“Now the Pharisees, who were lovers of money, also heard all these things, and they derided Him. And He said to them, ‘You are those who justify yourselves before men, but God knows your hearts. For what is highly esteemed among men is an abomination in the sight of God. The law and the prophets were until John. Since that time, the kingdom of God has been preached, and everyone is pressing into it. And it is easier for heaven and earth to pass away than for one tittle of the law to fail.’”
What Kind of Salvation Does Not Change?
I want us to think about a few things through today’s Scripture passage. The Lord said to the Pharisees, “You are those who justify yourselves before men, but God knows your hearts. For what is highly esteemed among men is an abomination in the sight of God.”
Prior to this passage, the Lord spoke through the parable of the wise steward that a servant cannot serve two masters; he cannot serve both God and mammon. Then, the Pharisees felt uncomfortable in their hearts as they heard the parable and the teaching of Jesus Christ. Therefore, they slandered Jesus and sneered at Him. So Jesus said to such Pharisees, “You are those who justify yourselves before men, but God knows your hearts. For what is highly esteemed among men is an abomination in the sight of God.”
Pharisees were people who were recognized religiously. They believed in afterlife and God’s Law and tried hard to obey the Law. Therefore, Israelites admired the Pharisees because their outward appearances also seemed very holy. They were exalted before all the people. Jesus said to them, “What is highly esteemed among men is an abomination in the sight of God.”
Jesus would not have disliked the Pharisees if they had accepted the Word of God’s Truth, that is, the Word of Jesus Christ and tried to learn from His teaching. Jesus would have loved them even more if they were lifted up and they received admiration from people because their hearts were like that. However, the Pharisees did not receive love and admiration from Jesus Christ.
Actually, the Pharisees hated Jesus the most. The relationship between the Pharisees and Jesus was antagonistic. Pharisees were people who received much admiration from people for believing in God. Ironically however, the Pharisees did not accept the Word of Jesus Christ when Jesus, the true God, came to this world. The Pharisees could not accept the Word of Jesus that said, “No servant can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or else he will be loyal to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and mammon” (Luke 16:13). It is because the Pharisees were people who only liked material things even though they were upright religiously. That is why Jesus sneered at them, saying, “For what is highly esteemed among men is an abomination in the sight of God.”
This Word is also saying that we could be hated by the people of the world if we believed the Word of God’s Truth. However, it is the hate from the false believers. In other words, we could be hated by the false prophets and their followers if we believe in God’s Word, but we are lifted up and are approved by them if we do not believe in the Word of the righteousness of God and we are instead faithful to the worldly religion. Jesus said clearly that those who are lifted up among the people are hated before the presence of God. Those who have heard the gospel of the water and the Spirit in the gospel class of this discipleship training camp and received the remission of sins must definitely remember this.
Even at this moment, I know there are many people that you admire and some who are admired by many people. Of course, there probably are some people who think there would not be anyone who admires him or her because the person doesn’t think himself or herself to be somebody special. However, that is not true. Someone that you do not know admires and loves you for some reason. The reason is that you know the gospel, the Word of the Truth. You deserve to receive such admiration and love because you have truly realized the gospel and received it in your hearts instead of just hearing and knowing the gospel. You are people who have become truly born again.
We can find the meaning of being born again in the Word, “For with the heart one believes unto righteousness, and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation” (Romans 10:10). It means that a person can believe in the gospel with his heart when a person comes to know the Word of the Truth clearly. Such a person acknowledges that he was a sinner based on the Word of the Truth. He comes to realize that although he was a being destined to go to hell because of the sins he has committed and will commit, the Lord came to this world to save such a person, took all his sins upon Him by receiving the baptism from John the Baptist, and remitted all his sins and saved him through His death on the Cross and His resurrection. He has experienced with his heart that Jesus Christ became the perfect Savior for him. That is truly faith, salvation, and being born again.
The Gospel of John chapter 8 in the New Testament says, “And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.” The ‘Truth’ here means the Truth of salvation. Salvation that we are talking about here is the salvation humans receive after recognizing that they cannot but go to hell because of sins, at the moment of believing that Jesus Christ received the baptism from John the Baptist to save us from sins and that He saved us with the blood of the Cross. Receiving salvation from sins like this is the beginning of new faith and we become born again with a new life at that moment.
Now, You Are New Creatures and You Can Begin Anew
I am sure that some among you were admired before many people. However, you must understand that you will be hated by Jesus if you are reluctant to be freed from receiving such admiration and love. On the other hand, you will be lifted up high if you are hated by the people of the world because you believe in the Word of the Truth God has spoken. Actually, many people who have been held in high esteem by other people, struggle with the matter of being hated by the people because of the gospel after being born again, and eventually go to hell because they give up following the gospel of the water and the Spirit. Therefore, Jesus Christ said, “Whoever goes through the wide road is going on the path of destruction. Choose the narrow path. It is dangerous and many people do not go through the narrow road. However, those who want to go on the path of life must try hard to enter the Kingdom of God through the narrow path and enter through it. Then, the Lord will be with you, lead you, and love you even though you will be hated by people at times.” People who have met the Lord actually experience such things frequently.
Many theologians or laypersons throughout the world say that Christianity must be reformed. They are saying that there must be a religious reformation like that of Martin Luther. However, most do not know how the reformation must happen and how we must change our behaviors and doctrines.
However, the true reformation of faith must be like this: The reformation of true faith and returning to the gospel of water and the Spirit, which is God’s righteousness, is to realize the Truth of the true salvation, and accept it in our hearts exactly as it is. By doing so, we can be born again from sins and lead the unrighteous world to the light of the Truth. We who believe in the gospel of the water and the Spirit are the light of the world. True reformation of faith cannot manifest, no matter how Christianity changes its outward appearance and rituals, if it does not accept the Truth that our Lord Jesus who made us become born again through the water and the Spirit is the true God. It cannot be reformed through such people no matter how many Bible passages they memorize, speak holy words well, and receive so much outward love. It means that they must understand God’s Word correctly in order for their inner faith to be reformed, and that just reforming outwardly does not have much use.
Their outward appearances also can be changed naturally if their hearts change through the gospel of the water and the Spirit and their hearts become righteous as ours did. It is the same as the fact that our laughter sounds exaggerated and empty when we just laugh on the outside, but we can feel the energy of faith when the laughter comes out from our hearts with faith. Such peace and joy that comes from the gospel of water and the Spirit is different from the joy that comes from the world. True faith is definitely different from fullness of emotion. Therefore, it has been decided already whether our faith will receive love from God or receive hate from people.
I really congratulate you and give thanks to God for the fact that you have received the remission of sins at this time. You are the people who have actually received the remission of sins by believing the gospel of the water and the Spirit, but I think I am happier than you for that. That is because we have the Holy Spirit in our hearts. You have heard, understood, and believed the gospel of the water and the Spirit and received the remission of sins because you are adults who have already established your own identity. However, those who are still children are a little different. You must teach and guide the faith of your little children with the Truth well. It is because children depend and follow the word of their parents who gave them birth.
The Lord said, “The law and the prophets were until John. Since that time the kingdom of God has been preached, and everyone is pressing into it.” “The law and the prophets were until John” means that when humankind was created in this world and they were at the doorsteps of death because they ate the fruit from the tree of knowledge of good and evil due to the temptation of Satan the Devil, God promised the Word of salvation when humans were about to be destroyed. Furthermore, He said, “And I will put enmity Between you and the woman, And between your seed and her Seed; He shall bruise your head, And you shall bruise His heel” (Genesis 3:15). At that time, God said to humankind that committed sin and fell into sins and destruction, “The Savior will come as a descendant of a woman and save all humankind.” To accomplish His promise, He gave the Law to the people of Israel. God gave the Law and then gave the sacrificial system of the Tabernacle. Then, He sent the prophets to the people of Israel. Those prophets, without exception, rebuked the sins of the Israelites and pointed out that the Messiah would come in the future and save them.
All these were the things that were fulfilled until the time of John. The reality of the Word of promise in the Book of Genesis is Jesus Christ and the Old Testament is just a shadow. God promised that He would send the Savior to us before Jesus Christ actually came, and the prophets proclaimed that promise to the people. They promised that the Messiah would come in the future and save all humankind. They gave us the promise of salvation as the Word that says, “Behold, the virgin shall be with child, and bear a Son, and they shall call His name Immanuel, which is translated, ‘God with us.’” Then, the prophets such as Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel, and Hosea were sent to the world continuously. They proclaimed consistently that someone who would save us would definitely come to this world.
Then, Jesus Christ really came. At the time when Jesus came, John the Baptist, who was a descendant of Aaron the High Priest, was already born 6 months prior to Jesus. Moreover, because he was the greatest among those born of woman, he was able to fulfill the role of transferring all the sins of all humanity to Jesus Christ by baptizing Him in the Jordan River as the representative of all humankind. By this ministry, God fulfilled all the righteousness of the salvation that loved us, the righteous love of God. John transferred over all the sins of humankind to Jesus Christ by baptizing Him. Jesus took over all the sins of humankind through John the Baptist like that. Then, the Lord fulfilled the salvation of all the sinners by carrying all the sins of the world, being crucified on the Cross, being resurrected from death, and ascending to the right hand of God the Father. So the Scriptures said, “Since that time the kingdom of God has been preached, and everyone is pressing into it.” It means that anyone can enter the Kingdom of God if one just hears and believes in the gospel of the water and the Spirit with one’s heart.
Those Who Believe in the Gospel of the Water and the Spirit Enter the Kingdom of Heaven
That is why Jesus said, “And from the days of John the Baptist until now the kingdom of heaven suffers violence, and the violent take it by force” (Matthew 11:12). John the Baptist fulfilled only the role of transferring sins of the world to Jesus Christ by baptizing Him. Then, Jesus took over all the sins of the world through John the Baptist and saved us by resurrecting from death after going to the Cross and dying on it. Jesus Christ became the true Savior for us sinners. You must know and believe the fact that through this, anyone who believes in this Truth can enter the Kingdom of God if he has true faith. Do you believe in this fact? I ask a question to the new saints who have received the remission of sins during this discipleship training camp: Have you received the remission of sins by faith? Or, have you received the remission of sins through the good works you have done here and through your prayers of repentance? We have received salvation because we have heard and believed in our hearts the Truth of the salvation, the gospel that saved us. Jesus Christ took all our sins upon Himself through John the Baptist and carried the sins of the world, and was resurrected on the third day after being crucified on the Cross and dying on the Cross. You have received salvation by hearing and believing now in your hearts the fact of the gospel that God saved us already. That is the salvation we receive through grace. This salvation is the gift of eternal life and blessing the Lord has given to us. Only the people who believe in the Word of God’s Truth can receive that gift.
The other thing God is saying in today’s Scripture passage is, “And it is easier for heaven and earth to pass away than for one tittle of the law to fail.” This Word means that God’s command, that is, the Word of Truth, will exist forever. This Word is saying that the Truth of the work of salvation of the Lord that He has accomplished by coming to this world will never change. Do you believe that such Truth will never change? I will ask you again. Has the Lord saved us with the blood only, or has He saved us with the water, the blood, and the Holy Spirit? He has saved us with the water, the blood, and the Holy Spirit (1 John 5:4-8). This Word of salvation that God has fulfilled and spoken to us will never change even if the entire universe and the world were to be destroyed. Furthermore, the Kingdom of Heaven that God has promised, or the fact that God has made us His children, will exist forever and never change.
Certain people have some doubts even after they have received the remission of sins by believing in the gospel of the water and the Spirit. They ask, “Can we receive the remission of sins only when we know and understand all the Word of God? We receive salvation if we believe in our hearts and understand the fact that Jesus Christ died on the Cross. Why do you say that we receive salvation only when we understand and believe without one iota of misunderstanding that Jesus came to this world and took all the sins of the world through the laying on of hands of John the Baptist, carried the sins of the world and died on the Cross? Why do you compel us to believe that all the righteousness of the world was fulfilled by Jesus baptism, His death on the Cross, and His resurrection from the dead?” There are people who say such words.
However, the fact the Lord saved us through the water and the Spirit is the unchanging Truth. The fact is that the Lord blotted out all our sins at once through the gospel of the water and the Spirit, and the Word of the gospel of the water and the Spirit that God has spoken many times through the Scriptures will never change. It means that the method of salvation or the promise of salvation God has spoken to us, all the blessings that God has given to us, and all the Words God has said will never change, even if the world is destroyed
Could the Bible be changed? The Bible is also referred to as ‘Canon’ in Greek. It means a measuring rod. The Scriptures include all such things like how our sins have been blotted out, how we have been born again through the water and the Spirit, who the Lord is, and what our fundamental nature is. It also includes what the Kingdom of Heaven is like, what is in Heaven, and who the Lord will resurrect first.
The Lord said, “And it is easier for heaven and earth to pass away than for one tittle of the law to fail.” All people, regardless of who they are, will become the way the Scriptures have spoken. Regardless of whether a person is a great person from a Christian perspective, or whether he is a person who has believed in Christianity for a long time, the fate of human beings all becomes the way the Lord has said. Regardless of what John Calvin, the creator of the Calvinism has said, all the people eventually become exactly the way the Scriptures have said. As the Word spoken here, everything besides the Truth of the gospel of the water and the Spirit that enables us to be born again is all deceitful because the Lord truly has made us born again through the water and the Spirit. Regardless of how great a character and morality you used to possess before, and ruled over other people’s heart and mindset, you are now a very different person because you believe in the salvation of Jesus with sincere hearts. You have been born again. This fact cannot change. Can the salvation with which the Lord saved us change?
However, there are still many people who are willing to preach the other gospel that is different from the Word of Truth. A certain preacher once told me that he could preach some other word besides this true gospel and people could receive salvation even if they believed this. He and his followers keep on preaching that word. The thing that person said was “You do not have sin even if you just believe in the blood of the Cross only.” Moreover, he was saying that people are thankful to believe the fact the Lord died for them on the Cross even if we just preach that gospel to such people. He said we should acknowledge that such people have received the remission of sins since they receive salvation just by hearing that word. To his saying, I refuted like this: “Even just looking at the First Epistle of John chapter 5 verses 6 through 8 would show us that it is written, ‘This is He who came by water and blood—Jesus Christ; not only by water, but by water and blood. And it is the Spirit who bears witness, because the Spirit is truth.’ And it is also written, ‘And there are three that bear witness on earth: the Spirit, the water, and the blood; and these three agree as one.’” Then he could not say anything when I refuted his preposterous claim based on many biblical facts.
Our Lord was conceived through the Holy Spirit when He came to this world. He was born to the world clothed in human flesh through the Holy Spirit, and when He became thirty years old, He took all the sins of the humankind by receiving the baptism from John the Baptist, the representative of all humankind. He saved us and became the eternal Christ for us by taking the sins of the world to the Cross and dying on the Cross, and being resurrected from death. Then, how could we say that Jesus Christ saved us just by the Cross without receiving the baptism and taking over our sins? That is not the Truth.
When we look at the Word from the Scriptures, we can see that there is a consequence when there is beginning in the Word. Every account of the Bible is just and correct rather than erroneous. Jesus Christ was born to this world through the body of the virgin Mary in order to save us from sins, took all our sins through the baptism from John the Baptist when He became thirty years old, and He was able to carry the sins of the world to the Cross, be crucified to the Cross and die. He was able to become our eternal Savior by being resurrected from death. Therefore, the Lord is the Truth, the just God, and the One who saved us through the water and the blood like this. He became the eternal Savior for the people who believe in the Lord. Isn’t that right?
The Lord came to this world and lived like that until He became thirty years old, when He appeared before John the Baptist and told John to baptize Him. John declined at first, but he allowed it immediately after the Lord’s saying, “Permit it to be so now, for thus it is fitting for us to fulfill all righteousness” (Matthew 3:15). The baptism of Jesus was fulfilled like that. The Lord was saying, “It is proper for you, John the Baptist, to transfer over all the sins of humankind to Me by baptizing Me. By doing so, I can take over all the sins of humankind through you and carry the sins of the world to the Cross, die on the Cross, be resurrected from death, and become the Savior of all humankind.” This is why the Lord was baptized by John the Baptist in the Jordan River. Otherwise, if Jesus received the baptism simply to show humility before the people, then Jesus would not have been able to carry all our sins nor be crucified to the Cross properly and die on the Cross. He is God who has never sinned before. Even so, the fact that the Lord received the baptism in order to blot out all human sins was itself a great humility.
Many people were jealous of Jesus. Therefore, some people even took Jesus to the cliff of a hill and tried to push Him down the cliff. However, Jesus performed a miracle. In an ordinary situation, it would be normal for a person to die if a lot of people took a person forcibly and pushed him down the cliff. However, Jesus was not like that. In Luke 4:29-30, it is recorded that people clearly tried to push Jesus down the cliff but the Lord passed through the forest of people leisurely with invincible authority. Although Jesus came to this world in the flesh of man, He was essentially God, our Creator, and our Savior. No matter how humans tried to harm Jesus, they could not harm Jesus if God the Father did not allow it. Jesus is not the being whose existence is decided according to human will, but He is instead the Lord who came to this world, received the baptism, died on the Cross, and saved us. That was His will and the will of the Father.
He was not crucified on the Cross because He was weak. When Jesus stood in the court of Pilate, the Governor of Judea, he asked, “Are you the King of Jews?” Jesus then said, “That is what you said.” Pilate asked again, “What authority do You have when I have the authority to judge You and even the authority to release You if You say the right things?” Because Jesus had taken all the sins of humankind through His baptism, He resolutely acknowledged Himself as the King of the Kingdom of God, and received the judgment for those sins. He knew the wages of sin was death, so He gladly faced death because He knew that all humanity could not escape the judgment for the sins eternally if He did not receive the judgment. But He was resurrected from death on the third day and became our eternal living Savior. Do you believe in this salvation?
You cannot believe the wrong doctrines of today’s Christianity that say we receive salvation only through the blood of the Cross apart from the gospel of the Holy Spirit. We must definitely blot out such absurdity of Christianity as a religion that lays importance just on the outward appearance of the Scriptures. We must cleanse everything that belongs to the old leaven by hearing the Word of Truth the Lord has given to us. When our hearts become clean and white as snow, then we can finally become the righteous who have true faith. We must become the people of faith.
The Lord gave us unchanging salvation. That fact does not change forever. I give deep thanks to God who gave us such salvation. We are God’s children. Therefore, we are also Christ’s possession. However, we must remember that only those who have been born again can become His children. People who have not been born again are not of Christ, and rather, they belong to the Devil. So they are shaken left and right according to the Devil.
Then, as I end today’s sermon now, I want you to ask questions about today’s Word to your predecessors in faith and read the Scriptures during the remaining time of this discipleship training camp.