“This is the history of the heavens and the earth when they were created, in the day that the LORD God made the earth and the heavens, before any plant of the field was in the earth and before any herb of the field had grown. For the LORD God had not caused it to rain on the earth, and there was no man to till the ground; but a mist went up from the earth and watered the whole face of the ground. And the LORD God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living being. The LORD God planted a garden eastward in Eden, and there He put the man whom He had formed. And out of the ground the LORD God made every tree grow that is pleasant to the sight and good for food. The tree of life was also in the midst of the garden, and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. Now a river went out of Eden to water the garden, and from there it parted and became four riverheads. The name of the first is Pishon; it is the one which skirts the whole land of Havilah, where there is gold. And the gold of that land is good. Bdellium and the onyx stone are there. The name of the second river is Gihon; it is the one which goes around the whole land of Cush. The name of the third river is Hiddekel; it is the one which goes toward the east of Assyria. The fourth river is the Euphrates. Then the LORD God took the man and put him in the garden of Eden to tend and keep it. And the LORD God commanded the man, saying, ‘Of every tree of the garden you may freely eat; but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat of it you shall surely die.’”
The Word Spoken to the Spiritually Blind
I believe that those of you who are carefully listening to this Word today are God’s blessed people.
It is written in Genesis 2:4-6: “This is the history of the heavens and the earth when they were created, in the day that the LORD God made the earth and the heavens, before any plant of the field was in the earth and before any herb of the field had grown. For the LORD God had not caused it to rain on the earth, and there was no man to till the ground; but a mist went up from the earth and watered the whole face of the ground.”
I have been a very pensive person ever since childhood. I tended to be a quiet child, and so I did not talk much, but in my head I was always thinking about something. Whether I was eating a meal or walking somewhere, I was so pensive that I sometimes forgot to greet the elderly in my neighborhood and was rebuked for being impolite. As you might know yourself, in the old countryside, not greeting the elderly appropriately was a cause for chastisement. Frankly, few people in this world actually fulfill everything they have dreamed about. But as everyone is entitled to a little delusion of his own, everyone has a dream and imagines about the future. In this light, perhaps it’s inevitable for people to live with certain delusions or imaginations. Anyways, my mind was preoccupied with many thoughts like this, running with all kinds of imaginations, sometimes about unattainable things, and in this way, I was living in my own little cocoon.
My fellow believers, what awaits those who do not believe in the gospel of the water and the Spirit even as they are ignorant of it? The judgment for their sins awaits them. This reminds me of an old Korean saying: “It’s better to roll in manure in this world than to die and go to the next world.” I don’t think this saying is entirely groundless. Even though it’s tough to live in this world and everyone is born empty-handed and must leave empty-handed, but the just and dreadful judgment of God awaits every sinner, and that’s why life in this world is better than going to hell. Our ancestors did not know about the gospel of the water and the Spirit, but it seems as if they knew of it, even if only vaguely, and that fearful judgment and hell followed death.
Like this, most people seem to have some awareness that if there is sin in their hearts, they will be judged for these sins. Although they may not know the Word of God, they at least seem to be conscious of the fact that judgment awaits them. This is probably the reason why many people look for some divine being to be saved. And that is why there are so many false deities in this world which are worshipped by countless religions. Although God is one, human beings have made many false gods because of their hearts’ sins. In other words, even though it is only the Triune God who brings the Truth and salvation to human beings, because they do not know this Savior God, they are trying to rely on something else on their own. That’s why some people bow before any boulder or tree that looks even slightly majestic, and place their faith in such inanimate objects.
Man is a genius when it comes to making worldly religions. People like to bow before anything that looks even slightly magnificent. That’s because human beings are by nature weak, and this is why when they come across something that seems better than them, they are prone to think it’s divine and to rely on it. Because they are fragile beings by nature, their hearts are always empty until they meet the perfect Lord. That’s why those with a void or empty heart come to have worldly religions and rely on them, only to perish in vain in the end. They believe in one religion for several years, but when this does not satisfy them, they try another one.
The Bible says, “He [God] has made everything beautiful in its time. Also He has put eternity in their hearts, except that no one can find out the work that God does from beginning to end” (Ecclesiastes 3:11). God has given everyone a yearning for eternity. In other words, God made human beings yearn for Him in their lives. So no one can find true satisfaction until they meet the perfect God. This is why human beings have come up with worldly religions, sometimes even worshiping other human beings. Because God has thus given man a yearning for eternity, everyone is born with a dream. Having thus been born with a dream, man spends the rest of his life trying to fulfill this dream.
However, dreams are notoriously difficult to fulfill. Even when a dream is fulfilled, it leaves one feeling empty and void in the end. People then look for something else, for something bigger. It is man’s destiny to live the rest of his life like this only to face death in the end. Of course, in this world there also are some people who have led a morally upright life and done many good things, but even these people are fearful before death. Why is this so? It is because they have not solved the problem of sin which is in their hearts. It’s because they have not, as I mentioned a while ago, found the Truth and discovered what is everlasting. Unfortunately, this present age is a hopeless one where most people have lost their dreams.
Human Beings Are in the Flesh That Is Made of Dust
Although the human heart yearns for eternity, the human body is made of dust. This is because God made man with dust. So, as people yearn for God and eternity in their hearts, everyone wants to live virtuously and tries to help others. When you ask children what they want to become when they grow up, they all say that they want to be good and virtuous. But when you look at their behavior, you see that it’s far removed from such desires and hopes. They don’t obey their mothers, they throw a fit when they can’t get their way, and they beat up kids weaker than they are. It’s not as though this is what their parents had taught them. Every parent teaches the kids to be good, to study hard, and to become respectable people. They are taught the same things by their teachers in school. But even as these kids learn these things, bullying in school is a serious problem nowadays. Bullies beat up their classmates and take their lunch, money, and some of them have even died from school violence. What comes to your mind when you see these kids? I for one think that even though the human heart yearns for eternity, the human body is made of dust.
When you go outside early in the morning, you can sometimes see a bank of mist arising. What is the nature of this mist? It then disappears once the sun is up. When there is no sunlight this mist remains almost entirely intact, drastically reducing visibility. Man’s body is like this mist.
God made man with dust and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life. Thus, God made him a spiritual being. That is why, according to the image of God, all of us have in our hearts an aversion to commit sin and a desire to do good deeds and live an upright life. In our hearts, we seek everything that is good. But what is the reality? The reality is that our bodies do the exact opposite of what our hearts desire, committing sin, taking delight in someone else’s misfortune, and doing all kinds of evil deeds. For instance, when there is a car accident, the traffic becomes congested not just on that particular lane but also on the other lane. Why is it like that? It is because people on the opposite lane slow down to see the accident site. I have actually witnessed this quite often. But the human heart is so evil that people don’t just see the crash, but they even feel disappointed if no one is seriously hurt and only the cars are wrecked. This is how human nature really is.
This is what today’s Scripture passage is teaching us. This is the fundamental nature of mankind which is so evil, and which it is so clearly revealed in the Book of Genesis, showing us that we all human beings, having been made of dust, become sinners irrespective of our wills, all due to Adam falling into sin. In other words, man’s heart has lost the image of God. Originally, human beings were not made to commit sin and go to hell. Rather, God made man in His image to send him to Heaven and live with him there forever. The problem however, is that man fell into Satan’s temptation.
Fundamentally speaking, man was made as a spiritual being from his very existence. Man has not been made a robot. Put differently, man does not move automatically at the command of God. Instead of making us like robots, God gave us all a free will so that we can get closer to Him willingly and to build a personal relationship with Him. Love is something that yearns to meet someone, and when one has not met the lover for a long time, the person misses his or her lover even more. However, the love the Bible talks about is not just saying it with words, “I love you.” Rather, it is something that has a deep-rooted affection towards the object. Although God has done everything for us, He did not allow us to take this mutual love with Him too lightly. That is why God made man as an insufficient being from the beginning. By making us human beings so insufficient that we can’t help but commit sin, God made us humans mired in sin so that we would realize that we are bound to hell and must seek His help. God did all these things because He wanted to share His true love with us. That is why God gave up the life of His Son Jesus Christ, and with this sacrifice, God made His love known to everyone, personally saying to human beings, “I love you more than Myself.” It’s thanks to this that we are, by accepting this Truth through the gospel of the water and the Spirit, able to know the true love of God and share it with each other.
What would have happened if God had otherwise made us humans as mere robots, which could only be moved by touching a button? A robot knows no concept of disobedience. By the same token, if we were made like this, we could not have known that God loves us. If this were the case, then we would have moved like a machine whenever God made us work. If you go to an automated factory, everything is done by robots. Robots do what they are programmed to do without making any mistake at all. But robots are needed just for work; if we were robots, it would be impossible for us to share love with God. Could you love God if you were just a robot? No, of course not! It was God’s full intention to make His relationship with us humans personal, like the relationship between parents and children, between a husband and a wife. That is why God gave us free wills and permitted everything from the very beginning.
What about Satan then? Satan is an evil spirit that also received a free will from God, but with this free will he stood against God’s authority and was thus driven out of Heaven. So, as the Devil could not prevail over God, he started to attack those whom God loves the most. In other words, although Satan was determined to continue to stand against God, he could not overcome Him, and that’s why he chose another way to torment God’s heart the most. This is attacking us human beings, God’s most beloved creatures. That is why Satan has been deceiving human beings with his sweet talks into committing sin and standing against God ever since. And he is still trying to drag them to hell along with him. This is the strategy the Devil has chosen to hurt God’s heart. Is Satan not so wily and cruel?
This is the reason why we human beings have been struggling so much because of the Devil. Is God then standing idle because He cannot defeat the Devil? No, that’s not the case. God has allowed Satan to work on this earth in order to see whether or not we humans really desire His precious love more than the physical pleasures of this world and the temptation of the Devil. God has given man a yearning for eternity. The question then is, whether human beings, who have all received this holy desire, actually yearn for eternity, or yearns for the perishable only to be judged and be cast into hell. It’s to find this out that God has placed us on this earth, and He is saying that only those who believe in the gospel of the water and the Spirit are saved from all their sins.
Such teachings are recorded in today’s Scripture passage. Human beings cannot know God of their own accord. It’s because we are imprisoned in sin that we cannot know the righteousness of God even as we seek to find it out. In other words, the one who has power over the air, which is Satan, is blocking us from God, and this makes it impossible for us to know the righteousness of God on our own.
Human Beings Are Living with Mist-like Carnal Thoughts
Genesis 2:5-6 says, “Before any plant of the field was in the earth and before any herb of the field had grown. For the LORD God had not caused it to rain on the earth, and there was no man to till the ground; but a mist went up from the earth and watered the whole face of the ground.” That there was only a mist watering the face of the ground means that the people of faith had not yet appeared on the earth. Put differently, as there was no one on this earth proclaiming the salvation of Jesus Christ, there were no true children of God. The rain here refers to the grace of God that saturates the earth, or as it is known, the human heart. Therefore, as the grace of God had not yet descended into the hearts of people, the Word had not reached the earth to proclaim that Jesus had blotted out all their sins. Before Jesus Christ the Son of God came to this earth to sow the gospel seed of the water and the Spirit into people’s hearts so that it could bear abundant fruit, nothing good could ever come out of the human heart.
What was it that came out from the earth until that time? Human beings had to look for the real Truth of salvation in a state where they had lost the image of God. In other words, they had to find something reliable even if it were just according to their own thoughts. So these foolish people began to worship inanimate objects as their gods, from the moon to the sun, the stars, the mountains, the rocks, and so forth, all according to their own thoughts and what was in their sight. They also began to worship and to follow after man, as indicated by the reverence that Confucius and Buddha still command in many parts of the world. Like this, human beings worship sages and various majestic natural beings as their gods, and to this end they bow down before these images that they themselves have made. Although these people look foolish to those of us who have found the righteousness of God, they themselves do not think so. Far from it, they would be deeply offended if we ridiculed them. It just goes to show that there are all kinds of people.
As I have said before, many people worship some inanimate object as their god. Those who worship the sun, the moon, or the stars in the sky are equally foolish. Sun worshippers may think they are better than moon worshippers, but it’s like arguing over which midget is taller. Even if a midget is tall, would he be taller than any person of normal height? No matter how intelligent the human race may be, everyone is a weak human being. In God’s sight, in other words, all human beings are no more than foolish sinners.
Because mankind’s carnal thoughts are like a mist, people imagine everything according to their wishes in their lives. As I mentioned previously, a mist does not disappear until the sun comes up. Without the sunlight, the mist remains intact, and it hinders our visibility. Many Christians preach to others to believe in God while following their own mist-like carnal thoughts, but through this no one can meet Jesus Christ who has come by the gospel of the water and the Spirit. Indeed, even though some Christians have believed in Jesus all their lives, their salvation is clouded like this every day. Can anyone go to Heaven by believing in Jesus like this? I have asked many Christians, “You have been a Christian for so long until now; does this then mean that you will be able to go Heaven?” But some Christians reply, “How can I be sure of this? I won’t find out until I am dead.” Most Christians don’t like to be asked such a question because they are not sure of their salvation. This is because most Christians do not know the righteousness of God. These people cannot provide the right answer to such a question. They might be able to answer if they are asked how they can be blessed. Even kids in elementary school all know about such questions. Ask a little kid how you should live to be blessed. In all likelihood, the kid will say that you will be blessed if you do good deeds and help others.
What should we then teach in God’s Church? We must teach Jesus and the pure gospel of the water and the Spirit that constitutes the righteousness of salvation. Because most Christian leaders do not know anything about the righteousness of Jesus, they instead teach the way of how to be blessed. If you seriously ask these pastors about the gospel of the water and the Spirit, some of them will even rebuke you for asking such a question to them. But if you find a true servant of God who knows and believes in the gospel of the water and the Spirit, and you raise this question to him, then he will give you a straightforward answer and teach you about this extremely important Truth. If one is a servant of God, should he not teach the righteousness of the Lord clearly? Yet because most Christians are filled with their own fleshly thoughts that are like a mist, they believe in Jesus as their Savior without knowing this true gospel. However, the truth is that no one can receive the real remission of sins until they find the true righteousness of Jesus. After all, a mist is removed only if there is sunlight.
Most Christians simply think that they are blessed just by believing in Jesus. These blessing-oriented Christians do actually believe in Jesus fervently. But their faith is not based on the Word of God. They are prone to believe in their own pastors’ words blindly more than on the pure Word of God, so this is why they believe everything that their pastors tell them. Like this, many Christians believe in Jesus as their Savior blindly, without knowing the gospel of the water and the Spirit.
Some Christians are also sure that if one believes in Jesus, they will receive three-fold blessings. And when they think their faith is lacking, they offer special prayers while fasting. But does true faith spring forth just because one does such things? No, of course not! At the minimum, one must know and believe that Jesus fulfilled the righteousness of God by being baptized by John the Baptist and was crucified. True salvation is reached only when we believe in Jesus Christ properly, the One who has saved us from the sins of this world. In fact, believing in Jesus Christ without knowing His righteousness is little more than fanaticism. Yet despite this, many Christians mistakenly believe according to their own fleshly thoughts that Jesus has saved them through His blood on the Cross alone.
All Mists Disappear As Soon As the Sun Shines
My fellow believers, we are saved from sin only when we know and believe in the righteousness of God properly. If we learn about the righteousness of God and know it, and believe in Jesus Christ as our Savior, we will receive this abundant grace of salvation. The problem, however, is that most Christians are trying to understand the gospel of the water and the Spirit only according to their thoughts, even as this genuine gospel is too simple for anyone to misunderstand. Moreover, when some people listen to the Word of God, they think to themselves, “Why is that pastor saying such things? He is strange!” They find it hard to listen to the Word of God when it’s different from their thoughts, and this is why their minds become seized with confusion. Whenever you listen to God’s Word, the first thing you must do is to cast aside your carnal thoughts; if you otherwise notice that the Word is different from your own thoughts, then you cannot really understand God’s Word of righteousness even when you hear it. This is why those who are spiritually deaf cannot comprehend the Truth even when it is spoken in their ears in a simple way.
However, when you throw away your fleshly thoughts, make yourself comfortable in your seat, carefully listen to the gospel Word of the water and the Spirit, and believe in this gospel, then the spiritual sunlight will shine upon your heart and this Word of Truth will be imprinted in your mind. All your mist-like fleshly thoughts will then disappear so rapidly that you will wonder if you really had them at all. Even the thickest fog disappears completely when the sun shines. Likewise, once you grasp the righteousness of Jesus Christ fully, all your confusion will be eliminated, and you will also receive the remission of sins by believing in the Truth. My fellow believers, all the righteousness of God is contained in His Word. The remission of our sins and the forever-unchanging Truth are all contained in this Word, and it is from this Word of God that everything we need in our lives of faith flows.
Unless what we believe in has truly come from Heaven, then whatever it is, it is no more than a false teaching. What comes out of man’s fleshly thoughts cannot prevail over the righteousness of God. I ask you to realize here that the real truth cannot come out of man no matter what, for man is fundamentally nothing more than dust. This means that even though we humans want to do good in our hearts, we have no capacity to actually do so.
Of course, it would be wonderful if we try to live virtuously at least in our minds. However, before anything else, we must first admit without fail that we are simply incapable of living virtuously. This is why today’s Scripture passage says, “The LORD God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life,” making it clear that man’s body was made of dust. At the same time we should never forget the fact that we who are made in the image of God must yearn for the imperishable world, and we must have received the remission of sins and reach our salvation by believing in the righteousness of God. We should remember that we are able to obtain God’s help and guidance in this world only when we have reached our salvation by believing in the gospel of the water and the Spirit.
Truly, it is not on account of our fleshly merits that we are made righteous, but it is made possible only when God gives us the grace of salvation that is in the gospel of the water and the Spirit. All spiritual gifts, in other words, come from Heaven. However, many people are unable to receive their true salvation because they are blocking God’s gift of salvation with their many carnal thoughts.
A mirage, common in a desert setting is a phenomenon that occurs when light rays are refracted under the extreme desert heat. When a mirage appears, people see non-existent things. Likewise, when people search for something desperately in their fleshly minds, they see something out of their imagination. When one desires something fervently enough in the heart, then sometimes it appears like this in his or her dreams. This is why some Christians say, “I saw Jesus Christ in my dream. In this dream He told me that He so loved me.” Such Christians say that they obtained the assurance of their salvation in this way, but they need to realize that this is nothing more than their own fleshly emotions and delusions. It’s all just a mirage.
In contrast, the faith that allows us to receive the remission of sins and go to Heaven through the righteousness of God cannot spring forth from any fleshly thoughts. Every thought that comes out of one’s fleshly mind is completely in vain, just like a mist. It is appointed for everyone to be born once and die once, and the judgment of sin surely awaits everyone after death. Because the law of God is just, everyone must face the judgment of sin without fail according to this law. In our carnal thoughts it may seem as though we will go to Heaven if we live an upright life and hell if we lead an evil life, but when we think spiritually, everything comes to pass according to God’s intention, and not to our fleshly thoughts. It’s in the gospel of the water and the Spirit that our salvation is completely fulfilled. This is what you must grasp here.
Among our church members, there is a certain brother who is admirably good-hearted. When I preached the gospel of the water and the Spirit to him, he listened attentively and agreed that the Word of the gospel was right. But later he said that it was very hard for him to accept this gospel. So I asked him why, and he told me that he could not bear the thought of going to Heaven all by himself when so many people can’t be saved and are destined to hell despite all their hard efforts. He said that he just felt too sorry for them to believe. So I spent a great deal of time sharing the Word of God with him to correct his misunderstanding. Even though he was a good-hearted man, he had a completely mistaken understanding of salvation. Even though he himself was sick, he was worried about others. Of course, he later accepted the gospel Truth of the water and the Spirit. But he still has a soft heart. Whenever I see him, I think to myself, “How hard it must be for him!” Even as he is in pain, he thinks of others who are in greater pain, and he feels guilty that his life is too comfortable. I have lots of respect for people like him. Honestly speaking, however, such people are also vulnerable to feel self-righteous. So this brother must cast aside his carnal thoughts, recognize the righteousness of God, and devote his life to this righteousness of God.
My fellow believers, the salvation that’s hidden in the righteousness of God is not attained through such good deeds of man. The reason why I’ve spoken about the mist quite a lot here is because these carnal thoughts that blind your soul’s eyes and makes you fall in fleshly thoughts are just like this mist. An outhouse smells really bad during the summer time. When you first step inside, it makes you wince at the smell. But what happens once you sit there and do your business? You can’t smell the stink anymore. In other words, if you get used to any bad smell, it does not smell as bad as at first.
Likewise, when one has been imprisoned in carnal thoughts perpetually, one forgets the fact that you are heading straight to hell even as you remain undelivered from sin. This is why so many people reject the righteousness of God no matter how much it is preached to them, all because of their own fleshly thoughts. The Bible says, “And the light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not comprehend it” (John 1:5). Those who like darkness are happy to live crouched in darkness every day. And when they see vibrant people living in the sunlight of Truth, they dislike them for no reason. As the saying goes, birds of the same feather flock together. In other words, people hang around with those who are similar to them. Those who believe in Jesus as their Savior based on their fleshly thoughts want to hang around with those who share the same faith. Those who believe that they can go to Heaven unconditionally if they just believe in Jesus anyhow even though they don’t know the righteousness of God get together with similar kinds of people, and those who believe that they can go to Heaven if they believe in Jesus according to their own doctrines and do many good deeds are happy to get together with those who share their own beliefs. In other words, those who are leading a religious life irrespective of the righteousness of God are happy to form their own groupings.
My fellow believers, just as the men who brought a paralytic to Jesus had to take off the roof in order to meet Him, for us to find the righteousness of Jesus; we must cast aside our carnal thoughts first and believe in the gospel of the water and the Spirit. Only then will we be saved. If one is otherwise imprisoned in one’s own narrow fleshly thoughts, it becomes impossible to accept the righteousness of God. Such people do not even pay any attention to the Word of God. They absolutely refuse to listen to anyone else. These people insist on their own carnal thoughts until the very end, even if they end up in hell. There is a saying in Korea that’s quite pertinent to these kinds of people: “When one is ignorant, he is brave.” I do think that they are making this mistake because they do not know the righteousness of God. But once they know the justice of God, they should be able to realize that there are people far more knowledgeable of the righteousness of God than them and are more than willing to teach them. Yet despite this, they think their own thoughts are the best. They think they are outstanding teachers when it comes to the truth. When I come across such people once in a while, I try to learn something from them, but when I take time to listen to them, I discover that there is nothing to learn. Even so, they think they are so prominent.
If you want to believe in the righteousness of God, you should not try to fit it into your own fleshly thoughts. Although it’s admirable for you to fast and pray diligently, but before everything else, you must first admit the righteousness of God and receive the remission of sins. That’s because you are not saved just because you have done many good deeds. We see frequently in the world that good intentions alone do not necessarily result in a good outcome. Let’s say that a teacher was so frustrated by a troublemaking student that he disciplined him and made him run around the track five times, but something went terribly wrong and the student died of a sudden heart attack. Would the teacher then escape punishment, just because his intention was good? No, he will be punished for sure.
Likewise, no matter how sincerely we may want to serve God, but if we serve Him without knowing His righteousness, then this would be wrong. Of course, it may be said that this is better than those who commit sin flagrantly without a care, but it makes no difference in God’s sight, and, ultimately, those who do not do what God wants them to do—that is, those who do not accept His precious love—cannot please God. In short, such people cannot escape their judgment in the end.
In contrast, if one believes that Jesus bore all his sins once and for all by being baptized, then all his sins will be washed away no matter how worthless this person may be. Therefore, we cannot be saved if we don’t realize that God has blotted out all our sins with His righteousness; but if we believe in this gospel truth, only then are we saved and not before. It is by believing in the righteousness of God that we can receive the remission of sins and go to Heaven. Indeed, even if we have not done any good deeds, because our Lord personally took upon Himself all our sins through His baptism, and because He carried these sins of the world to the Cross and was condemned for them, we can receive the remission of sins and enter Heaven by believing in this work of salvation. Put differently, it is through our faith in the righteousness of God that we can obtain the remission of sins and open the gate of Heaven as well. This is the very grace of salvation that God has allowed us to receive through the faith that He gave us. The grace of God is what allows us to enter Heaven freely, just by fully believing in His righteousness.
Of course, many Christians do say that their salvation is attained freely. However, without knowing and believing in the righteousness of God, no one can be saved from sin. Although all that we have done on our part is to just believe, the Lord has completed our salvation through His righteous work. To save us humans from all our sins, He was born on this earth, bore all our sins by being baptized, and was even crucified to shed His blood and suffer the pain of death. So, I ask you all to remember clearly that our salvation came about because there was a precious Lamb of sacrifice prepared by God for us, and this is the truth.
The problem sadly is that few actually believe in God’s righteousness which is contained in the gospel of the water and the Spirit. This is why so many Christians are struggling so much with their lives of faith. What is the consequence of their faith then? They are placed under the judgment of sin. God does not just gloss over our failures as we humans sometimes do. God is just, and therefore He punishes every sinner according to His just Law. Since everyone in this world makes the same human mistakes; people may tolerate each other’s flaws, but God does not do this.
Let’s say that there are two criminals caught committing the same crime. If the judge is a man, he may say to one sinner, “Although you have committed a crime, you have tried to live an upright life. So I will have compassion and let you go home.” To the other criminal, the judge may say, “I don’t like you, and so you should be put in prison.” If God were to do this, that is, if He were to send people to Heaven or hell arbitrarily without any just standard, would His judgment be just and right? Who would then recognize and surrender to the justice of God? If this were true, it would be impossible to say that God is just.
However, once God says anything, He fulfills it exactly as He said without fail. Just as the Bible abounds with God’s Word of promises, so has He also fulfilled everything He said. Therefore, if we have any sin, then we cannot avoid but face the judgment of this sin. Even if you’ve been a Christian and attended church for 50 years, if you have sin, you will go to hell. The same is true even if you have attended church for 100 years. The just law of God applies to everyone equally and fairly. All of us have broken the Law of God, and therefore all of us must be punished according to this Law.
Let’s say that I got caught by a traffic officer for breaking the traffic law. Could I then say to this officer, “Look, I’m really a good man? I came across a lost person and I was just trying to take him to his home. Can’t you just overlook my mistake?”? But such pleadings have nothing to do with the fact that I broke the law. If one breaks the traffic law, one has to pay that fine. Does it then matter that this person has done many good deeds? No, it has absolutely no relevance.
When we believe in Jesus as our Savior, we must do this with a clear understanding of what the righteousness of God really is. We are saved from sin only when our understanding of salvation is in accordance with the Word of God—that is, when we realize our sins and believe in the righteousness of God. If you have already decided to believe in Jesus Christ as your Savior, you should first know the righteousness of God clearly and then believe in Him. God’s righteousness is all contained in the gospel of the water and the Spirit. Once you believe in the righteousness of God, the remaining days of your life will be led righteously and gloriously. I don’t know how you have lived so far, but from now on, you are guaranteed to be righteous and happy. It’s not my guarantee, but it is God Himself who is guaranteeing you this. That’s why I believe that all of you who have come here today have received so much love from God, for you have met His servants and come to have the right understanding of the God of righteousness.
My fellow believers, our fleshly thoughts can also look quite beautiful, just like a mist can look beautiful. It is also admirable that we are trying to live virtuously. Living an upright life, doing good deeds, and helping others—all these are admirable things. You should indeed strive to live like this. But there is something that’s more important than this. Above all else, we must have the right knowledge of the righteousness of Jesus.
That we should live a virtuous life was drilled into us countless times while growing up. But even though everyone knows this, few actually live like this. We all have been taught moral lessons since our childhood to do what is right, to lead an ethical life. Is it because we don’t know this that we commit sin in our lives? No, of course not! But what is even more important than this moral compass is knowing Jesus, realizing just how weak we human beings really are, and understanding and believing in the love of God and His righteousness. This is because we were all born as sinners. As I said before, our human bodies were made of dust. So sin keeps on arising from the bottom of our hearts even though we don’t want this. Such sinful thoughts may not come up so much when you are busy, but what happens when you are idle? All kinds of evil and lewd thoughts come to your mind.
This shows us just how wicked man’s carnal thoughts are. Therefore, you should never trust in these thoughts during your life. Also relying on this world for your life is so much more foolish than relying on the righteousness of God. We must live by trusting in the Word of God rather than our own flesh and thoughts. Our human thoughts of the flesh are by nature extremely shifty and fickle. This is why we must believe in the Word of God rather than our own fleshly thoughts. No matter what others say, we must confirm our salvation with the Word of God. Yet despite this, far from believing in the pure Word of God, too many Christians trust their own fleshly emotions and believe in man’s words. You should never allow this to happen to you.
If you consider the sacrifice of Jesus in human terms, it’s natural for you to feel sorry and cry for Him, thinking to yourself, “Why did Jesus shed His blood on the Cross? Is it because of me? Lord, please forgiven me!” But in reality, who should actually feel sorry for whom? When Christians struggle to shed tears like this, they then tend to think of a sad movie they saw before, and they use this to try to eke out tears just to keep up with what the people sitting next to them are doing. Some people actually force out tears like this when praying. What would the Lord think when He sees these people? The Bible describes how Jesus was forced to carry the Cross walking towards Golgotha, and many women following Him were crying, grief-stricken. But Jesus told these women not to cry for Him, but cry for themselves and their children (Luke 23:28). This means that unless people realize the reason why Jesus died, they will suffer far greater pain than Him and be cast into the eternal lake of fire and brimstone.
So, why should anyone feel sorry for Jesus? It’s because Jesus loved us so much that He willingly gave up His body in the Jordan River and on the Cross. That Jesus has saved us in this way is something that we should be grateful for. However, even though Jesus gave up His own body to liberate us from sin so that we would live freely, too many Christians just see Jesus’ death and suffering, rather than believing in the genuine gospel of the water and the Spirit. To believe in this way is simply wrong, because it is to believe in Jesus according to one’s own fleshly thoughts.
No matter how beautiful a mist may appear, it cannot block the light of life. Human thoughts are nothing more than a mist, while the righteousness of God is the Truth. We must therefore believe in Jesus according to the Word of God. This is why I am preaching about Jesus continuously this week and about our human nature as well. My fellow believers, it is enough for us to believe in the righteousness of Jesus Christ. If you grasp the righteousness of Jesus Christ, you can become a philosopher, a poet, or anything that you want to be. You can also enjoy more than enough blessings even in this world. The Lord will give you everything in abundance, but only if you believe in His salvation and His Word. Is there any parent that does not love his own children? Our Lord also loved us so much that He gave up His body, even though we keep committing so many sins.
However, the problem is that both those who believe in the righteousness of Jesus and those who don’t believe in it have dwelt in their mist-like carnal thoughts until now. If you know the righteousness of Jesus and believe in it, then this mist of the flesh disappears, but what happens if you drift away from Jesus? The thoughts of the flesh will begin to surface right away. This happens because we human beings are in the flesh, and therefore as long as we are living on this earth, this mist keeps on rising up if we drift away from Jesus and idle our times away apart from doing His spiritual work even if it’s insignificant. As such, not even for a moment should we fall into the things of the flesh, but continue to come to God’s Church, listen to His Word, and serve the righteousness of Jesus by faith. Only then will the mist disappear forever to bring happy days to us.
God did not create us so that we would commit sin, suffer in our lives, and end up in hell. Nor does God allow hardships to us for no reason. God made us to give us His treasures of Heaven and He allows us to face trials in order for us to grasp these treasures. Pearls are made by mollusks. Pearls are very beautiful and precious, but these pearls don’t just grow on their own. It’s accompanied by a great deal of pain. Like this, for human beings to know the precious God and become His children, they must go through a lot of trials and tribulations on this earth. But you should realize here that such trials and tribulations are nothing compared to the glory that awaits us. Therefore, even though we may be facing some hardship on this earth, we should always remember the glory that will follow, and give thanks to God. I admonish you all to believe that God made us so that we could be put next to Him, and that He is the root of all blessings.
There Is a River of Life Originating from Eden
All rivers originated from the Garden of Eden. Water came into existence in Eden and rivers began to flow in all directions from there. The Bible mentions these rivers by name: The first river is Pishon, the second is Gihon, the third is Hiddekel, and the fourth is Euphrates.
What this passage ultimately means is this: The reason why we are now able to listen to and believe in the Word of God that’s more precious than pure gold is because of our predecessors of faith who believed in and kept the Word of God exactly as it is. In other words, this Word of God has been protected by those who truly worshipped God and wholeheartedly followed His righteousness by faith. It’s because there were those who kept their faith instead of pursuing their private greed, wealth, and fame that even today, the authentic gospel continues to flow ceaselessly from Eden like living water. It’s because of this that the gospel of the water and the Spirit, the precious Word of the Lord, has flowed to reach God’s Church today. Its history is indeed long. This life-giving gospel that began from the days of Adam is an incessant river whose water is as clear as crystal, and anyone who drinks this water can receive everlasting life. It’s a tremendous blessing for everyone that this living water filled with joy still continues to flow on this earth even now. Although I am a man of many personal shortcomings, but regardless of such failures of mine, I still ask you to believe in the gospel Word of God that I am preaching to you now. Whoever believes in this gospel Word is a person who believes in God properly. Some people might then say, “Do I really have to believe like this? Why can’t I just believe in whatever way I wish?” My suggestion to such people is for them to just make up their own religion. We should never be so complacent to think like this.
Even now, this blessed Word of God, the living water, still continues to flow in the world together with the gospel of the water and the Spirit. Whoever drinks the living water can obtain everlasting life by knowing the righteousness of God and to believe in it. The problem, however, is that too many Christians have rejected this Word of the living water, thinking to themselves, “Do I really have to believe in this way?” It’s because of such believers that Christianity has been corrupted and changed into a religion that gratifies the dust-like desires of people’s flesh rather than their souls’ thirst. This kind of faith is not the right faith.
God’s Church is a place where genuine saints are gathered together, those who believe in the Word of God, and they find His grace. God’s grace cannot be found in any other place. God has made the Garden of Eden in His Church, and He has told us to defend it. That is why so many forefathers of faith and servants of God had endured so much persecution, suffering, and hardship to defend this true faith. Because faith in this precious Word of God is far more important than anything else in the world, we cannot forsake this faith, and even now, we are bearing witness of this faith and spreading it everywhere. We must believe in this precious Word and defend it by faith.
With the gospel of the water and the Spirit, our Lord has blotted out not only all our sins but also all the sins of the entire human race once and for all. He did not divide our sins into two and then blot out just the other half, namely the past sins. No, He has blotted out each and every sin once and for all. After all, what’s the point of dividing our sins into groups? If someone offers you something and says to you, “This thing costs $100, but you only have to pay $50,” is this really a gift? A gift is something that’s given freely; if any payment is required, it is no longer a gift but a sale. God’s grace is bestowed freely in its entirety, or else it would not be a gift. I admonish you all to realize that the grace of the Lord is the gift of the righteousness of God, and this is the living water that flows from the Garden of Eden.
The Righteousness That God Has Given to Us
The righteousness of God that we believe in has blotted out all our sins once and for all. Is God incapable of blotting out all our sins at once? No, of course not! God knows very well that we simply cannot avoid committing sin throughout our lifetime no matter how hard we try. That is why our Lord has given us the gift of salvation to settle our accounts of sin once and for all. Yet despite this, many Christians have fallen into their own fleshly thoughts that are like a mist, and even as they are drowning in these thoughts, they claim to be doing God’s work.
If there is one thing that you must learn today, this is it. God placed on this earth the tree of life and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. In doing this He enabled mankind to live by their free wills, and to believe in His righteousness by this free will. In other words, God has opened the way for us humans to receive the remission of sins and eternal life by believing in the righteousness of Jesus Christ His Son. But sadly despite this, there are many people missing on this road to Heaven by believing in Jesus according to their own mist-like thoughts of the flesh, and there is nothing more tragic than this. True salvation is reached only by those who deny their own fleshly thoughts and believe that the salvation of the remission of sins is received from God alone, by believing in the gospel of the water and the Spirit. God placed two types of righteousness on this earth: One is the righteousness of God that can only be reached by faith; and the other is the righteousness of man that is neither approved by God nor of any use to be saved. By giving a free will to us mankind, God intended to see whether or not we really would fear Him and obey His Word. When those who fear God hear His Word, they obey it and believe in it immediately; in contrast, those who don’t fear God always come up with some kind of excuse not to believe in His Word. My fellow believers, when God planted the tree of life and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil on this earth, His purpose was for us to choose Him out of our own free wills in order to have a personal relationship with Him. God taught us that it is in vain for anyone to try to reach salvation through his own thoughts that are like a mist. Trying to reach salvation through one’s own good deeds or righteous acts is nothing more than a flawed attempt resulting from one’s disregard for God.
Who is the Devil? Lucifer in his original name, Satan was originally an archangel. He had no one else above him except God. But Satan was not satisfied even with this exalted status, and so he stood against God to become like Him, only to be brought all the way down to the earth. Referring to this revolt of Satan, the Word of God says this in the Bible,
“How you are fallen from heaven,
O Lucifer, son of the morning!
How you are cut down to the ground,
You who weakened the nations!
For you have said in your heart:
‘I will ascend into heaven,
I will exalt my throne above the stars of God;
I will also sit on the mount of the congregation
On the farthest sides of the north;
I will ascend above the heights of the clouds,
I will be like the Most High.’
Yet you shall be brought down to Sheol,
To the lowest depths of the Pit” (Isaiah 14:12-15).
My fellow believers, it’s the Devil’s dream to become like God. That’s why he stood against God, but he was cast out from Heaven in the end. From then on, it’s been the Devil’s sole purpose in life to obstruct the work of God, and this is why Satan approaches the proud, who are full of their own mist-like thoughts, and teaches them that they don’t need Jesus Christ, and that they can still find the way to Heaven through many religions of this world, a contemplative life, good deeds, or other fruit of the flesh. People are so gullible to such whispers of the Devil. It’s because these words of Satan sound so sweet that human beings eat from his evil fruit and end up committing sin, just as Adam and Eve ate from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil and was deceived by the Devil’s scheme. Even now, there are so many people who are facing judgment for having eaten this fruit of sin. The Devil’s work is indeed tricky. His words sound so plausible when you hear them. This Devil teaches you that you can receive the remission of sins if you repent from your sins and beg God to forgive you everyday, by praying to Him, lamenting, “Lord, I’ve committed sin again today, but I’ll live more virtuously tomorrow.” It all seems quite plausible, doesn’t it?
However, my fellow believers, your sins do not just disappear no matter how often you offer prayers of repentance. You can easily find out that no sin is blotted out in this way if you look deep into your heart. If you still think that your sins are blotted out in this way, you can be sure that this is nothing more than your own emotional feelings, one that results from the thoughts of the flesh that are like a mist. This is not how sins are blotted out. They are not blotted out just because you ask for forgiveness in tears. For one’s sins to disappear, a price has to be paid without fail. Sin requires due judgment and it demands death for its appropriate punishment. Either we ourselves must be condemned to death, or someone else must die in our place. And only with vicarious atonement can we be remitted from our sins by faith. This is why the people of Israel in the Old Testament were remitted from their sins by passing their sins to a sacrificial animal and killing this animal. This vicarious atonement was made by passing the Israelites’ sins to the sacrificial animal and killing it in their place.
What is the laying on of hands then? The laying on of hands means passing one’s sins. To put this in the context of the Israelites’ sacrificial system, they were remitted from their sins by praying while laying their hands on the head of a sacrificial animal, killing it, putting some of its blood on the horns of the altar of burnt offering, and pouring the rest out on the ground. In this way, the Israelites were remitted from the sins that were written on the tablets of their hearts before God. Only with the laying on of hands could their sins be passed onto the sacrificial animal so that it could be blotted out; if the lamb was killed without the laying on of hands, it only resulted into a killing in vain.
And this sacrificial lamb had to be an unblemished animal. It was useless to kill a sick or lame lamb, for God accepted no such offerings. The Israelites therefore had to lay their hands on an unblemished lamb and kill it, and only then did that sacrificial animal bear their sins to atone for those sins. This was the sacrifice of atonement in which a lamb died in one’s place.
However, most Christians today fervently believe in the blood of the Cross alone, as they are ignorant of the gospel of the water and the Spirit. So they pray before the Cross, “Lord, thank You for dying in my place for my sins.” But in their hearts sin still remains intact. Why is this? It’s because far from having a personal relationship with Jesus, they have nothing to do with Him. Their sins remain intact because they do not know or care to know that Jesus bore all their sins once and for all when He was baptized in the Jordan River, that is, because they do not believe in the gospel of the water and the Spirit.
We should not believe in Jesus as our Savior according to our own fleshly thoughts. Rather, we should grasp and believe properly that when Jesus Christ the Son of God came to this earth, He took away all our sins by being baptized, and He died by shedding His blood on the Cross. It’s in the Jordan River that Jesus was baptized by John the Baptist. Without the baptism that Jesus received from John the Baptist in this Jordan River, no one will be able to pass their sins to Jesus. We must grasp the significance of the fact that Jesus came as the Lamb of God, that He was baptized by John the Baptist, and that He died on the Cross in our place, and we must believe in all of these acts. Otherwise, even if we believe in Jesus, our faith would be mistaken. Without the laying on of hands that passed one’s sins to the lamb of sacrifice, its death would be in vain. Likewise, Jesus’ death would also be in vain had it not been for His baptism. It’s exactly like this because Jesus bore all our sins through His baptism that He could become our Savior.
If you think in your fleshly thoughts that you have sin even though Jesus was baptized and crucified to death, then you are making a fool out of yourself. When this happens, you will end up praying, “Lord, please forgive me of these sins.” This would be the same as praying like this: “Jesus, You have failed to blot out all my sins. You don’t have enough power. Come to this earth again and die for my sins again.” Such people must listen to the gospel of the water and the Spirit attentively again and believe in it before they provoke the burning wrath of God and end up being cast into hell. True salvation can be reached only by believing in the gospel of the water and the Spirit; there is no other way.
If we were to ask our Lord to forgive our sins everyday, would He not actually feel betrayed by us? Even though the Lord already blotted out all our sins with His baptism and blood 2,000 years ago, if we are still unable to believe in this and doubt His righteousness, just how deeply disappointed would our Lord be? Asking God to forgive one’s sins in perpetuity is clear evidence of the fact that you do not believe in the gospel of the water and the Spirit.
I urge you to never ask God to forgive your sins like this. When you commit sin again tomorrow, you should rather say, “Lord, thank You for having taken away this sin also through the baptism that You received from John the Baptist. Had You not done this, I would have had no other choice but be cast into hell. But because You loved such a wretched person like me, You blotted out this sin as well through Your baptism and blood. So I thank You, Lord. I am so very grateful.” All that we have to is give is prayers of thanksgiving to You, the God of righteousness. Like this, I admonish you all to thank God for remitting away all your sins and to live by faith.