Subject 12 : The Faith of the Apostles Creed

● Sermon on the Holy Son 9 : What Is the Gift That Moses Commanded as a Testimony?

(Matthew 8:1-4)
“When He had come down from the mountain, great multitudes followed Him. And behold, a leper came and worshiped Him, saying, ‘Lord, if You are willing, You can make me clean.’ Then Jesus put out His hand and touched him, saying, ‘I am willing; be cleansed.’ Immediately his leprosy was cleansed. And Jesus said to him, ‘See that you tell no one; but go your way, show yourself to the priest, and offer the gift that Moses commanded, as a testimony to them.’”

Sin Is Compared to Leprosy

Jesus tells us here that those who have received the remission of sin should give the gift that Moses commanded as their testimony. They say that it takes six years from the time of leprosy infection for people to realize its subjective symptom. The disease remains dormant for the first 6 years, but on the 7th year it breaks out openly. This is a particular pathological characteristic of leprosy.
The main passage above tells us about Jesus healing a leper from his disease. This is a true story that actually had happened, and through the story, God also reveals the nature of our sins, as well as telling us that He has solved the problem of these sins once and for all.
The leper in the above passage earnestly wanted to be healed from his disease, and this is why he came before Jesus Christ as it was, without hiding but revealing his disease. This leper believed that nothing could not be achieved by the Word of Jesus, and he also believed that it was more than possible for Jesus’ Word to heal his own disease.
Seeing this leper’s faith that was the same as that of the centurion mentioned in the same chapter, Jesus cleansed him. The core lesson of this account is not about the actual healing of the disease per se, but it is about how we can be healed from the disease of our sins.
The leper here alludes to the fact that we have in our hearts the malady of sin, like leprosy. From the very moment of our birth from the womb of our mothers, we were all born with the disease of sin. When we were first born, we could not realize that we were such evil sinners, but once we grew up to a certain age, we came to realize that we were in fact evil, that others were also evil, and that all human beings are evil.
But God tells us, through the passage above, that if these completely evil human beings come to Jesus and reveal their true selves without hiding, and if they have the faith that says, “If You are willing, I believe that You are more than able to cleanse even such a sinful being as I,” Jesus will then indeed gladly heal them from their sins.
Did the Lord heal the leper at once or twice? The passage tells us that Jesus healed the leper at once. Our sins are healed not in several stages, but all at once. If we have faith in the Word of God, then by coming to know and believe in the God who has blotted out all the sins of mankind once and for all, we can receive the remission of sin all at once. Our sins are never healed in several stages.
A woman who had been suffering from hemorrhage was healed once and for all just by touching Jesus’ garment (Mark 5:29). She was freed from not only the symptom of bleeding, but its very cause. Naaman, commander of the army of the king of Syria, was also healed from leprosy all at once (2 Kings 5:14), and the leper in the passage above was immediately cleansed from his leprosy as well.

What Is the Difference between the Religious and the People of Faith?

Because of their foolishness resulting from their ignorance of the truth, the religious believe that they can receive the remission of sin through their daily repentance, even as they live everyday in sin. But for the people of faith who follow the Word, all the problems of their sins have been solved once and for all, and they live in the midst of the grace of God.
Church means the gathering of those who follow Jesus Christ. We must realize that the Sadducees and the Pharisees, even as they professed to believe in God, were not the ones who were healed by Jesus, but those who were healed by Him all at once were only those who, like the hemorrhaging woman and the leper, could not do anything about their illnesses on their own.
If it were possible for us to solve the problem of sins in our hearts by our own works, prayers of repentance, and good deeds, there would have indeed been no need for Jesus to come to this earth. And if we believe that we can solve the problem of sin in this way, we will never be able to meet Jesus for the rest of our lives. But the problem of our sins cannot be solved no matter what we do and how hard we try, and we are such beings who cannot but sin regardless of how we try not to.
Because our sins do not disappear no matter how much we repent, we must realize clearly that the problem of sin just cannot be solved by our own strengths and confess before God that we are sinners. We must also realize the truth that when we thus confess, “I am a sinner before God”—neither out of humility nor out of doctrinal conviction but of our sincere hearts—and when we come before God’s presence and ask for His mercy, He will solve away all our problems of sin once and for all, just as He had healed the leper.
Only those who reveal themselves before God as complete sinners, ask for His mercy, and confess to Him, “I cannot avoid but be cast into hell, for I am sinful. Lord, please have mercy on me.” Only such people can receive the grace of the Lord.
Romans 3:10 declares, “There is none righteous, no, not one.” This verse is what the Apostle Paul spoke to those who had not yet received the remission of sin. Did Jesus not come to this world to make sinners righteous? There is no such thing as half-made remission of sin, nor is there any half-righteous. However, unfortunately, there are so many such weird people in today’s Christianity. They believe that sins are forgiven whenever they give prayers of repentance. Our sins are not something that can be blotted out by our prayers of repentance.
Jesus is the One who perfectly completed the healing of sin. Jesus does not speak of our sins by dividing them into original sin and personal sins, nor does He say that while He took away our original sin, our daily sins must be forgiven by offering the prayers of repentance. The faith of those who believe so is a half-faith, and such people will live the rest of life as sinners, die as sinners, and be cast into hell as sinners.
God does not accept half-faith. If you believe, then you must believe 100 percent, and if you do not believe in any slightest bit of the truth, then you do not believe 100 percent—there is no such thing as believing 50 percent. Jesus does not call us sinless by thinly covering our sins even as we remain sinful because of our disbelief. When we know the Bible correctly, we can find out that Jesus calls us sinless because He actually removed our sins beforehand and completely blotted them out.
Among the religious leaders of Christianity at the present, there are those who claim that Jesus took away our original sin but not our personal sins. The Bible does not speak of the original and personal sins, and no mention of such things is found in it. Before Jesus, all sins, great and small, from those we were born with to those that belong to us and those that we commit with our own acts—indeed, every possible sin—are the same, all manifested as the sins of the world. Water is water, whether it is sewage water or tap water.
No one knows for sure when people started to distinguish their original sin from their personal sins. Because many Christian leaders themselves have not been born again, they do not know how to solve all the problems of sin, and because they do not know, they have turned Christianity into a mere religion, claiming that God would forgive our sins if we ‘repent’ our sins. The word ‘repent’ is far different from the word ‘confess’ (1 John 1:9).
What is repentance? It only means to turn around; it does not mean praying for God to forgive us of our sins. God has said that He wants us to give Him offerings that ask for His mercy and grace. Having compassion for the souls heading to hell because of sin, God wants to save us—this is what His heart is all about. What His heart desires is to make the sinful beings sinless and holy through Jesus Christ and thereby enable them to take part in His Kingdom, and He has indeed fulfilled this completely.
Romans 6:23 states, “For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.” The sinful has no other way but to be cast into hell, but the gift of God is to live with the Lord forever. God’s gift for us is making us sinless.
There are too many people in these days who, by believing in the remission of sin in too humanistic and man-made ways of thinking, are headed straight to hell. They think that they can enter Heaven by their own acts of devotion, such as faithfully giving tithes, coughing up a lot of offerings, giving prayers of repentance, and attending every morning prayer service. But all these are flawed.
Let’s assume that someone just died and went before God. Standing before His presence, this person says, “This sinner of many iniquities has come before You, Lord.” What would our Lord say? He will say what He said in Matthew 7:21-23: “Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven. Many will say to Me in that day, ‘Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Your name, cast out demons in Your name, and done many wonders in Your name?’ And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness!’”
God is not the Father of sinners, nor the Lord of the sinful, but the Father of the righteous and the Lord of the born-again who have received the remission of sin. Even if the above person were to say, “Lord, how come you do not know me? For You, I did my utmost to testify Your name, and I had dedicated my whole life to You,” God will simply reply, “How do you pretend to be My child when you are sinful. Be cast into hell, you who practice lawlessness!”
The first priority for sinners is to receive the remission of their sins by believing in the Word right now. This is what is most urgently required. How can we gather sinners who have not even received the remission of sin in our churches and then call them as saints? Where on this earth can anyone find sinful saints? The sinful are not the saints, but they are simply sinners.
God declares in Hosea 4:6, “My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge. Because you have rejected knowledge, I also will reject you from being priest for Me; Because you have forgotten the law of your God, I also will forget your children.”
Knowing God is the foundation of knowledge, and yet human beings don’t try to know His mind and throw away their own knowledge built like the Babel Tower. Rather, they devote even more efforts to establishing the tower of their own knowledge and deeds. This is why God says, “I do not know you.”
We can be made sinless only by believing purely in the Word, 100 percent of it. We must have the faith that completely entrusts everything to God, saying, “You can make me clean.” The faith of the so-called incremental sanctification, which claims that God cleanses us gradually in steps, is not the faith of true salvation.
Proper faith in Christ is not constituted by a mere religious practice through which non-believers try to reach their salvation by their own efforts and moral training. For example, Buddhists emphasize practicing goodness and mercy to attain salvation, but true salvation of grace comes down from above without our own efforts. It comes down out of the one-sided love of the Lord who has delivered the drowning people from their certain death.
Just as the leper was instantaneously healed by the love and power of our Lord, we, too, can also be saved from the sins of our hearts by this love and power of the Lord. When our Lord healed the leper, He said to him, “See that you tell no one; but go your way, show yourself to the priest, and offer the gift that Moses commanded, as a testimony to them.”
The Gift That Moses Commanded Refers to the Lamb of God
Leviticus 1:1-4 says: “Now the LORD called to Moses, and spoke to him from the tabernacle of meeting, saying, ‘Speak to the children of Israel, and say to them: ‘When any one of you brings an offering to the LORD, you shall bring your offering of the livestock—of the herd and of the flock. ‘If his offering is a burnt sacrifice of the herd, let him offer a male without blemish; he shall offer it of his own free will at the door of the tabernacle of meeting before the LORD. Then he shall put his hand on the head of the burnt offering, and it will be accepted on his behalf to make atonement for him.’”
We can see from verse 2 that “the gift that Moses commanded” is a livestock, either of the herd or the flock. After giving His Law to mankind, God showed them the Tabernacle in order to enable them to realize that they were sinners. Through the sacrificial system of this Tabernacle, He has taught us how He would pass all the sins of the Israelites—and our own sins also—onto the sacrificial lamb and thereby forgive us.
God loved us, and to save us from our sins, He prepared the sacrificial offering that had to die vicariously in our place. This is the sacrificial lamb and bull. When priests put their hands on the head of the burnt offering, the offering was accepted by God, and this offering then atoned us.
When people are receiving the laying on of hands from someone who is demonically possessed, then they also become the demon possessed. The laying on of hands means “to pass on”; when the High Priest laid his hands on the head of a goat, the sins of Israel were then passed onto its head (Leviticus 16:21). When the sins were thus passed onto the goat, and when this goat was killed in our place and its blood was offered to God, God then accepted this blood and forgave their sins.
How have we received the remission of our sins? We must bear witness to this. The evidence of salvation must be sought after only with the Word, and it is not proven by the evidence of seeing visions, prophesizing, or speaking in tongues. It is only with the Word of God that we can prove how we had been sinners and how we have now been saved from all our sins. This proof bears witness before God, before Satan, and before human beings.
Leviticus 4:27-31 states, “If anyone of the common people sins unintentionally by doing something against any of the commandments of the LORD in anything which ought not to be done, and is guilty, or if his sin which he has committed comes to his knowledge, then he shall bring as his offering a kid of the goats, a female without blemish, for his sin which he has committed. And he shall lay his hand on the head of the sin offering, and kill the sin offering at the place of the burnt offering. Then the priest shall take some of its blood with his finger, put it on the horns of the altar of burnt offering, and pour all the remaining blood at the base of the altar. He shall remove all its fat, as fat is removed from the sacrifice of the peace offering; and the priest shall burn it on the altar for a sweet aroma to the LORD. So the priest shall make atonement for him, and it shall be forgiven him.”
When the common people or priests sinned unintentionally, they brought a lamb, passed their sins onto it by laying their hands on its head, and then offered it to God. The laying on of hands means the passing of sin, and sacrifice means dying vicariously in someone else’s place.
Through the daily offerings, God is showing us that Jesus came to this earth, and just like these lambs and goats, He accepted all the daily sins passed onto Him by John the Baptist.
All the people of Israel in the Old Testament received the remission of their sins by believing in this. When they sinned unintentionally, recognizing their sins through the Law, they immediately brought a lamb and confessed their sins by putting their hands on its head. The priests then accepted this offering, cut its throat open, drew its blood, put the blood on the horns of the altar of burnt offering, and then sprinkled the rest on the ground and the altar. This is how the Israelites received their remission of sin.
The horns of the altar of burnt offering refer to the Books of Deeds, that is, the Books of Judgment. Whenever we sin, God writes our sins into the Books of Judgment in His Kingdom, and He also writes them into our hearts. Because human beings are so shameless and try to deceive even God, He records their sins in the Books of Deeds and their own hearts. This is why when those who have not received the remission of sin pray, the sins in their hearts come out, and they come to pray, “Lord, please forgive this sinner.” Therefore we must know how Jesus, coming to this world, accepted all our daily sins passed onto Him. Only then can we be freed from our sins.
When the people of Israel sinned, they brought a lamb, passed their sins onto its head by laying their hands on its head, and were thereby forgiven of their sins. The priests then killed this lamb and put its blood on the horns of the altar of burnt offering. Blood is the life of all flesh (Leviticus 17:14). Blood atones sin. When this blood was put on the four horns, God, seeing this, knew that their sins were already judged through the lamb, and thereby did not condemn those who had passed their sins onto the lamb.
That God therefore put to death animals instead of people was the very love of God. When people sin, they must surely die, but because God loved them, He had animals killed in their place. This was the daily offering established by God of justice.
Leviticus 16:29-34 states, “‘This shall be a statute forever for you: In the seventh month, on the tenth day of the month, you shall afflict your souls, and do no work at all, whether a native of your own country or a stranger who dwells among you. For on that day the priest shall make atonement for you, to cleanse you, that you may be clean from all your sins before the LORD. It is a sabbath of solemn rest for you, and you shall afflict your souls. It is a statute forever. And the priest, who is anointed and consecrated to minister as priest in his father’s place, shall make atonement, and put on the linen clothes, the holy garments; then he shall make atonement for the Holy Sanctuary, and he shall make atonement for the tabernacle of meeting and for the altar, and he shall make atonement for the priests and for all the people of the assembly. This shall be an everlasting statute for you, to make atonement for the children of Israel, for all their sins, once a year.’ And he did as the LORD commanded Moses.”
The above passage describes the ritual of the Day of Atonement, which God made the Israelites to give to Him through the High Priest once a year for those who could not give offerings everyday and for the entire people of Israel. Through this offering, the entire people of Israel received the blessing of having a year’s worth of their sins all remitted.
Leviticus 16:6-10 states, “Aaron shall offer the bull as a sin offering, which is for himself, and make atonement for himself and for his house. He shall take the two goats and present them before the LORD at the door of the tabernacle of meeting. Then Aaron shall cast lots for the two goats: one lot for the LORD and the other lot for the scapegoat. And Aaron shall bring the goat on which the LORD’s lot fell, and offer it as a sin offering. But the goat on which the lot fell to be the scapegoat shall be presented alive before the LORD, to make atonement upon it, and to let it go as the scapegoat into the wilderness.”
God gave the Israelites the sacrificial system through which they could pass on not only daily but also a year’s worth of their sins onto the offering and be forgiven of these sins once and for all. Aaron was Moses’ older brother and the High Priest. On the Day of Atonement, Aaron took one of the two goats into the court of the Tabernacle and passed the sins of all the people of Israel onto it by laying his hands on the goat’s head. He then killed the goat and took its blood inside the veil, into the Most Holy. This blood was absolutely required to enter inside the veil of the Most Holy.
The Tabernacle was divided into the Holy Place and the Most Holy. The High Priest could enter into the Most Holy where the Ark of the Testimony was placed only by carrying the blood of the sacrifice. It was by seeing this blood that God allowed Aaron to enter into the Most Holy. Having killed the goat that had accepted the sins of all the people of Israel, Aaron then went into the Most Holy with this blood and sprinkled with his finger on the mercy seat on the east side seven times. Because bells were attached to the robe of ephod, whenever he sprinkled the blood, the golden bells made sound. And with this sound of bells, God confirmed to the people of Israel gathered outside the Tabernacle that their sins were indeed atoned before Him.
Leviticus 16:20-22 states, “And when he has made an end of atoning for the Holy Place, the tabernacle of meeting, and the altar, he shall bring the live goat. Aaron shall lay both his hands on the head of the live goat, confess over it all the iniquities of the children of Israel, and all their transgressions, concerning all their sins, putting them on the head of the goat, and shall send it away into the wilderness by the hand of a suitable man. The goat shall bear on itself all their iniquities to an uninhabited land; and he shall release the goat in the wilderness.”
Of the two goats, the remaining one was the scapegoat, “aza’zel” in Hebrew (meaning “she-goat to let go”). Before all the people of Israel watching outside the gate of the Tabernacle, Aaron confessed all the iniquities of the Israelites, put all these sins on the head of the goat by laying his hands on its head, and sent it out to the vast, empty wilderness to die. The sacrificial offering that shouldered sins was to die surely. By sacrificing this goat, God freed all the people of Israel from their sins. None other than this is the offering that Moses commanded. All the people of the Old Testament received the remission of their sins in this way.
Through this sacrificial system, God foretold us that Jesus would come to this earth, shoulder the sins of mankind just like this goat, and blot out all their sins, committed daily and through out their entire lifetime. The people of the Old Testament received the remission of sin through this sacrificial offering. Now, you, the people of the New Testament, must realize just how God has solved the problem of all the sins of the world and of all your sins, and how He has given you the remission of all these sins.
The Old and New Testaments match with each other. We should now find out from the New Testaments what Jesus has done for us.
This sermon is also available in ebook format. Click on the book cover below.
The Faith of the Apostles’ Creed - The Elementary Principles of CHRIST