“Also He spoke this parable to some who trusted in themselves that they were righteous, and despised others: “Two men went up to the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector. The Pharisee stood and prayed thus with himself, ‘God, I thank You that I am not like other men—extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even as this tax collector. I fast twice a week; I give tithes of all that I possess.’ And the tax collector, standing afar off, would not so much as raise his eyes to heaven, but beat his breast, saying, ‘God, be merciful to me a sinner!’ I tell you, this man went down to his house justified rather than the other; for everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted.”
God Changed Us Who Were Sinners into the Righteous
In the future, many people will accept Jesus who came by the water and the Spirit as their Savior when things become more and more difficult. However, I want people to return to God willingly and receive the remission of sins after recognizing their sinful nature rather than they come to receive Jesus as their Savior unwillingly because of difficult environmental condition.
In today’s Scripture passage, two men went up to the Temple and prayed to God. One person believed that he was righteous and looked down on the other person with contempt. Jesus illustrated through the parable of these two people. God illustrated two kinds of people as He said, “Two men went up to the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector.”
The Pharisee was a person who believed in God very faithfully. He was a person who believes faithfully only outwardly. He was a person who believed very faithfully according to the Word when seen from a religious perspective. On the other hand, a tax collector was a sinner from the worldly point of view. He was nothing from the worldly point of view. He was an absolute sinner from the perspective of ethics, morality, and the faith in God. Jesus illustrated with the parable of these two people.
A Pharisee who was considered a person that believed in God faithfully and lived according to the Word stood at the Temple and prayed, “God, I thank You that I am not like other men—extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even as this tax collector. I fast twice a week; I give tithes of all that I possess.” He was a person who believed that he was righteous, a person who thought he was better than the tax collector, a person who thought he was different from the other person as he prayed to God. He said he was different from those wretched people. Not only that, he said that he also fasted twice a week and that he also tithed well. However, the tax collector stood far from there and did not dare to even lift up his eyes and just pounded his chest and said, “God, be merciful to me a sinner!”
He said there were two kinds of people. The Pharisee prayed, “God, I am Thankful that I am unlike the other people—extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even as this tax collector. I fast twice a week and I give tithes of all that I possess. I am of different offspring than this tax collector.” When we look at the Pharisee who prayed like this, he is indeed a perfect person from worldly perspective. He said he had given tithes of all he possessed thoroughly. He gave 200 dollars if he earned 2,000 dollars. Some people even calculate down to a few dollars to offer tithe correctly. Of course, it is proper for a person to tithe before the presence of God. However, this person boasted of this before the presence of God. And he said that he fasted twice a week. That is such a great thing.
From a religious point of view, he was really a great person. Moreover, he said he did not even sin. He was a person who did not even sin much. He was a great person who did not even commit adultery even when he saw a woman, did not have lewd thoughts, did not envy, did not dispute, did not drink, did not steal, did not harbor evil thoughts, and did not practice evil deeds.
Jesus made a conclusion of this parable and said, “I tell you, this man went down to his house justified rather than the other; for everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted.” We can see here that the Lord classified men into two kinds: One kind of people were those who were confident that they could live faithfully according to God’s will before the presence of God and the other were people who lowered themselves saying that they were nothing before God.
When living in this world becomes more difficult and the basic needs of food and shelter are not resolved, the cry of people saying “Lord, Lord” and seeking God and praying before the presence of God will be heard from this house and that house, this corner and that corner, this church and that church. Then, many people will return to God because of the difficult situation. But instead of returning to God only after the circumstances become so difficult like that, it is more proper for them to return to God willingly by believing in His Word beforehand.
There are two kinds of people. As we see how wrong the Pharisee was, you and I must also look at ourselves and see what kind of person we are essentially. The tax collector could not even look up toward the sky. The only thing he could do was pound on his chest and say, “God, be merciful to me.”
What kind of people are all those humans before the presence of God? They are people who sin until their hearts stop breathing like the tax collector. What kind of people are we when we reveal our hearts before the presence of God and the Word of God? We have believed in Jesus until now, but we have committed sins so far; we are not beings who do not sin from now on. Rather, we are people who commit sin until our last breath. You and I are people who are so lacking that we cannot but sin until our last breath, even though it is right that we should not sin before the presence of God.
You and I are really inadequate, so when we look at our selves before the presence of God, we cannot but pound our chest and say, “God, have mercy on me. I am a sinner.” When we reveal ourselves before God and look at our hearts, we are people who cannot help but be sinners. Yes, people are like that. They are animals that sin until they die. Humans sin until they die even if they believe in Jesus. Even though we Christians wish to walk with Jesus seeking the sublime life and serve the Lord Jesus, tithe, fast twice a week, but that does not mean we do not have sin. Of course we do not sin blatantly for people to see, but when we look at ourselves in light of our hearts, we cannot deny that we are inadequate people who always sin before the presence of God. We have always sinned while living in this world up until now, and we will sin as long as we live. We are weak human beings who cannot but say, “Lord, have mercy on me since I cannot live without sinning.” Who among us can say confidently, “I have never committed any sin, whether it is big or small”? A person sins from the time he was born until he dies. Committing sin from the time they were born until they die is the original nature of human beings. No one in the world can deny that he is not a person who commits sin.
Therefore, we must first realize and know our fundamental nature as it is. People become determined. They make a resolution in their hearts not to do such wrong things again and that they will correct themselves and become righteous people who do not steal again. However, they inevitably sin until they die if they are human beings. There are some people who steal as a hobby, but people usually steal because they do not have money and human beings snatch something to eat from supermarkets if they do not have anything to eat.
In the Word from the Gospel of Mark chapter 7, there are twelve kinds of sins, the sins of evil thoughts, adulteries, fornications, murders, thefts, covetousness, wickedness, deceit, lewdness, an evil eye, blasphemy, pride, and foolishness. Humans commit such sins not because they intend to, but because such circumstances are fostered. Who in the world would not steal when he is hungry and he sees food? One becomes a thief after stealing food. Who in the world would not snatch the money when a wad of bills is lying on the street?
Who does not commit adultery? Who does not commit sin of lewd conduct? After committing the sin of lewd conduct in their imaginations, they all commit the sin of lewd conduct and adultery when they have an opportunity. That’s why God said humans are offspring of evil deeds.
Everyone Was a Mass of Sin Essentially
Can the physical body of a person not sin? No, it can never be like that. It sins until it dies. Humans can turn their hearts from sin, but they are people who will die because of the sins of their flesh. That’s why we always say before the presence of God, “Have mercy on me. I am a person who commits sin until I die. Therefore, have mercy on me, God. I am a weak person. I am a sinner.”
You were born with sin. In other words, you have inherited the lewd heart, the heart of murder, the heart of committing theft, the heart of lying, and all kinds of filthy sins. But, let’s say you did not commit such behaviors openly. So you can say with pride, “I am different from the people of the world. I am different from those people who drink. I am different the prostitute and the swindlers.” But are you truly a righteous person even before the presence of God? Would you truly be a righteous person just because the circumstances were right for you to follow the spiritual life faithfully and therefore you went to church with the Bible at your side?
Strictly speaking, we must realize that all the sins that the prostitutes, male prostitutes, thieves, and robbers, and all the sins that the most wanted criminals of the world commit are the very sins that you and I commit. We must realize that we are such people before the presence of God. You and I are such people. From cradle to grave, until we stand before the presence of God, our physical body commits sin. Human beings commit sin until they die. Therefore, we are definitely sinners unless we are born again by believing in the gospel of the water and the Spirit. No one can be righteous if he has not been born again through the gospel of the water and the Spirit. They are all same sinners who deserve to go to hell before the presence of God.
We are like the tax collector. We are the same as the tax collector who cheats and swindles, spends his money lavishly, and sins all the time. He took the tax from his country and put it into his own pocket. We are like the tax collector who sucked the blood of his own people and filled up his own stomach. You and I must know that our physical body commits sin from birth to the time of death. Do you believe? Do you acknowledge this?
Many Christians Are Actually Like the Pharisees Even Though They Profess to Believe in Jesus as Their Savior
Although they do not believe in the gospel of the water and the Spirit, they walk solemnly, open their eyes wide on their smiling face, and go into the church solemnly, and worship as if they are holy as they sing, “Halleluiah. I praise this house of God.” “They sing, “♬Holy, holy, holy! Lord God Almighty! ♩Early in the morning our song shall rise to thee. ♪” Then a pastor with holy appearance comes forth and prays, “Holy Father God, your people have come here after having sinned much during the week. Forgive all these sins and cause this worship service to be holy and make us worship as holy and bless us. I pray in the name of Jesus Christ. Amen.”
Then He preaches, “God said in the Word from the First Epistle of John chapter 1 verse 9, ‘If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.’ I believe God has cleansed all the sins that you have confessed through the blood of Jesus Christ. Amen. We are holy because we have all received the remission of sins as we confess our sins everyday. Now, we, the people who believe in Jesus Christ, are the light and the salt of the world. What is the life of the salt and the light like? It’s living a good life. Let’s go to the old folks home and help them. Let’s follow the laws of the road. Let’s not swindle. Let’s not steal. That is the ethical life that Christians should live. Let’s illuminate the light in the world that is filled with darkness through our holy and righteous life. We have finished the worship service for God. Let’s return home. I will lead the benediction. In the name of the Holy Father, the Holy Son, and the Holy Spirit, I bless with the overflowing grace to all those who believe in the grace of Jesus Christ and all the people who believe in the holy love of our God the Father and the work of the Holy Father, the Holy Son, and the Holy Spirit. Amen”
Then, the choir sings the most sublime religious hymn. How inspirational is it when a Christian finishes such a grand worship in such an impressive church building! That is a religious life. Such people pray boastfully like the Pharisee, “I fast twice a week. I live an upright life. I do not sin. And I tithe out of all my possessions.” They think they are more righteous than the people of the world, but they return home without receiving the righteousness from God.
What kind of people receives the remission of sins? Sinners receive the remission of sins. The Lord said, “It would have been better if you knew the meaning of the Word that says, ‘I desire mercy and not sacrifice.’” What is the mercy of the Lord? It means that our Lord accepts us who admit they cannot help but sin as His people; that He blotted out all our sins cleanly through the water and the Holy Spirit; and thereby making us righteous before the presence of God. When we look at the meaning of the word ‘mercy,’ it means being pitied by God.
God’s mercy is like the womb. When a fertilized egg is planted in the woman’s womb, it protects the life inside it from all things on the outside. Even it it’s cold on the outside, inside is warm and it nurtures the fetus for nine months and gives birth into the world. That is God’s mercy. A fertilized egg itself does not have any strength. It cannot but die if it is exposed by minutest germ. The womb protects and nurtures such a thing and bears it as a new life to the world. That is God’s mercy.
We human beings are really nothing before the presence of God. Physiologically, we who have been born as descendants of Adam are offspring who cannot but sin inherently. We are offspring who cannot help but sin no matter how hard we try. We sin all our lives because we are seeds of sin.
However, our God made us who are sinners as the righteous. He did so through the water and the Spirit. In the Old Testament, they laid their hands on the head of the sacrificial animal. When an Israelite sinned, he always brought a sacrificial offspring to the Tabernacle. They brought clean animals whichever having cloven hooves and chewing the cud like a sheep, a goat, or a cow, and laid their hands on its head. “I have committed murder; I have committed adultery; I have committed theft.” They confessed their sin while they lay their hands on the sacrifice. Then, the sin was transferred over to the animal. “Laying on of hands” means “to transfer over sacrificial sin.” Then, they cut the throat of the animal and drew its blood. The wages of sin is death. They should have died because they had committed sin, but the sacrificial animal died in their place.
God gave two kinds of law to the Israelites. One was the Law that made them realize sin, and the other was the sacrificial system that made them receive the remission of sins. God gave both kinds of law to Moses at the same time when God called Moses to the Mount Sinai. Moses received the 613 commandments of the Law there. You are mistaking if you think Moses came down from the Mount Sinai after receiving only the Law of do’s and don’ts. Moses also received the Tabernacle system from there. God spoke of the sacrificial system of the Tabernacle that defined the sacrificial offerings. God told the Israelites to offer up grain offering, burnt offering, or peace offering. And those who had sinned by offending the Law had to bring a clean animal without blemish and transfer over their sins by laying on of hands and then cut the throat and take the blood and give it to the priests. Then the priests had to skin the burnt offering and cut it into pieces, cut off the head and the ankle, take out all the fat that was in the gut and the outer layer of the liver, and throw out even the filthy intestine at the ceremonially clean place outside the camp. And God told him to cut it into pieces and offer it up on the altar of burnt offering, burn it with the fat, and it was offered up before the presence of God.
For the sacrifice to God, an animal without blemish had to receive the laying on of hands and be killed. They had to offer up the pieces of cut meat before the presence of God along with its fat, and the priest had to offer it up for the sinner. God had set a law that one could receive the remission of sins only if he transferred over his sins himself by laying on of hands, but the high priest had to offer up the sacrifice for his sake on the day of atonement.
Like this, God gave Moses both the Law and the sacrificial system. Moses received them and gave them to the people of Israel, and they also are inherited to us today. Before we understand and believe the righteousness of God, we understand our sins through God’s Law. The Law tells us not to commit murder. This means that we are humans who commit murder. The Law teaches us of our sins, “You are humans who commit adultery. You are humans that steal. You are humans who serve other gods. You are foolish people. You are humans who cannot keep the Sabbath. You are people who cannot honor your parents.” And God the Father also gave us Jesus Christ. He gave us Jesus Christ to make us receive the remission of sins.
God gave us God’s Law and Jesus Christ. We know the Law of God. However, He gave us the Law of God to make us realize and understand sin, not to keep it. The Book of Romans chapter 3 tells us, “For by the law is the knowledge of sin.” People usually try to keep the Law, but God did not give us the Law to keep it. God gave the Law to us so that we may know ourselves. What is the use of a mirror? We reflect our face on a mirror and we can cleanse our face when we see any soot on it in the mirror. As such, the Law makes us realize and know our sins. And Jesus Christ bestows mercy upon us. Mercy is having pity on some one who deserves it. Jesus had pity on us and blotted out all our sins.
In the Old Testament, the High Priest transferred over all the sins of Israeli people by laying his hands on the head of the scapegoat. This sacrifice was offered once a year, on the 10th day of the seventh month. How is it done in the New Testament? God’s Son Jesus was born in this world. What was the first thing Jesus did during the public life when He came to this world?
Then, why did He receive the baptism? We will look at the Word. It says in the Gospel of Matthew chapter 3 verses 13 to 17, “Then Jesus came from Galilee to John at the Jordan to be baptized by him. And John tried to prevent Him, saying, ‘I need to be baptized by You, and are You coming to me?’ 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. When He had been baptized, Jesus came up immediately from the water; and behold, the heavens were opened to Him, and He saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and alighting upon Him. And suddenly a voice came from heaven, saying, ‘This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.’”
Jesus Received the Baptism from John the Baptist Just Once
Why did Jesus receive the baptism? Was it because He was humble, bored, or to become just like a human? The reason why Jesus received the baptism is clearly noted here in Matthew 11:11-14, “Assuredly, I say to you, among those born of women there has not risen one greater than John the Baptist; but he who is least in the kingdom of heaven is greater than he. And from the days of John the Baptist until now the kingdom of heaven suffers violence, and the violent take it by force. For all the prophets and the law prophesied until John. And if you are willing to receive it, he is Elijah who is to come.”
We have read the Word from the Gospel of Matthew, and you can understand the whole Old Testament if you can understand the Word here. Jesus said, “Assuredly, I say to you, among those born of women there has not risen one greater than John the Baptist,” and this means that God has sent John the Baptist as the representative of all humankind. However, He continued, “He who is least in the kingdom of heaven is greater than he.” It means that no matter how great a human is, he is smaller than a child of God. And then He said, “And from the days of John the Baptist until now the kingdom of heaven suffers violence, and the violent take it by force.” It means that we go to Heaven if we believe in the work John the Baptist has done. It says, “For all the prophets and the law prophesied until John,” and this means that all the prophecies in the Old Testament were fulfilled by the ministries of John the Baptist and Jesus Christ. It means that John is the last prophet of the Old Testament, the representative of all humankind, the greatest among all human beings, and the last High Priest. He was a prophet and the last High Priest greater than the Prophet Isaiah, the Prophet Ezekiel, and the Prophet Daniel. It is because, in the Old Testament, house of Aaron was the house of the High Priests, and John the Baptist was a descendant of Aaron, of the house of priest Zacharias. Therefore, it says, “For all the prophets and the law prophesied until John.”
All the Prophecies in the Old Testament Point to the Righteousness of Jesus
Jesus who was prophesized actually came in the age of the New Testament. He was born in a stable in Bethlehem. God became a human and came to this world. Jesus came to this world just as we sing, “♪Joy to the world, the Lord is come.♬”
John the Baptist was sent six months prior to the Savior Jesus. John was born from the house of Aaron the High Priest and Jesus was born as the descendant of David. From fleshly point of view, John was from the house of the High Priest while Jesus was of the royal family. These two met in the Jordan River when Jesus was at the age of thirty. “Then Jesus came from Galilee to John at the Jordan to be baptized by him. And John tried to prevent Him, saying, ‘I need to be baptized by You, and are You coming to me?’ 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.” It is recorded in the Gospel of Matthew chapter 3 verses 13 to 15.
Why did Jesus have to come to the Jordan River and receive the baptism from John the Baptist? Jesus received the baptism at the Jordan River, the river of death, to save all the sinners of the world who cannot help but go to hell from the sins. As the High Priests of the Old Testament age transferred yearly sins of the Israelites once and for all by laying on of hands on the scapegoat, John the Baptist, the representative of the humankind, baptized Jesus in the beginning of the New Testament era. Jesus received the baptism at the Jordan River to blot out all our sins. Laying hands on the head and pushing the head into the water and pulling it up is the baptism by immersion. By this baptism of Jesus, all our sins were transferred onto the body of Jesus. What would happen if the sins that belonged to us were transferred over to Jesus? Our sins will disappear. The animal that took over the sins must be killed. Likewise, Jesus who took over the sins of the world had to die. But He was resurrected in order to save us. Then, He went to the right hand of God the Father’s throne. That’s why Jesus received the baptism.
Jesus received the baptism to take over all our sins, to take over all the sins of sinners without any remaining and receive the judgment in place of all the sinners, and to save you and me. He did so because He had mercy on us. Jesus answered and said, “Permit it to be so now, for thus it is fitting for us to fulfill all righteousness.” Then John the Baptist baptized Jesus. This means, “Transfer all the sins of all humankind to Me by baptizing Me. By receiving your baptism, I shall receive all the sins of humankind and I shall receive the judgment for those sins; I shall be crucified to death on the Cross in your place; and I will cleanse all those sins by being resurrected again. I will make you people without sins. That is my love for you.” That’s why Jesus received the baptism from John the Baptist.
The Scriptures say, “When He had been baptized, Jesus came up immediately from the water; and behold, the heavens were opened to Him, and He saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and alighting upon Him. And suddenly a voice came from heaven, saying, ‘This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.’” Jesus received the baptism. The Scriptures say, “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,” and “Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.” All these words were fulfilled by the baptism Jesus received from John the Baptist.
Matthew 3:15 says, “Permit it to be so now, for thus it is fitting for us to fulfill all righteousness.” Here, “all righteousness” in Greek is “πάσαν δικαιοσύνην (pasan dikaiosunen),” which means the fairest state that has no defect at all. And “for thus” is ‘οϋτως γάρ (hoo’-tos gar)’ in Greek, which means ‘just in this way,’ ‘most fitting,’ or ‘there is no other way besides this.’ This word shows that Jesus took the sins of humankind onto Him irreversibly and most properly through the baptism He received from John the Baptist.
Through this method, the method of receiving the baptism from John the Baptist, Jesus came to this world as the scapegoat of the Day of Atonement. The High Priest of the Old Testament era took two goats: One was offered in the Tabernacle and the other was offered in front of the Israelites. The High Priest had to lay his hands on the goats in order to transfer all the yearly sins of his people. This sacrifice is the shadow of the good things to come, that is, the eternal sacrifice of Jesus (Hebrews 10:1).
Our Lord said to John the Baptist, “It is fitting for us to fulfill all righteousness. I have come to take all the sins of the humanity upon Myself. I must take over all the sins through you. It is appropriate for Me to take over all the sins through this method of receiving baptism. I must receive the baptism to blot out all the sins of the world and to make them the children of God by believing in Me. I need to receive the baptism for you to say that you do not have sin and call God the Father your Father. And there is no other way. If not for this method of receiving the baptism, if not for this method of taking over the sins of humankind through you, all those who will believe in me later will not be able to become righteous. Therefore, I must receive baptism from you.” Hence, Jesus received the baptism from John the Baptist.
The Lord said, “It is fitting for us to fulfill all righteousness,” and the righteousness here is righteous work of God that saved us. God the Father established John the Baptist and Jesus and transferred all the sins of humankind over to Jesus by laying of hands through the arm of John the Baptist. That is the most righteous thing that He loved us with. Therefore, Jesus received the baptism. That is God’s love. That is the fairest method. It means that God saved us through the most fair and appropriate method of having Jesus take over all the sins by receiving the baptism and dying on the Cross. God saved you and me from sin. That is the Way of God.
The Bible records that Jesus took all our sins upon Himself by receiving the baptism from John the Baptist. He said, “Permit it to be so now, for thus it is fitting for us to fulfill all righteousness.” John allowed it when Jesus said this. John the Baptist transferred all the sins of humankind to Jesus as the High Priest of all humanity. We don’t know when the end of the earth comes, but the sins of all humanity who cannot but become sinners in this world were transferred over to Jesus through the arms of John the Baptist.
All the sins that people commit with their flesh from their birth to death were transferred over. So John the Baptist testified the very next day he administered baptism to Jesus, “Behold! The Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!” (John 1:29) When God speaks of ‘the world,’ he is not talking about the physical world itself. Rather, it refers to all human beings including you and me who are made in the likeness of God. He took over all our sins. All the sins of all the people have been transferred over to Jesus. “It is fitting for us to fulfill all righteousness. It is fitting for Me to take over all the sins of all the people through My baptism and save them.” Jesus received the baptism in order to take over the sins, to save you and me, to blot out and cleanse all the sins of the world, and to receive the judgment in place of you and me.
And when Jesus came up from the water, the doors of Heaven opened and said, “This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.” God says, “My Son took all the sins of the humankind upon Himself. My Son went to the Cross to receive the judgment because He took over all their sins. My Son obeyed My will.” God the Father sent His only begotten Son to the world and saved all the people of the world from their sins.
What would have happened if Jesus refused and said that He didn’t want to follow God’s plan of salvation when God the Father sent His Son Jesus to this world with such will? Then, you and I would go to hell. However, Jesus received the baptism from John the Baptist according to God’s will.
Have our sins been transferred over to Jesus, or have they not? All the sins were transferred over to Him. All the sins include the sins that we commit from our birth in this world to the time we die. It says that Jesus received all our sins upon Him. Then, are all the sins that you and I have committed since being born from our mothers’ wombs until the age of twenty included in all the sins, or are they not? They are included.
I do not want to live until the age of 120. However, I would live that long if God made me live until then. If Jesus is coming late and I could live healthily as I do now, then I do want to enjoy life for a hundred of years. Any way, Jesus took even all my future sins that I will commit until I die. Jesus received all my sins. Jesus received the baptism to make you and me without sin.
This world is ruled by the law of the jungle, and the strong oppress the weak in such a terrible way. How much do the eldest oppress the younger siblings? Jesus is the Almighty God, but He did not bother us at all. Rather, He gave Himself as the propitiation of humankind. Jesus not only blotted out all our sins, but He took all the sins of all people in the entire world upon Himself. Jesus took all the sins of all human beings, not only ours. God took all the sins of all the people upon Himself to fulfill all righteousness. That is how God so loved the world.
Only the people who know that Jesus took their sins upon Himself at the time He received the baptism, only the people who believe that Jesus is our Savior and God, receive salvation and go to Heaven. However, from God’s standpoint, He took all the sins of all the people of the world without omitting anyone’s sin. We go to Heaven by faith. Those who believe in this Truth go to Heaven, and those who do not believe go to hell. We go to Heaven by faith, not by works. It is written in the Bible. “For the ways of the LORD are right; The righteous walk in them, But transgressors stumble in them” (Hosea 14:9). The person who acknowledges his sinful self says, “God, I am a sinner. I am a person who cannot but go to hell. I am a person who commits sin until I die. I believe that our Lord received the baptism for me and took all my sins upon Himself.” The person who acknowledges himself like that and acknowledges God’s salvation goes to Heaven.
All our sins have transferred over to Jesus Christ. The first thing Jesus did during His public life was receiving the baptism. Jesus did not receive the baptism because He was humble. He said it was proper for Him to fulfill all the righteousness by doing this. Receiving the baptism was a very important matter.
Until the age of twenty-nine, Jesus helped the work of Joseph, His fleshly father. His fleshly father Joseph was a carpenter. Jesus probably did such works like cleaning up the residues from the plane and sweeping the workroom. When He became thirty years old, He went to the Jordan River to see John the Baptist. John the Baptist was baptizing people there.
There was a servant of God. John said to the crowd, “Repent, “Brood of vipers!” A servant of God speaks clearly.
Then, Jesus approached to him and said, “Baptize me.”
“What! How could You come to me and be baptized by me?”
The word ‘baptism’ has two meanings. One meaning is “to return to God from serving gentile gods.” The other meaning is “to be covered with something,” “to take sins upon oneself,” or “to cleanse sins.” The baptism Jesus received from John the Baptist was the baptism to take over all our sins. People used to receive the baptism from John the Baptist as a sign of returning to God after serving other god and not believing in God. And there are two kinds of people who have received the baptism in the world. One is a person who has received the baptism as a sign that says, “I had believed gentile god before, but I now believe in God as my Savior. I am returning to God.” And the other is a person who receives the baptism with the faith in his heart that says, “All my sins have transferred over to God at the time when Jesus received the baptism.” This is the spiritual circumcision.
Jesus took all our sins upon Himself by receiving the baptism. Let’s read the Gospel of John chapter 1 verse 29 in one voice to see whether Jesus took our sins upon Him or not.
It says, “The next day John saw Jesus coming toward him, and said, ‘Behold! The Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!’” As Jesus started His ministry after receiving the baptism officially at the Jordan River, John the Baptist who baptized Jesus saw Him coming toward him, and he said, “Behold! The Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!” This Word was spoken on the very next day of His baptism. Therefore, John the Baptist was saying, “Look, people. Jesus received His baptism from me yesterday to take all your sins onto His body. He is the Lamb of God and He is the Lord who took the sins of the world upon Him.”
Jesus Could Not Have Washed Away the Sins of the World if He Did Not Receive All Those Sins upon Him at the Time He Received the Baptism from John the Baptist
How could Jesus say that He carried all the sins of the world upon Him without taking them over through John the Baptist? God cannot lie. God took all the sins of you and me upon Him through His baptism. He became the Lamb of God who carries the sins of the world because He took them all upon Himself. Where did He then carry the sins of the world to? He went to the Cross, and died there. He lived the public life from His baptism to the Cross for three years.
The life of Jesus is divided into the personal life and the public life. The personal life is considered until His age of twenty-nine and the public life is considered from the age of thirty to thirty-three. He was just because He took all the sins of all the people and died for them in their place and saved those who believe in Him. “Behold! The Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!” There is only this one verse that records it so obviously like this. John the Baptist witnessed this Word. He witnessed this because he himself gave the baptism to Jesus.
Mathew recorded the Gospel of Matthew to witness that Jesus is the King, the Savior of the humankind. That’s why he recorded, “The book of the genealogy of Jesus Christ, the Son of David, the Son of Abraham” (Matthew 1:1). The writer of the Gospel of Matthew wrote this genealogy of Jesus to let us know that anyone who believes in Jesus Christ as his Savior who took all the sins upon Him by receiving the baptism from John and paid for the sins by dying on the Cross in his place becomes a descendant of Abraham and David. Therefore, Matthew, a disciple of Jesus, records about Jesus receiving the baptism in concrete terms. He records clearly the reason why He received the baptism, that is, for what He received the baptism. It says that Jesus received the baptism to fulfill all the righteousness, to make all the people sinless.
Jesus said, “Permit it to be so now, for thus it is fitting for us to fulfill all righteousness.” He received the baptism to make all the people sinless. That is the reason. Jesus received the baptism for all the people, to make all the people sinless. That He received the baptism means that He received all the sins. How? It was done through the most proper, most appropriate, and the most righteous way. It records that Jesus received the baptism from John the Baptist because there was no other way to take over all the sins of the humankind besides this method of Jesus receiving the baptism.
And after taking over all the sins of humankind upon Himself by receiving the baptism, He went around all over the country during the next three years saying, “Son, your sins are forgiven you” to the woman who was caught in adultery, the blind, the lame, and all other sinners. In the Gospel of John chapter 8, Jesus told the woman who was caught in adultery, “Neither do I condemn you. I do not say that you have sin, also. I do not judge you either.” Why? It’s because our Lord Himself took over all the sins of the world including this sin of adultery upon Him through the baptism of John. That’s why the Lord had to receive the judgment. As a result, all the sins of the world were in His physical body, not in us humans. It means that even the woman caught in adultery did not have sin. This woman thought she was a sinner since she did not believe in Jesus. Therefore, the woman was trembling in fear because the people were about to stone her to death according to the Law. At that time, Jesus went to her and asked her. “Woman, where are those accusers of yours? Has no one condemned you?”
She replied, “No one, Lord.”
And Jesus said to her, “Neither do I condemn you; go and sin no more. Just follow Me. I am the light of the world. He who follows Me shall not walk in darkness and they will never be sinners. They have received salvation from the judgment of the Law.”
“Behold! The Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!” John the Baptist was telling people to look to Jesus. We must look at the sins of the world too. How far do all the sins of the world stretch? If we say that the sins of the world stretch from one end of the pulpit to the other end, the Lord who says, “I am the Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end,” has taken all those sins. Our Lord is the Lamb of God who carries the sins of the world.
According to the prophecy of the Old Testament, our Lord was born to this world, received the baptism, and died on the Cross. By receiving the baptism, Jesus took all the sins of the humankind upon Himself. Jesus took all the sins of the world including all the sins of those who would be born about 2000 years later and all the sins of those who will be born within that period, all the sins of all the people in the Old Testament, and all the sins of all the people from Adam to the all people until the end of the earth.
John the Baptist witnessed for Jesus saying, “Behold! The Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!” Do you sin in this world, or do you not? You do sin in this world. Do not say, “I am different from those people” when you are a person who will sin today, sin tomorrow, and sin the day after tomorrow. Do not live so slickly like you have olive oil all over your face when the inside is full of evil. We are all same before the presence of God. We ought only to say, “I really am a sinner. I cannot but go to hell.” However, the Lord made such people receive the righteousness and sent them on their way.
Our God made the sinners into righteous. The Lamb of God who carried the sins of the world has done a wonderful work. Do you and I who were born from our mothers’ womb with sin commit sin until the age of twelve, or do we not? We do commit sin everyday until we die. Has that sin been transferred over to Jesus, or not? It has. The sins we commit here and there after being born in this world constitute the sins of the world. Do you think the sins of the world are anything special or different than that? All the sins that we commit with our mind and our actions are the sins of the world.
You and I were born from our mothers’ womb, and we go through the infantile stage, the childhood stage, adolescent stage, young adulthood, middle age, and the old age. Someone has said that life is having four legs in the morning, two legs in the daytime, and three legs at night. Being born and living like this is the human life, and all the sins we humans commit throughout this lifetime are the sins of the world.
Our Lord took all the sins of the world upon Himself. However, you still have sin even if you believe in Jesus if you cannot acknowledge that Jesus took all the sins upon Himself at the time He received the baptism. The sin remains in you when you commit sin unless you do not believe His baptism.
Jesus took all the sins of the world upon Himself once and for all. Do not say, “I have never heard such things,” not even as a joke. The Bible is the Truth. All the Words of the New Testament and the Old Testament have their match as it is written,
“Search from the book of the LORD, and read:
Not one of these shall fail;
Not one shall lack her mate.
For My mouth has commanded it, and His Spirit has gathered them” (Isaiah 34:16).
The Bible is like the chain. When one mystery is solved, then all the other secrets are unraveled. If you sin without knowing that Jesus took all the sins of the world when He received the baptism, you cannot but remain a sinner. You are a sinner everyday since you commit sin everyday. You were sinners before you believed in Jesus and you are still sinners even after believing in Jesus.
The Apostles believed in the gospel of the water and the Spirit. In 313 AD, Rome declared the Edict of Milan and their form of Christianity became the national religion of the Roman Empire. And for more than one thousand years thereafter, they forbade people from reading the Bible. It was the period of darkness. During the Middle Age, they taught that they had to do good works even after believing in God, but Martine Luther of 16th century said that people become righteous by believing in Jesus.
Religious Reformation seemed to recover the Truth in Christianity. But in reality, nothing was changed. The book that I read twenty years ago is still in the Christian bookstore even now. Even the books that are published these days cannot escape from the past ones. People now think that Christianity has a long history and tradition, but the history of Christianity is short and the Christianity has collapsed in the Western countries where Christianity had originated. In those countries, Buddhism and Islam are torching off a boom. It is because Christianity has lost the Truth and because its leaders are ignorant of the gospel of the water and the Spirit. How could people say they are studying theology when they do not even know the Bible? How could people say they are studying theology when they do not even know that all the sins of the world were transferred over to Jesus at the time Jesus received the baptism from John the Baptist?
Therefore, there are some people who ask, “Are we sinners even though we believe? Are we in debt even though we have paid the debt? Are we sinners even though we have believed in Jesus to receive the remission of sins?” Jesus told us that we could enter the Kingdom of God only if we are born again of water and the Spirit (John 3:5). He said that a person must be born again by believing in the gospel of the water and the Spirit if he wants to enter the Kingdom of God.
Then, what is being born again by believing the gospel of the water and the Spirit? The place Jesus received the baptism from John the Baptist was the Jordan River. What is the function of water? It washes the filth from the world. It is raining outside at this moment, and we wouldn’t be able to live if it did not rain because it would be so contaminated. People cannot live without water. Therefore, God gives rain from time to time. God lifts up the vapor from sea and land and washes the earth clean and protects all living things with rain. Water has the cleaning function, and the fire has the function of the judgment. After Jesus received the baptism, no sin remains in the world. That is why Jesus received the baptism from John the Baptist. That is why Jesus became the Lamb of God who carries the sins of the world.
As one needs to have necessary knowledge if he wants to become a leader of a community, don’t we need to know the Truth of the blessing of being born again through the water and the Spirit in order to hold revival meetings and preach the Word? See if there is even one book that deals with the gospel Truth of the water and the Spirit. They do not even have one page about this issue. They do not know about being born-again. Some say being born-again is achieved by praying in the midst of wind or in a dream while believing in Jesus, but what in the world is that? Truth is a clear thing. It is a concrete one.
It’s because Jesus has taken all our sins upon Himself by receiving the baptism, because our sins have been transferred over to Jesus, and because He carried the sins of the world to the Cross and received the judgment in our place that we do not receive the judgment for our sins. As a result, we have come to call God our Father, we have become righteous, and we have become the children of God. The Scriptures say, “But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, to those who believe in His name” (John 1:12). It is done by faith. It says, “For with the heart one believes unto righteousness, and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.”
All our sins have transferred over to Jesus at the time Jesus received the baptism. Jesus saved me by taking all my sins upon Himself and receiving judgment for my sake. I believe this Truth. Believing with our heart brings salvation. The Word says that we can be saved by faith not by our works. It says, “For as many as are of the works of the law are under the curse.” It means those who want to be saved by their works are under the curse. Those who believe that one can be blessed, become righteous, and go to the Kingdom of God by doing something good are all under the curse. God gave us the Law in order to make us realize and understand the sin and make us realize that we are under the judgment. And along with the Law, God gave us the law of the Spirit of life (Romans 8:2), which enables us to be born again of water and the Spirit. God gave us the Law and the sacrificial system. We must know and believe that Jesus saved us by receiving the baptism and the judgment. And it was God’s will that He wants us to realize the sin through the Law and that He made us His children by believing in the gospel of the water and the Spirit and receiving the remission of sins.
It is written, “Behold! The Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!” Is there any sin in the world? No, there isn’t. Did that entire sin transfer over to Jesus Christ, or not? Have the sins you had committed ten years ago transfer over to Jesus Christ, or did they not? Have all the sins you have committed until now transfer over to Jesus Christ, or have they not? They have transferred over. All the sins we commit until we die are the sins of the world. When you get married and have children, are the sins of those children transferred over, are they not? They did.
The Word ‘Passover Feast’ Implies Passing Over
The judgment of sin passes over because Jesus received the baptism from John the Baptist and died on the Cross. To whom and how did the judgment transfer over? Jesus came to this world, received the baptism, shed blood, and died on the Cross. Therefore, when the messenger of death visits you, he cannot judge you where the blood of the Lamb of God is on the sides and the top of your doorframe and passes over you. ‘Passover’ means passing over. Jesus took the sins upon Himself and shed blood. It is speaking of circumcision. The sin is cut off by Jesus’ baptism. Our sins are cut off from our hearts when we believe that our sins were passed over at the time Jesus Christ received the baptism. That is the circumcision of the heart (Romans 2:29). The circumcision of the heart means that those who believe in the baptism of Jesus and the blood of the Cross are able to receive salvation. What is important is the faith that enables us to receive salvation. God required this faith and still requires such faith now.
As it is written, “It is finished!” (John 19:30), Jesus fulfilled everything as He died on the Cross. And He resurrected in three days after death and ascended to the right hand of God the Father’s throne.
We are people who commit sin until we die. However, that sin was transferred over to Jesus. Jesus saved you and me. We must believe this Truth with our hearts. We must realize the Truth. We must grasp the Word that says, “And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free” (John 8:32). You can believe the Truth only if you understand it.
Believing without understanding is a superstition and blind faith. That you can receive material blessing and be healed from sickness if you believe in Jesus is the teaching of Christian shamans under the veil of Jesus. There are many such denominations in this era too. Being healed from sickness, receiving blessing, and becoming rich and such things by believing in Jesus is same as becoming rich and receiving blessing when one performs an act of shamanism. A shaman says that demons are cast out and they receive the forgiveness of sins they commit to their ancestors when they exorcise. A Korean shaman says, “Dung, dung. A pumpkin has bust open. Let the morning come. Let the morning come. It will all be mine when the morning comes.” When a pastor who claims to believe in Jesus says, “You will receive the blessing when you believe in Jesus. I believe God will bless you ten fold if you serve the church,” that is of the Jesus shamans.
Christians ask God to call them when Jesus calls everyone to allow them to enter the Kingdom of God. They say, “You have called me, a sinner. Hence, here I am.” And God will say, “Where does a sinner who has sin go?” “He goes to hell.” “Is a person who has sin a child of God or is he a child of the Devil?” “He is a child of the Devil.” “Go as you have said.”
Our God came to the world, received the baptism, died on the Cross, and was resurrected from death to save us from our sins. And He became the God of salvation for those who believe. Now, the Lord gives the Holy Spirit to those who believe in the gospel of the water and the blood. Do you believe that all the sins of humanity were transferred over to Jesus at the time He received the baptism? Do you believe that the judgment of the Cross that Jesus received was the judgment for the sake of our sins? If you believe so, the Holy Spirit stamps the seal on your heart saying, “You are my child. You are my offspring. I will be with you until the end of the world. Let not your heart be troubled; you believe in God, believe also in Me, Jesus. I go to prepare a place for you in My Father’s Kingdom. I have won against the world. The faith of defeating the world is the faith of believing in Jesus Christ who came by the water and the blood.”
1 John 5:4-10 states, “For whatever is born of God overcomes the world. And this is the victory that has overcome the world—our faith. Who is he who overcomes the world, but he who believes that Jesus is the Son of God? 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. For there are three that bear witness in heaven: the Father, the Word, and the Holy Spirit; and these three are one. And there are three that bear witness on earth: the Spirit, the water, and the blood; and these three agree as one. If we receive the witness of men, the witness of God is greater; for this is the witness of God which He has testified of His Son. He who believes in the Son of God has the witness in himself; he who does not believe God has made Him a liar, because he has not believed the testimony that God has given of His Son.”
Here, the Bible states that Jesus has come by the water and the blood. The Holy Spirit stamps the seal on a person who believes that the Lord has come by the water and the blood. Therefore, the water and the blood and the Spirit are one. It says there are three that bear witness to our salvation. The verse 8 says, “And there are three that bear witness on earth: the Spirit, the water, and the blood; and these three agree as one.” Do you believe the baptism of Jesus Christ? Do you believe the blood of Jesus Christ? Even though Jesus took our sins upon Himself through the baptism, you and I should have received the judgment if he had returned to God without going to the Cross. That’s why Jesus has come by the Spirit, the water, and the blood.
Holy Spirit is the Truth. That the Holy Spirit is the Truth means that He puts a seal on the heart of people who believe in the water and the blood. Is your sin blotted away even if you just believe in the blood of the Cross without acknowledging the baptism of Jesus? Believing like that is not the true faith. Such a person still has sin in his heart because he has never transferred the sins over to Jesus. Therefore, they go to hell even though they have believed in Jesus. They will cry out, “Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Your name, cast out demons in Your name, and done many wonders in Your name?” The Lord will then say, “I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness!” They will be cast away like that. Therefore, we must absolutely know the Truth when we know Jesus. We must accept and believe the blessing that made us born again through the water, the blood, and the Spirit.
However, there are many people who just believe in the blood of the Cross. They are sinners. Do they have the Holy Spirit in their hearts? No, they don’t. Let’s talk about this matter more precisely. Do you have sin, or do you not? No, you don’t have sin. You will sin recklessly since you do not have sin, right? No, it’s not like that. Then, you would not sin from now on since you do not have sin, right? No, it’s not like that either. We commit sin all the time since we have weak flesh. We sin continuously while living in this world because we are weak. However, Jesus took all those sins upon Himself.
Are we sinners, or are we the righteous? That’s correct. We are the righteous. Do we have sin to be judged, or do we not? That’s correct. We do not have anything to be judged for. Jesus is our Savior and the Son of the Living God.
The Scriptures note, “The book of the genealogy of Jesus Christ, the Son of David, the Son of Abraham” (Matthew 1:1). In the genealogy of Jesus Christ, a certain daughter-in-law became a wife of that father-in-law. And Rahab the prostitute is counted in the genealogy of Jesus Christ. A few women appear in the Scriptures, and it includes even a gentile woman too. They all became descendants of Abraham by faith. They were all ancestors of Jesus Christ, the Son of David. It was possible because they believed. Otherwise, how could a prostitute or a gentile woman become a person of God? They became like that by believing the gospel of water and the Spirit, by believing that Jesus was their Savior.
Then, some might question, “There probably wasn’t the gospel of the water and the blood in the Old Testament, right?” Don’t be ridiculous. We can find so many accounts in the Old Testament that point the gospel Truth of the water and the Spirit. Crossing the Jordan River is the account about the water and the blood. Hebrews itself means those who crossed the water. Korean pastors just say anything because they are ignorant. I don’t know if they do not have a Bible dictionary or they do not know how to use it, but there are so many ridiculous people. That’s why they are sinners every day even though they seek Jesus and believe in Jesus every day. You must not go to such a church. Fire will fall upon such a church. That is not a Church of God. That’s a place where they sell out people’s souls and do business with them.
Only the people who have received the remission of sins by believing in the gospel of the water and the Spirit are God’s children. And you must go to such a Church. Jesus Christ is our Savior. God’s Church is not just any place. Not just any place it is a place that bears witness to the gospel. I said God’s Church is not just any place. Citizens of Wonjoo City are so pitiful. Not even a handful came to this revival meeting we are holding now. Why do they not come? Besides this Church, there isn’t any place that preaches this kind of sermon in this city. Even so, they do not come. They do not come because pastors of such churches do not let them go. They should come here like a swarm of bees, sit here, and tell us what part is wrong and how it is wrong biblically with the Bible. However, they just hide in the back and whisper secretly, “You become sinless when you go there. Do not go there. You must be a sinner until the end if you believe in Jesus.” They are sinners even after believing Jesus, they are sinners even if they do not believe, and they became the graver sinners ever since they met Jesus. They were destined to go to hell ever since knowing Jesus.
Before the world becomes more difficult, we must look into our hearts, not the circumstance. We must say, “God, I am a sinner who cannot but die, a sinner who cannot but go to hell, and a sinner who cannot but sin. Save me. I am a sinner.” Jesus says, “I have saved you through the gospel of the water and Holy Spirit.” Do you believe?
Come to God’s Church faithfully. People who have come here are special people. Not all the churches are God’s temples. The temple is the heart of the people who have received the remission of sins. Red bricks are all for buildings and storages.
It doesn’t matter even if you study theology for 100 years. One can barely say he studied theology even if he studied all the theologies of the world. There is no need to talk about theology. Pastors talk about theology, but that is not a realm of human science. True scholarship is studying all the theologies of the entire world. Claiming that only the doctrines of their own denominations are correct is not theology. Real scholarship is of broad-minded. One must analyze and distinguish this and that after studying everything.
Does a doctorate recipient or a chancellor of a university talk about the faith of believing the gospel of the water and the Spirit? Do famous theologians talk about this gospel? No, they don’t. They just insist that being born again is something that is achieved unconsciously. If you have any question, go to the seminary and try to learn. You wouldn’t learn anything even if you went there and learned for two lifetimes.
Have you received the remission of sins in your heart? Do you believe the gospel of the water and the Spirit? You must be honest before the presence of God. “I cannot but commit sin. However, Jesus saved me by receiving the baptism and dying on the Cross. I believe this.” Those who believe like that receive salvation.
You must receive salvation first and grow up. A child must grow up. You will become an amazing person after you hear the Word and grow for one year. You become a worker for God’s Kingdom. You become a minister. And you will be utilized in the Church. One who truly believes becomes a useful person. Let’s all become people who are used for the Kingdom of God.