The New Life Mission

Sermons

Subject 19 : The Epistle of Paul the Apostle to the EPHESIANS

[Chapter 1-6] (Ephesians 1:7-14) We Have Redemption According to the Riches Of God’s Grace

(Ephesians 1:7-14)
“In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of His grace which He made to abound toward us in all wisdom and prudence, having made known to us the mystery of His will, according to His good pleasure which He purposed in Himself, that in the dispensation of the fullness of the times He might gather together in one all things in Christ, both which are in heaven and which are on earth—in Him. In Him also we have obtained an inheritance, being predestined according to the purpose of Him who works all things according to the counsel of His will, that we who first trusted in Christ should be to the praise of His glory. In Him you also trusted, after you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation; in whom also, having believed, you were sealed with the Holy Spirit of promise, who is the guarantee of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession, to the praise of His glory.”
 
 
Into the hearts of all of us who believe in the gospel of the water and the Spirit, the Lord has given the remission of sins and peace. The Lord Himself is testifying here that we have no sin, for we believe in the gospel of the water and the Spirit with our hearts. Through our faith in the righteousness of Jesus Christ, God our Father has made it known to us that He has washed away all the sins of this world.
Only when we preach the gospel of the water and the Spirit can we all realize how great the riches of the grace that God has bestowed on us are. And only then can others also realize this blessed grace of God. Who have tasted God’s great grace of salvation then? It is those who have received the remission of sins into their hearts by believing in the gospel of the water and the Spirit. In other words, it’s only those whose hearts have been remitted from all their sins by believing in the gospel of the water and the Spirit that have put on the great grace of God. It’s in these peoples’ hearts that God’s grace abounds.
Our Lord Jesus has blotted out all our sins once and for all with the baptism He received from John the Baptist and the precious blood He shed on the Cross. Did Jesus then take only our original sin to the Cross? And does He take away the rest of our sins whenever we offer Him our own prayers of repentance? No, of course not! If you believe that Jesus took away only your original sin when He was hung on the Cross, and that He takes away your everyday sins whenever you offer your own prayers of repentance, then yours is a completely mistaken thought and belief. It’s therefore absolutely critical for you to realize the greatness of the grace of salvation that God has bestowed upon you.
The very first thing that you should grasp and believe in is that through the baptism Jesus received in the Jordan River, He bore all the sins of your entire lifetime once and for all. And having shouldered the sins of this world through His baptism received from John the Baptist, Jesus was then crucified to death, thereby saving all of us who believe in this Truth from each and every sin all at once. Jesus Christ has saved us His believers from all our sins once and for all through the baptism He received from John the Baptist and the blood He shed on the Cross. To make us holy, He has made us completely sinless with the gospel of the water and the Spirit.
Therefore, all of us must believe in the grace of salvation without restricting its reach, which God has bestowed on us abundantly through the gospel of the water and the Spirit. It’s absolutely untenable for any of us to think and say to God, “Since You took away just our original sin, and You still have not taken away our personal sins that we commit every day, we have to offer You our own prayers of repentance every day to blot them out. As for our future sins that we haven’t committed yet, how can You say we have already been remitted from them when we haven’t even committed them yet?” If your understanding of God’s grace is restricted like this, then your faith is not the true faith that’s placed in the gospel of the water and the Spirit. Far from it, it’s actually a mistaken faith of your own making, one that’s placed in your own thoughts. Such faith is the faith of those who provoke the wrath of the God of Truth. This kind of faith is a completely mistaken belief stemming from a dangerously mistaken notion. The gospel of the water and the Spirit is the perfect gift of salvation that God has bestowed on you, and if you believe in this gospel with your heart, you will receive God’s endless love for sure. But if you otherwise reject this saving grace of the water and the Spirit, then you will face God’s wrath instead.
The faith of today’s false Christians is placed in the lies that have come out of their own thoughts, which have nothing to do with the Word of God in the first place. Having made their own gods, they believe in the doctrines made up from their own thoughts. So, when it’s no longer beneficial to them to believe in Jesus, they easily replace Him with something else. Like this, nowadays too many Christians believe in the doctrines of their own making in whatever way that’s convenient to them.
But could anyone really say that he is still sinful, if this person believes in the righteousness of Jesus Christ properly? Is there anyone among you who thinks mistakenly that Jesus took away only original sin, and that the remission of one’s everyday sins must be sought through his own prayers of repentance whenever he commits them? Anyone who says so is rejecting the love of God and His mercy that have come by the gospel of the water and the Spirit. Such people have made their own way of salvation by themselves.
God said in Isaiah 1:18,
“Though your sins are like scarlet,
They shall be as white as snow;
Though they are red like crimson,
They shall be as wool.”
Put differently, Jesus Himself said to us, “Even though your sins are as thick as the dark clouds, you are still Mine, for I have saved you. I have remitted away all your countless sins that are as thick as the clouds in the sky, and so return to Me, all you sinners.” If you really believe in the living God, His Truth, and His righteousness written in the Bible, then you would accept the gospel of the water and the Spirit. However, if you reject the righteousness of God, then you would say that although you have been remitted from your original sin, you still have not received the remission of your everyday sins and future sins.
 
 
“In Him We Have Redemption through His Blood, the Forgiveness of Sins, According to the Riches of His Grace” (Ephesians 1:7)
 
Jesus Christ became the Lamb of God in order to redeem you and me and everyone in this world from all sins. To save us from all the sins of the world, the Lord bore each and every sin of the human race by being baptized by John the Baptist, and He shed His blood on the Cross in our place. Even though Jesus Himself never committed any sin on this earth, and He was God Himself, He still became our propitiation to blot out all our sins. The Lord was baptized on this earth to give us the true remission of sins, and He was crucified to death to free us from all our curses.
Just how many sins does everyone commit throughout his lifetime? Given the fact that we commit sin until the moment we take our last breath, just how many sins do we commit against God? It’s not just a few times that we commit sin, but we commit countless sins until the day we die. Yet even as we cannot help but commit sin throughout our entire lifetime, the Lord has saved us from all our sins and all our condemnation. None other than this is the great grace of God. It is God’s abundant grace for us.
What about you then? Have you already received the remission of your sins by believing in the gospel of the water and the Spirit? If we all truly have become righteous by believing in the gospel of the water and the Spirit, is it then possible for us to once again become sinners when we commit sin out of our weaknesses and shortcomings? No, this is not possible! Of course, although we have received the remission of sins by believing in the gospel of the water and the Spirit, because our flesh is still flawed, it’s unavoidable for us to continue to commit sin. However, if we were to once again become sinners each time whenever we sin against God or man, then this can only mean that the remission of sins God has bestowed on us is something imperfect. But the salvation that God the Father and His Son Jesus Christ have fulfilled by blotting out all our sins is never imperfect.
The gospel of the water and the Spirit is the means by which God has eradicated all our sins completely. In other words, God lacked nothing to blot out all our sins with the gospel of the water and the Spirit. Yet despite this, do you think that there is something that you have to do to help God to bestow His grace of salvation on you? This is not the case. No matter how many shortcomings we have and how many sins we commit from now on, because God has perfectly blotted out all our past, present and future sins, the effectiveness of this salvation is perfect and forever lasting. As we believe in the gospel of the water and the Spirit, it is impossible for us to have any sin left regardless of how many sins we may commit, for our salvation by God is completely flawless. Because God’s power of salvation is unlimited and perfect, our faith in the gospel of the water and the Spirit lacks absolutely nothing to save us all to perfection. The salvation God has given us through the gospel of the water and the Spirit is so abundant that it has no limit. If we really know and believe that our Lord has saved us abundantly through the gospel of the water and the Spirit, then we ought to also realize here that it’s nothing more than our own thoughts to suppose that we still have to add some work of our own to reach our salvation. No one reaches salvation today only to become a sinner again tomorrow, for the grace of God is not so small. The salvation that the Lord has brought to us is the everlasting Truth that has come by the gospel of the water and the Spirit.
To deliver us from all the sins of the world, God has saved us all sufficiently through the amazing gospel of the water and the Spirit. God is not human. Unlike human beings, who are fickle creatures, our omniscient and omnipotent God is forever unchanging. So the Bible says,
“God is not a man, that He should lie,
Nor a son of man, that He should repent.
Has He said, and will He not do?
Or has He spoken, and will He not make it good?” (Numbers 23:19)
God is the Creator who made all things, the Lord of judgment, and the Savior offering His absolute love to us. So I ask you not to corrupt the perfect salvation that this God has given us with your own human thoughts.
The Apostle Paul said in today’s Scripture passage, “In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of His grace” (Ephesians 1:7). We too have received the remission of sins according to the riches of the Lord’s grace. As the Lord bore all our sins by being baptized in the Jordan River, we have received the abundant remission of sins. And as the Lord shouldered all our sins and paid off all the wages of these sins on the Cross, He has saved us to perfection. That is how we have received the complete remission of sins.
Are you unaccustomed to hearing about the remission of sins? After delivering his sermon on the day of Pentecost, the Apostle Peter said to the audience, “Repent, and let every one of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins; and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit” (Acts 2:38). Jesus Christ Himself also said at the Last Supper, “For this is My blood of the new covenant, which is shed for many for the remission of sins” (Matthew 26:28).
But some people do not know what this remission of sins really means, asking instead where such words are found in the Bible. They say that although the word “forgiveness of sins” is found in the Bible, the words “remission of sins” do not appear. But in reality, the phrase “remission of sins” is written many times in the Bible (Mark 1:4, Luke 1:77, 3:3, 24:47, Acts 10:43, Hebrews 10:18).
Our Lord has done everything necessary to bring the remission of sins to all of humanity. It was to deliver and redeem us from all our sins that He was baptized, crucified to death, and resurrected in three days, and now He is sitting at the right hand of the throne of God the Father as our Savior to come.
By what means have you received the remission of sins? Exactly how have you obtained this remission of sins? It is thanks to the baptism of Jesus Christ and His blood, and the great love of God and His abundant grace revealed through Christ, that we have received the remission of sins by believing in this Truth.
If we once again commit sin in the future, does this then mean that we would become sinners again to be cast into hell in the end? No, this is not the case. In fact, there is only one reason why anyone is cast into hell, and it’s all because people say to God, “Lord, You have failed to blot out all my sins. I am still a sinner.” Such people pray to God to blot out their personal sins time after time, as though God has somehow failed to eradicate all their sins at once, and it’s these people who will be cast into hell according to their mistaken faith. Such people put a limit on the unfathomable grace of God, and consequently they cannot enjoy God’s abundant grace and will be cast into hell.
My fellow believers, God has saved us from all our sins completely and abundantly. Therefore, whoever believes in Jesus Christ’s gospel of the water and the Spirit will enter Heaven for sure. Where can we discover the riches of the grace of God then? We can discover God’s abundant grace in the very fact that to save us, God Himself came to this earth incarnated in the flesh of man, was baptized by John the Baptist, died on the Cross, and rose from the dead. To save such depraved creatures like us from sin, God Himself came to this earth in the name of Jesus Christ incarnated in the flesh of man. The fact that Jesus Christ our God, the Creator of all the dominions of both Heaven and the earth, forsook His throne of glory and His divine power and humbled Himself to come to this earth as a Man like us—this is the riches of His grace. Having come to this earth, God Himself experienced all our weaknesses, and out of His mercy for us, He bore all our sins through John the Baptist. None other than this is the riches of His grace. And we can see these riches of the grace of God in the Jordan River, on the Cross, and at the very birth of Jesus Christ Himself.
 
 
“In Him We Have the Redemption through His Blood, the Forgiveness of Sins” (Ephesians 1:7)
 
What does it mean to receive the remission of sins? Does it not mean that one is remitted from all his sins, and that each and every sin committed in this world is blotted out? Indeed, that is precisely what it means to receive the remission of sins.
Now then, if you have been remitted from all your sins, then are you a righteous person or a sinner? You are a righteous person. As those who believe in this Truth, do we then still have any sin left? No, we have no more sin. Why do we have no sin then? We have no more sin because we believe in the baptism of Jesus and His blood on the Cross. Thanks to the water and blood of Jesus, we have become God’s own people who are completely sinless.
However, countless Christians say that they must offer their own prayers of repentance for their sins in tears on a daily basis, saying that they are still sinners even as they believe in Jesus. Like these misguided Christians, do you also think that you can go to Heaven only if you offer your own prayers of repentance every day in tears? Do you think God is pleased to see you shedding your tears like this day after day throughout your entire lifetime? No, this is nothing more than a man-made notion stemming from the flawed thoughts of man. Yet because so many Christians do not know the abundant gospel Truth of God, and they have too many shortcomings to live according to His Word, they say that they have to offer prayers of repentance in tears only to rationalize their own flawed behavior. However, my fellow believers, even though we may be full of shortcomings, our Lord is completely perfect and flawless. Though we are lacking, our Lord has saved us perfectly from all our sins.
Today, even as every Christian is professing to believe in Jesus as his Savior, many churches are in fact degenerating into mere social gatherings or corporations. When a church builds a huge and extravagant church building on a bank loan, people flock to this church just because they find its towering building attractive, and they offer tithes and many other offerings asking God to bless them only materially. They use their innumerable connections made in such a mammoth church just to further their own selfish interests. Like this, many business people attend these huge churches just to bring in more business to themselves. And they pray to God to help them sell more stuff. How can this be the real faith? This kind of faith is completely useless.
 
 
“Which He Made to Abound toward Us in All Wisdom and Prudence” (Ephesians 1:8)
 
Our Lord has made us abound in all wisdom and prudence. If you really want to receive the remission of sins, then all that you have to do is just believe in what the Lord has done for you. It’s when you believe in the Lord’s work of salvation that you can receive the true remission of sins. Exactly how should you believe in the Lord’s work to reach your salvation then? You must believe that all your sins were passed onto the Lord through His baptism, that bearing them all, He died on the Cross in your place, and that He arose from the dead in three days. You can then receive the true remission of sins. When you realize and believe that all your sins were passed onto Jesus, all your sins are indeed washed away on account of this faith. If you really want to receive the remission of sins, then you have no other choice but to believe in the gospel of the water and the Spirit.
This is what is meant by “wisdom” here. All your sins must be passed onto Jesus for you to receive the remission of sins; unless your sins are passed onto the Lord, it’s completely useless to believe in Jesus no matter how strong your faith might be. You can believe in Jesus all you want, saying, “Jesus is my Savior. I am a sinner. Jesus died on the Cross out of His love for me. He has saved me like this,” but this cannot bring the true salvation of the remission of sins to you.
For you to really receive the remission of sins, all your sins must be passed onto Jesus through His baptism. And you must believe in the condemnation that Jesus bore on the Cross by shedding His own blood for you. Only when you thus receive the true remission of sins by the water and the Spirit, can you finally say with every conviction that you have no sin. That our Lord came to this earth to blot out all our sins, that He was baptized to bear them all, and that He was crucified to death in our place—this is the wisdom by which God has saved us from all our sins. And this is God’s Truth and prudence, just as it’s written, “In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of His grace which He made to abound toward us in all wisdom and prudence, having made known to us the mystery of His will” (Ephesians 1:7-9).
Our God has made known to us His true wisdom and prudence. This means that God Himself has given us the Truth of salvation and made it known to all of us. My fellow believers, it’s because God has made known to us the gospel Truth of the water and the Spirit that has saved us from all our sins, in that today you and I have reached our true salvation. God has saved us perfectly in His wisdom and prudence, and He has made this mystery known to us through the gospel of the water and the Spirit.
Do you then believe in this gospel of the water and the Spirit? Do you believe that God’s grace is abundant, and that He has remitted away all our sins perfectly and wholly? It’s God who has made known to us this gospel mystery, which is His will. He has made the gospel of the water and the Spirit known to us. This gospel mystery is the fact that our Lord was baptized in the Jordan River and died on the Cross. The mystery that has saved the entire human race throughout the whole world is none other than the baptism of Jesus and His death on the Cross.
Even the Devil did not know that Jesus Christ would fulfill the remission of all the sins of the human race by being baptized by John the Baptist and dying on the Cross. Oblivious to this, the Devil had thought that he would prevail over Jesus if he just killed the Son of God, the Heir to this world and all the riches of the entire universe. That is why he had manipulated human beings into crucifying Jesus to death.
However, after Jesus’ death, the Devil realized, “I made a huge mistake! Since the Son of God was baptized, dying on the Cross like this would mean that all the sins of the world are now remitted away. I should have never put Him to death! Now that I’ve put Him to death, I can no longer control human beings who were in my clutch. I had trapped them with sin, but I can no longer hang onto them. I can’t enslave them anymore. They have all been freed.” Like this, even the Devil did not know that it was God’s mystery of salvation for His Son to come to this earth in the image of man, bear all our sins by being baptized in the Jordan River, and die on the Cross in our place.
Who are the ones that knew this then? Only God the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit knew this; and today, it is known to only those who believe in the gospel of the water and the Spirit.
 
 
“Having Made Known to Us the Mystery of His Will” (Ephesians 1:9)
 
Whenever those who believe in the gospel of the water and the Spirit give the testimony of their salvation, they always speak of the account of the baptism of Jesus in the Jordan River. That our Lord bore all our sins in the Jordan River is the mystery of His baptism. Most people don’t realize that Jesus took upon their sins through His baptism even as they see it in the Bible, and even when it is explained to them. Despite the fact that this is written in the original Scripture text and it is the easiest Truth of salvation many people still do not understand it.
Jesus Himself said, “Permit it to be so now, for thus it is fitting for us to fulfill all righteousness” (Matthew 3:15). For our Lord to blot out all our sins, He had to come to this earth and accept all the sins of every human being by being baptized. This baptism was the wisdom of God and His prudence that saved us. It was His great mystery, which even the Devil did not know. Only God the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit knew it. As God the Father planned our salvation and fulfilled it through His Son, and as the Holy Spirit made it known to us through the Word of Truth, we were able to realize the will of God fully and receive our true salvation. In other words, it’s because God had imparted His wisdom and prudence to us that you and I have realized the gospel Truth today. That is why we have received the remission of sins by understanding and believing in the gospel of the water and the Spirit.
Whenever we read the Word of God or listen to it, the Holy Spirit teaches us its meaning and brings understanding to us, and it’s thanks to this understanding that we have received the remission of sins, as its written, “Having made known to us the mystery of His will, according to His good pleasure which He purposed in Himself, that in the dispensation of the fullness of the times He might gather together in one all things in Christ” (Ephesians 1:9-10). Our salvation, in other words, is in the providence of God.
People in this world see no need to believe in Jesus Christ when they are happy and trouble-free. As a result, they are unable to become God’s children. That is why God allows them to suffer so much pain and sadness in this world. Put differently, it is in our God’s providence of salvation for us to face such hardships, so that we would receive the remission of sins by believing in His Son. God allowed suffering and sadness in this world so that “He might gather together in one all things in Christ, both which are in heaven and which are on earth—in Him” (Ephesians 1:10).
Indeed, there is not a single day of peace on this earth. We face every kind of tribulation and suffering while living on this earth, but God has allowed it to happen to us so that through such trials we would look for God, rely on Him, and receive the remission of sins by believing in Him. All of us must realize here that this earth’s tribulations and trials come on our way and unwanted tragedies visit us to make us God’s own children and that this is all in God’s providence. We often blame God for our hardships and complain about them, wondering to ourselves, “Why are such things happening to me? Why am I going through such trials? Why must I endure such suffering?” Rather than just blaming God like this, however, we ought to realize that it’s in God’s providence to save us through such trials.
 
 
We Must Unite Our Hearts with the Gospel Truth of the Water and the Spirit That God Has Given Us
 
Let’s turn to Ephesians 1:11-14 here: “In Him also we have obtained an inheritance, being predestined according to the purpose of Him who works all things according to the counsel of His will, that we who first trusted in Christ should be to the praise of His glory. In Him you also trusted, after you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation; in whom also, having believed, you were sealed with the Holy Spirit of promise, who is the guarantee of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession, to the praise of His glory.”
It’s written here that we are “predestined according to the purpose of Him who works all things according to the counsel of His will,” which means that God does everything according to His heart’s desire. And it’s by believing in God according to His will, according to the purpose of His plan, and according to His predetermination, that we are saved in Jesus Christ and made God’s own children. Everything is fulfilled according to the counsel of the will of God and His predetermined plan. It’s absolutely important for us to grasp this clearly here.
Many mistaken Christians who don’t believe in the gospel of the water and the Spirit say, “We all believe in Jesus Christ as our Savior, and so why it is so absolutely necessary for us to believe in His baptism? Is that the only Truth of salvation, and is that the only way to reach salvation? Isn’t everyone saved just by believing in Jesus as his Savior?” When we preach the gospel of the water and the Spirit to such people and explain to them that they can receive the remission of sins and become God’s children only if they believe in this gospel, instead of just believing according to the Word, many of them question us like this.
Regardless of whether or not we question what God has done for us, this does not change the fact that God planned and fulfilled everything according to His desire. God wanted us to receive the remission of our sins and become His own children in Christ. That is why He sent Jesus Christ to this earth. And it was God’s plan and will for His Son to accept all the sins of the world by being baptized in the Jordan River, so that we would all receive the remission of sins by faith in this providence of God according to His predetermined plan of salvation.
The Bible says that God “chose us in Him before the foundation of the world” (Ephesians 1:4), and this is the predestination of God. In other words, God had predestined even before the foundation of the world that He would save the human race by sending His Son to this earth. Knowing full well that human beings would fall into the Devil’s temptation and commit sin, God had planned their salvation even before creating this world. It was also in God’s predestination to send Jesus to this earth and make Him accept all the sins of the human race by being baptized in the Jordan River. God had predetermined this beforehand. And having planned our salvation according to His will and desire, He has fulfilled it perfectly for us. This, my fellow believers, is not just a man-made story.
When are our saints’ hearts strengthened? It’s when they hang onto the Word of God and trust in this Word that their hearts are strengthened. It’s then that they can overcome any temptation. In our times of struggle, do we find any strength or comfort in another human being’s words? No, of course not! It’s only the Word of God that strengthens our souls, our hearts, and even our bodies.
 
 
“In Him Also We Have Obtained an Inheritance, Being Predestined According to the Purpose of Him Who Works All Things According to the Counsel of His Will” (Ephesians 1:11)
 
All the work of salvation has been fulfilled according to God’s plan in Jesus Christ. “According to the purpose of Him who works all things” (Ephesians 1:11)—that is, according to the will of God—Jesus Himself was baptized in the Jordan River to bear all our sins. And He bore all the condemnation of these sins by shedding His blood on the Cross. As this is the way by which Jesus Christ has saved us, we have become God’s children by believing in Jesus Christ according to this way of salvation, and that is what real salvation means. All your sins and mine were passed onto Jesus through His baptism, and Christ bore all the condemnation for our sins on the Cross. Therefore, we have received the remission of sins by believing in this gospel of the water and the Spirit. Our salvation was predestined by God Himself.
However, many Christians in this age and time say to us, “You are just being sanctimonious. There are many people in this world who have been born again without believing like you do.” But in reality, no one has ever become sinless without believing in the gospel of the water and the Spirit. Even though some people may say bravely to others that they have no sin, such a deceptive claim does not mean that their hearts have actually become sinless. God said that He looks at the center of everyone’s heart. The Lord said that even if one professes to believe in God, as long as his heart does not have the evidence of true faith acceptable to God, his heart’s sins still remain intact. In fact, it’s nothing more than a deception for anyone to claim to be sinless even as he knows himself that his heart still remains sinful; and since this person’s heart remains sinful, he is still a sinner.
No matter how anyone might know all about the Word of God in his head, how well-versed he might be in both Testaments, and how respected he might be as a world-renowned gospel preacher, if this person has any sin in his heart, then he is simply a sinner. Such people may think in their own minds that they have no sin, but as long as their hearts actually remains sinful, they are all sinners. In contrast, we have no sin at all. Of course, this does not mean that we don’t have any evil thoughts, but it does mean that even though we still have sinful thoughts and desires, our hearts actually have no sin. And it is people like us whose hearts are sinless that have received the true remission of sins.
What about you then? Is there absolutely no sin in your heart? Have you really received the remission of sins to make your heart as white as snow? All of you just answered yes, but what made it possible for you to receive this remission of sins? You have received the remission of sins by believing in the work of salvation that Jesus Christ has done for you in order to blot out all your sins according to the will of God and His plan. This remission of sins was not received just by believing in Jesus in whatever way you saw fit.
It’s written in Ephesians 1:11: “In Him also we have obtained an inheritance, being predestined according to the purpose of Him who works all things according to the counsel of His will.” It’s in God that we have reached our salvation. It’s in God that we have obtained our faith, and it’s also in God that we have received the remission of sins. It’s absolutely not in our own way that we have received this remission of sins. However, countless Christians in this world think and believe that the remission of sins is received only by believing according to their own denominational teachings. The Presbyterian Church says that everyone must believe according to its Presbyterian doctrines; the Methodist Church says that everyone must follow its Methodist doctrines; the Baptist Church says the same; and the Full Gospel Church also claims that everyone must believe according to its own doctrines.
But does God approve this kind of faith? Where in the Bible is the Presbyterian Church, the Methodist Church, the Baptist Church, or the Full Gospel Church mentioned? It’s all useless to divide Christianity into different denominations and sects by their respective doctrinal positions. In fact, such faith is completely opposite to the will of the Lord who wants to grant the remission of sins to everyone. Only God the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit is the Redeemer of our sins. And only those who believe in the gospel of the water and the Spirit planned and fulfilled by these three Persons of God can be saved.
Who in today’s Christianity is busy with denominational squabbling? The Apostle Paul told us not to engage in sectarianism and argue amongst ourselves (1 Corinthians 3:3-5). Yet the worldly Christians who believe in their own way endlessly argue over denominational and sectarian issues. From the Presbyterian Church to the Methodist Church and the Baptist Church, every denomination alike claims that their respective denomination is second to none in orthodoxy. But it’s actually Jesus Christ who is supreme and genuine. When God is supreme, how can human beings argue over their preeminence? In God’s sight, it’s completely preposterous for human beings to measure themselves against each other and argue over who is better than whom. Yet despite this, they still form their own groups and stand against God ceaselessly. Referring to such people, the Lord said, “He who sits in the heavens shall laugh” (Psalm 2:4).
My fellow believers, it’s by believing in the work of salvation that Christ has fulfilled according to the counsel of His will that we have received the remission of sins. The Bible writes clearly in Matthew 3:15 that all the sins of the world were passed onto Jesus Christ when He was baptized by John the Baptist, and that Jesus bore every sin in this way. Yet so many people are so blind to the Truth that they cannot understand the Bible even when they read it with their own eyes.
 
 
“In Him You Also Trusted, After You Heard the Word of Truth, the Gospel of Your Salvation; in Whom Also, Having Believed, You Were Sealed with the Holy Spirit of Promise” (Ephesians 1:13)
 
This passage means that we have reached our salvation by hearing and believing in the true gospel of the water and the Spirit. Just as Romans 10:17 says, “Faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God,” it’s by hearing the Truth that we have received the remission of sins. No matter how proud anyone is of himself, no one can believe in Jesus by himself, far less receive the remission of sins. By a stretch of imagination, we may even grant that one can save himself 99 percent, but this still is not enough, for any salvation that’s imperfect by even just 1 percent is no salvation at all.
I myself used to be beholden by sectarianism and legalism like so many Christians are nowadays. Before being born again, I too had no Truth in my heart, even though I was steeped in Biblical knowledge. Even so, I never lost any of the many debates that I had with other Christians. Not even once did I lose an argument over any Biblical issues no matter what they were.
But what was really important was that my sins actually remained intact in my heart. Even though I always won every theoretical debate that I had, one thing was clear and that was I still had a sinful conscience. Even when I thought that I had received the remission of my sins, as soon as I committed another sin, I once again found myself turning into a sinner.
This is the obvious difference that sets the redeemed apart from the unredeemed. For those who have not received the remission of sins, even if they feel they have no sin right now, they become sinners again once they commit another sin. In contrast, those who have received the remission of sins remain completely sinless even if they sin again. This is the difference between someone who has received the remission of sins and someone who has not. It is also the clear-cut difference between those who have been born again by the Word of God and those who have not.
 
 
The Apostle Paul Said, “In Him You Also Trusted, After You Heard the Word of Truth, the Gospel of Your Salvation; in Whom Also, Having Believed, You Were Sealed with the Holy Spirit of Promise, Who Is the Guarantee of Our Inheritance until the Redemption of the Purchased Possession, to the Praise of His Glory” (Ephesians 1:13-14)
 
This passage means that it is all thanks to the gospel of God that we have become His children and heirs to the whole Kingdom of Heaven. In other words, the Bible is saying here that we have reached our salvation by faith on account of the love of God and the work of our Lord Jesus Christ, for He has blotted out all our sins and redeemed us completely by sacrificing Himself for us. So we praise the glory of God. We praise Him for clothing us in His glory, for turning us into His own people, and for making us righteous. Whoever is in Christ now has absolutely no sin at all. Thanks to Jesus Christ, we have received the complete remission of all our sins.
Through the blood of Jesus Christ, we have obtained our redemption—that is, the remission of our sins. And He could shed His blood on the Cross precisely because He had borne all our sins by being baptized in the Jordan River. Christ’s blood on the Cross, which so many people believe in as their full salvation, was in reality the result of His baptism. It’s because Jesus was baptized that He could lawfully shed His blood on the Cross. All of us must believe in this Truth, that the Lord could shed His blood on the Cross because He had borne all our sins in the Jordan River in the first place.
It’s written in Galatians 3:13, “Cursed is everyone who hangs on a tree.” Jesus Christ had done nothing to deserve to be cursed. Why was He then hung on the accursed Cross? It’s because He had borne all our sins in the Jordan River through His baptism, because He had borne all our curses. Like this, Jesus Christ was cursed because He had taken upon all our sins through His baptism in order to save us.
Some people may ask us, “Is the baptism that Jesus received from John the Baptist absolutely indispensable to our salvation?” To this question, we have no choice but to answer that Jesus’ baptism is indeed absolutely indispensable. Why? It’s because the gospel of the water and the Spirit is the Truth of salvation established by God Himself; and therefore, as far as our genuine faith is concerned, we should never leave out either the baptism of Jesus or His blood on the Cross.
However, many Christians say that they have received the remission of sins by believing in the precious blood of the Cross alone, even though they do not believe in the gospel of the water and the Spirit like we do. But these people are all just deceiving themselves. That’s because once they commit another sin in their lives, they all become sinners again. These Christian sinners claim to be so well-versed in the doctrine of salvation that there is nothing that they don’t know as far as the theory is concerned. However, they are righteous only in their own heads, while in their hearts they are all sinners.
Is this what you would expect from anyone who truly has received the remission of sins? No, of course not! The Bible says that on the last day, every soul will confess everything to God. Whoever has sin in his conscience will be compelled to confess to God that he is a sinner. In contrast, whoever is truly sinless in his conscience will say to God that he is sinless. Only someone who has passed all his sins onto Jesus Christ by believing in the gospel of the water and the Spirit, someone who knows that Jesus Christ bore all his sins, and someone who believes in this undeniable Truth of salvation with all his heart, will be able to say to God with a clear conscience that he has no sin at all.
It’s written in 1 Peter 3:21, “There is also an antitype which now saves us—baptism (not the removal of the filth of the flesh, but the answer of a good conscience toward God), through the resurrection of Jesus Christ.” We are righteous in God’s sight and we can boldly come to His presence with a clear conscience because Jesus Christ bore all our sins when He was baptized, and He was condemned for all those sins on the Cross in our place. Because we believe in this righteous work of salvation that God has done for us, we can stand in His presence boldly. Even though our flesh is full of shortcomings, our conscience can still approach God without hesitation, for we believe in the Word of Truth.
Can anyone be remitted from all his sins even if the baptism of Jesus is set aside? No, of course not! No one can receive the remission of sins if he leaves out the baptism that Jesus received from John the Baptist. Jesus Christ has made it clear that unless you believe that He has saved you through the gospel of the water and the Spirit exactly as it is, you will not be able to receive the remission of sins, and consequently He will cast you into hell. Even if you believe in Jesus Christ, if you set aside the baptism that He received from John the Baptist, this is unlawful and you will therefore be cursed for sure, just as the Lord Himself said in Matthew 7:21-23: “Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven. Many will say to Me in that day, ‘Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Your name, cast out demons in Your name, and done many wonders in Your name?’ And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness!’”
Why would the Lord say to such devout Christians to depart from Him? It’s because they believe in Jesus according to their own thoughts, rather than believing in what the Lord has done for them exactly as it is. Because these Christian sinners believe in Jesus according to their own thoughts instead of denying them, in the end, they will all be forsaken by God. If they were to believe in Jesus according to the Word of God, then their faith would be approved, but because their faith is not in accordance with the Word, they will be abandoned by the Lord.
In today’s Scripture passage, the Apostle Paul was testifying to the saints in the Church of Ephesus just how great and abundant was the grace that he had received from Jesus Christ. Like Paul, we the saints of today have also received the remission of sins through the gospel of the water and the Spirit thanks to Jesus Christ’s abundant grace of salvation.
My dear saints, we have all become sinless by believing in the gospel of the water and the Spirit. We have received the remission of sins by believing in both the baptism of the Lord and His Cross, leaving out neither of them from the Word of God. This is such an amazing blessing that words cannot describe just how grateful we all are.
Moreover, the Holy Spirit has given peace into our hearts. And as long as we believe, He will keep this peace forever. That there is peace in our hearts is all because the Holy Spirit is in our hearts, and because God has given this peace into our hearts. It is our Lord who has saved us, given us everlasting life, made us His children, bestowed His grace upon us, and brought peace to us. Our Lord has given us the peace of Heaven that this world cannot give. The everlasting peace that the Lord has blessed us with is none other than the Kingdom of Heaven, and I give all my praise to our God for granting us this wonderful and blessed Kingdom.