< 1 John 2:1-17 >
�My little children, these things I write to you, so that you may not sin. And if anyone sins, we have an Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous. And He Himself is the propitiation for our sins, and not for ours only but also for the whole world. Now by this we know that we know Him, if we keep His commandments. He who says, �I know Him,?and does not keep His commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him. But whoever keeps His word, truly the love of God is perfected in him. By this we know that we are in Him. He who says he abides in Him ought himself also to walk just as He walked. Brethren, I write no new commandment to you, but an old commandment which you have had from the beginning. The old commandment is the word which you heard from the beginning. Again, a new commandment I write to you, which thing is true in Him and in you, because the darkness is passing away, and the true light is already shining. He who says he is in the light, and hates his brother, is in darkness until now. He who loves his brother abides in the light, and there is no cause for stumbling in him. But he who hates his brother is in darkness and walks in darkness, and does not know where he is going, because the darkness has blinded his eyes.
I write to you, little children,
Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world�the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life�is not of the Father but is of the world. And the world is passing away, and the lust of it; but he who does the will of God abides forever.?/b>
Who Has Become Our Advocate?
In the Old Testament, when a sinner brought a sacrificial animal to offer to God, he had to believe that while it was he who had to die for his sins, his sacrificial offering instead accepted his sins with the laying on of his hands and bled to death for his sins on his behalf. All those who are to have this faith must believe with their hearts that God has remitted away all their sins according to the sacrificial system of the Tabernacle�that is, by passing all their sins onto their offerings of sacrifice and drawing the animals?blood.
This sacrificial system was a shadow of the good things to come (Hebrews 10:1). Here, the phrase �the good things to come?implies the righteous deeds of Jesus Christ, namely, His salvation of the water and the Spirit. Do you also want to really believe in the true gospel of the water and the Spirit with your hearts? My fellow believers, when we come before God and stand before His presence, we must have received the washing of our sins by knowing and believing in the law of salvation that has saved us from all our sins and took them away. We must also know and believe with our hearts that this salvation of the washing of sin is entirely the mercy of God and His love, and it is with this knowledge and faith that we must stand before God.
As the only way and faith for all of us to be saved from all our sins, we must believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God, and that by coming to this earth, being baptized by John the Baptist and thus taking upon the sins of the world, and dying on the Cross and rising from the dead again, He has indeed perfectly saved us from all our sins, condemnation and death. It is ultimately by believing in the gospel of the water and the Spirit that we have received the remission of our sins. By coming to this earth, being baptized, and shedding His blood on the Cross, Jesus Christ has completely blotted out all our sins once for all.?
Hebrews 10:11-13 states, �And every priest stands ministering daily and offering repeatedly the same sacrifices, which can never take away sins. But this Man, after He had offered one sacrifice for sins forever, sat down at the right hand of God, from that time waiting till His enemies are made His footstool.?My dear fellow believers, Jesus Christ has at once blotted out the sins of mankind, including all your sins, by coming to this earth, being baptized, and shedding His blood. He blotted out not only the sins that you and I have committed ever since we were born and will commit until the day we die, but He also blotted out all the sins of our descendants once and for all.
Jesus Christ is the One who took upon our sins and died for us, the One who offered the sacrifice of salvation. By thus giving the everlasting sin offering with His baptism and the Cross, Jesus has forever completed our salvation. You can received the washing of your sins only when you believe that Jesus Christ has forever blotted out all our sins with the gospel of the water and the Spirit once for all. Do believe. You will then receive the everlasting remission of your sins. And receive eternal life.
Therefore, it is critically important for us to realize that it is by believing in Jesus Christ, the Host of the gospel of the water and the Spirit, that we can receive the everlasting remission of sin. Those who believe in the baptism that the Messiah received and the blood that He shed on the Cross as their own remission of sin have indeed been forever remitted from all their sins once for all.
But those who do not believe in this gospel Truth will surely face the condemnation of their sins when God�s judgment day arrives. God is leaving them alone for now, but when the Day of Judgment comes, everyone who has sin will absolutely be condemned and suffer eternally. Those who have received the remission of their sins by believing in the gospel of the water and the Spirit, in contrast, will be able to partake in the glory of the Kingdom of God.
In Which Book Are Your Names Written Now?
Revelation 20:12-15 tell us that those who have sin in their hearts have their names written in the Books of Deeds, while those who have received the remission of their sins by faith and thus are sinless have their names written in the Book of Life. Because everyone is born as a sinner, everyone�s name is automatically written in the Books of Deeds; however, thanks to the Lord who has remitted away our sins, the believers?names have been blotted out from the Books of Deeds and are instead now written in the Book of Life.
This passage also says that those whose names are written in the Books of Deeds are the ones who have sin in their consciences, and therefore He will cast them all into the everlasting fire (Revelation 20:15). This is the very judgment of the second death that awaits every sinner. This judgment of the second death is the judgment of sin, the condemnation that casts sinners into the pit of fire to live there forever.
Those whose names are written in the Book of life, on the other hand, are the ones who believe that God has truthfully saved them from all their sins. They are the ones who believe in God�s salvation woven of blue, purple, and scarlet thread and fine woven linen, and who have, by their faith, entered into the gate of the Tabernacle, the gate of Heaven. Our Lord has bestowed the great blessings of salvation on those who have truly received the remission of their consciences?sins by believing in the gospel of the water and the Spirit. These people whose sins God has remitted away are the ones who know how Jesus Christ has blotted out all the sins of their entire lifetime, and believe in this. It is because of this faith of ours that God has allowed us to receive from Him the everlasting remission of our sins.
This is written in Hebrews 10:19-22, �Therefore, brethren, having boldness to enter the Holiest by the blood of Jesus, by a new and living way which He consecrated for us, through the veil, that is, His flesh, and having a High Priest over the house of God, let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water.?/i> By the baptism and blood of Jesus, we have received this boldness to enter into the Holiest. Jesus Christ could shed His blood only because He had first taken upon the sins of the world by being baptized by John (Matthew 3:15).
Here, the writer of Hebrews said, �And having a High Priest over the house of God, let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water.??/font>
To blot out the sins of mankind, Jesus Christ forsook the glorious throne of God and came to this earth. Just as God had promised through the Prophet Isaiah, after about 700 years went by since Isaiah had so prophesied, Jesus was indeed born unto this earth through the body of the Virgin Mary. The Messiah Himself came to this earth incarnated in the flesh of man and took upon our sins through His baptism in the Jordan River.
Why did Jesus the true God have to be baptized by a man, John the Baptist? This question has been a mystery to every truth seeker for ages. However, thanks to the Lord, He has �made known to us the mystery of His will, according to His good pleasure which He purposed in Himself? (Ephesians 1:9). The Lord has made us to realize the meaning of His baptism that constitutes the gospel of the water and the Spirit, the original gospel that His Apostles received and preached.
When it says here, �having a High Priest over the house of God,?this High Priest refers to Jesus Christ. Jesus Christ is the High Priest of the Kingdom of Heaven, and the role of the earthly High Priest was fulfilled by John the Baptist. Why did God need to set aside a man called John, who was the greatest of all those born of women? This was done so that Jesus would be baptized by John the Baptist. To save us from our sins, in other words, God Himself as the heavenly High Priest lowered His head to John the Baptist, the representative of all mankind (Matthew 11:11), and received the baptism through which He accepted the sins of the world.
It was to bear our sins that Jesus Christ laid down His body as our own offering of sacrifice and was baptized by John the Baptist. Jesus Christ was offered to God the Father as our propitiation. Referring to this, Hebrews says that �our hearts?have been �sprinkled from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water?(Hebrews 10:22).?
The passage also says, therefore, �Let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith?(Hebrews 10:22). It is telling us that those who have realized that they are piles of sin have been sprinkled from an evil conscience and washed their bodies with pure water. This �pure water?refers to the baptism that Jesus received (1 Peter 3:21).
Do you know just how many sins you commit throughout your entire lifetime? Human beings are born with sin from their mothers?wombs, and are bound to live their entire lifetime committing sins until the day they die. Everyone, in other words, is born with over a dozen of sinful minds: Evil thoughts, adulteries, fornications, murders, thefts, covetousness, wickedness, deceit, lewdness, an evil eye, blasphemy, pride, and foolishness (Mark 7:20-22). And they sin throughout their entire lifetime with both their bodies and hearts. Because they are always insufficient, they commit these various kinds of sin without ceasing. They come to realize that the sins that they committed today will be committed again tomorrow, and the sins that they committed this year will once again be committed the next year. Like this, we are such beings that are bound to continue to sin time after time until the day we die.
However, the writer of Hebrews says here that we have washed our bodies with pure water. This means that by personally being baptized by John, Jesus Christ has washed away all our sins. When were our sins actually passed onto Jesus and washed away? It was when Jesus Christ was baptized by John. But on our side, our sins were all cleansed away by believing in this Truth from the center of our hearts. We believe this because Jesus Christ became our own sacrificial offering by being baptized and shedding His blood.
�Permit It to Be So Now, for Thus It Is Fitting for Us to Fulfill All Righteousness?(Matthew 3:15)
Let us turn to Matthew 1:21-23: ��And she will bring forth a Son, and you shall call His name JESUS, for He will save His people from their sins.?So all this was done that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the Lord through the prophet, saying: �Behold, the virgin shall be with child, and bear a Son, and they shall call His name Immanuel,?which is translated, �God with us.��
To save His people from their sins, God Himself was incarnated in the flesh of man and born unto this earth through the body of the Virgin Mary. God had promised this about 700 years ago through the Prophet Isaiah, that He would send us the Messiah: �Behold, the virgin shall be with child, and bear a Son, and they shall call His name Immanuel.?/i>
The name �Immanuel?here means that God is with us. To be with us, then, what must God do? He has to come to us as a Man. Why did He come to us as a Man? He did so because He had to take upon all our sins once and for all. It is because Jesus Christ, God Himself, had to take upon our sins that He was born unto this earth in the flesh of man through the body of the Virgin Mary. And Jesus remained quiet until the age of 29, but the next year, when He turned 30, He revealed Himself.
When, then, were all our sins passed onto Jesus Christ? For this, let us specifically turn to Matthew 3:13-17 here: �Then Jesus came from Galilee to John at the Jordan to be baptized by him. And John tried to prevent Him, saying, �I need to be baptized by You, and are You coming to me??But Jesus answered and said to him, �Permit it to be so now, for thus it is fitting for us to fulfill all righteousness.?Then he allowed Him. When He had been baptized, Jesus came up immediately from the water; and behold, the heavens were opened to Him, and He saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and alighting upon Him. And suddenly a voice came from heaven, saying, �This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.��
The Reason Why Jesus Was Baptized by John the Baptist
Here, Matthew 3:13 says, �Then Jesus came from Galilee to John at the Jordan to be baptized by him. And John tried to prevent Him, saying, �I need to be baptized by You, and are You coming to me?�� The John here refers to John the Baptist. This John was born in the house of Aaron the High Priest of the Old Testament as his descendant, and he was the Old Testament�s last High Priest who faithfully fulfilled all his duty when Jesus came (Luke 1:5, 76-77).?
You probably remember that in the Old Testament, Aaron the High Priest had laid his hands on the head of a living goat and drew its blood to offer sacrifice on behalf of the people of Israel on the Day of Atonement. God had promised that through the sacrifice that was given according to the sacrificial system, He would accept the offering and blot out the Israelites? sins in turn. ?/font>
Just as the sacrificial offering of the Old Testament had received the laying on of hands from the High Priest, Jesus, too, came to the Jordan River and took upon the sins of the world by receiving baptism from John, which was performed according to the same manner. Matthew 11:13-14 says, �For all the prophets and the law prophesied until John. And if you are willing to receive it, he is Elijah who is to come.?This passage points out that all the prophecies of the Old Testament�s prophets and its promises of God ended with the ministry of John. John�s calling was to be completed with the fulfillment of his role�that is, to baptize Jesus and pass the sins of mankind. By thus actually passing the sins of the world, now the age of promise ended, and the age of the Lord�s actual salvation began starting from the baptism Jesus received from John.?
Who was Elijah? He was one of the greatest prophets of Israel who turned the heart of God to His children and the hearts of the children to their Father God (Malachi 4:5-6). Jesus Christ, the Lamb of God who came to bear the sins of us mankind, accepted the sins of the world by being baptized by John the Baptist, the representative of mankind, the Elijah to come, and a descendant of the Old Testament�s High Priest. As John the Baptist laid his hands on the head of Jesus, all the sins of us mankind were passed onto the body of Jesus Christ once for all.
In other words, the High Priest of Heaven and the representative of the earth met together and gave the everlasting sacrifice of sin offering that would blot out mankind�s sins. It is because Jesus the heavenly High Priest was baptized by John the representative of mankind that all the prophecies and promises of the Old Testament were fulfilled. This is why Jesus said here, �All the prophets and the law prophesied until John.?/i>
Also, saying in Matthew 11:14, �If you are willing to receive it, he is Elijah who is to come,?/i> Jesus Himself called John as Elijah. This passage actually had been prophesied in the Old Testament. If we turn to Malachi 4:5-6, we would see this clearly:?
�Behold, I will send you Elijah the prophet
God had promised to send us Elijah, and this Elijah whom He had promised to send is none other than John the Baptist.
Elijah, one of the greatest prophets of the Old Testament, was the quintessential prophet who had turned all the people of Israel back to God. This Elijah was a man who had lived in 9th century B.C. Over 800 years had passed when Jesus said this. How, then, would God send this Elijah? This promise was that God would send someone who would fulfill Elijah�s role. Therefore, the passage here was prophesying about John the Baptist.
By baptizing Jesus, John the Baptist turned the hearts of the entire mankind back to God. In Matthew 11:11-12, Jesus Himself also testified about John the Baptist, �Assuredly, I say to you, among those born of women there has not risen one greater than John the Baptist; but he who is least in the kingdom of heaven is greater than he. And from the days of John the Baptist until now the kingdom of heaven suffers violence, and the violent take it by force.?/i>?
What does this passage mean? It means that God had promised to forever blot out everyone�s sins, and that according to this promise, He accepted, as the heavenly High Priest, all the sins of all the people through the earthly High Priest. And it proclaims that whoever believes in Jesus? baptism can now boldly enter Heaven by his faith.
Since it was not possible to forever remit away all our sins once for all with the Old Testament�s blood of lambs and bulls, some other sacrifice was needed. Yet on this earth, there was no such unblemished sacrificial offering that could completely and forever blot out all our sins; therefore, the sinless Son of God, Jesus Christ, had to come to this earth and become this sacrificial offering Himself. As Jesus Christ thus came to this earth to give the everlasting sin offering for His people, there also had to be a representative of mankind, the High Priest who would pass their sins to Him, the Lamb of God. This is why there had to be John the Baptist, a descendant of Aaron, whom God had prepared for this purpose.
Only Aaron and his descendants, who were the High Priests of the Old Testament, were qualified to offer the sacrifice of the Day of Atonement. As such, God could not just take anyone as the earthly High Priest. So God prepared this representative of mankind from the house of the High Priest; that is, from the descendants of Aaron. This representative was John the Baptist who was born of Zacharias and Elizabeth six month before Jesus was born. Both parents of John, Zacharias and Elizabeth, were also of the descendants of Aaron.
Therefore, John the Baptist, whose parents were Aaron�s descendants, could fulfill his priesthood as the High Priest set by God, and he was the representative of mankind who was truly qualified to pass all their sins to Jesus. Because John the Baptist, the Elijah to come, who would turn the hearts of the children to their fathers, was the earthly High Priest whom God had prepared, he baptized Jesus Christ, who became the sacrificial offering, in a form of the Old Testament�s laying on of hands.
John the Baptist baptized Jesus by laying his hands on His head. Jesus was 30 at that time. Aaron�s descendants were to start their priesthood from their age 30 (Numbers 4:3). As John the Baptist baptized Jesus, all the sins of mankind were passed onto Him. Therefore, we no longer need any more sacrifice to blot out our sins (Hebrews 10:18). John the Baptist was the last High Priest of the Old Testament.
God sent John the Baptist, the Elijah to come, and six months later, He also sent His Son Jesus as the sinless and unblemished offering for mankind. By making John give baptism to Jesus and by making Jesus receive this baptism from John, God had passed all our sins onto Jesus. By doing so, the providence and promises of God were all fulfilled. John the Baptist, the earthly High Priest, laid his hands on the head of Jesus, our own sacrificial offering. And receiving this laying on of hands, Jesus went into the water and then reemerged from it. Jesus received the baptism that fulfilled all the righteousness of God.?
That Jesus went into water implies His death. And that He came up again from the water symbolizes His resurrection. And the laying on of hands that Jesus received from John tells us that He accepted all our sins.
That baptism of Jesus that is written in Matthew 3:13-17 was to accept the sins of the world. To take upon our sins, Jesus Christ sought to be baptized by John the Baptist in the Jordan River, where John was baptizing Israelites to repent. At first, John protested, saying, �I need to be baptized by You, and are You coming to me??/i> John the Baptist tried to prevent Jesus from being baptized because he knew that while he was only the High Priest of this earth, Jesus Christ was the High Priest of Heaven, and he could not bear with himself, as a mere man, to dare to lay his hands on God�s own head. But Jesus was able to command Him forcefully, �Permit it to be so now.?
Why did the High Priest of Heaven come to this earth? He came to this earth to forever save us from our sins once for all, not by offering the blood of bulls or goats, but by offering His own body (Hebrews 9:12). By receiving His baptism from John, Jesus accepted all our sins of the world onto His body, and by offering this body of His to God the Father, He has saved us from all our sins. Like this, Jesus accepted all our sins by being baptized, offered His body to God the Father by being crucified, and thereby became our own sacrificial offering for the atonement of all our sins, thus saving us all.?
Then, Jesus said firmly to this hesitating John, �Permit it to be so now, for thus it is fitting for us to fulfill all righteousness.?/i> John the Baptist then also realized Jesus?will, and obeyed Him. At last, he laid his hands on the head of the Messiah, and this was the moment when the will of God was properly fulfilled. So, the Bible states, �When He had been baptized, Jesus came up immediately from the water; and behold, the heavens were opened to Him, and He saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and alighting upon Him. And suddenly a voice came from heaven, saying, �This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased�� (Matthew 3:16-17).
The word �baptism?means to be washed, to be submerged under water, and to be buried. When sin is passed on, the one who accepted this sin must die. So the one who passed sin is washed from it, and since the one who accepted this sin must die for it, he is to be buried�it is, in other words, as the symbol of this death that Jesus went into the water. John the Baptist, the representative of mankind, Elijah to come and the High Priest, baptized Jesus and thereby passed the sins of the world to Jesus Christ, the Savior who came to this earth to perfectly save everyone from sin.
The spiritual meaning of baptism is the passing of sin. What, then, is the spiritual meaning of the laying on of hands? The laying on of hands also means to pass on sin, or to transfer sin. Therefore, this laying on of hands of the Old Testament and the baptism of the New Testament are the same. As such, by putting his hands on Jesus?head, John the Baptist baptized Him to pass over all the sins of the world.
That Jesus took upon all our sins by being baptized was fitting to fulfill all the righteousness of God. What is the meaning of the phrase �for thus?in the passage, �Permit it to be so now, for thus it is fitting for us to fulfill all righteousness? The word �for thus?is �hutos?/i> in Greek, which means �just in this way,?�most fitting,?or �there is no other way besides this.?This word shows that Jesus irreversibly took the sins of humankind onto Himself through the baptism He received from John. In other words, nothing else was proper to fulfill all the righteousness of God but this method that entailed John the Baptist, the representative of mankind, to baptize Jesus the Son of God and thereby make Him take upon the sins of us mankind.?
It is written, �For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life?(John 3:16). Sending His Son Jesus Christ to this earth, God the Father made Him receive baptism from the representative of mankind in this way. It is because Jesus had accepted all our sins by being baptized that He could carry the sins of the world and die on the Cross. Like this, Jesus was the sacrifice of our everlasting sin offering who has wholly saved us by being baptized and dying on the Cross. This was the providence of God.
This is why Jesus said in John 3:5, �Unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God.?/i> It is because Jesus Christ had accepted all our sins by being baptized that He was crucified and shed His blood in our place. The next day of Jesus?baptism, John the Baptist personally bore witness of Jesus by saying, �Behold! The Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!?(John 1:29) And Jesus, by carrying the sins of the world to the Cross and being crucified, has saved us from them.?
My dear fellow Christians, you and I must believe in this gospel of the water and the Spirit. Jesus Christ accepted all our sins through His baptism, was crucified to death in our place, rose from the dead again in three days, and lives even now and to eternity. You, too, must now believe in Jesus Christ as your God and your Savior.
By accepting all our sins through His baptism and dying on the Cross, Jesus has completely fulfilled the law that declares the wages of sin to be death. In this way, our Lord has saved you and me from all our sins. This is why God the Father opened the gates of Heaven when His Son was baptized. The Bible says that when Jesus was baptized and came up from the water, the gates of Heaven were opened: �Behold, the heavens were opened to Him, and He saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and alighting upon Him. And suddenly a voice came from heaven, saying, �This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased�� (Matthew 3:16-17).
God was pleased that Jesus was baptized. Our God the Father fulfilled salvation through His Son. Taking His own Son as the sacrificial offering for our sins, He made Him bear all our sins and our condemnation, and has thereby saved the entire mankind. In order to save mankind from all their sins exactly according to how he had promised in the Old Testament, God the Father has fulfilled His righteousness exactly according to His promised way.?
In today�s?scripture passage, the Apostle John says, �My little children, these things I write to you, so that you may not sin. And if anyone sins, we have an Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous. And He Himself is the propitiation for our sins, and not for ours only but also for the whole world?(1 John 2:1-2).
We have to recognize that John is talking of the gospel of the water and the Spirit by this passage. In other words, Jesus has blotted out all the sins of the world. Who became the propitiation for the whole world? Jesus Christ is the Lord who, to blot out the sins of the world, was baptized by John the Baptist, and thereby took upon all the sins of the whole world and has washed away them away once for all. What the Apostle John is saying here, therefore, is not that we are forgiven from our sins on a daily basis every time we sin in this world and whenever we say prayers of repentance, but that Jesus Christ has remitted away all our sins once for all through the gospel of the water and the Spirit.
The passage is telling us, in other words, that if anyone in this world sins, we have Jesus Christ as our Advocate before the Father. The �Advocate?here refers to our Lord, implying that Jesus Christ speaks to the Father in our defense regarding our sins. Jesus Christ is the Savior who has perfectly saved us from all the sins of the world. This is why when any believer in the gospel of the water and the Spirit sins, Jesus Christ who has become our Savior speaks to God the Father and to even to us in his defense, saying, �To blot out all his sins, I was baptized by John the Baptist. Therefore, he is not guilty, Father, for he believes in the gospel of the water and the Spirit? You, my child, do not be afraid of your sins you have committed these days. Don�t you know that all these sins were also washed away through My baptism and bloodshed on the Cross? Just admit and confess them before God, and have confidence in the gospel of the water and the Spirit and ruminate on it again.?
This passage tells us that after believing in the gospel Word of the water and the Spirit, if we once again commit sins before God, then we need to confess these sins to Jesus Christ and to believe that the Lord took away even these sins. What we need to realize clearly here is that it is not because of our deed of confession itself that our sins are blotted out. Rather, it is because our Lord took upon our personal sins through the baptism that He received that these personal transgressions of ours are solved away by our faith. This is because when our Lord came to this earth and was baptized by John the Baptist, He had already taken upon all the sins of the world once for all. And because He already bore the condemnation of our sins on the Cross, all that we have to do is confess them by believing in the gospel of the water and the Spirit.?
As such, by thus believing that our Lord took away all the sins that we have ever committed and will ever commit throughout our entire lifetime on this earth, we are saved from all our sins and freed from our guilt. What the Apostle John is telling us here is that he wants us, in Jesus Christ, to never be bound by sin again. This is why Jesus Christ Himself became the propitiation for our sins before God the Father.
The Apostle John, in other words, is admonishing us to dwell in the perfect gospel and live a perfect life by faith. Only then can we really live the true life of faith. It is when we know this Truth that we could have washed all our sins only in the Lord, and that we will never again be bound by our weaknesses and we can become God�s workers. In other words, by believing in the gospel of the water and the Spirit, we are no longer under condemnation, and this is what makes it possible for us to make the true confession of faith that enables us to call Jesus Christ as our true Savior. Why? Because by believing in the true gospel in our hearts, all of us can now boldly come before the Holy God.
Those who believe in the gospel of the water and the Spirit, the true gospel that our Lord has given us, have been delivered from all the sins that they have committed once for all by faith. It is only by believing in this perfect gospel that we have been perfectly saved from all these sins that we commit throughout our entire lifetime. The true gospel that has brought to us our salvation from all the sins of the world is that when our Lord came to this earth and was baptized, He already took the sins of the world upon His own body. Faith in this Truth is to believe that the Lord has saved us from all our sins once for all. Only by believing in this gospel of the water and the Spirit can we be saved.
However, all of us still continue to sin again as we live on in this world. This is because everyone has flesh, and is therefore always insufficient. However, we cannot become sinners again. It is because Jesus Christ, who has blotted out all our sins and become our Advocate, is still on our side that those of us who believe in the gospel of the water and the Spirit will always remain whole.
My fellow Christians, do we or do we not continue to commit sins as we live in this world? ―Of course we do.― We indeed continue to sin until the very day we pass away. If this is the case, then isn�t it true that these sins that we commit throughout our entire lifetime all belong to the sins of the world? They all belong to the sins of the world. But didn�t Jesus Christ take upon all these sins of the world once for all by being baptized by John the Baptist? He indeed took them all way.?
And did He or did He not carry these sins of the world and die for us on the Cross? Of course He did. And didn�t Jesus Christ then rise from the dead again, and hasn�t He now become our true Savior? He has indeed become our true Savior. Our Lord lives now, and He has become the Savior of all those who believe in the gospel of the water and the Spirit. We have to know clearly and believe in this true gospel. Unless we do so, we can never be freed from our sins, even if we profess to believe in Jesus.
If we do not even admit that we are bound to continue to sin on this earth until the day we die, it is simply impossibly for us to even believe in the Lord. How can someone who is not a sinner have any need to believe in Jesus as the Savior? It is written, �Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick?(Matthew 9:12). Can anyone say that though he had sinned against God and man before, he will never sin again? If we are confident of ourselves that we will never sin again, and if we are so perfect as to never sin again indeed, then what need is there for us to believe in Jesus as our Savior?
If one does not know that Jesus took away all the sins of the world, and is oblivious to the truth that Jesus fulfilled all the righteousness of God by taking upon all our sins through John the Baptist when He was baptized, could this person be saved from his sins by just believing in this Lord somehow? Who dares to say that he is confident enough to never sin again?
My fellow saints, through the baptism that Jesus received from John the Baptist, He took upon all the sins that you and I commit throughout our entire lifetime. This is why we must believe in this Jesus, who took away all the sins of our entire lifetime through His baptism, as our Savior, and only when we believe so can we become sinless. Before we believe in the Lord as our Savior, we must first admit that we are the seeds of transgression, and that we are bound to continue to sin throughout our lifetime until the day we die. Only those who acknowledge their sinful nature before God can have the right faith, and only they can believe in the true gospel of the water and the Spirit.
It is extremely important for us to admit to God that we are bound to sin until the day we die. Whenever we sin in this world, whether out of our weaknesses or for whatever reason, we must admit that we sinned, and we must also acknowledge that Jesus took upon all these sins once for all by being baptized by John the Baptist, and that all our sins were indeed passed onto Him�only then can we have the true faith. It is when we have such faith that we move far away from all our sins and all the condemnation of sin, and become truly close to the Lord instead. It is in the gospel of the water and the Spirit that we can become truly clean and move away from darkness.
Rather than trying to hide our sins from God while living our lives of faith before Him, we need to come before His bright light of truth and confess, �Lord, I am such a sinner. I am bound to sin until the day I die, but I believe that Jesus came to this earth to save me from my sins, and that He accepted all the sins of this world by being baptized by John the Baptist.?By believing in the gospel truth of the water and the Spirit and confessing our sins, we become closer to God in His light of Truth, for the Lord took upon all our sins once for all through the water and the Spirit. Just as the sacrificial offering of the Old Testament accepted the sins of the Israelites with the laying on of hands, our Lord Jesus accepted all the sins of the world through John the Baptist.
For us to believe like this in what the Lord has done for us is the truly right faith. If our faith is not like this, but instead we hide the sins that we commit in this world from God and try to atone for our sins by doing something good and virtuous, far from being redeemed, we will only end up falling deeper into the pit of an even greater sin. When this happens, our hearts will be darkened by our sins, and we will become so ashamed of ourselves that we will not be able to face anyone.
Without faith in the gospel of the water and the Spirit, neither can we call on the name of God, nor can we discern right from wrong, for our reason, wisdom, and perception will all be clouded. This is what Satan wants to happen to us. For those who do not believe in the gospel of the water and the Spirit, and therefore not only do not pass their sins to Jesus, but even try to hide themselves from God, the great wrath of God will follow.
We must confess to God that our seeds are such that we just cannot help but continue to sin, and we must also believe that by being baptized, our Lord took upon all these sins that we commit in this world until the day we die. We must believe that our Lord thus shouldered the sins of the world, carried them to the Cross, and bore all the condemnation of sin by shedding His blood on it. It is by thus believing in the gospel truth of the water and the Spirit that Jesus forever becomes the Savior of believers. It is by believing in the gospel of the water and the Spirit that we are washed from all our sins, and it is by this faith that we become God�s own people.?
It is by believing in the gospel of the water and the Spirit that we become the ones who are truly sinless, whose hearts are as white as snow. It is then when our hearts become as light as a feather, able to serve our Holy God as His workers and praise Him. My dear fellow saints, none other than this is the very power of the gospel of the water and the Spirit.
The so-called �gospel of the Cross?that the people of this world believe posits that we are sanctified by our own daily efforts not to sin, but we can never cleanse our hearts as white as snow by believing like this. Unless we believe in the gospel of the water and the Spirit, our hearts can never become as light as a feather. We cannot help but sin in this world, and we do indeed sin all the time, but when we believe that our Lord took away all our sins by being baptized, bore all the condemnation of our sins by shedding His blood on the Cross, and has thereby saved you and me from all our sins, we can still become God�s children only by faith.
The Bible describes the Pharisees as hypocrites. Whenever they saw someone even slightly unclean, they pulled up their sleeves to cover their eyes, lest they be polluted by what their eyes saw. But in fact, they, too, were filthy before God. They were the kind of people who were totally ignorant of themselves and only too eager to stone others to death, constantly invoking the Law. This is none other than the sad portrait of today�s worldly Christians and the servants of Satan.
Those who do not know themselves should learn from Socrates first. What did he say to us? He famously said, �Know yourself.? What a wise saying is this? There have been many philosophers in this world, but no one left as famous a remark as this motto. Socrates said something that was worthy of a great philosopher. Many of his contemporary philosophers only boasted of their own wisdom, speaking loftily of asceticism and hedonism, and telling everyone how to live. But Socrates did not bother with them and simply said, �Know yourself. Before you say anything, first realize who you truly are. When you have so many shortcomings yourself, what qualifies you to comment on whether others have done right or wrong??
The Bible also makes this point. Jesus said, �First remove the plank from your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother�s eye?(Matthew 7:5). This, my fellow Christians, is the reason why we must be clear about who we really are, and that we are sinful beings. You need to realize that our Lord has become the true Savior of sinners, and you need to recognize that by believing in the gospel of the water and the Spirit, your hearts must be lightened as a feather.?
You must acknowledge the fact that you commit countless sins while living on this earth, and you must confess your daily sins to God everyday by placing your faith in the gospel of the water and the Spirit. And you must also recognize that your sins are no longer in your hearts, because you believe that our Lord took away all your sins by being baptized. It is by believing that Jesus bore all the condemnation of your sins that your hearts become as light as a feather.
Our hearts are that of someone who, by believing in the gospel truth of the water and the Spirit, has acknowledged all his sins and passed them all to Jesus. This very heart of the one who passed his sins to Jesus Christ by believing that his sins were indeed passed onto Him through John the Baptist�none other than this is the heart that is as light as a feather. Do you believe this? Do you believe that Jesus Christ took upon all the sins of the world? Do you believe that He has become the propitiation for our sin? Do you believe that Jesus Christ is our Helper? Do you believe that He is the Lord who has blotted out all our sins?
Whenever we stumble out of our weaknesses, and whenever we fall short, our Lord comes to us and says to us, �I took away those sins also. I am your Savior. I bore all your sins. You are My people, and you are My children.?So it is by faith that we have become His children. I thank our God for this abundant grace!
The Apostle John said, �My little children, these things I write to you, so that you may not sin. And if anyone sins, we have an Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous. And He Himself is the propitiation for our sins, and not for ours only but also for the whole world.?/i> My fellow believers, there are many Pharisee-like people who live in complete contradiction to this passage. Such people believe themselves to be highly virtuous and honest.
You probably have come across some investigative reports in TV uncovering unethical and unscrupulous acts committed by some crooked people. Seeing them, many viewers feel quite indignant and enraged at them. But the fact of the matter is that before God, there can be no doubt that we are just like these people. Both the journalists who uncover these stories and the crooks who are exposed by the journalists are the same before God, in that they are the same human beings who likewise sin time after time.
Yet there are some people who entertain rather strange thoughts; that is to say, there are people who believe that they are not like the crooks at all. None other than such people, my fellow believers, are mentally ill. �I am never like these crooks.?Those who insist like this are so mentally ill that their sickness has reached beyond the stage of treatment and cannot be cured by the psychiatrists of this world. Most mental illnesses are treatable, but there are still many mentally ill patients who have exhausted all their treatment options and lie beyond the limits of modern medical science.
Remember the infamous scandal that had rocked Washington a few years ago? President Clinton was put on an impeachment trial over the so-called �Zippergate.?Kenneth Starr, the special prosecutor assigned with the task of probing President Clinton�s misconduct, doggedly pursued him in a relentless fashion. But was Clinton the only person who was sexually immoral and lustful? I would like to say to Starr and the American public, �Are you any better than Clinton? Know yourselves!?/font>
The Bible says, �For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, being justified freely by His grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus?(Romans 3:23-24). It is said here that it is because of our Lord that all of us have been saved.
You must never have the eyes of the Pharisees. You must never have their hearts. My fellow saints, can anyone condemn or judge anyone else? No one can do this. No man can judge any other fellow human being. Remember the story about the adulterous woman caught in the act? The Pharisees and the scribes wanted to stone her to death, but what did Jesus say? He said to them, �He who is without sin among you, let him throw a stone at her first? (John 8:7).
The kind of people whom Jesus considered to be the most repulsive, filthy, and disgraceful was none other than the Pharisees and the scribes. There are countless such people in this world. All the religionists of this world are like these Pharisees and scribes. In their hypocrisy, the religionists of this world claim to be holy outside, but inside they are rotten to the core. When we look into what�s really inside these worldly religionists, we can easily see that they are all corrupt. This is why Jesus Christ came to this earth to save all such sinners from their sins, and to do so, He had to be baptized to take upon all the sins of mankind.
My fellow believers, each and every one of all our sins were passed onto Jesus Christ once for all. And by carrying these sins of the world to the Cross and dying on it, Jesus has saved those of us who believe in Him. Therefore, it is by believing in the Word of God that one can be saved perfectly, as the Bible states, �For with the heart one believes unto righteousness, and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation?(Romans 10:10).
What, then, must be acknowledge and believe? We must realize that we are worthless beings who are bound to sin until the day we die, and we must believe in the gospel of the water and the Spirit. And to have such faith consistently, we must confess all the sins that we commit. We must confess them as the following: �Lord, I commit sins everyday. Not a day goes by when I do not sin, but for each and every day, I end up committing all kinds of iniquities. But You, my Lord, took away all these sins also.?We must confess ourselves as we really are, and we must believe in the gospel of the water and the Spirit. Unless we do so, we can never be saved from our sins. For all of us, in other words, we cannot be saved from our sins unless we believe in the gospel of the water and the Spirit.
In 1 John 2:3-11, the Apostle John goes on to say at length, �Now by this we know that we know Him, if we keep His commandments. He who says, �I know Him,?and does not keep His commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him. But whoever keeps His word, truly the love of God is perfected in him. By this we know that we are in Him. He who says he abides in Him ought himself also to walk just as He walked. Brethren, I write no new commandment to you, but an old commandment which you have had from the beginning. The old commandment is the word which you heard from the beginning. Again, a new commandment I write to you, which thing is true in Him and in you, because the darkness is passing away, and the true light is already shining. He who says he is in the light, and hates his brother, is in darkness until now. He who loves his brother abides in the light, and there is no cause for stumbling in him. But he who hates his brother is in darkness and walks in darkness, and does not know where he is going, because the darkness has blinded his eyes.?/i>
The key point that summarizes this passage is this: �He who keeps His commandments knows that he is dwelling in God. But he who does not keep them dwells in darkness.?For us to live according God�s commandments is to love God and to love one another. Put into a single question, at issue here is whether or not the righteous love each other. In other words, what is at stake is whether the righteous hate each other and are jealous of one another, or they love each other; whether or not they know that they have indeed become God�s own people; whether they realize that they have been clothed in the same grace by Jesus Christ and give the same recognition to one another; and whether or not they love each other. It is said here that he who does not love dwells in darkness, and that he who dwells in darkness has been blinded by this sin.
The Apostle John also speaks about the new and old commandments, saying, �The old commandment is the word which you heard from the beginning. Again, a new commandment I write to you.?/i> Whether old or new, all the commandments boil down to love. Just as the Old Testament�s Law commanded us to love God and to love our neighbors as our own bodies, so is the new commandment is centered on love, on what Jesus told us��Love one another, as I have loved you.?Those who do not love, regardless of whatever reason, are sinning against God, and they are by no means living their lives according to His will. They are utterly arrogant, standing before God as if they were judges. Such people are most wicked.
My fellow believers, this lesson is equally applicable to all of us, to all our brothers and sisters of faith, as well as to the servants of God, who are all living their lives of faith. Nothing could be more contradictory than to believe ourselves to be problem-free while looking down on others as being worse than us, and to pick every shortcoming that others have while being completely unable to see our own shortcomings. We must therefore truly love one another. Our hearts must truly care for each other. This love is not to be shown only on the surface, but we must cherish one another from the depth of our hearts, realizing that our fellow believers are of our own race and the people of God. This caring heart must be ours. Anyone who does not have this loving heart is on a wrong track. Turning the weaknesses of others into our own advantage is no love. To turn the weaknesses of others into our own weaknesses is what love is all about.
For those who find joy in others? weaknesses and turn them into their own advantage, this can only mean that love has left them already. They are no longer actually dwelling in the Word of our Lord. Though they may have received the remission of their sins, they are not walking in the Word. God cannot unite with such people who turn others?weaknesses into their advantage and find joy in them, and they will end up drifting away from everyone.
In Christ, all of us must become one united together, like fine flour becomes one dough. Just as flour can turn into bread and noodle only when it is first knead into one dough, if you remain scattered around all on your own, this will amount to nothing. Each of us standing on our own is easily blown away at the slightest wind. Just as each wheat grain must first be ground and the resulting flour must be knead into one dough to turn into edible bread, it is only when we the righteous unite together and become one with God that we can become worthy workers before Him. This is why all of us must become one and love each other.
We must all remember our Lord who has become our Advocate.