“Now there was a famine in the land, and Abram went down to Egypt to dwell there, for the famine was severe in the land. And it came to pass, when he was close to entering Egypt, that he said to Sarai his wife, ‘Indeed I know that you are a woman of beautiful countenance. Therefore it will happen, when the Egyptians see you, that they will say, ‘This is his wife’; and they will kill me, but they will let you live. Please say you are my sister, that it may be well with me for your sake, and that I may live because of you.’ So it was, when Abram came into Egypt, that the Egyptians saw the woman, that she was very beautiful. The princes of Pharaoh also saw her and commended her to Pharaoh. And the woman was taken to Pharaoh’s house. He treated Abram well for her sake. He had sheep, oxen, male donkeys, male and female servants, female donkeys, and camels. But the LORD plagued Pharaoh and his house with great plagues because of Sarai, Abram’s wife. And Pharaoh called Abram and said, ‘What is this you have done to me? Why did you not tell me that she was your wife? Why did you say, ‘She is my sister’? I might have taken her as my wife. Now therefore, here is your wife; take her and go your way.’ So Pharaoh commanded his men concerning him; and they sent him away, with his wife and all that he had.”
People often think that the fathers of faith such as Abraham and Moses in the Old Testament, and the Apostles of Jesus in the New Testament were completely upright without any blemish. They think that these men of faith were very special people, very different from ordinary people, and therefore it was naturally not easy for them to walk in the same way of such a faith throughout their lives. When we read a biography of someone famous, it’s often filled with nothing but praise, saying that this person had no human shortcomings, made a lot of contributions, and was an extraordinary person. For instance, there is a biography of Admiral Yi Sunshin, who through his patriotic activities rescued Korea from the Japanese invasion of 1592. So his biographer wrote, “From his early childhood, Admiral Yi showed promise that he was going to be a great figure. He was skilled at sword fighting, a filial son to his parents, and loyal to his country. So later on when he became a great admiral, he delivered Korea from the hands of the Japanese invaders. He had all the hallmarks of a great man from his early childhood.” The point is that Admiral Yi was distinguished from ordinary people from his early childhood as a nearly perfect man. The same is true for other biographies.
In contrast to this, the Bible does not say that the people of faith were perfect. Sometimes it shows their human fragilities and shortcomings. The Bible says that Abraham was a faithful follower of the Word of God, obeying Him by faith, even if what God said to him was beyond his human comprehension. It’s because Abraham believed absolutely in God’s Word like this that we say that he was a man of great faith. God also loved Abraham for this very reason. Because Abraham believed in God and followed Him, God gave him special blessings, saying,
“I will bless those who bless you,
And I will curse him who curses you;
And in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed.”
In his flesh he also had many shortcomings, and he was no different from anyone else. Such blemishes of Abraham are also recorded in the Bible. As it’s shown in today’s Scripture reading, Abraham left his family and his father’s house in Haran and went to Canaan as instructed by God, but when severe famine visited him, he went down to the land of Egypt. In other words, on his own impulse and whim and without asking God, Abraham departed from the land God had told him to enter and to stay in.
After entering Egypt, how did Abraham behave when he felt threatened by the Egyptians and wanted to save his own life? He deceived them by saying that his wife was his sister, and sent her to Pharaoh. Like this, the Bible also exposes Abraham’s carnal shortcomings. But this is not just to blame Abraham or to rebuke him, but to give us lessons through his failings.
As you know very well, Abraham’s wife Sarah was a very beautiful woman. She was so beautiful that she could have competed in today’s beauty pageants. Abraham had taken his beautiful wife, his nephew Lot, and his servants to the land of Canaan. When a famine manifested itself in the land of Canaan, he kept moving south to escape from this famine, and eventually he ended up entering the land of Egypt. But Abraham soon learned that the Egyptians could not take their eyes off his wife. The people kept starring at his wife. They showed no interest in Abraham or his nephew Lot, Lot’s wife or any of his male and female servants, but they were solely interested in Abraham’s wife. She was so beautiful that even the soldiers stared at her with wide eyes, and the story of her beauty spread across Egypt. The whole country was stirred up in commotion by the news of an extremely beautiful foreign woman entering their country.
The news reached the royal palace, and on hearing this, Pharaoh became curious about this woman. His subjects told him, “Your majesty, a certain woman came into our country, and she is said to be so beautiful that everyone is amazed. Would you also like to see her?” The king then told them to confirm the news by saying, “Is that so? Has such a beautiful woman really come into our country? Go and check if it is really so.” After having verified Sarah’s beauty, the king’s servants came back and reported to him, “The rumor is true sir. We have never seen such a beautiful woman in our country.”
What do you suppose the king wanted to do when he heard this? In the ancient times, if someone’s wife was too beautiful, killing the husband to take her was a common place affair. Abraham felt that he could be killed because of his wife. He thought to himself, “How can I let such a thing happen? I can’t die like this. I can’t lose my life over my wife.” So Abraham said to his wife Sarah, “Indeed I know that you are a woman of beautiful countenance. Therefore it will happen, when the Egyptians see you, that they will say, ‘This is his wife’; and they will kill me, but they will let you live. Please say you are my sister, that it may be well with me for your sake, and that I may live because of you.”
His words were half-respectful and half-threatening. “I will die if you say that I am your husband. Look at these people. They are looking at me as though they are ready to kill me. So instead of calling me your husband, call me your brother.” Abraham’s wife Sarah was a very obedient woman. So she did what Abraham had asked her to do. The ideal wife desired by men is someone who is obedient, even more so than someone who is stunningly beautiful. Sarah, Abraham’s wife was such an admirable woman.
Pharaoh then sent his men to bring Sarah to him. Seeing Abraham standing next to Sarah, they asked her, “Who is this man?” Then obeying her husband, Sarah then lied to them by saying, “He is my brother.” Since such a beautiful woman was not married, the king wanted to make her his woman. So he invited Sarah to his palace, and Abraham was also invited. If nothing was done, Sarah would have to marry Pharaoh. Since this would mean an already married woman getting married again, Sarah would be committing sin against her will. On the other hand, if Abraham had retracted and said, “She is actually my wife,” it was clear that both he and his wife would be put to death for deceiving the king. If this happened, God’s promise to form a great nation out of Abraham and make him the source of blessings would also go unfulfilled.
Knowing this dilemma, God personally solved the problem for them. He brought down great plagues on the house of Pharaoh. Through these plagues, Pharaoh came to realize that Sarah was Abraham’s wife, and he called Abraham and said to him, “Why have you done this to me? I could have committed sin because of you. Why did you say that your wife was your sister? Take your wife and leave right away.” He then hurriedly sent Abraham away from the palace with a great deal of gifts. Pharaoh had faced great plagues from God because of his attempt to take Abraham’s wife, and so even though he was an idolater, he knew that the One who was protecting Abraham was the God of tremendous power. That’s why rather than punishing Abraham and his wife for deceiving him, Pharaoh just wanted to send them away in a hurry, and as he was afraid that he might face more plagues if he sent them away empty-handed, so he gave them many gifts. In essence, Abraham sold his wife, but because of this he gained a great deal of wealth.
Today, I would like to focus on Abraham’s weaknesses. My message is that Abraham’s weakness is none other than our weaknesses, and it is the same weakness of everyone living on this planet. I would also like to explain to you how God loved such fragile people like Abraham and you and me, and how He has given us blessings and salvation.
Abraham was no different from anyone else. When he faced imminent danger, he even went as far as to betray his own wife just to preserve his own life. You and I are also liable to behave like this. Are we any different from Abraham? Is anyone in this world braver than him? Are we bold enough to embrace death? Are we willing to give up our lives to protect our beloved ones? Could we stand up bravely in a foreign country when our very lives were threatened?
Today’s Scripture passage shows us our weaknesses. It tells us, in other words, that everyone is weak just like Abraham. Even though people try to establish their own righteousness outwardly, pretending to be virtuous and just, but when they actually face danger and they see no prospect of winning, they all behave like Abraham. This is the basic nature of mankind. Although all human beings want to live without any shame under the heavens, but when they face difficult circumstances in their lives, they all expose their fragility just like Abraham. This is after all human nature. And it is no one else but God who has solved the problem of this human fragility. Through Abraham, a man called the father of faith, God is speaking to us about such frailty of mankind.
Some people like to establish their own righteousness. Some Christians boast about how they have not missed a single morning-prayer meeting, while others boast about how they were born into a Christian family. They all say that in one way or another, they have led a decent life of faith so far, and that they have believed in the Lord unwaveringly, and that they have been so faithful to the Lord that they even forsook their jobs and everything of this world. So they insist through these efforts that they are righteous people.
However, every human being has a weak side, and because of this weakness no one can help but commit sin. No one therefore has anything to boast of before God. There is not a single person who has anything in his human flesh to boast of in God’s sight. One has something to boast of only if he believes in the Word of God; otherwise there is nothing in one’s own righteousness to boast of before God. Those who still claim to be righteous in spite of this are just plain arrogant.
My fellow believers, is there anyone who is not weak like Abraham? All of us are weak, for all of us are human beings. When faced with life threatening circumstances like Abraham was, everyone would stumble and commit sin. Of course, it’s not fair that anyone should betray his wife to save his own neck; this is clearly not justifiable under any circumstances. But before criticizing Abraham for betraying his wife, we must realize that everyone is exactly like him.
What is every human being before God? All human beings are a brood of iniquity and evildoers. Everyone is a weak and exceedingly sinful being. Thus everyone is completely devoid of any righteousness to establish or to boast about. Although we are leading a life of faith, we all are still human, and so are we not still insufficient? Of course we are. Will you then blame someone else for your flaws by asking God, “Lord, please forgive me. Though I can live an upright life, I have sinned because of someone else. I have fallen because of that person.” By nature, human beings were born with frailty like Abraham. That is why everyone is insufficient before God, and that is why everyone commits sin. No one can excuse himself by blaming someone else.
But what did God do? He decided to save everyone from sin, all those who believe in God and have the same faith as Abraham’s. It is not on account of our human perfection that our Lord has blessed us, but it is on account of our faith in God. Therefore, you and I should never try to be saved by any human means or merits. That’s because God approves us as His children on account of our faith in His Word, rather than blessing us on account of our human perfection. God makes us righteous when He sees our faith. We believe that Jesus Christ has blotted out all our sins and saved us through the water and the Spirit. It is because Jesus Christ has blotted out all our sins that God has given us the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit dwells in all of us who believe in this Truth, enables us to stand before Him as sinless people, and appoints us to be His people and His approved workers. By no means is it because you and I have done something right in God’s sight that we are able to stand before Him, and this applies to every Christian all over the world who genuinely believes in God. We are able to stand before God because our Lord accepted all the sins of mankind through His baptism, was condemned in our place by being crucified while shouldering these sins, rose from the dead, and has through this saved us; it’s all because we believe in this Lord. In other words, we have become sinless and righteous in God’s sight because we believe in all these things that the Lord had done while He was on this earth. It is only God who had done this.
Do all our weaknesses disappear once we receive the remission of sins? No, that is not the case. Far from not having any weakness, we experience many weaknesses. Yet despite this, we are able to stand firm as sinless people before God, and this is all because we believe in the gospel of the water and the Spirit that the Lord accomplished whilst on this earth, the true gospel through which God has saved us. That is how you and I were able to become righteous people.
God made Abraham the father of faith. And God has made you and me sinless and righteous. He has made you and me the people of faith. But despite believing in Jesus, many Christians think that they can become sinless only if they are perfect in their acts, give many prayers of repentance to reach sanctification, attend morning prayer meetings faithfully, and try hard to live a holy life. But who can really stand before God in this way? There is no one.
In spite of this truth, most Christians still think in this way, and so they try to become righteous people through their own acts by thinking, “In time, I will become a decent Christian.” They dream of being a perfect Christian, if not quite 100 percent, then at least 80 to 90 percent. They think, “My score was 50 when I first believed in Jesus, and after a while it went up to 60%. Now that I have reached the passing grade, soon my score as a Christian will go up to 70, and then to 80%. So, by the time of my death, I will eventually have scored 100% and ascend to Heaven with God’s approval.” Like this some Christians say that their grade is 70, others say it is 80, while still others say it’s only 30, and yet others say that their grade is 90. But who is marking these grades? Does God also see them in this way? It’s all complete nonsense to mark your own grade as a Christian, whether it’s 30 or 90. It’s all in vain. This is not what true faith is all about.
When looking at our human aspects as it stands, it is simply impossible for us to stand before God without any shame. It is only by our faith in Jesus Christ that we can stand boldly in the presence of God. It is because we are weak that God sent Jesus Christ to blot out all our sins and deliver us from all of them. Even though we are all weak like Abraham, when the Lord came to this earth, He accepted all our sins by being baptized in the Jordan River. Therefore, all our sins were passed onto Jesus Christ, and in turn, Jesus Christ carried them all to the Cross and was condemned to death in our place. And by rising up from the dead, He has saved us.
All our sins were passed onto Jesus Christ. It is because Jesus Christ accepted all our sins by being baptized and bore our condemnation on the Cross once and for all that we have come to stand before God as the people of faith, His saints, His servants and His workers, all by believing in Jesus Christ with our hearts, who is alive even now. It is not on account of our fleshly merits that we have come to stand before God, but it is by believing in the Word of God. This was achieved by faith, not by our acts. It is because our Lord accepted all our sins through His baptism that we have no sin. Could we stand before God as sinless people by ensuring that our acts are upright 100 percent of the time, and offering many prayers of repentance? No, this is not possible.
Take a look at Abraham. Even though Abraham is called the father of faith, when circumstances threatened his life, he turned into a despicable man shamelessly betraying his own wife. Yet despite this, God approved Abraham as the father of faith. Why did He do this? It is because Abraham believed in everything God had said to him 100 percent.
How about us then? When we open the Bible and listen to sermons, don’t we refuse to believe unless we can understand? Even though the Bible says, “The Word of God is leading you. You must live by faith. God has already blessed you. His blessings will come to you if you wait by faith,” but we don’t believe in this. Rather than believing in the Word, we try to do something on our own with our acts. But that is the way of religion, and not of faith. And by relying on religion, it is simply impossible for anyone to stand as a sinless child of God. This is just not possible, regardless of how pious you are, how much you have cried over your sins, and how hard you have tried to establish your own merits, how often you have attended morning prayer services, how you have never missed a worship service all your life, how you were born in a Christian family, or how you have practiced asceticism in your futile attempt to reach sanctification.
What should we do then? We must believe that because our Lord bore all our sins once and for all when He came to this earth, and all our sins were thereby passed onto Jesus Christ, we have now become sinless by believing in this Jesus Christ. Don’t you agree with this, my fellow believers? We are not any different from Abraham. We are the people of same flesh and blood just like Abraham. But just as God approved Abraham to be the father of faith, so He has also made you and me righteous in His sight. And just as God had appointed Abraham as His servant, God has also raised you and me to be His servants.
The Bible says, “There is not a just man on earth who does good and does not sin” (Ecclesiastes 7:20). Everyone is insufficient. However, because the Lord bore all the sins of our entire lifetime once and for all by being baptized, and through this remitted them away all at once, we can still become righteous before God even though we are insufficient. Around 2,000 years ago, Jesus took all the sins of the world upon Himself once and for all by being baptized, and therefore all our sins were passed onto Him. It is by believing in this gospel through which our Lord has saved us that we are saved to become perfect people in God’s sight. Because of our faith, we have no sin before God. There actually is no sin whatsoever.
Do we have any sin, my fellow believers? No, of course not! Now because we have no more sin we are able to serve the Lord, praise Him, and preach the gospel. Preaching the gospel even as one remains sinful is just practicing religious hypocrisy; it is not the way of faith. It’s because the Lord had compassion on us, and out of this compassion He blotted out all our sins and bore our condemnation, that we have attained salvation to become sinless in God’s sight. It’s because our Lord has saved us that we have come to serve Him by faith regardless of our weaknesses. That is why Christianity is all about faith. It’s also because of this that Abraham was able to become the father of faith even though he was a man of weakness.
This applies to everyone equally. So, I ask you not to worry about your weaknesses. What we must be mindful of is realizing our wrongdoings before God, admitting them, and passing these sins onto Jesus Christ through faith whenever they are revealed. We must discern right away whether or not Jesus Christ indeed took all our sins away, affirm this by faith, and realize that there is no sin in our hearts anymore. From the moment we realize that we are sinless, we become an instrument for the righteous work to save others from sin with the boldness of a lion. How could anyone do the righteous work of God if he or she is bound by sin?
Even though countless Christians today claim to be leading a life of faith, but unfortunately, these people are only leading a religious life. What happens when they make one mistake after doing 100 good deeds? They turn themselves into complete sinners. This is what religion is about.
In contrast what does true faith speak about? The Bible says that Abraham became a righteous man in God’s sight by believing in His Word. God said to him, “I will bless those who bless you, and I will curse those who curse you.” Because Christianity is all about faith, you are saved by believing in what Jesus has done for you when He came to this earth.
As you carry on with your life of faith, you must address your inadequacies and weaknesses with faith. All these problems can be fixed with faith. In contrast, if you try to address them with your own acts, nothing will be solved. Even if you make a firm resolution by saying, “I swear, I will do better than this,” it’s simply impossible for you to keep this resolution, and you will inevitably fall into despair as a result. And this is not what faith in God is all about. It’s nothing more than a religious life.
It’s those who know their insufficiencies well that can serve the Lord well. They hang onto God because they know they are insufficient and they cannot do anything on their own. In the born-again realm, those who think they are perfect do not follow the Lord faithfully, but instead they end up leaving the Lord. They judge others and demand them to follow them, thinking to themselves, “I am such a good Christian; how can a Christian act otherwise?” Instead of following the Lord, they demand the Lord to follow them. What kind of Christian life will you lead then? Will you lead it by faith, or will you lead it only as a matter of religion? It is also by faith that we are spreading the gospel abroad. This is done by faith, not as a matter of religion. We must pray to God so that we can lead a proper life of faith. If we preach God’s gospel while praying, there will arise countless saved people all over the world to share the same faith as Abraham’s.
Just today we have received book requests from Germany, Sweden, France, and Russia. People in these countries are also being made righteous by faith, just as you and I have been made righteous by faith. It is by believing in the gospel of the water and the Spirit given by Jesus Christ that one becomes spotless before God. And these kinds of people are always new creatures, and they can always carry out the work of God. In your life of faith, do you find the ability to stand firm before God just by resolving to live virtuously and trying to do so? Or is it by believing in Jesus Christ that you are able to stand firm before God by professing, “Jesus Christ bore all my sins when He was baptized. And while shouldering the sins of the world, He bore all their condemnation on the Cross in my place. And by rising up from the dead, He became my everlasting Savior.”
My fellow believers, it is not when one’s acts are perfect that one becomes a spotless person before God. It is when one believes in the Word of God that one is made blameless in His sight. Faith is what makes us aboveboard both before God and man and faith is what enables us to carry out God’s work. This faith is the same faith that Abraham had. It is one that believes in what God has said. Those who believe in God’s Word can stand firm in His presence; but those who try to approach God with their own works rather than believing in His Word will ultimately fall into despair when they get weary from their own zealousness, and they will collapse and never get up again. There are limits to your own human efforts at piety. That’s because your sinful nature still remains in you. Therefore, anyone who tries to approach God through his own efforts will inevitably fail.
Our Lord bore all our sins through His baptism. Jesus was baptized by John the Baptist in the Jordan River by saying, “Permit it to be so now, for thus it is fitting for us to fulfill all righteousness.” In Matthew 11:12 Jesus said, “From the days of John the Baptist until now the kingdom of heaven suffers violence, and the violent take it by force.” But violence here should not be understood to mean that one goes to Heaven by using force in a literal sense. Violence is not lawful. The rule is that only those who have no sin whatsoever can enter Heaven. And Jesus made us completely sinless and righteous by accepting all our sins through His baptism and dying on the Cross in our place. Though we have done nothing, the Lord has taken care of everything for us. As a result of this we have now received the right to enter Heaven even though we did not qualify for it.
We have thus taken Heaven by violence. This means that Heaven surrendered itself to those who believe that Jesus accepted all their sins through John the Baptist and enter Heaven by this faith. How does one enter the Kingdom of God? He enters it by violence namely, by faith. Those who believe in the Word of God, in the Word of the water and the Spirit of Jesus Christ, take the Kingdom of Heaven by violence. They gain control over it.
When a country wages war against another, it has to have the power to win the war completely and the ability to prevail over the people of that opposing country. Although Japan invaded Korea and enslaved it for 35 years (1910-1945 AD), it failed to bring it under permanent submission. Despite coercing Koreans to change their names to Japanese names, learn the Japanese language, and worship Japanese gods, the Japanese oppressors ultimately failed to subdue them completely. If the Japanese oppressors were really powerful, Koreans would have turned into their slaves and become completely assimilated.
When we want to enter Heaven, we must have sufficient power. And through our faith in Jesus, we have received this power to take Heaven with violence. If we want to enter Heaven, we must invade it with violence—that is, by faith. That is why John the Baptist passed all the sins of the world onto Jesus through the baptism he gave Him. Jesus said, “Permit it to be so now, for thus it is fitting for us to fulfill all righteousness” (Matthew 3:15).
In the Old Testament, the High Priest had passed the sins of the people of Israel onto the scapegoats head by laying his hands on its head. Likewise, John the Baptist, the representative of mankind, passed all the sins of the world onto Jesus by baptizing Him. This was accomplished when both John the Baptist and Jesus turned 30 years of age. At that time John the Baptist was busy in the Jordan River, and Jesus came to this river. When Jesus said to John the Baptist, “Baptize Me,” John the Baptist replied by asking how he could dare to baptize Jesus. Jesus then said to him, “Permit it to be so now, for thus it is fitting for us to fulfill all righteousness. Just as the yearly sins of the Israelites were passed onto the scapegoat once and for all through the laying on of the High Priest’s hands, so will I also accept all the sins of mankind through you, its representative.” The word “thus” is “οϋτως” (hoo’-tos) in Greek, which means “just by this method.” In other words, Jesus was saying, “It is fitting for you to pass all sins onto Me by you baptizing Me, and only in this way can I blot out everyone’s sins and fulfill all righteousness. It is fitting to blot out everyone’s sins by this baptism.”
So Jesus was baptized by John the Baptist, and because of this, Heaven suffered violence from the days of John the Baptist. Just as the strong win the war by suppressing the weak, Heaven is entered by the strong armed with unwavering faith in the baptism of Jesus. When Jesus came to this earth, He accepted all the sins of mankind by being baptized, carried them all to the Cross, and died for them in our place, thereby blotting out each and every sin of ours. It is by believing in this Truth that you and I are able to enter Heaven without any hesitation, just as the strong prevail over the weak with their power. And faith is our power to enter Heaven and conquer it, enabling us to make it ours and say, “Jesus Christ has given me this Heaven through His baptism and death on the Cross!”
This is what faith is all about. When we have faith in the Word of God, our hearts are made sinless and holy, we can take the God-given Heaven, and we can also preach this genuine gospel to others. And when we have faith, we are blameless before both God and man. In contrast, when we have no faith, we turn so servile and ashamed of ourselves that we wish we could hide ourselves in a hole. Without true faith, instead of having no shame at all under the heavens, we end up having too much shame.
How should you and I lead our Christian life? We must lead it by the faith that believes in the Word of God. Your life of faith is led properly by believing every Word of God which is written in both Testaments of the Bible. Every saint nevertheless is still full of shortcomings. God’s servants are also lacking. Yet despite this, we are blameless before God and we can always be used as the instruments of His righteousness, all because you and I believe in the Word of God and He has given us the Holy Spirit. Do you believe in this, my fellow believers? We must stand on this faith. We must work by faith. Everything requires faith. The Bible says, “The just shall live by faith” (Romans 1:17). Even though Abraham betrayed his own wife, he was still blessed by God immensely, and this is something that we can’t quite understand if we think of it from a human perspective. Abraham was blessed by God despite his shortcomings because he had faith. You and I did not deserve to receive God’s blessings either. How then are we now able to serve God? It’s all because of our faith.
This is the faith that all of us must have: First of all, we must have faith that the Lord has saved us through water and the Spirit; secondly, we must have the belief that the Lord has eradicated all our human blemishes and bore the condemnation of our sin in our place; thirdly, we must have faith that we have nothing to do with any sin or transgression anymore; and fourthly, we must have the belief that we have become righteous people before God and we are qualified to carry out His righteous work. When we have faith to believe that Heaven is ours and God has blotted out everyone’s sins, we attain salvation and holiness from God—not only do we become His children, but we also receive His blessings both in body and spirit to be used as His instruments of righteousness. Therefore, it is by faith that you must lead your Christian life.
As you carry on with your lives, you must have true faith. Our Lord has saved such insufficient people like you and me. Our Lord has saved us despite our many shortcomings, and He has made us God’s people and workers. It’s by believing in this Truth that we have been saved and are now being used as the instruments of righteousness. We should never forget this unfathomable grace of God. We should never forget the grace with which our Lord has saved us. Regardless of whether we are gathered together or find ourselves alone, in times of troubles and accomplishments, we must always remember the Lord in all aspects of our lives. We must think of God’s blessings and believe in Him, remembering that He has accepted us to be His own people and made us perfectly righteous through the gospel of the water and the Spirit. And we must give thanks and glory to God. Your Christian life must be led by this faith. It’s because Jesus has blotted out all our sins that we were able to reach our salvation. I give all my thanks to the Lord for this Truth. Just as God blessed Abraham despite his insufficiencies, He has also blessed us and is working through us in spite of our shortcomings. All of us ought to be profoundly grateful to God for this.
Does this then mean that we have nothing but inadequacies all the time? No, that is not the case. Although we have many shortcomings in our lives, our Lord took care of them all. Believing that the Lord bore all our sins through His baptism and was condemned for them, we can always live an upright life as sinless and righteous people. This is the Lord’s blessing which is bestowed upon you and me. Therefore, we ought to be grateful to God for making it possible for you and me to live a blessed life. We should never boast of our own merits; but instead we should glorify God by faith, serve Him by faith and follow Him by faith. We must admit that we are inadequate and lacking. And we must recognize that the Lord’s salvation is completely perfect, and thank Him for this salvation. We must stand before God by faith, take Heaven by faith, reach salvation by faith, become the Lord’s workers by faith, and by faith share His blessings with others.
How about you then? Do you really believe in all this? Are you really thankful? What has made you perfect? Is it your faith or your own acts? It’s by faith that you have become perfect. Is there anyone who is perfect in his acts? No, there is none. Anyone who thinks that he is perfect on his own is spiritually blind. Such people who say, “I have only made a couple of mistakes in my entire life. I am quite decent,” are spiritually blind. They are no different from someone who cannot see himself even as he is standing right in front of a mirror. It’s the insufficient whom the Lord has saved. If you think that you are even slightly meritorious, you must open up your spiritual eyes and look at your true self. You will then reach the inevitable conclusion that you have no other way to be saved but by relying on the Lord.
Our God wants to spread the gospel throughout the whole world. The Word also says, “For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Savior, who desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth” (1 Timothy 2:3-4). We have a great deal of work waiting for us, for we must spread the true gospel all over the world to answer this desire of God to save everyone. And thanks to God, our work so far has produced significant tangible results, as we hear from many Christian pastors telling us that they were truly born again from hearing the gospel preached by us, something that they had not heard before. For now, it’s been mostly pastors and missionaries that have received the remission of sins, but in the near future, many lay Christians will also receive the remission of sins.
Christians in Korea tend to be too religious. Christians from elsewhere therefore look down on the faith of Korean Christians and show little respect to them. It’s all because Korean Christians believe too blindly. But this is little more than superstition; it is not faith. True faith is one that is centered on the Word of God. Shouting out loud, crying and wailing, and causing a great deal of commotion is not what faith is all about. Their worship service is already chaotic enough as it is, but they stir up even more of a racket trying to receive the Holy Spirit, shouting out the name of the Lord and jumping all over the place. This is not faith.
My fellow believers, you must know the Word of God, take Heaven by believing in the Word, reach salvation and stand before God by faith, preach the Word by trusting in it, and become the Lord’s instruments of righteousness. This is the faith that God wants you to have. All authority and all blessings under the heavens and on this earth are also received by faith. Those who have already received the remission of sins have such authority and blessings. They are none other than you and I. So I give all thanks to God for giving us these blessings. Hallelujah!