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Subject 1 : Sin

[1-1] We Must First Know about Our Sins to Be Redeemed (Mark 7:8-9, 20-23)

We Must First Know about Our Sins to Be Redeemed
(Mark 7:8-9)
“For laying aside the commandment of God, you hold the tradition of men—the washing of pitchers and cups, and many other such things you do. He said to them, ‘All too well you reject the commandment of God, that you may keep your tradition.’”
 
(Mark 7:20-23)
“And He said, ‘What comes out of a man, that defiles a man. For from within, out of the heart of men, proceed evil thoughts, adulteries, fornications, murders, thefts, covetousness, wickedness, deceit, lewdness, an evil eye, blasphemy, pride, foolishness. All these evil things come from within and defile a man.’”
 
 
First, I would like to define what sin is. There are sins defined by God, and there are sins defined by humankind. The word sin, in Greek, means to ‘miss the mark.’ It means not getting it right. It is a sin if we don’t follow the orders of God correctly. Let’s first take a look at sins as defined by humankind. 

 

What is sin?
It is to disobey God’s orders.

We measure sin according to our conscience. In other words, it is not an offense against God’s commandment but is judged according to one’s background, heart, and conscience. 
It is judged by each individual. Therefore, the same action may or may not be considered a sin, depending on each person’s own standards. That is why God has given us 613 articles of the Law to be used as a standard for judgment. 
The diagram below illustrates the sins of humankind.

 

National law, civil law
Man’s conscience
God’s Law
Morality, social norms
 
Therefore, we should never set our standards upon our conscience. 
The sins of our consciences are not in accord with what God has defined as sin. Therefore, we should not listen to our consciences but rather base the standards of sin on God’s commandments.
Each of us has our own idea of what sin is. Some consider it their shortcomings, and others consider it warped attitudes. 
For example, in Korea, it is considered the duty of children to cover their parents` graves with grass, mow the grass and take good care of the graves until they themselves die. But in the case of a primitive tribe in Papua New Guinea, they honor their dead parents by sharing the body among the family members and eating it. (I’m not sure whether they cook it or not before they eat it.) It seems to prevent the body from being eaten by worms. These customs illustrate that human concepts of sin can vary widely.  
So it is with both what is good and what is sin. However, the Bible tells us that it is a sin to disobey His orders. ‘For laying aside the commandment of God, you hold the tradition of men—the washing of pitchers and cups, and many other such things you do. He said to them, “All too well you reject the commandment of God, that you may keep your tradition”’ (Mark 7:8-9). God doesn’t mind how we look on the outside. He looks into the core of our hearts. 
 

One’s Own Criteria Is a Sin before God 
 
What’s the most serious sin?
It’s to disregard the Word of God.
 
Let me tell you what a sin is before God. It is failing to live by His will. It is not believing in His Word. God said that it is a sin to live as the Pharisees, who rejected the commandments of God and put more importance on their traditional teachings. And Jesus considered the Pharisees to be hypocrites. 
“Which God do you believe in? Do you really revere and respect Me? You boast about My name, but do you really honor Me?” People only look at the outer appearances and disregard His Word. And it is a sin before Him. The most serious sin is to disregard His Word. Are you aware of this? That is the most serious sin of all sins. 
Our weaknesses are only faults, mere transgressions. The mistakes we make and the wrongs we commit due to our imperfection are not fundamental sins, but faults. God distinguishes sins from faults. Those who disregard His Word are sinners, even if they are without faults. They are great sinners before God. That is why Jesus scolded the Pharisees. 
In the Pentateuch from Genesis to Deuteronomy, there are commandments that tell us what to do or not to do. They are the words of God, His commandments. We can never keep them 100%, but we should recognize them as His commandments. He has given them to us from the beginning, and we must accept them as such.
“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God” (John 1:1). Then He said, “Let there be light; and there was light” (Genesis 1:3). He created everything. And He established the Law. 
“And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and the Word was God” (John 1:1, 14). How, then, does God show Himself to us? He shows Himself to us through His commandments. God is the Word, and He shows Himself through the commandments. God is the Spirit. And what do we call the Bible? We call it the Word of God. 
It is said here, “For laying aside the commandment of God, you hold the tradition of men.” There are 613 articles to His Law. Do this but don’t do that; honor your parents, etc. In Leviticus, it says women must do thus and men should do thus and what to do when a domestic animal falls into a ditch, etc. There are 613 such articles, His Law. 
But because they are not the words of a human being, we should think about them again and again. We should obey God and even if we are unable to keep all of His Laws, we should at least acknowledge them. 
Is there a single Word of God that is not right? The Pharisees laid aside the commandments of God. They held the tradition of men over His commandments. The words of their elders carried more weight than the Words of God. It was so when Jesus was born. Jesus disliked it most when people did not recognize the Word of God.
God has given us 613 articles of the Law to teach us that He is the Truth, He is our God, what our sins are before Him, and to show us His Holiness. Therefore, because we are all sinners before Him, we should believe in Jesus who was sent to us from God because of His love for us and we should live by faith.
Those who lay aside His Word, and those who do not believe are sinners. Those who are unable to keep His Word are sinners also, but it is the ultimate sin to lay aside His Word. They are the ones who will end up in hell. Not to believe is to sin before Him.

 


The Reason Why God Gave Us the Law


Why did God give us the Law?
To make us realize our sins and the punishment for them
 
What is the reason that God gave us the Law? To realize our sins and to return to His arms. He gave us 613 articles of the Law so that we could realize our sins and be redeemed through Jesus. This is the reason why God gave us the Law. 
It is said in Romans 3:20, “By the law is the knowledge of sin.” So we know that the reason God gave us the Law is not to force us to live by it. 
Then what is the knowledge we gain from the Law? It is that we are too weak to obey the Law in its entirety and that we are sinners before Him. And what do we realize from the 613 articles of His Law? We realize our shortcomings, our inability to live by His Law. We realize that we, the creations of God, are impotent beings. We realize that we are sinners before Him, and we should all end up in hell according to His Law. 
When we realize our sins and also our impotence, then what do we do? Do we try to become complete beings? No. What we have to do is to admit that we are sinners, to believe in Jesus, to be redeemed through His salvation of the water and the Spirit, and to thank Him. 
The reason He gave us the Law is to make us realize our sins and the punishments for those sins so that we know that we cannot be saved from hell without Jesus. If we believe in Jesus as our Savior, we will be redeemed. He gave us the Law to save us. 
He gave us the Law to make us realize how totally sinful we are and to save our souls from sin. He gave us the Law and sent Jesus to save us. He sent His own Son to take over our sins through His Baptism. And we can be saved by believing in Him. 
We must realize that we are hopeless sinners and have to believe in Jesus so that we can be freed from sin, become His children and return the glory to God. 
We should understand His Word. All beginnings are from Him. We should also begin with His Word and understand the truth of redemption through His Word. We should think and judge through His Word. This is the right and true faith. 

 

 
What’s in the Heart of a Human Being?
 
What should we do before God?
We should admit our sins and ask God to save us.

Faith should start with God’s Word, and we should believe in God through His Word. If not, we will fall into error. That would be the wrong and untrue faith. 
When the Pharisees and scribes saw the disciples of Jesus eating bread with unwashed hands, they couldn’t have reproved them if they had looked at it through the Word of God. The Word tells us that whatever enters into a man from the outside cannot defile him because it goes into his stomach, not into his heart and it goes out. 
As it is said in Mark 7:20-23, ‘And He said, “What comes out of a man, that defiles a man. For from within, out of the heart of men, proceed evil thoughts, adulteries, fornications, murders, thefts, covetousness, wickedness, deceit, lewdness, an evil eye, blasphemy, pride, foolishness. All these evil things come from within and defile a man.”’ Jesus said that people are sinners because they are born with sin. 
Do you understand what this means? We are born as sinners because we are all Adam’s descendants. But we cannot see the truth because we neither accept nor believe in all of His Words. What is inside a man’s heart? 
Let’s look at Mark 7:21-22. “For from within, out of the heart of men, proceed evil thoughts, adulteries, fornications, murders, thefts, covetousness, wickedness, deceit, lewdness, an evil eye, blasphemy, pride, foolishness.” All these come out of a human’s heart and defile him or her as well as others. 
It is recorded in Psalms, “When I consider Your heavens, the work of Your fingers, The moon and the stars, which You have ordained, What is man that You are mindful of him, And the son of man that You visit him?” (Psalms 8:3-4).
Why does He visit us? He visits us because He loves us. He created us, loved us, and took pity on us sinners. He blotted out all our sins and made us His people. “O Lord, our Lord, How excellent is Your name in all the earth, Who have set Your glory above the heavens!” (Psalms 8:1) King David sang in the Old Testament when he realized that God would become the Savior of sinners. 
In the New Testament, the apostle Paul said the same thing. It is such an amazing thing that we, creations of God, can become His children. It is done only through His compassion for us. This is the love of God. 
To attempt to live by the law of God completely is, in a way, to challenge Him. And it is also a thought that comes out of our ignorance. It is not right to live outside His love while struggling to keep the Law and pray. It is God’s will that we should realize that we are sinners through the Law and believe in the redemption of the water and the blood (the Spirit). 
His Word is written in Mark 7:20-23, “What comes out of a man, that defiles a man. For from within, out of the heart of men, proceed evil thoughts, adulteries, fornications, murders, thefts, covetousness, wickedness, deceit, lewdness, an evil eye, blasphemy, pride, foolishness. All these evil things come from within and defile a man.” 
Jesus said that what comes out of human beings, the sins within, defile them. The food that God gives us cannot defile humans. All creations are clean, but only the things that come out of a person, that is, his sins, defile him. We are all born descendants of Adam. Then how are we born? We are born with twelve kinds of sins. 
Then, can we live without sin? We will continue to sin, for we are born with sin. Can we stop ourselves from sinning just because we know the Law? Can we live up to the commandments? No. 
The more we try, the harder it becomes. We should realize our limitations and give up. Then, with humble minds, we can accept the baptism and the blood of Jesus, which saves us. 
All 613 articles of the Law are right and just. But people are sinners from the time they are conceived in their mothers’ wombs. When we realize that the law of God is right but that we are born sinners who can never become righteous by ourselves, we also realize that we need the compassion of God and need to be saved with the redemption of Jesus in the water, the blood, and the Spirit. When we realize our limitations, that we cannot be righteous by ourselves and we will go to hell for our sins, we cannot but rely on the redemption of Jesus. 
We should know that we cannot be right or good before God by ourselves. Therefore, we should admit before God that we are sinners who are destined to go to hell, and we can pray for His compassion, “God, please save me from my sins and take pity on me.” Then, God will surely meet us in His Word. In this way, we can be delivered.
We tend to look at the prayer of David as God’s written Word. “That You may be found just when You speak, And blameless when You judge” (Psalms 51:4). 
David knew that he was a mass of sin who was evil enough to be thrown into hell, but he admitted it before God. “If You call me a sinner, I am a sinner; If You call me righteous, I am righteous; If You save me, I will be saved; and if You send me to hell, I will end up in hell.” 
This is the correct faith. This is how we are saved. This is how we should be if we hope to become ready to believe in the redemption of Jesus.

 


We Should Know Exactly What Our Sins Are

 
Since we are all descendants of Adam, we all have lust in our hearts. However, what does God tell us? He tells us not to commit adultery. We have murder in our hearts, but what does God tell us? He tells us not to kill. We all defy our parents in our hearts, but He tells us to honor our parents. We should realize that all His Words are right and good, and that we all have sin in our hearts. 
Is this correct or not? It is absolutely correct. Therefore, what must we do before God? We have to admit that we are masses of sin, hopeless sinners. It is not right to think that we were righteous yesterday because we did good deeds and sinners today because we have committed sins today. We are born sinners. Whatever we do, we will still be sinners. This is why we should be redeemed through the water and blood of Jesus. 
We are not sinners because of our deeds, such as committing adultery, murder, theft, etc., but we are sinners because we were born as sinners. We were born with twelve kinds of sins. Because we are born sinners in the eyes of God, we can never become good by our own efforts. We can only pretend to be good. 
We are born with minds full of sins such as murder, theft, etc. So, how can we be righteous just because we don’t actually commit these sins? We can never be righteous before God by ourselves. If we claim to be righteous, it is hypocrisy. Jesus called the Pharisees and scribes ‘the hypocritical Pharisees and scribes.’ Humans are born sinners. They sin before God throughout their lives. 
Anyone claiming that they have neither fought nor hit anyone or stolen even a needle from anyone in all their life is lying because humans are born as sinners. That person is a liar, a sinner, and a hypocrite. This is how God sees them. 
You are a born sinner. Even if you don’t commit a single act of sin, you are going to hell. Even if you generally kept the Law and most of the commandments, you would still be a sinner destined to go to hell. 
Then what should we do in the face of such a destiny? We have to ask for His compassion and depend on Him to be saved from our sins. If He doesn’t save us, we cannot but go to hell. This is our destiny. 
Those who accept His Word also admit that they are indeed sinners. And they also know that they are the righteous. Therefore, they know that laying aside His Word without recognizing His Word is a sin. Those who accept His Word are the righteous, even though they were sinners before. They are born again of His Word and receive His grace. They are the most blessed ones.

 


Those Who Try to Be Redeemed through Their Works Are Still Sinners
 
Who are still sinners even after they believe in Jesus?
Those who try to be redeemed through their works
 
Let’s look at Galatians 3:10 and 11. ‘For as many as are of the works of the law are under the curse; for it is written, “Cursed is everyone who does not continue in all things which are written in the book of the law, to do them.” But that no one is justified by the law in the sight of God is evident, for “the just shall live by faith.”’
It is said that everyone who does not continue in all things that are written in the book of the law is cursed. Those who believe in Jesus but try to be justified by their works are cursed. Where are those who are trying to be justified by their works? They are under the curse of God. 
Why did God give us the Law? He gave us the Law for us to realize our sins (Romans 3:20). For us to realize that we are complete sinners and that we are destined to go to hell. 
Believe in the baptism of Jesus, the Son of God, and be born again of water and the Spirit. Then you will be saved from your sins, become righteous, have eternal life, and go to heaven. Have faith in your hearts.
 

The Most Arrogant Sin in the World
 
What’s the most arrogant sin in the world?
To try to live by the Law
 
There is nothing more important than believing in God. We are blessed by having faith in His blessing. God decided to save those who have faith in His Word. 
But today, among the believers, there are many who try to live by His Law. Most Christians are like that. It is commendable that they try to live by the Law, but how is it possible? 
We have to realize how foolish it is to try to live up to His Law. The more we try, the harder it becomes. He said, “Faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God” (Romans 10:17). We need to cast off our arrogance in order to be saved.

 

 

We Have to Give Up Our Own Standards to Be Saved

 
What do we have to do to be saved?
We must give up our own standards.
 
How can a person be saved? It is possible only when they recognize themselves to be sinners. There are many who have not been redeemed because they cannot give up their incorrect beliefs and efforts. 
God says that those who clench onto the Law are cursed. Those who believe that they may become righteous gradually as they continue to believe in Jesus and try to live up to the Law are under His curse. They believe in God, but they still think that they have to live according to the Law to be saved. 
Dear friend, can we become righteous through our works while we are still alive? We become righteous only by believing in the Word of Jesus, and only then are we redeemed. Only by having faith in the baptism of Jesus, His blood, and Jesus’ being God, are we redeemed. 
That is why God has prepared the law of faith for us as a way to become righteous. The redemption of the water and the Spirit does not lie in the works of people but in the faith in the Word of God. And God delivered us for that faith. That is how God planned it and how He has completed it. 
Why were those who believed in Jesus not redeemed? Because they did not accept the word of the redemption of the water and the Spirit. But we, who are as imperfect as they are, have been redeemed for our faith in the word of God. 
“Two women will be grinding at the mill: one will be taken and the other left” (Matthew 24:41). The one who is left is the one who has not been redeemed. Why will one be taken and the other left? 
The reason is that one listened and believed in the word of God. The other one who worked hard to keep the Law was eventually cast down into hell. He was trying to crawl up to God, but God shook him off just like we shake off a bug when it tries to crawl up our leg. If a man tries to crawl up to God by trying to keep the Law, they will surely be thrown into hell. 
That is why we have to be redeemed by faith in the water and the Spirit. 
‘For as many as are of the works of the law are under the curse; for it is written, “Cursed is everyone who does not continue in all things which are written in the book of the law, to do them.”’ ‘But that no one is justified by the law in the sight of God is evident, for “the just shall live by faith”’ (Galatians 3:10-11, Romans 1:17).
Not believing in the Word of God is a sin before God. In addition, it is also a sin to lay aside the Word of God according to one’s own standard. We human beings cannot live by His Law because we are all born sinners. And we continue to sin all our lives. We sin a little here, a little there, and everywhere we go. We have to realize that our flesh cannot help but sin. 
A human being is like a big pail of manure. If we try to carry it around, we end up spilling the contents along the way. We are like that. We keep spilling sin everywhere we go. Can you picture it? 
Would you still pretend that you were holy? If you could see yourself clearly, you would give up trying in vain to be holy and believe in the water and the blood of Jesus. 
We need to cast off our obstinacy and admit that we are sinners before God. Then, we must return to His Word and discover how He saved them with the water and the Spirit.

 

This sermon is also available in ebook format. Click on the book cover below.
HAVE YOU TRULY BEEN BORN AGAIN OF WATER AND THE SPIRIT? [New Revised Edition]