“Being saved” means to receive the remission of all sins. It also means to be born again. When a sinner becomes a righteous person by believing in the gospel of life, we say, “he/she is born again of water and the Spirit through Jesus’ salvation”. The Holy Spirit comes upon those who have been redeemed and born again and testifies that they are God’s children. Therefore, it is all the same after all; receiving the remission of sins, receiving the Holy Spirit, being redeemed, being born again, becoming a child of God, and becoming a righteous person.
Jesus said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me” (John 14:6), which implies that only through Jesus, the only begotten Son of God, can we enter the Kingdom of God. Hence, we have to know how Jesus washed away all our sins and counted us as His people, who deserve to enter His Kingdom.
Nonetheless, most Christians still think that merely calling His name can save them. They believe in Jesus without ever opening the Bible, without knowing what He has done to save us from all our sins. God is the Spirit and the Holy One with whom there is no variation or shifting, but we live sinful lives. Entering the Kingdom of the Lord is possible only through Jesus, and we can believe in Him through the faith in ‘the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus’ (Romans 8:2).
A lot of people do not even know what Jesus did for salvation; rather, they blindly believe in Him in vain, saying, “Lord, Lord!” They also think they’re saved, but they still have sins in their hearts. If you still have sin in your heart in spite of your faith in Jesus, from what have you been saved then? If someone asks, “How did Jesus wash away our sins?” the bulk of people reply, “He probably washed them away on the Cross.” Then, for another question, “Do you have sin in your heart?” they say, “Certainly. Who can be absolutely free from sin on this earth?”
The name of Jesus means “the Savior who saves His people from their sins” (Matthew 1:21). We believe in Jesus in order to be saved from sin.
However, if we still have sin in our hearts, although we believe in Jesus, we are still sinners sold into bondage to sin and will be judged accordingly. The Apostle Paul said, “There is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus” (Romans 8:1). It is thus certain that someone who still has sin in his/her heart is not yet one with Christ Jesus. Why do they remain as a sinner who is not redeemed and fallen away from salvation even though they still believe in Jesus? It is because they believe only in the blood of the Cross, without laying their sins on Him by the baptism of Jesus. Therefore, they still have sin in their hearts, whereas Jesus died on the Cross regardless of their sins.
There is a significant difference for Christians who believe in the baptism of Jesus and those who don’t believe in it; some have redemption and become righteous by having faith in the baptism of Jesus, while the others still remain as sinners without faith in it. The Holy Spirit does not come upon a sinner. He comes upon the righteous, who have been born again by water and the Spirit.
Thus, the Apostle Paul said, “Or do you not know that as many of us as were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into His death?” (Romans 6:3) Many people believe that Jesus took away our sins on the Cross, but we can never confess that we have sinless hearts if we don’t believe in the baptism of Jesus. If we do, we’re guilty of telling a lie to God, which goes against our own consciences.
We surely still have sin in our hearts if we haven’t passed all our sins onto Jesus without believing in His baptism. For those who don’t believe the gospel of the baptism of Jesus and the Cross, they are prone to fall into legalism and be grave sinners. Therefore, no matter what they do, like praying in the deep mountains or praying earnestly for forgiveness during prayer meetings, they still find sins left in their hearts.
Jesus said, “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!” (Matthew 7:21-23)
Who does “those who practice lawlessness” refer to? It refers to those who haven’t received the perfect redemption in their hearts for having believed only in the Cross. That’s an arbitrary faith, not from God. We’re practicing lawlessness if we don’t believe in the fact that Jesus has saved us through His baptism and the Cross. We cannot say we have the right faith before we know and believe in both the baptism of Jesus and the Cross.
Jesus said that if people want to be born again, it is possible only through the water and the Spirit. Just as people could have only been delivered from the waters of the flood if they had been in Noah’s ark, you can receive the remission of all your sins and live a true faithful life only if you believe in the gospel of the water and the Spirit.
Without the gospel of the water and the Spirit, you can neither receive the forgiveness of sins nor become God’s children.