit. In contrast, to seek after the prosperity of the flesh and the exaltation of one’s own name is to follow the flesh. In other words, God does not accept the faith that people bring to Him only for the sake of earthly things. Although both spiritual and carnal elements are present in our lives of faith, the latter must be thrown away, while the former must be taken hold of. We must seek after spiritual things. We have both the Holy Spirit and the flesh, and therefore we are capable of doing what pleases God just as much as what does not please Him. We must forsake one and take the other. We must walk according to God’s pleasure, and we must throw away everything that does not please Him. This is the very spiritual life. In contrast, those who are fleshly live the kind of life that does not please God but only their own flesh.
 
  
The Word of God Says That We Must Discern the Spiritual Things from the Things of the Flesh
 
It is not just in chapter one of Genesis that God’s dividing  works are, but He continues this work of division in chapters two, three and four as well. In fact, the entire Bible is about dividing the spiritual things from the things of the flesh, the Truth from untruth. When we turn to Genesis 11, we also see how God brought down the tower of Babel and once again looked for spiritual people. God is looking for those who would believe in His Truth and live for the salvation of other souls; who would live for God’s will; stand on God’s side and dedicate their lives to saving people’s souls, denying themselves; and who would walk by believing in God from the center of their hearts. The passage about the offerings of Cain and Abel contains this very truth.
My fellow believers, what then is the faith that saves us from sin before God? It is the faith that believes in the gospel of the water and the Spirit entirely completed by Jesus Christ the Son of God. We the spiritual people must accept everything that Jesus Christ has done for us when He came to this earth as promised—whatever He has done, we must accept it 100% and believe in it. Then we can be saved and unite our hearts with God. Anyone who believes 100% in Jesus Christ’s work of salvation, that is, who wholly believe in whatever He has done for us regardless of whether he understands it or not, will receive the remission of his sin once for all.
Jesus is God, but He had to be born from the Virgin Mary incarnated in the flesh. Those who accept this truth that God borrowed a woman’s body for a short while in order to save us, can be saved. On the other hand, those who do not believe in this just because their minds cannot comprehend it are the fleshly people. They are unbelievers, people who are like Cain. A while ago, I met a well-known Christian leader whose name is widely recognized in Korea. I will not mention his name here, as it would seem like a personal attack, but at any rate, he is a pastor and a board member at a famous college missionary organization. This man told me, “I can’t quite believe that Jesus Christ was born from the Virgin Mary. If you can explain it to me logically so that I can understand it, then I will believe in Jesus Christ as the Savior.” Astounded, I replied, “How can you, a famous pastor not know these things? To save us humans from sin, God had to be born on this earth in the same flesh as ours, in order take away all our sins, He had to be born in the image of man through the body of a woman as it was prophesied in the Bible.” The pastor then asked me how a virgin could give birth to a child. He challenged me to explain this. So I told him that if God says that this is what He did, then this is indeed what happened. But the pastor told me that he could not believe this.
It may seem quite incredible, but the pastor really told me this, despite the fact that there were other Christians around us. I told this pastor that he should give up his ministry, and that he did not even deserve to be a pastor. I then rebuked him saying, “How can you call yourself a pastor, when you cannot even believe in one simple Biblical truth that Jesus was born from a virgin? You are no pastor at all. You should resign from the mission’s board of directors. You should not be teaching students with this kind of faith.”
If God’s Word were to be comprehended with our limited knowledge and then only believe, then it would not be God’s Word. Whatever God says, is the absolute truth. Further, God speaks to us in understandable terminology. It was prophesied that God would be born as the Baby Jesus in order to save mankind from sin, and to deliver Adam’s descendants. As it is written, “‘Behold, the virgin shall be with child, and bear a Son, and they shall call His name Immanuel,’ which is translated, ‘God with us’” (Matthew 1:23). God promised that He would come to this earth incarnated in the flesh of man to be with us. And when the time came, He fulfilled this exactly as He had promised. Jesus Christ indeed came to this earth incarnated in the flesh of man through a virgin called Mary. It was prophesied that Jesus Christ would be born from the scepter of Judah (Genesis 49:10). That is why God chose Joseph, who was a descendant of David from the tribe of Judah, and Mary also belonged to this tribe.
Joseph and Mary were engaged to be married, and an angel came to Mary before they actually got married. “Rejoice, highly favored one. Blessed are you among women! You will bring forth a Son, and you shall call His name Jesus.” “How can this happen, since I do not know a man?” “Your relative Elizabeth was barren, but she has now also conceived a baby. Woman, through you the Almighty will be born.” “How can such a thing happen?” “Nothing is impossible with the Almighty Word of God.” Hearing the will of God from the angel, Mary then submitted to the Word of God saying, “I am a lowly maidservant. Let it be according to the Word of the Lord.” Saying “yes” to the will of God in submission is what faith is all about. When Mary submitted herself to God’s will like this, Jesus Christ was conceived in her and He was born nine months later.
Whatever the Bible says God’s will is, then it is indeed His will. We have no choice but to believe in the Word of Truth and the Word that records what God has done for us is eminently believable. God gave us a promise and did these things to fulfill this promise. Because God had to come to this earth in the image of man to save us from sin, the Messiah came to this earth incarnated in the flesh of man. And because the souls of all human beings, who have the same flesh as His, could be freed from sin and enter His Kingdom only if He blotted out all their sins, He was baptized by John the Baptist to make our sins disappear. Anyone who comes before God by believing in the baptism of Jesus Christ and His bloodshed will receive the remission of sins. For all those who believe that Jesus took upon all the sins of this world by being baptized in the Jordan River, they will be remitted from all their sins, no matter what kind of sin they might have committed. This is the very offering of Abel.
No one should bring a Cain type of offering to God. People who are like Cain say that they can understand some Words but not others. The pastor that I mentioned above said to me, “God’s Word may say so, but then why do so many people doubt the mystery of the birth of Jesus?” He then said, “It doesn’t matter what the Word of God says. Unbelievers still will not believe.” Anyone who does not deny his thoughts like this is someone who is offering Cain’s offering. The pastor went on to say in protest, “It may be written like this in the Word of God, but for over 2,000 years to this very day, most Christians have believed that they would go to the Kingdom of Heaven even if they did not know the gospel of the water and the Spirit. So does this then mean that they are all bound to hell?” I then sternly told him, “Even if people believe in Jesus, unless they are born again by believing in the gospel of the water and the Spirit, they will all go to hell without fail.”
Those who believe according to their own thoughts are people who give Cain’s offering. Put differently, Cain’s offering refers to the very faith of those who do not deny their thoughts and do not believe according to the Word. The Lord is saying that people like this who try to be saved through their own human efforts and devotions are giving the offering of Cain. It is to describe exactly what the Bible simply said, “Cain brought an offering of the fruit of the ground.” The proper faith is one that accepts God’s Word exactly as it is and to believe exactly what He said.
There are now many people on this planet earth who are unable to give the offering of faith like Abel. Today, people like Cain believe and teach their respective church constitutions and doctrines more than the Bible itself. As a result, many Christians end up believing in the doctrine of incremental sanctification or prayers of repentance. But what is its end result? Are their hearts with or without sin? The Word of God declares the following: “Now where there is remission of these, there is no longer an offering for sin” (Hebrews 10:18). Even though God’s Word of Truth says that the Lord has forever blotted out mankind’s sins once for all with the gospel Truth of the water and the Spirit and has thus sanctified those who believe in this Truth, many Presbyterians and the likes refuse to believe in this, arguing that it is not congruent with their doctrines. Those who believe in Presbyterian creeds like this are giving Cain’s offering, and the Bible says that such people cannot receive the everlasting remission of sin from God, and therefore they will ultimately end up leaving God just like Cain.
Nevertheless, God still gave His gospel Word of the water and the Spirit even to people like this. As it is written, “And the LORD said to him, ‘Therefore, whoever kills Cain, vengeance shall be taken on him sevenfold.’ And the LORD set a mark on Cain, lest anyone finding him should kill him” (Genesis 4:15). Because God set a mark on Cain means that He guaranteed him the salvation from sin like this. With the gospel of the water and the Spirit, God has guaranteed sinners like this to receive the remission of sin. “If you would change your hearts even now and come to Me with the firstborn of the flock and their fat, you will never face My condemnation, and no one will kill you.” God had thus guaranteed Cain’s salvation.
However, even though God had thus extended His guarantee, Cain refused to deny his own thoughts. People like Cain are always convinced of their own thoughts no matter what. “I have put so much effort and devotion into my offering, but my stupid brother just brought a firstborn sheep and spread it over the rock as his offering. Yet You accepted his offering, but refused to accept mine, which I prepared with backbreaking labor tilling the field for a whole year. God, You are so unfair. I think You are wrong. It would be better for me not to believe in a God like You. I would rather give up. I will just leave You behind.” So Cain left God.
The Bible says, “Not as Cain who was of the wicked one and murdered his brother. And why did he murder him? Because his works were evil and his brother’s righteous” (1 John 3:12). This means that everyone who is like Cain is bound to hell. And the Bible says that Abraham was born through the descendant of Seth, whom God gave in place of Abel. Those who acknowledge the righteousness of God and live their lives centered around God; those who believe in God’s Word in the center of their hearts; those who deny themselves, deny their own thoughts, and submit to the will of God; and those who accept and believe everything God has done for them—the Bible says that it is people like Abel who will go to the Kingdom of Heaven. Although Abel was martyred, the Bible says that God approved his faith, and he went to the Kingdom of Heaven. The Bible speaks of those who are fleshly and those who are spiritual. Like this, people are divided into those who are bound to hell and those who are bound to Heaven.
Through today’s Scripture passage, you should also examine yourselves to see what kind of an offering you are giving to God, whether it is Cain’s or Abel’s type of offering. Are you not still striving only in your flesh, mistakenly thinking that your own zeal and devotion somehow indicate your faith in Jesus? If a sinner were just devoted to God, would God accept the offering of the person unconditionally? Never, God would only say, “That is so pathetic! I will rather not accept it; I never accept filthy things.” God is saying that He will not accept any offering from a sinner. Yet despite this, countless people are now giving this offering of Cain to God. Anyone who brings the offering of Abel will go to the Kingdom of Heaven. God will accept him. This is the true spiritual faith that you and I must grasp or latch onto.
There are so many Christians in this world whose offerings are like that of Cain. The offering that is given by faith, namely the gospel of the water and the Spirit that enables one to receive the remission of sin, is an offering that God accepts. My fellow believers, even though Christians believe in Jesus, if they do not choose the gospel of the water and the Spirit, then they will be destroyed for they would still remain sinful. Those who believe only in the blood of the Cross, which generally everyone else in the world believes in, and who seeks to escape persecution, fall under the category of Cain. If you really believe in the gospel of the water and the Spirit, won’t Satan persecute you then? If you are facing no persecution at all even as you believe in Jesus, then you should examine your faith to see if it is not Cain’s faith.
How many Christians still have sin in their hearts even as they profess to believe in Jesus? And how easy is it for people to lead such a life of faith? If they should attend church regularly, in no time they will be given deaconship, if they give some worthy offering, they are made elders, and if they should attend just about any seminary, they become pastors. So how easy is it for them to believe in Jesus? What an easy and comfortable job do pastors have these days? When someone graduates from seminary and works hard enough to become a senior pastor, he will make at least $3,000 a month. If the number of the congregation increases to several thousands, his monthly salary will easily top over $10,000 a month. If he builds a mammoth church and expands his church’s membership to 10,000, his annual salary including bonuses, will probably run into hundreds of thousands of dollars. Everyone reveres successful pastors like this and serve them as God’s servants. But not even once have these pastors denied themselves. Everything is a piece of cake for them, so long as they maintain good relationship with people. But they are all bound to hell because of such faith, believing in Jesus so easily according to their own thoughts.
My fellow believers, have you ever denied your own thoughts and minds? If you want to give the offering of Abel, you must deny your thoughts. Consider this. Let’s say that there are two offerings here: One is a lamb, slaughtered and split open to be offered; the other is a pile of the best and cleanest of all the produce of the year-long effort of farming. Which offering would be more appealing to humans? Cain’s offering has many different types of produce, and they all look appealing, attractive, and ripe and can be eaten right away as well. Abel’s offering, on the other hand is the firstborn of the flock. So does it have much meat on it? No, it has hardly any meat on it, there is blood all over, and it’s a complete mess. Do you think a sheep is a clean animal? Hardly! Unless bathed, its natural coat is very dirty. So, the produce of this earth is more appealing in a human perspective.
However, no matter how this may appeal to our eyes, if it does not appeal to God and He prefers the firstborn of the flock, then we should stop thinking like this, “God will be glorified more if I give this,” and instead deny ourselves saying, “God, I will offer You this if it would please You.” Anyone who does not deny his thoughts will be cast into hell.
You all know about Judas, he was one of Jesus’ disciples, right? Judas went to hell because he failed to deny his own thoughts. When Jesus was on this earth, He had twelve disciples with Him. Jesus spoke about Judas on countless occasions. “One of you will betray Me. The one who dips his hand into the bowl with Me will betray Me.” Even so, Judas betrayed Jesus and sold Him out. And it was not until Judas saw Jesus Christ dying on the Cross that he realized that He was indeed the Son of God. However, Judas did not actually believe in Jesus as the Savior, but he only perceived it. Even this man could have gone to Heaven, if only he had denied his thoughts just once and confessed, “I had been wrong all this time. I had considered Him only as a teacher, as a remarkable man. But He is the very Messiah that the Old Testament spoke of. Lord, I believe in You now.”
Even if we were to commit the sin of betraying Jesus, we would still go to Heaven if we believe in the gospel of the water and the Spirit. If Judas had denied his thoughts just once saying, “Jesus Christ is the Messiah who came to save me,” and believed in Him as his Savior, then he would have gone to Heaven. But what did he do? He refused to deny his wicked thoughts to the very end. He only said, “I have sinned by betraying innocent blood” (Matthew 27:4). This means that Judas did not believe in Jesus Christ as his Savior to the very end. He knew that Jesus was right and he was wrong, but this was as far as he went. He had to go further, denying himself and believing in Jesus Christ. He should have said, “Jesus, You are my Savior. I believe in everything You did for me when You came to this earth. You took upon all my sins by being baptized and You paid off all my sins by shedding Your blood on the Cross.” Had Judas accepted what the Son of God did for him, he would have been saved from all his sins.
 
 
If You Give Birth to Those Who Stand against the Truth, You Cannot Avoid Going to Hell
 
Foolish people challenge God’s righteousness to the very end only to be cast into hell. Just like Judas, he defied God’s authority and ended up in hell. The evilest of all is someone who claims to have more righteousness of his own than God’s righteousness. Although Judas came to regret what he did saying, “I have sinned by betraying innocent blood,” he did not truly believe in Jesus as the Son of God to the very end. He did not believe that the Son of God took upon all his sins through the gospel of the water and the Spirit. Judas did not receive Jesus as Christ. So his repentance relied only in an ethical dimension, and he was cast into hell. Wailing, “I have sinned by betraying innocent blood,” Judas threw down the thirty pieces of silver he had received at the feet of the chief priests and elders went out and hung himself.
Why did Judas hang himself? It is because he wanted to establish his own righteousness until the very end. He should rather have cast aside his own rightness, and he should have been saved by believing in the righteousness of God instead. Judas should have accepted Jesus as the Son of God, and he should have believed that this Son of God had saved him from sin through His water and blood.
God made the burning fiery hell for those who are too stubborn to believe in His righteousness. Judas should have accepted that Jesus Christ had sacrificed Himself for such corrupt human beings like himself, but he refused to accept the gospel of the water and the Spirit and defied it until to the very end. In other words, his thoughts only went as far as recognizing that Jesus was slightly more virtuous than himself.
My fellow believers, you can deny your thoughts only if you have enough faith to say, “God, I am 100% wrong, but You are 100% right.” Only when we admit like this can Jesus Christ come into our hearts, then only are we delivered from all our sins. The Bible says, “Then the LORD saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every intent of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually” (Genesis 6:5). Only when we wholeheartedly admit that our minds and thoughts are fundamentally evil and fallacious, can we then acknowledge that only the Word of God is true and good. And we can then receive the remission of sins by believing that Jesus the Son of God is the Christ who came by the gospel of the water and the Spirit.
Do you think only Judas challenged God? Many others have also refused to accept the gospel of the water and the Spirit into their hearts and defied God. Even now, countless theologians, renowned pastors and church leaders in the so-called mainstream Christianity are challenging God’s righteousness with their own righteousness only to be destroyed, just like Judas. Cain’s offering was one that was given in whatever way he saw fit. He could have said, “God, accept my offering. What? You won’t accept it? Accept it!” He gave his offering in whatever way he chose and not according to the statutes set up by God.
As is written in the Book of Leviticus, people must know God’s law of redemption, where sin is passed onto a lamb when a sinner’s hands are laid upon its head. Many people do not accept the fact that all the sins of this world were passed onto Jesus Christ when He was baptized by John the Baptist in a form of the laying on of hands. “How could Jesus have taken away my present sins over 2,000 years ago by being baptized?” Today’s Christianity is defying the righteousness of God with what it knows by the thoughts of the flesh, even though God is warning them saying, “But these speak evil of whatever they do not know; and whatever they know naturally, like brute beasts, in these things they corrupt themselves” (Jude 1:10). This is why Christianity has turned into one of the worldly religions. In other words, it boasts of human achievements and zeal, saying, “Our denomination has produced many martyrs, thousands of servants of God and hundreds of missionaries, and planted 500 churches in a year. Please God accept our devotion.” Like this, even now Christians are giving countless offerings just like Cain’s.
However, the Bible clearly tells us, “The LORD respected Abel and his offering, but He did not respect Cain and his offering.” That God respected Abel’s offering means that He accepted it in pleasure. In other words, God approved Abel’s heart and the offering that he gave to Him. Abel’s offering was fitting to God’s heart.
But God “did not respect Cain and his offering.” Even though Cain had prepared his offering with so much effort, God did not accept it. What use is it to bring offerings to God, if He does not accept them? It is all useless, isn’t it? Even if God does not accept it, if one were to bring heaps of offerings, does this then mean that Heaven and hell would be determined based on its amount? Would God accept our offerings, as long as we bring heaps, even if He says He won’t accept offerings like this? You need to realize that the more you bring and offer what God despises, the more troubled and angrier He gets. The more offerings that are offered that do not please God, the more wrath of God do you pile up upon your heads.
A certain pastor whom I know had all his life ministered with legalistic strictness and retired at the age of 70. However, he was still tormented as he had sin in his heart, and so he once came to the prayer retreat that my mother was administering. There, he prayed like this: “God, I am now nearing my retirement, and my time is near as well, but I have so many sins in my heart. Still, I have lived for You like this for the past 70 years, and so You will nevertheless accept me. God, I believe in You. Had You not given me Your grace, and had I not been saved, how could I ever have ministered till the age of 70? I trust in You.”
My fellow believers, since this pastor brought his 40 years of service as a pastor and prayed to God to accept him, would he be able to enter Heaven or not? Sadly, he won’t be welcomed to Heaven. Anyone who has a sinful heart can never go to Heaven. Unfortunately for this pastor, it was an undeniable fact that he also had sin in his heart, and that is why he was visiting every prayer retreat or church to solve this problem. He still had his own ego, and so he boasted that he never went to any church or prayer retreat tainted as heresy. He clung to his little pride saying, “I will never go to any place that’s called as heresy even if I will go to hell for my sins.”
My fellow believers, are you now seeking to confront God over your own pride? Would God send someone who does not renounce his pride to heaven, someone who dares to confront God and tries to win Him over? Of course, not! To whom does today’s Scripture passage refer? Through Abel’s offering it is telling us, “This is the faith of the born-again righteous people,” while through Cain’s offering, it is pointing to many Christians who are flaunting their own pride and righteousness, only to be accursed by God and cast into hell. It is speaking about both types of people and each of their faith at the same time. While we should listen to what God’s Word is saying about us, we also need to listen to what God is telling others.
People like Cain toil away all their lives to prepare the offerings from the fruit of the ground until the day they die. They say, “Today, I missed this Morning Prayer meeting, but I am sure to attend tomorrow. This year I was somewhat dishonest with my tithe offerings, but next year I will be completely faithful. I will attend evangelization programs to preach the gospel. I will bear witness of Jesus to a hundred people a year. I will not cause any trouble to my pastor. I will try not to miss any meeting.” But can they really keep all these resolutions? Their hearts want this, but their flesh is too weak, and so they always fall short of their objectives.
Eventually, there comes a time when the curtain of life must be drawn. God calls them, “Your time is up.” They then say, “Lord, please accept me. Please accept this sinner of many iniquities. I am coming home to You. I am a sinner. I am the worst of sinners. But Lord, I still believe in You, so please accept me just as I am.” They also leave their wills to their children saying, “My children believe in Jesus faithfully. I am leaving first. I am going to the Kingdom of Heaven before you to prepare the place for you, and so come later to meet me there. I am sure that if only you believe in Jesus somehow you will all meet me in the Kingdom of Heaven. This grandfather is going. This father is going. Goodbye for now, my precious children!”
However, their hearts still remain fearful because of their many sins. So they say, “Lord, I am afraid. Please accept me. Please accept this sinner with so many iniquities. Oh, Lord, I believe in You. Please accept me. I believe that You will accept me just as I am. Amen! I believe in You!” Because they have no assurance of salvation, they ask others to sing the following hymn until they pass away: “♪Pass me not, O gentle Savior, hear my humble cry; ♪while on others Thou art calling, do not pass me by. ♪” Then they die.
These people were deceived by the false gospel until their very demise. They had defied God and deceived themselves until the very day of their demise. But God had spoken to their hearts’ conscience: “You cannot come to Heaven. You are not My child. You have to be remitted from all of your sins first.” Like this, God had spoken to their conscience until the day they died. It wasn’t just once or twice that God told them. He had told them repeatedly from when they were young to when they were dying. “♩Pass me not, O gentle Savior, hear my humble cry; ♪while on others Thou art calling, do not pass me by.” Yet every time, they only sang, “♩Pass me not, O gentle Savior, hear my humble cry; ♪while on others Thou art calling, do not pass me by,” and prayed, “Lord, I believe that I will go to Heaven. Please accept me.”
To such people’s consciences the Lord says, “You cannot come to Heaven. You’re not allowed here. After all, don’t you still have sin in your hearts? You should know that if you have sin, you will not be allowed into Heaven.” Without exception, the Lord had clearly visited their hearts and made it plain to them. Yet even though their hearts are filled with worry, they still did not submit to the voice of God, but instead, mindful of what others might say, they managed their outward appearance to pretend to be peaceful saying, “I believe the Lord will accept me just as I am.” To the very end, they defy God and deceive themselves, deceive God and take His name in vain. Where would people who keep deceiving themselves to the very end go? Because countless people are deceiving themselves, they will eventually end up in hell. They will certainly not go to hell if they do not deceive their own hearts.
 “Your salvation is problematic. Don’t you have sin?” God comes to people’s conscience and says things like this. Yet despite this, people are so conscious of what others might say about them that they don’t reveal themselves as they really are, and they therefore deceive themselves. People like this cannot find grace from God. Do you know how many people in this world are like this? Today about 99 out of every 100 people are descendants of Cain. Abel’s descendants are less than one out of 1,000 people, or perhaps not even one out of 10,000. When considering the world population in this context, those who are like Cain constitute the absolute majority. Those who say that they will go to Heaven just because they believe in Jesus somehow even though they have sin in their hearts are all giving the ‘offering of Cain’.
It is written, “The LORD respected Abel and his offering.” Abel was approved by God. My fellow believers, you need to realize just how different Cain’s and Abel’s offerings were, and how important the lesson contained in this passage is, and how many people are still giving the offering of Cain and thereby grieve God. To all such people, we have to teach the true gospel, namely the offering of Abel.
 
 
What Is the Gospel of the Water and the Spirit That the Bible Speaks of?
 
In Matthew 3:13-17 we read an account where Jesus took upon all the sins of every sinner when He came to this earth. What we should first realize is that it is not because of His humbleness that Jesus was baptized by John the Baptist showing us through this a sign of His humility. The baptism Jesus received from John the Baptist was the ministry where He ‘all at once’ bore the sins of this world upon Himself.
We have to first know correctly that Jesus was baptized by John the Baptist to take away all our sins. This awareness is absolutely necessary to know and understand the gospel of the water and the Spirit. The gospel Truth of the water and the Spirit is the crucial knowledge of Truth that is indispensable for you to be freed from sin, and it is God’s power. “The baptism through which Jesus took away all the sins of the sinners of this world once for all” is not a minor event that can be just ignored. It is significant and an absolutely indispensable element to our salvation.
Long ago, all the Apostles received the remission of sins by believing both in the baptism of Jesus and His blood on the Cross, and they all preached this faith. The Apostle Peter also testified about this gospel truth in 1 Peter 3:21. However, people today take Jesus’ baptism too lightly. While they believe in Jesus’ Cross as the axis of salvation, they do not place any importance on His baptism and some even renounce it. Nonetheless, you will now realize that the baptism of Jesus and His blood on the Cross constitute the sole Truth that saves us.
Today’s Christians easily believe in Jesus’ blood on the Cross, and they faithfully preach it as well. They are therefore completely oblivious to the importance of the baptism which Jesus received, and they do not wish to investigate it either. They think, “All that I need to do is just believe in Jesus’ blood just like the many around me do. What is the big problem then, even if I don’t know about Jesus’ baptism?” So they ignore the power of the baptism which Jesus received from John the Baptist, and they don’t even try to know it. This is because they are ignorant that the baptism of Jesus and His Cross constitute one perfect gospel. Lest people should receive the remission of their sins, Satan in his devious ways covered up the gospel Word of the water and the Spirit through the history of Christianity, and in its place made them believe in a half-completed gospel instead, which is really no gospel at all.
Can all those bound in their sins be saved from their sins if they just believe in Jesus’ blood on the Cross? No, they can never be saved like this. However, because they have believed all this time that “one is saved from sin if only he believes in Jesus’ blood on the Cross,” they have failed to appreciate the importance of the baptism of Jesus and have totally ignored it. Satan knows very well that no matter how fervently people might believe in Jesus, if they do not know the importance of the baptism which He received from John the Baptist and its power, then their faith will all be in vain. That is why even today, Satan is obstructing them through worldly churches, so that people remain spiritually blind and cannot believe in the gospel of the water and the Spirit. Satan’s aim therefore is to hide the gospel of the water and the Spirit from people’s eyes with an erroneous gospel, so that Christians would not be able to find out about the baptism of Jesus.
 
 
The Evidences of the Bible Proclaim That Jesus Took upon the Sins of All Sinners of This World All at Once through His Baptism
 
The first evidence comes from Matthew 3:15, which tells us that all the sins of this world were passed onto Jesus once for all when John the Baptist baptized Jesus Christ: “But Jesus answered and said to him, ‘Permit it to be so now, for thus it is fitting for us to fulfill all righteousness.’ Then he allowed Him.” The baptism of Jesus by John the Baptist was to take upon Himself all at once the sins of the people of this world.
Here, the words “for thus” is “οϋτως γάρ” (hoo’-tos gar) in Greek. These words mean “just in this way,” “most fitting,” or “there is no other way besides this.” To fulfill “all righteousness” is “πάσαν δικαιοσύνην” (pasan dikaiosunen) in Greek, that means “the fairest state that has no defect at all.”
Therefore, this passage shows us clearly that Jesus irreversibly took the sins of mankind onto Himself in the most proper way through His baptism which He received from John the Baptist. He did this because only then would “all the righteousness” of God be fulfilled. “All the righteousness” of God is God’s rightfulness in taking upon the sins of this world though the baptism Jesus received. This is God’s righteousness. By being baptized and shedding His blood on the Cross, Jesus completely washed away the sins of humankind and saved it from all condemnation. But whoever refuses to believe in this Truth will be condemned for their sins because it is written, “He who believes in Him is not condemned; but he who does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God” (John 3:18). This is God’s just salvation and condemnation. The righteousness of God was fulfilled with His just salvation.
When Jesus came to this earth, He was baptized by John the Baptist, and whosoever believes in this has no sin in his heart. As far as Jesus’ method of blotting out the sins of this world is concerned, were it not for this method of being baptized by John the Baptist and crucified to death, God’s just salvation could not have been fulfilled. Through His baptism and blood, Jesus has blotted out all our sins and including the sins of this world all at once with the righteousness of God, justly and fairly. It is through the baptism of Jesus which He received from John the Baptist that He took upon all the sins of mankind, was crucified, and thereby saved us perfectly. In this way, the Lord has fulfilled all the righteousness of God once for all. Like this, God’s love was manifested through Jesus Christ. It was to complete our salvation that Jesus was baptized by John the Baptist and was crucified.
The purpose of the baptism which Jesus received in the Jordan River from John the Baptist was to shoulder all the sins of this world once for all. Where then have all our sins gone to? Today’s Christians believe that their sins still remain intact in their hearts. When Jesus was baptized by John the Baptist to take upon all the sins of sinners, and He indeed bore all these sins, how can there still be any sin left in this world? If you believe like this, how could your sins ever be blotted out? Those who wholly believe in the baptism of Jesus would realize that their sins were passed onto the body of Jesus. However, those who do not believe in Jesus’ baptism with their hearts could never say, “There is no sin in my heart.”
We must believe that Jesus took upon all our personal sins as well when He was baptized. If you believe in this Truth, how could your sins still be with you? If you really know the meaning of the baptism of Jesus and His bloodshed on the Cross, and if you really believe in this, then there can be no sin left in your hearts whatsoever. Since this world’s sins were justly passed onto Jesus through His baptism, and if we believe with our hearts that Jesus fulfilled the righteous work of taking upon all our sins, then we can be perfectly saved from all our sins. Everyone should believe in this Truth and be saved from all our personal sins as well.
 
 
The Implication of the Baptism of Jesus
 
“Baptism,” “βάφτισμα (baptisma)” in Greek means “being immersed.” To baptize, “baptizo” in Greek, means to immerse, to bury or to cleanse. The baptism Jesus received has the power to take away sinners’ iniquities in this world and wash them all away. Jesus immersed His body in the water of the Jordan River and was baptized by John the Baptist in a form of ‘laying on of hands.’ This was the same as the Old Testament’s concept of ‘laying on of hands,’ where hands were laid upon the head of a sacrificial animal at the altar of burnt offering. Like this, when John the Baptist baptized Jesus, he likewise laid his two hands on Jesus’ head.
Matthew 3:16 goes on to say, “When He had been baptized, Jesus came up immediately from the water.” This means that when Jesus was baptized by John the Baptist, He received it in the form of full immersion. It implies that Jesus took the sins of mankind upon Himself, and that He would eventually die on the Cross and rise from the dead. That John the Baptist laid his hands on the head of Jesus signifies that the sins of the world were indeed passed onto Jesus. That Jesus was submerged under the water means His death. That Jesus emerged from the water, on the other hand implies His resurrection. Therefore, the passing of our sins, our death and our resurrection are all contained in the Truth of the baptism that Jesus received from John the Baptist.
That Jesus was baptized by John the Baptist is the fulfillment of God’s salvation promised in the statutes of the Old Testament, where the sacrificial goat accepted all the sins of the people of Israel once for all on the Day of Atonement with the High Priest laying his hands on its head. That is why chapter ten of the Book of Hebrews refers to the sacrifice of the Day of Atonement and explains in detail the everlasting propitiation of Jesus. In this way, God completed the Truth that blots out the sins of this world once for all and forever. By taking upon all the sins of this world through His baptism, by dying on the Cross instead of all of us sinners, and by rising from the dead to bring back His believers to life, Jesus through this fulfilled perfectly the will of the Father. Today, the water baptism that believers in Jesus’ baptism receive is the affirmation of our salvation from all and any iniquities, and it is the mark of faith indicating that we believe in the baptism of Jesus, His death on the Cross, and His resurrection as our salvation. Our water baptism therefore has nothing to do with His baptism.
In Matthew 3:15, Jesus said to John the Baptist, “Permit it to be so now, for thus it is fitting for us to fulfill all righteousness.” This verse therefore makes it abundantly clear, that the reason Jesus was baptized was to fulfill all the righteousness of God. “All the righteousness” of God means the rightfulness of God. The Book of Romans declares that we are made absolutely sinless by believing in this way. This has been made possible because Jesus accepted all the sins of mankind through His baptism, and He has thus saved all sinners from sin. We should therefore believe in the Truth that makes us truly born again. Matthew 3:15 thus proclaims the crux of the matter, “It is right for Me to receive baptism from you, and for you to give Me baptism, and to thus blot out all the sins of the sinners of this world.” This is the very righteousness of God. It is the very reason why Jesus was baptized by John the Baptist, and why He could be crucified later on. It was to blot out all the sins of this world that Jesus was “thus” baptized by John the Baptist —that is, in a method of the laying on of hands through which Jesus accepted our sins. Therefore, to make sinners righteous, Jesus was baptized by John the Baptist as the first act of His public life, and God the Father commended Him for this.
The word “righteousness” here refers to ‘justness’ that has no defect from any perspective. That Jesus and John the Baptist fulfilled all the righteous works of God together means that Jesus washed away everyone’s sins once for all by being baptized by John the Baptist when He came to this earth. By being baptized, shedding His blood, and rising from the dead the third day, Jesus fulfilled the most important righteous work, that is, the righteousness of God. All this is the Truth that has fulfilled God’s righteousness. The righteousness of God is what delivers everyone from every sin, and therefore to blot out the sins of this world, Jesus was baptized by John the Baptist, shed His blood on the Cross while shouldering the sins of the world, and has thereby saved all sinners.
What every sinner wants and yearns for is to be washed from all their sins and enter Heaven. That is why Jesus came to this earth and was baptized by John the Baptist, to blot out, all at once, the sins of all the sinners living on this earth. Because Jesus was baptized by John the Baptist, this world’s sins were taken away from the people of this world and were passed onto the body of Jesus. It was thus fitting for Jesus to fulfill all the righteous works of God by being baptized in this way.
Matthew 3:15 says, “Permit it to be so now, for thus it is fitting for us to fulfill all righteousness.” By this, Jesus was actually saying, “John, it is fitting for Me to receive the baptism that fulfills the righteousness of God from you, and to accept all the sins of the sinners of this world, and to thereby fulfill the righteousness of God.” Jesus is saying to us now, “The Lord God has completely saved sinners from all their sins. This is the reason why I came. To fulfill this righteousness of God, it was fitting for Me to receive the baptism by John the Baptist, and that is why I was crucified and rose from the dead. This is the righteous work that I have completed for your salvation. So you shall now believe in God’s righteousness.”
The method Jesus chose to save us from all the sins of this world was to be baptized, shed His blood on the Cross and rise from the dead. In doing these righteous acts, He completed the gospel Truth of the water and the Spirit for us. And to all those who believe in this gospel Truth, He has brought true salvation, eternal life and the blessing of becoming God’s own children. We must realize that it is the most proper and precious faith for us to be saved from our sins by believing in the gospel of the water and the Spirit that has fulfilled the righteousness of God.
My fellow believers, when Jesus says that He came to this earth to blot out all our sins, would there be anyone who would object to this Truth? I know there is none among you. Who could ever object to what Jesus did when He came to this earth to blot out sinners’ iniquities? No one! Is there anyone who would protest the Truth—that Jesus, for the sake of the salvation of sinners, took upon the sins of the world by being baptized, was crucified and died on the Cross, rose from the dead, and has thereby saved us from all the sins of this world? Who could ever say that this is biblically wrong? If anyone objects to this, he would certainly be standing against the righteousness of God.
Whether a sinner can be washed from his sins or not is determined based on whether or not he believes in the baptism of Jesus and His blood on the Cross. Salvation is determined depending on the presence or absence of this faith in the righteousness of God. Those who believe in God’s righteousness are made righteous, but those who do not believe in God’s righteousness continue to live as sinners only to end up in hell. Each of us will go to either Heaven or hell all in accordance with our faith, whether we believe in the Truth or not. For a sinner to be saved there is no other way but to believe in the baptism of Jesus and His blood on the Cross.
Yet despite all of this, Christians generally still ardently believe, “The blood of Jesus alone is salvation,” and some even say, “Anyone can be saved just by believing in the name of Jesus.” Others claim, “To be saved, one must believe in Jesus and live virtuously.” However, given the fact that Jesus said, “I have been baptized by John to blot out all the iniquities of every sinner,” when it comes to the method of blotting out every sinner’s sins, there is no other salvation but only the baptism and bloodshed of Jesus, and therefore we must believe in both of them. Jesus testified clearly “Thus it is fitting for us to fulfill all righteousness.” For all sinners to receive the remission of their sins, faith in the baptism of Jesus, His death on the Cross and His resurrection is the most appropriate.
For the purpose of saving sinners from all their sins, original and personal sin alike, Jesus was baptized by John, was crucified to death and rose from the dead. To blot out every sinner’s iniquity, and to become the Savior of all sinners, Jesus voluntarily received the baptism given by John the Baptist, willingly bore the punishment of crucifixion reserved for the most heinous criminals, and by rising from the dead, He manifested Himself to many disciples. Therefore, by believing in the baptism of Jesus, sinners are made righteous, and by believing in Jesus’ bloodshed on the Cross, they are made God’s children, never to be condemned for sin again.
However, most Christians still do not know why John the Baptist baptized Jesus. Yet they still profess to believe in Jesus as their Savior. Further, there are many Christians who even object to the fact that God created the universe and everything in it. Espousing the theory of evolution they arrogantly say, “God did not create the universe and all things in it. The universe came to exist spontaneously with a giant cosmic explosion, and everything came to exist through evolution.” These people are all foolish.
If their claim is right, then do dandelions turn into roses after a long time? According to the evolutionists’ stupid arguments, there must be certain apes that evolve into humans. But dandelions came to exist because the Creator said, “Let there be dandelions.” So dandelions cannot turn into roses just because time goes by. A species may change into new forms or shapes as it adjusts to the changing environment, but the species by themselves, which God created in the very beginning, cannot change, nor can its very essence change.
 
 
All of Us Must Deny Our Thoughts and Follow the Lord’s Thoughts and His Plan
 
Anyone who wants to receive the remission of sins needs to deny himself. The Lord said, “Whoever wants to follow Me must deny himself and pick up his cross.” To reach our salvation, we must believe in the baptism of Jesus and His blood on the Cross as our true salvation.
By being baptized by John the Baptist, shedding His blood on the Cross, and rising from the dead again, the Lord has saved those who believe in Him from sin all at once. If God of Truth tells us that He has done all this, then what we should do is just believe in the written Word exactly as it is. If the Lord says to us that He has saved us from sin through the gospel of the water and the Spirit, then we should believe so accordingly, rather than saying, “Is this the only way to the remission of sin?” The Lord has saved us in this way because it is His sovereign right to do this, not something that we should object to. Who are we to challenge God? Just as a potter does whatever he wants do with his vessels, so does God do whatever He desires.
God the Father also says that to save sinners from sin, He made Jesus be baptized by John the Baptist and had Him crucified to shed His blood on the Cross. So what sinner could refuse to believe in this and reject God’s love, just because it’s not to their liking, and say, “How come Jesus took my sins upon Himself through His baptism?” Of course, one is free to reject His love. But one is also free to believe. But, if anyone rejects or ignores this Truth of salvation that has come by the gospel of the water and the Spirit, then he cannot become God’s child. He will remain a sinner for he does not believe. This person’s sin is the sin of not believing in the love of God and His righteousness. Therefore, anyone who has sin in his heart must believe in the gospel of the water and the Spirit.
What would be the result if a sinner does not believe in the gospel of the righteousness of God? If sinners reject the baptism and blood of Jesus, who has remitted away all of their sins, because they are not satisfied with it, they would ultimately be condemned for their sins in the end, whose fault would that then be? Would it not be their own fault should they refuse to believe in the love of God and His righteousness? Jesus has done nothing wrong towards us. That’s because He already accepted all our sins through the baptism that He received from John the Baptist. Would you believe in the righteousness of God, or would you rather not believe and reject it until the very end, even as you remain sinful? Are your hearts willing to reject the gospel of the water and the Spirit? I therefore admonish all of you to accept this Truth into your hearts, be delivered from your sins, and become the instruments of God’s righteousness, His faithful workers.
Believe in the gospel of the water and the Spirit! God’s salvation will then come to you and Heaven will be fulfilled in your heart. Seek out the gospel of the water and the Spirit! You will then find the gospel Truth of the water and the Spirit exactly as it is. Knock on the door! You will discover the righteousness of God hidden in the gospel of the water and the Spirit, and the Gates of Heaven will be opened to you. If you believe in the gospel of the water and the Spirit through which Jesus has delivered sinners, you will receive the remission of sins and the gift of the Holy Spirit. It is by believing in the gospel of the water and the Spirit that you are made righteous. It is by believing in the righteousness of God that you are turned into God’s children and enter Heaven. Whether your faith is approved by God is entirely up to you.
For those of you who still might be in doubt about the gospel of the water and the Spirit, let me again reiterate the significance of the baptism of Jesus. The baptism that Jesus received means that the sins of the world were passed onto Him. When Jesus was baptized by John the Baptist, all our sins were passed onto the Lamb, just like the sins of the Israelites in the Old Testament were passed onto the sacrificial animal with the laying on of hands. However, unlike the Old Testament’s sinners or High Priest who laid their hands on a lamb or a goat to pass their daily or yearly sins, Jesus took upon all the sins of the entire human race once and for all with His baptism. Through the baptism He received from John the Baptist, in other words, the Lord blotted out all the iniquities of sinners most appropriately. You too therefore should lay your hands on Jesus and pass all your sins onto His head by faith by believing in the gospel of the water and the Spirit.
The priests of the Old Testament gave sacrifices day after day. The High Priest also offered sacrifice once a year, but no matter for how long he did this, sin in their hearts never ceased. So when the High Priest died, his son succeeded him as a new High Priest and continued on with its priestly duty. In contrast, Jesus has become the High Priest of the Kingdom of God and offered the eternal sacrifice with His own body: He took the sins of the world not upon an animal’s body, but upon His own unblemished sinless body through His baptism, died on the Cross, rose from the dead, and has thereby brought everlasting life to His believers. The Lord has cleansed His believers once and for all, not with the blood of a goat or a bull, but by offering His own body to be baptized and to bleed. This salvation is eternal.
If we had to receive the remission of sins day after day as was the case in the age of the Old Testament, then Jesus would have to be living on this earth in flesh even now. However, to deliver sinners from the sins of the world, the Lord gave up His body to John the Baptist to be baptized, thus accepting all our sins, He shed His blood on the Cross, and He has thereby made His believers whole all at once. In other words, it is through the gospel of His baptism and His blood on the Cross that the Lord has forever saved sinners from sin once and for all.
 
 
The Gospel Testified by John the Baptist Is None Other Than the Gospel of the Water and the Spirit
 
He who was to testify, “Jesus took upon all the sins of the world by being baptized by John the Baptist,” was John the Baptist. It was this John who personally baptized Jesus to pass the sins of the world onto Him, and that is how Jesus shouldered the sins of the world. So testifying this Truth, John the Baptist said in John 1:29, “Behold! The Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!” Before Jesus received the baptism given by John the Baptist, He had as yet not taken away the sins of the world. But once Jesus accepted the sins of the world by being baptized by John the Baptist, He now became the perfect Lamb of God. It is because Jesus was baptized by John the Baptist that John could bear His witness by saying aloud, “Behold! The Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!”
As it is written, “The next day John saw Jesus coming toward him, and said, ‘Behold! The Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!’” (John 1:29), John testified here that Jesus is the “Lamb of God.” This means that the propitiation for every sinner’s iniquities is none other than Jesus. It is exactly like this because Jesus took upon all the sins of this world once and for all by being baptized that He became the lawful propitiation for sinners.
 
 
The Very Gospel Testified by the Twelve Disciples
 
It is written in Acts 1:21-22, “Therefore, of these men who have accompanied us all the time that the Lord Jesus went in and out among us, beginning from the baptism of John to that day when He was taken up from us, one of these must become a witness with us of His resurrection.” This passage outlines the qualifications of apostleship that Peter proposed when the disciples were to select a new apostle to replace Judas. In short, an apostle could therefore only be chosen from the disciples who would testify that Jesus Christ has become the Savior of sinners by being baptized. What we need to pay close attention to here is the phrase, “beginning from the baptism of John.” In other words, the new apostle had to be someone who had walked with Jesus from when He was baptized, a righteous man who fully knew why Jesus received water baptism from John the Baptist, and exactly why Jesus died on the Cross—only such a man was qualified to become an apostle. Apostles were raised from the disciples who knew exactly how Jesus brought the remission of sin, by taking upon the iniquities of sinners through His baptism and blotting them out with the blood He shed on the Cross.
The Apostles, who were Jesus’ disciples, preached the message about the baptism of Jesus and His Cross. All the Apostles preached the gospel of the water and the Spirit that began from the baptism of John. In other words, the purpose for which Jesus was baptized by John the Baptist was for Him to become the Savior of sinners. The Apostles of Jesus all knew this and testified to it clearly. They believed that it was the most righteous work to preach the baptism of Jesus, His death and His resurrection and thereby deliver this world’s sinners from their iniquities.
 
 
The Gospel of the Water and the Spirit Testified by the Apostle Paul
 
Let us turn to Romans 6:3-5: “Or do you not know that as many of us as were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into His death? Therefore we were buried with Him through baptism into death, that just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life. For if we have been united together in the likeness of His death, certainly we also shall be in the likeness of His resurrection.”
When we read these words, “As many of us as were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into His death,” it means that Jesus could atone for all our sins because He had taken all the sins of the world through His baptism. In other words, when we believe in Jesus as our Savior, we can be wholly united with Christ by believing in the Truth hidden in the baptism Jesus received.
Throughout all the Pauline Epistles, we come across his faith in both the baptism and blood of Jesus. Just as the Book of Galatians mentions Jesus’ baptism, so does the Book of Romans mention both His baptism and blood. The Book of Ephesians also speaks of the baptism of Jesus in chapter four, saying, “There is one body and one Spirit, just as you were called in one hope of your calling; one Lord, one faith, one baptism” (Ephesians 4:4-5). Like this, the belief that Jesus took upon all the sins of sinners when He was baptized, and that He paid off all the wages of sin with His death on the Cross, is the true faith that is united with Christ.
How can we therefore be united with Jesus? It is by believing in the baptism of Jesus and His Cross that we can be united together. The faith that turns a sinner into a righteous person is the faith that is united with Christ. For a sinner to become a worker of the righteousness of God also requires this faith that is united with the baptism of Christ and His death. Likewise, the faith that opens the Gates of Heaven is the same faith, knowing and believing that Jesus took upon every sinner’s iniquities by being baptized and bearing the condemnation of sin on the Cross. And only when we believe like this can we be united with Jesus and enter Heaven. Now having risen from the dead to bring all those who believe in this Truth back to life, both in body and spirit; Jesus now sits on the right hand of the throne of the Father. If any sinner wholeheartedly believes in the water baptism of Jesus, His carrying of the sins of the world, and His blood on the Cross, then he is approved to be united with Him by faith.
The Bible says that the sins of the world are all the sins that the entire human beings have ever committed and will ever commit from the day they were born to the day they will die. According to the law of God that declares the wages of sin to be death, we all deserve to die, but we can still be delivered from the sins of death by believing that Jesus took upon all our sins with His baptism and was punished on the Cross instead of us sinners. This Truth is the very gospel of the water and the Spirit, in which Jesus laid down His life, was baptized, and shed His blood on the Cross in our place, when it was we who had to die for our sins. By thus sacrificing His body, Jesus bore all our sins and paid off all their wages with His bloodshed.
Let us turn to Galatians 2:20 here: “I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me.”
God tells us here that if we believe in Christ’s baptism united with Him, then through this faith, correctly believing that our sins were passed onto Jesus, we can be crucified with Jesus. Therefore, those who have united with Christ by faith have also been brought back to life with Christ. The Apostle Paul said that those who were baptized into Jesus Christ were crucified with Jesus, and were brought back to life in faith. It is because we have partaken in “Jesus’ baptism, His death on the Cross, and His resurrection” by faith that our souls have been brought back to life again by the same faith. Any soul that does not believe in the righteousness of Jesus Christ is a dead soul. But those who believe in the Lord united with His baptism have already been brought back to life by faith.
By what can the souls of the righteous live again? By believing in the baptism of the Son of God, His Cross, and His resurrection that they are united with Christ and forever washed from their sins and to live again. To save sinners, Jesus took upon all their sins by being baptized and blotted them out, and therefore it is by believing in this that we can become united with Christ. All the righteous in this world had previously been sinners who had committed countless transgressions, but by believing in the baptism and blood of Jesus the Son of God, they were born again and received new life as the righteous. Then, do the righteous have anything else to boast of? No, they were made righteous only by believing in the baptism and blood of Jesus. Is it of our own merits that we have been delivered from sin? Not at all! That people like us, who commit personal sins every day, have been made sinless is not of our own work. It is of the work of the baptism of Jesus and His Cross.
The Lord is now alive in the hearts of those of us who believe in the gospel of the water and the Spirit. That’s because there is faith in your hearts that believes in the Word of the baptism of Jesus, of His death and His resurrection. Do you wholly believe in the Truth of salvation, that Jesus has remitted away all your sins? For us to believe in Jesus and follow Him properly, we must first deny ourselves and receive the remission of sins. Only then can we follow Jesus. Whoever wants to follow the Lord must deny himself first; he should deny his old self, his old faith, his old knowledge, his old thinking, his old value system and his own righteousness. There are so many sinners who, unable to deny their own thoughts, cannot be remitted from all their personal sins and are heading straight to hell.
General Naaman, the commander of the army of the Kingdom of Aram, went to see God’s servant to be cured from his leprosy. At that time, Elisha the servant of God told Naaman to go to the Jordan River and wash himself seven times. But General Naaman refused to follow Elisha’s instruction saying, “Do you think Abanah and Pharpar, the rivers in my own country are worse than this Jordan River? Do you think I have come all this way here to take a bath? I have come to be cured from my leprosy.” Soon, however he listened to his servant admonishing him to heed to Elisha’s instruction, denying his own thoughts, he dipped himself in the Jordan River seven times, and his leprosy was healed as a result. Had Naaman not denied his thoughts, he could not have been cured from leprosy. Likewise, if we do not deny our own thoughts and instead live our lives of faith according to whatever way we deem fit, then we will not be able to receive the remission of sins. Anyone who does not deny his thoughts and does not believe in the gospel of the water and the Spirit can never have his sins blotted out. My fellow believers, no matter how your thoughts might cloud your minds, you must deny them. That is the way to life.
My fellow believers, what is there for you to be so touchy, if you are no more than sinners? If God says that Jesus took upon all our sins through His water baptism and blotted them all out by bearing all the condemnation of sin on the Cross with His own blood, then all that we have to do is just to believe in it and accept it into our hearts with thanksgiving. Why did God write down how He has saved us from all our sins? He wrote it down so that those in the following generations who need to be saved would deny their thoughts, accept what God has done for them, and be saved from their sins.
Believe in the gospel of the water and the Spirit! Only then can you pray properly according to the will of the Lord. And only then can you give spiritual offerings to God.