“For this reason I bow my knees to the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, from whom the whole family in heaven and earth is named, that He would grant you, according to the riches of His glory, to be strengthened with might through His Spirit in the inner man, that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith; that you, being rooted and grounded in love, may be able to comprehend with all the saints what is the width and length and depth and height—to know the love of Christ which passes knowledge; that you may be filled with all the fullness of God. Now to Him who is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that works in us, to Him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus to all generations, forever and ever. Amen.”
Warm greetings to all of you! Today’s Scripture passage comes from Ephesians 3:14-21, and through this passage, I would like us all to understand the Apostle Paul’s faith, the salvation that God has brought to us, and the fullness of His power.
The Apostle Paul wrote this Epistle to the saints in Ephesus while he was imprisoned. Paul wanted to preach the gospel beyond Israel to reach the regions of Asia Minor and Europe, and because of this he was heavily persecuted and even imprisoned. And it was while in prison that Paul wrote his Epistle of faith to the saints of the Church of Ephesus.
Actually, the Apostle Paul faced even more persecution from the Jews than the Gentiles. These Jews, all of whom followed Judaism, persecuted the Apostle Paul heavily even though he was a fellow Jew. Today’s Scripture passage comes from the Epistle that Paul wrote to the people of God at the Ephesian Church while he was imprisoned. So the Epistle to the Ephesians is sometimes called a prison letter. As Paul was in prison, he had no other means to spread his faith but by writing letters, and given the level of suffering he was facing for the sake of the gospel, it’s likely that his faith was at its pinnacle. Indeed, God’s plan and the glory of His Church were revealed in every passage in Paul’s prison letters.
Paul Was a True Evangelist and Minister
Paul said in Ephesians 3:13, “Therefore I ask that you do not lose heart at my tribulations for you, which is your glory.” To phrase this passage in another way, the Apostle Paul was saying to the saints in Ephesus, “Do not be ashamed that I am in prison, for I have been falsely accused and imprisoned for preaching the gospel, not because I have done anything wrong.” In fact, the Apostle Paul was imprisoned in a Roman jail accused of instigating the masses into an uproar by preaching the gospel of the water and the Spirit. Wherever Paul went, he always preached the gospel of salvation fulfilled by the baptism of Jesus and His blood on the Cross. So the Jews persecuted Paul heavily, accusing him of blaspheming the Law of God and saying that he should be stoned to death. Indeed, Paul was actually stoned by the Jews from Antioch and Iconium. He was almost dead, so they dragged him out of the city, supposing him to be dead (Acts 14:19). Despite such persecution, however, Paul still bore witness of Jesus our Savior wherever he went, preaching that Jesus was the Christ.
Like Paul, all of us also understand and believe that Jesus Christ is our Savior. Coming to this earth as the Son of God, Jesus Christ has blotted out all our sins with the baptism He received from John the Baptist and the blood He shed on the Cross. The Bible clearly teaches us that Jesus has blotted out all our sins once and for all with the gospel of the water and the Spirit.
The Word preached by the Apostle Paul caused a great deal of controversy, and many Jews who heard this Word were also stirred up by Paul’s teachings, particularly over the issue of resurrection. Despite this, however, they could not kill Paul so easily. What explains this? It’s because even though Paul was a Jew, he was also a citizen of Rome. But more importantly, God was with Paul, and that’s the ultimate reason why no one could put him to death so easily.
The politicians at that time perceived that Apostle Paul as a troublemaker, thinking that he was inciting the people with his teachings. So they came to think that Paul had to be imprisoned to silence him in any way possible. As a result, Paul was not only imprisoned but also martyred in the end for preaching the gospel.
Paul was imprisoned several times for preaching the gospel, but the more persecution he faced, the dearer his wish to preach the gospel became. Paul said, “For this reason I bow my knees to the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, from whom the whole family in heaven and earth is named” (Ephesians 3:14-15). This passage shows how Paul’s heart was filled with his desire to spread the gospel of the water and the Spirit to everyone all over the world. Yet even as Paul needed every passing moment to preach the gospel of the water and the Spirit, he found himself imprisoned, and so you can easily imagine just how much he yearned to be able to preach the gospel. That’s why the Apostle Paul knelt before God the Father and prayed to Him earnestly, and wrote his prison letters to the saints to teach them about God’s Church. This heart-felt desire of Paul is clearly shown in today’s Scripture passage. Through Paul’s Epistle to the saints in Ephesus, it’s very important for us to understand Paul’s heart-felt desire, and it’s also indispensable for us to unite ourselves with his faith to understand what kind of work is carried out by God’s Church.
The key message of the entire Epistle that Paul wrote to the Ephesians, from the first chapter to the last, is about God’s Church. In Ephesians 1:4, for instance, he explained to us about God’s Church and its members by saying that God the Father chose us in Christ before the foundation of the world and that we should be holy and without blame before Him in love. This passage that Paul spoke about God’s Church is the absolutely undeniable truth, and we should all believe in this truth and thank God for it. All of us here ought to realize Paul’s heartfelt desire to teach us this truth, and our understanding of God’s Church and our faith in it must be the same as Paul’s understanding and faith.
While reading the Pauline Epistles, I was able to grasp that Paul’s faith was founded on the gospel of the water and the Spirit. Indeed, I could see Paul’s knowledge of the Truth about God and his unwavering faith seeping from each and every one of his words and each and every one of his beliefs. Today’s Scripture passage is laden with Paul’s faith, his prayers, and his testimonies, and from this passage, we can see just how great the Apostles’ faith was, and how faithful they all were to the gospel of the water and the Spirit. So, focusing our attention on these few verses that we read today, I would like to share Paul’s faith with you.
God Has Moved Us To His Glorious Kingdom
When we turn to Ephesians 3:16, we see the Apostle Paul testifying his faith and wishing us all “that He [God] would grant you, according to the riches of His glory, to be strengthened with might through His Spirit in the inner man.” The riches of God’s glory here refer to the fact that the Lord has saved us perfectly from all the sins of the world, thereby making us lack nothing to become God’s own children. They also mean that God has given us heavenly blessings and made us His faithful servants, so that we would be more than able to live as God’s workers. And God has made this known to us all through the Holy Spirit. Paul also said here that our hearts are strengthened by trusting in the glory of this Truth.
It was Paul’s unwavering faith that God had made him and all the saints His own people according to the riches of His glory and power. In other words, Paul is once again reassuring us all that God’s people are those who have been born again through the gospel of the water and the Spirit. Paul is teaching us clearly here that God has blessed us with an unimaginable power so that we would lack nothing as God’s servants. This means, in other words, that the Apostle Paul believed that God had blessed him to enter His Kingdom and enjoy all its glory.
What was it that Paul wished the most from the depth of his heart? He yearned to spread his faith to everyone, from the Jews to the Gentiles alike. It was Paul’s heartfelt desire for all the countless people to believe in Jesus Christ as their Savior according to the grace of God and the riches of His glory. Paul therefore preached the gospel of the water and the Spirit to all sinners, enabling them to be saved perfectly from all their sins, and he also taught the saints to trust in this Truth with all their hearts, so that they would never surrender their faith to anyone. And he wished them all to keep their faith strong like this to be worthy of being Christ’s soldiers.
Now then, take a moment here and imagine that you yourself were imprisoned like Paul for preaching the gospel. If you were allowed some freedom to write a letter in the prison, what kind of letter would you write to those who heard the gospel from you? I’m sure that you would write to them to stand firmly by faith. The Apostle Paul had not only preached the gospel to the saints in Ephesus, but he also shared the bread of nourishment with them for their spiritual growth. He told them that just as he was partaking in the glory of God by trusting in the gospel of the water and the Spirit, the Ephesians saints should also glorify God by burning their torch of faith evermore, never allowing their faith in the Lord to decay under any trials, persecutions, or circumstances.
The Apostle Paul said in Ephesians 3:16 that he wanted us “to be strengthened with might through His Spirit in the inner man” (Ephesians 3:16). The “inner man” here refers to the saints’ faith. By what then is our inner man strengthened as the saints? It is by believing in the gospel of the water and the Spirit and its glory that we are strengthened. This means that as we have been freed from all our sins and become forever righteous by believing in the gospel of the water and the Spirit, we now lack nothing to live as God’s own people.
All of us believe in the gospel Truth of the water and the Spirit. But how would we feel if we were in the same circumstances that the Apostle Paul was in? Of course, since we are not really in prison, we can’t completely grasp just how frustrated and stifling Paul must have been, but if we put ourselves in his shoes and imagine about writing a letter to other saints like Paul, then we could better understand and appreciate what Paul meant when he wrote to the Ephesian saints that he wished God “would grant you, according to the riches of His glory, to be strengthened with might through His Spirit in the inner man” (Ephesians 3:16). And if we were the Ephesian saints and received this letter from Paul, our spirits would no doubt have been strengthened in the gospel Truth of the water and the Spirit that’s in our hearts.
As we carry on with our lives in this world, we are bound to come across trials from time to time. However, because you and I believe in the gospel of the water and the Spirit, our hearts will never be discouraged no matter what trials we face, and we can all defend our faith in the gospel of the water and the Spirit and live according to the will of God. Moreover, it is by trusting in the Lord that we are preaching the gospel of the water and the Spirit all over the world. If our hearts are ever discouraged, it’s only because we have not made up our minds to live just for the gospel of the water and the Spirit. Indeed, especially in these last days when life in this world is becoming harder and harder, we must believe in the Truth of salvation that has come by the gospel of the water and the Spirit even more, and we must preach it to everyone else even more diligently. All the saints and servants of God must be strengthened evermore by trusting in the gospel of the water and the Spirit, the gospel through which the Lord has saved us all. So I ask you to never forget that all of us can lead a courageous life, for we have all been saved from all our sins by believing in the gospel of the water and the Spirit.
Every runner about to run in a race must prepare his heart and focus his mind on the race that’s before him. Likewise, we must also set our minds clearly when we decide to live for God after receiving the remission of sins by believing in the gospel of the water and the Spirit. Our faith must always be set on God. When we are thus awake at all times and prepare for the Lord’s return by trusting in the gospel of the water and the Spirit, our inner man is strengthened and we are able to overcome all our trials. And all these things are possible only when we decide our hearts beforehand to live by faith.
It’s true that many people in this world look down on the faith of the saints and God’s servants, or even try to suppress it. But even so, if you really believe in the gospel of the water and the Spirit and you have set your heart on God, then you will never surrender to them no matter what trials and tribulations you might face. Even though we may be powerless before them outwardly, our inner man will ultimately prevail over them. What is the fundamental difference that sets us apart from all these people who still don’t know the gospel of the water and the Spirit? It is the very fact that we have been born again by believing in the gospel of the water and the Spirit; moreover, not only have we become God’s own people and children, but we also have the blessed faith to never surrender to any sinner. That’s because we already have faith in the gospel of the water and the Spirit in our hearts. It’s not by our own willpower to strengthen ourselves that we can overcome all our trials and persecutions, but it is because we have already become righteous people by believing in the gospel of the water and the Spirit.
The Lord Can Dwell Only in the Heart of Someone Who Believes in the Gospel of the Water and the Spirit
Ephesians 3:17 says, “That Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith; that you, being rooted and grounded in love.” We the righteous are lifeless if our faith in God’s Truth is ever taken away from us. And to make sure that our faith is never taken away from us, you and I and everyone else in our Church must ensure that Christ dwells in all of our hearts, just as Paul said in today’s Scripture passage, “That Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith” (Ephesians 3:17).
The faith that we now have in God’s sight is the one that’s placed in the gospel of the water and the Spirit that constitutes the righteousness of God. The substance of our faith is what we hope for and look forward to from the Lord. Faith in God is the substance of things hoped for. This kind of faith is the right faith. In other words, even though the eyes of the flesh cannot see our faith, it has real substance. True faith is one that believes in the Word of Truth that is not seen by the eyes of the flesh. Or otherwise it is all in vain. The Bible clearly says, “Faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen” (Hebrews 11:1). This passage means that our faith is all about believing in what really exists even though it is not visible to our naked eyes. In other words, it is all about believing in God’s work and His plan. Indeed, all of us believe in the remission of our sins and the everlasting life that God has spoken to us. And there is no doubt whatsoever that this Truth, the object of our faith, has real substance.
How can you ensure that Christ dwells in your heart? This is possible only when you have faith in the gospel of the water and the Spirit. The gospel of the water and the Spirit that Christ has given to us not only washes away all your sins, but it also makes Christ dwell in your heart. And just as Paul testified his faith to the Ephesian saints, I can also testify my faith and say to all of you, “That Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith” (Ephesians 3:17).
It is an indescribable blessing today that we have come to believe in the gospel Word of the water and the Spirit. The Apostle Paul also spoke about his death, his being born again, and his resurrection, all of which were accomplished by uniting himself with Jesus Christ by faith. He believed that all these were achieved through the baptism Jesus received from John the Baptist and the blood He shed on the Cross. The Apostle Paul’s faith was honest and sincere in God’s sight.
All the Apostles, including the Apostle Paul and the Apostle Peter, believed in and preached the gospel of the water and the Spirit. The true gospel of salvation is the gospel of the water and the Spirit. Every other gospel is a false gospel. As it’s revealed in the Old Testament, the people of Israel not only had to be circumcised, which denotes God’s promise of the remission of sins, but they also had to lay their hands on the sacrificial animal and draw its blood whenever they offered any sacrifice to God. These principles were mandatory for the Israelites to receive the remission of sins. And according to the same principles, Jesus Christ came to this world, bore all the sins of the human race by being baptized by John the Baptist, carried them all to the Cross and shed His blood to death, and rose from the dead again to save us all. This is what the gospel of the water and the Spirit proclaims, and it is the gist of the true gospel. The gospel of the water and the Spirit is the only true gospel that the Bible speaks of.
The Apostle Paul said, “That Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith” (Ephesians 3:17). Just as God the Father is holy, so is Jesus Christ the forever-holy Lord. Therefore, it is absolutely imperative for us to believe in the gospel of the water and the Spirit that Jesus has given to us, and thereby ensure that our hearts are indwelt by true faith. We are so depraved that we cannot even be compared to Jesus. As human beings, we are a brood of sin by nature. So we cannot help but commit sin all the time.
How can such wretched people like us then have our hearts indwelt by Jesus Christ, who is so holy? There is only one way that we can invite Jesus Christ to dwell in our hearts. What is it? It is to believe in the gospel Word of the water and the Spirit. What then does it mean to have faith in the gospel of the water and the Spirit, the Truth of God? It is all about believing that Jesus Christ has become our Savior by coming to this earth to blot out all our sins, being baptized by John the Baptist to bear all our sins once and for all, carrying them all to the Cross and shedding His blood, and rising from the dead again. To believe in this Truth is what it means to have faith in the gospel of the water and the Spirit. It is through this gospel of the water and the Spirit that Jesus has given us this Truth of salvation. And it is by believing in this Truth of salvation that we can have this Savior dwell in our hearts.
The Lord is saying that He has saved us from all the sins of the world by coming to this earth by water and blood (1 John 5:3-8). And all of us are saved by believing in the gospel of the water and the Spirit and accepting the Lord as our Savior. Paul said, “That Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith” (Ephesians 3:17). The Lord says that our faith in the gospel of the water and the Spirit is the right faith. It’s by believing in this gospel of the water and the Spirit that we can receive the remission of sins into our hearts. That is why the Lord has sent the Holy Spirit to us to dwell in our hearts, for Jesus Christ has become our Savior through His water and blood. Whoever believes in the gospel of the water and the Spirit now will have the Spirit of Christ coming into his heart, but whoever does not believe in this true gospel will never see Christ coming into his heart. That is how those who have the Holy Spirit are distinguished from those who don’t.
In short, faith in Jesus Christ is all about believing in the gospel of the water and the Spirit. By nature, you and I were all destined to die for our sins and be cast into hell. Because our hearts were full of sins, we had no choice but to be destroyed and cast into hell for our sins, but we have now been saved from all these sins thanks to the gospel of the water and the Spirit. Just as the Bible says, “The wages of sin is death” (Romans 6:23), the Law of God is so strict that anyone who has any sin at all must be condemned without exception.
If you break any secular law, you must be judged accordingly, and so how could you ever escape from the condemnation of sin when you break the Law of God? The statutes of God’s Law clearly state, “The wages of sin is death.” Anyone who has committed just a single sin so far must be condemned by God for this sin. It is therefore only a matter of course that everyone who has sin in any shape or form should be cast into hell.
Take a moment to reflect on this before the Word of Truth. Until we found Jesus Christ—that is, until we realized the gospel of the water and the Spirit—all of us were indeed sinful, and therefore we were all destined to be cast into hell. No matter how ardently we might have believed in Jesus, if we had any sin in our hearts, then we had to go straight to hell. Your heart and mine were fundamentally sinful by our very nature; how was it then possible for us to have Jesus Christ dwell in our hearts? This was possible because we received the remission of sins by believing that the Lord had come to this earth incarnated in the flesh of man; that He bore all our sins by being baptized in the Jordan River; that He carried all the sins of the world to the Cross and was condemned by being crucified to death in our place; and that He rose from the dead again. It’s on account of this faith that we were able to have Jesus Christ our holy Lord dwell in our hearts.
What the Apostle Paul was saying to the saints in Ephesus was to receive Jesus Christ into their hearts by believing in the gospel of the water and the Spirit. Did he then speak about the baptism Jesus Christ received in this Epistle? Yes, Paul clearly spoke about the baptism of Jesus in his Epistle to the Ephesians. He also spoke about Jesus’ baptism in his Epistle to the Galatians as well as his Epistle to the Colossians. In fact, every Pauline Epistle speaks of the baptism of Jesus and His blood. Whenever we hear the Word of God, we must open our hearts and listen to it by faith, just as the one preaching the Word must also do so. Our thoughts also should be in accordance with the Word of God; we should never think on our own.
It’s written in today’s Scripture passage that the Lord comes into our hearts when we believe that Christ has saved us from all our sins, and it is then that we are “rooted and grounded in love” (Ephesians 3:17). The love in this passage refers to the love of Christ—that is, God’s love for us. And God has revealed this love to us through no one else but Jesus Christ. When we turn to John chapter 1 and see what Jesus did for us on this earth, we can see just how much God loves us all. God said here in Ephesians 3:17 that He wants the foundation of our faith to be rooted and grounded in His love. This means that our faith should be rooted and strengthened even more in the gospel of the water and the Spirit, the gospel through which God has saved us from all the sins of the world. When the gospel of the water and the Spirit is reduced to just one word, it is “love” in essence; when love is expanded into two words, it is “God’s love”; and God’s love is none other than Christ’s love. Therefore, the gospel of the water and the Spirit, the love of Christ is what has made it possible for our hearts to be indwelt by Christ.
It is all thanks to the love of Christ that we have become God’s children and the people of His Kingdom. This is why we are able to love others and serve the gospel of Truth. We have become such blessed people who dwell in Christ’s love. However, if this love of Christ is taken away from us, your soul and mine will wither away and perish like a plant that can’t receive any sunlight.
It’s for this reason that the Bible says, “Now abide faith, hope, love, these three; but the greatest of these is love” (1 Corinthians 13:13). This love, moreover, is unconditional agape love. Put differently, God does not demand anything from us in return for saving us from all our sins, but He has given us this salvation freely out of His mercy alone. Having thus turned all of us who believe in Him into His people, God has planted us in His Kingdom to enjoy all its glory and splendor. This is the essence of God’s love.
Love in this world can be categorized into three kinds: Phileo, which is brotherly love between friends; eros, which is romantic love between a man and a woman; and agape, which is God’s love. Phileo and eros, however, are fleeting, for any love between human beings is over as soon as it is no longer in their interest to sustain it.
Have you seen the movie Ben-Hur? The main protagonist of this movie, a man named Ben-Hur, was the best friend of the antagonist Messala. Messala was a Roman citizen, and after spending some time in Rome, he returned to his childhood country commissioned as the commanding officer of the Roman garrison in Israel serving its governor-general. And he was very happy to see Ben-Hur upon his return. Ben-Hur, on the other hand, was a Jewish nobleman, and as such he believed in the Lord God and cared deeply about his fellow Jews. Since his friend Messala was not only a Roman citizen but also a servant of the Roman Emperor, these two men had entirely different loyalties. As a result, their friendship eventually fell apart over their political differences, with Messala going as far as destroying Ben-Hur’s family and shipping him off to the sea as a galley slave. But Ben-Hur’s life was spared thanks to God’s help, and when he returned to Israel, he confronted Messala in a bloody chariot race and ultimately prevailed over him. The movie shows how Ben-Hur grew into a man of faith through his trials.
Like this, friendship can easily be shattered when there is a conflict of interests. The love between a man and a woman is also broken completely once they part their ways. In contrast, God’s love for us is not based on any self-interest. It is completely selfless, for our God loved us so much that, when we were all destined to hell, He personally came to this earth to save us from all our sins, bore them all on His own body, was condemned for our sins in our place, and rose from the dead again. Like this, it is entirely out of His love that Jesus has become our Savior. This is what God’s love is all about. And it is when we are rooted in this agape love, the unconditional love that’s been freely bestowed on us without asking anything in return, that we are firmly grounded in the foundation of faith.
The Gospel of the Water and the Spirit Is the Embodiment of God’s Unconditional Love
It’s not by doing something on our own that we receive God’s love. Rather, this love of God is received only when we believe in the gospel of the water and the Spirit, and serve this gospel and carry out God’s work by faith. This means that your faith and mine must be rooted in the gospel of the water and the Spirit, the embodiment of God’s love for us. God truly love all of you, from His servants and saints to everyone around you.
Therefore, every human being must grasp this love of God. Of course, every Christian claims to know God’s love, and many Christians even have John 3:16 framed and hung on the wall, 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.” Yet despite this, and despite saying time after time that God is love, most of these Christians do not know the true meaning of God’s love. Only those who have experienced God’s love that has come by the water and the Spirit know this love, and these people alone have been saved. God’s love is not spoken just with words as a dead language, but it is given to us through a living language of love.
How about you then? Have you also experienced this living love of God? If God were to love us just when we do something right or are obedient, but punish us and stomp on us whenever we disobey Him, could this really be called love? No, that is not God’s love. The unconditional agape love that God has bestowed on us is perfect, holy, and flawless. And this real love is revealed as the salvation that God has brought to us by remitting away all our sins perfectly. That is why we all are able to live every day blamelessly.
I have experienced this love of the Lord myself. As one of our hymns sings, “Lord is my love, I am His bride; His love is my joy,” whoever knows the love of Jesus, believes in Him, and has been born again is indeed loved by Jesus as His own bride. Before, when I did not really understand Jesus’ love, I used to praise Him just out of my own emotion, but all that emotional elation and faith that I first had disappeared in no time when I found myself committing sin again and again. Since I committed so many sins all the time, I was miserable in those days, but once I finally realized that I was completely sinless because Jesus had truly saved me as my Savior, my God and my Groom, I was freed from all my suffering.
It was only after ten years had passed since I first believed in Jesus that I was finally able to experience God’s love for real. When I truly understood the Word of God saying that Jesus had accepted and borne all the sins of mankind by being baptized by John the Baptist in the Jordan River, that He shed His blood to death on the Cross for me, and that He had saved me by rising from the dead again, I finally understood God’s love and said to myself: “Jesus has indeed blotted out all my sins and fulfilled all righteousness. Since Jesus bore all the sins of the entire human race, all my sins were also passed onto Him, and that’s why the Lord was crucified to death as my Savior. And by rising from the dead, Jesus has brought me back to life, and He has also become my perfect Savior and the King of the Kingdom of God. So now that I believe in Jesus, I will not only go to the Kingdom of Heaven but also see the Lord there face to face. Jesus is therefore my Interceder, demonstrating the evidence of my salvation to God the Father on my behalf. And as I now believe in this Truth, I have been made completely sinless even though I still commit many sins every day.”
I was so happy and joyful once I grasped the love of the Lord. Once I learned about the gospel of the water and the Spirit from the Word of God and believed in this true gospel, I was able to experience the Lord’s love. And no word could ever describe just how joyful I was at that time. Is there any love in this world that comes even remotely close to this love of the Lord? He loved me so much that He did not take away just a few of my sins, but He took them all away. It was so wonderful for me to realize this Truth. It’s written in Matthew 3:15, “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.” I was astounded by this passage, for Jesus had taken away all the sins of everyone all over the world. So this could only mean all my sins were also passed onto Jesus. Jesus was baptized in a form of laying on of hands, and this means that He shouldered all the sins of the world; that He went into the water, and on the other hand it implies that He would be crucified to death; and that He came up out of the water means that He would rise from the dead again. Like this, Jesus loved us so perfectly.
Through the gospel of the water and the Spirit, I have experienced God’s perfect love. I have seen God’s love with my own eyes. Moreover, now that I have experienced this love once, I no longer thirst for love. Even if I feel spiritually thirsty, all that I have to do is listen to the sermons preached by our ministers or hear the testimonies of our brothers and sister. I am then quenched and blessed abundantly as the fountain of love begins to flow again in my heart. Just as everything comes alive when the long-waited rain comes in a drought, my heart is completely rejuvenated. I am experiencing such love even at this very moment.
Because I was sinful, I had no choice but to go to hell, but Jesus bore all my sins by being baptized. Jesus has thereby freed me completely from hell and saved me to perfection. And it’s because Jesus had borne all the sins of the human race by being baptized that He was crucified to death. Like this, the Lord loved not only me but also everyone else, and my heart felt this love and was filled by it.
My fellow believers, the love of God must be planted firmly in your hearts. The salvation that has come by the love of Jesus Christ is what should be planted in your heart, and not some Christian doctrines. Have you truly experienced this love of Jesus Christ through your faith in the gospel of the water and the Spirit? The First Epistle of John says the following about love: “There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear” (1 John 4:18).
Do you know just how strong love is? The power of love knows no bounds. The children who grow up in a loving home turn out to be very different adults compared to the children who grow up without being loved. Regardless of the education they get in school, the kids that grow up with love form a good character to brighten up the society as its creative, helpful, loving and kind members. In contrast, children that grow up without being loved are prone to lack sociability and have a twisted disposition, living a bleak and cynical life full of complaints. Most criminals have such a background, having grown up without being loved.
However, if we experience the perfect love of Jesus Christ, understand it, and believe in it, then our lives in this world won’t be so depressing anymore. For from it, we will actually live joyously in this world with a positive outlook on life, compelled to praise God, thank Him, and preach the gospel of the water and the Spirit, which is the embodiment of the love of God. In other words, we will know how to love other souls just as God loves us.
The Foundation of Your Faith in the Righteousness of the Lord Must Now Be Grounded Firmly
It’s absolutely imperative for the foundation of your faith and mine to be grounded firmly. Is the foundation of your faith solid? By any chance, isn’t your faith easily shaken? If your heart is ever shaken and discouraged, then you must ground it firmly in your faith once again, just as dry land is hardened even more after heavy rain. Like this, when your difficult trials are over, your faith and its foundation will become even sturdier. But the foundation of your faith should not be hardened in the wrong way, but it should be hardened as a fertile foundation filled with love. Your heart must be a fertile field of faith that has accepted God’s love. For the believers in the gospel of the water and the Spirit who have experienced Gods’ love, their hearts are bound to turn into a fertile field filled with agape love, and they will come to lead others to also turn their hearts into such a field.
You and I are God’s own people. That is why the Apostle Paul wished us in Ephesians 3:18-19 that we “may be able to comprehend with all the saints what is the width and length and depth and height—to know the love of Christ which passes knowledge; that you may be filled with all the fullness of God” (Ephesians 3:18-19).
Do you know the width of God’s love out of which He has saved you and me? Let’s try to measure this with the love of God and see if we can gauge just how wide this salvation that God has given us is. Did God bear just your sins by being baptized? No, He bore all the sins of the entire human race once and for all, taking upon each and every sin of everyone living on this planet. Moreover, God bore not only all the sins of the entire human race, but He also forever took upon all its trespasses, shortcomings, and even weaknesses. With our finite minds it is simply impossible for us to measure or gauge the depth and the width of God’s love.
There are many religions in this world including worldly Christianity. Christianity as a religion at least teaches its followers to be saved by believing in what Jesus Christ has done for them; in contrast, all the other religions in this world emphasize asceticism and self-denial, teaching their followers to become a god through their own efforts. This is what sets Christianity apart from all the other religions. However, Jesus Christ bore all the sins of even all such mistaken people trying to reach salvation through their own means and delivered them all.
God had chosen the Jews as His people in His providence. Did God then love just the Jews? No, God loved not only the Jews but also all the Gentiles, and He has saved the entire human race without any discrimination. The Lord did not just take upon your sins and mine as His present-day believers, nor did He bear just the sins of the Jewish people, but He bore all the sins of everyone in this world, transcending all religious sects and denominations. And because Jesus bore all the sins of everyone once and for all, whoever believes in this Truth is completely sinless. That is just how wide Christ’s love is.
Do you know the length of God’s love for us? Once born on this earth, none of us could help but commit sin every day, and therefore all of us were destined to be condemned for our sins to be put to death and cast into hell. However, to save such wretched people like us, God Himself took upon all our sins by being baptized, and He bore all the condemnation of these sins on the Cross. Can you even begin to imagine just how many sins the Lord bore? Did Jesus take upon just your original sin? Did He bear just your past sins? No, Jesus bore all your sins forever. He bore not only your past sins but also your present sins, and He even took upon all the sins that you will commit in the future. That is the length of the love that the Lord has bestowed on us.
Even if Jesus bore just one man’s sins, this itself would be amazing enough; but He bore all the sins of the entire human race in this world, and that’s why the length and width of His love can never be measured by any human means. When Jesus Christ came to this earth, He bore each and every sin forever, transcending time and space. He abhorred sin so much that He gathered together all the sins and washed them all away. Having raised John the Baptist as the representative of mankind, the Lord made him pass all its sins onto His own body by baptizing Him. That Jesus has saved the entire human race by accepting all its sins and bearing its condemnation is the length of the love of the Lord and its width.
Now then, is there any sin left on this planet earth? Of course not! However, because there still are many people who refuse to accept this powerful gospel of the water and the Spirit, these people are guilty of their sins. In other words, although all who believe in the gospel of the water and the Spirit have no sin, those who don’t accept this gospel of Truth are guilty of committing the sin of unbelief, and therefore they will all be condemned for this sin. Even though God’s love is so endless that He bore each and every sin and there is no sin that He did not bear, there still are many people who refuse to believe in this Truth, and so God has no other choice but to condemn them all.
It doesn’t matter whether your sins are committed intentionally or unintentionally, or openly or secretly, for Jesus bore each and every one of your sins. That is how Jesus has become your Savior. Just how tall is the height of this salvation? Jesus has not only saved us, but He has also seated us on the throne of the glory of God. That the Lord has transformed our status into God the Father’s own children and clothed us in His glory is the height of God’s love for us. Do you really believe in this, that the Lord has clothed us in all glory?
Paul also admonished us in Ephesians 3:19 “to know the love of Christ which passes knowledge; that you may be filled with all the fullness of God.” Indeed, it’s absolutely imperative for you and me to know the love of Christ that passes knowledge. Only when we realize the fullness of the love of Jesus can we also be full of His grace. You have to grasp just how completely Jesus bore all your sins through the baptism He received on this earth, and know the width, length, and height of this love according to the understanding the Lord has given you. It is not according to our own measuring rod that we should try to know the width, length, and height of the love of the Lord, but it is according to the Lord’s barometer of salvation that we should understand His love. Just how perfectly has the Lord saved you? I raise this question because it’s absolutely necessary for you to understand just how perfectly Jesus bore all your sins and mine through His baptism and His blood on the Cross, and know the width, height, and length of this love. Whether or not you can experience the love of Jesus in all its depth depends on whether or not you know how completely Jesus bore all your sins when He was baptized.
How many of our sins did Jesus Christ bear? What is the depth, width, and length of the Lord’s love in taking upon all our sins? Because you and I have many shortcomings, we can’t help but commit sin all the time. Did Jesus bear these sins also? Of course He did! Did you not commit sin today also? We are so prone to commit sin that we sometimes sin even in our dreams. Some teenagers spend so much time in front of a computer drawn by its many temptations that they don’t even know what’s going on outside their rooms, whether it’s day or night; and when their parents ask them to do some chores, they sin by rebelling and yelling at them in anger.
But it’s not just our teenagers that commit sin. Grown-ups also commit sin in their own way. Everyone commits sin in one way or another, from students to housewives, adults, kids and elderly alike. No one is immune from sin; well-mannered people sin secretly behind everyone’s back, while misbehaved people sin openly and flauntingly.
How completely then did Jesus bear all these sins by being baptized? What is the depth of this love? What is its width? What is its length? Jesus Christ bore each and every sin forever. The depth, width, and length of the salvation that the Lord has brought to you expand even more when you admit your sins every time you commit them and recognize that Jesus bore all your sins by being baptized. The depth and width of your faith that’s reached by realizing and believing just once that Jesus bore all your sins cannot be the same as those reached when you ruminate or meditate on the gospel and verifying it time after time. Just as a more refined gold ornament is sturdier and more elaborate, those who refine their faith more by ruminating on the true gospel time after time are made into even more unwavering people of faith.
When we first believed in Jesus, our faith was not that sturdy. Even after receiving the remission of sins, we often found ourselves struggling with our difficult circumstances, and it’s only after we listened to the Word of God every day and began to lead our lives of faith that we realized just how full of shortcomings we were. That is how the grace of our salvation was made deeper, wider and longer. Even into the future, all of us must continue to ruminate on the grace of salvation and expand the height, length, width, and volume of our faith. The knowledge of the Truth of salvation, that Jesus bore all our sins completely through His baptism, is not reached just by thinking about it once, nor does it grow by itself automatically. The height and width of this knowledge is so great, so perfect, and so everlasting that it can’t be understood completely even if we ruminate on it time after time, and therefore it takes many days and years before we can understand the greatness of our salvation.
Examine Your Faith and Experience Christ’s Love Every Day
Do you admit your shortcomings and wrongdoings to God whenever they are exposed? Do you admit that you’ve committed sin out of your shortcomings? All of us must admit our wrongdoings to God. Although any of us can go astray, few of us actually admit our wrongdoings to God. However, all of us who have received the remission of sins must admit our wrongdoings whenever we commit them. After admitting them like this, we must once again ruminate on the fact that Jesus bore all our sins through His baptism and put our trust in this Truth. The righteous must praise the greatness of the Lord’s salvation and re-examine themselves constantly to verify their salvation. When you thus confirm your salvation and ruminate on the gospel of the water and the Spirit continuously, the foundation of your faith will eventually be made unwaveringly solid. You won’t budge no matter how severely anyone shakes you. You will therefore be filled with all the fullness of God. Since God has saved you and me fully, loved us fully, and made us fully perfect, our hearts must be full of faith. There is therefore nothing else for us to do but believe in the Lord.
The Apostle Paul also said to saints in Ephesus, “Now to Him who is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that works in us, to Him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus to all generations, forever and ever” (Ephesians 3:20-21). This passage clearly teaches us that we can receive such love and power from the Lord, have such complete faith, and live such a full life only when we put on the glory of Jesus Christ by faith and abide in God’s Church.
All of us must grasp God’s love as soon as possible. We must all realize that God has bestowed His abundant and glorious love on us and that He has perfectly saved us from all our sins and condemnation out of His love; and with this understanding, we must experience God’s love in our hearts through faith, and be filled with this love of God.
Why do you have so many shortcomings every day? It’s because God made you live on this earth in your still imperfect body even after saving you, and God did this so that you would experience His love even more abundantly. So I ask you to realize here that this is why your body still remains as imperfect as it was even after being born again.
In our everyday lives also, we must be filled with love, but above all, we must realize and believe without fail that God loves us fully and completely. Once we realize and trust in God’s love, our hearts will be filled. When our hearts are not filled but poor, we are likely to lash out to others. We become abusive to others because our hearts are not filled. Why do we feel angry? It’s because our hearts are not filled with God’s love.
What should we do then? We should carry on with our lives in this world by trusting in the power of the Lord’s glory and His abundant love. And just as the Apostle Paul admonished us, we must live courageously by faith.
Do you really know the love of Jesus Christ, and are you experiencing it in all its depth and width in your everyday life? What we can feel and see every day, every breathing moment, and every time we face hardship is the love of Jesus Christ. This love of Jesus Christ has been revealed and come to us through His baptism and His blood on the Cross. The Lord has thereby made it possible for us to experience this love every day. So let us all feel and see this love through faith in our everyday lives.