The Providence of God
< Genesis 3:13-24 >
�And the LORD God said to the woman, �What is this you have done??The woman said, �The serpent deceived me, and I ate.?So the LORD God said to the serpent:
�Because you have done this,
Then to Adam He said, �Because you have heeded
the voice of your wife, and have eaten from the tree of which I
commanded you, saying, �You shall not eat of it?
And Adam called his wife�s name Eve, because she was the mother of all living. Also for Adam and his wife the LORD God made tunics of skin, and clothed them. Then the LORD God said, �Behold, the man has become like one of Us, to know good and evil. And now, lest he put out his hand and take also of the tree of life, and eat, and live forever?#8212;therefore the LORD God sent him out of the garden of Eden to till the ground from which he was taken. So He drove out the man; and He placed cherubim at the east of the garden of Eden, and a flaming sword which turned every way, to guard the way to the tree of life.?/b>
How did human beings become sinners? Today, I would like to explain to you how man disobeyed the Word of God and became a sinner.
At its origin, let me first say that man himself did not commit sin. The sin of disobeying God and standing against Him did not originate from man, but it originated from Satan. How did everyone living on this planet come to stand against God and disobey Him? This came about because of the Devil; man himself did not bring it about.
After eating from the fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, man himself really wanted to live according to the will of God, but he had no ability to do so. When God asked Adam, �Who told you that you were naked? Have you eaten from the tree of which I commanded you that you should not eat??/i> Adam responded with an excuse, saying, �The woman whom You gave to be with me, she gave me of the tree, and I ate.?/i>
That Adam and Eve gave excuses to God shows human weakness, and it also shows how human beings are insufficient creatures. Man stood against God not by his own plan, but it stemmed from his weakness.
God said that He made humans as weak beings, inferior to angels. By making them weak, God wanted to take them in as His children in the end. This was the will of God. The Bible therefore explains that man did not intentionally commit the sin of disobeying the will of God out of his desire to stand against Him, but it was Satan who made him disobey the Word of God, and the Devil turned him into a fallen, sinful man, thus making him fall into disobedience.
Man did not have a deep-rooted desire to stand against God from the day God made him. When God says in the Bible that He made mankind according to His image, this means that human beings were made to take after the attributes of God. Therefore, like God, man also had holy and righteous attributes. Man�s fundamental desire was to live under the sovereignty of God. So, human beings had no desire to stand against God from the beginning.
From the very beginning, man had God�s holy attributes, and he desired to live without disobeying God�s will. The question here, of course, is how man then became God�s enemy virtually over night. The serpent, Satan himself, devised this entire plot. Throwing man into sin to disobey God, the Devil made his mind misperceive God as someone to be feared.
The Bible says that man did not have a fundamental desire to stand against God. My fellow believers, we need to grasp this Truth and believe in it. It is not man himself who fundamentally stood against God, but it is the Devil, the serpent, who made him stand against God by deceiving him. Satan is the very one who, through all kinds of methods, made the human heart disbelieve in God and stand against Him. As such, whenever we deal with those who have not been born again, we should realize that it�s because they were deceived and manipulated by the Devil that they came to have such foolish beliefs.
Therefore, the wiles of Satan must be overcome through our faith in the written Word of Truth. The predecessors of faith in God�s Church must teach everyone with the Word of God, and they must deliver everyone from all sins. All of us need to do God�s work of righteousness by faith.
�Devil, You Shall Eat Only Dust Forever?/font>
Let�s turn to Genesis 3:14 from today�s Scripture passage: �So the LORD God said to the serpent: �Because you have done this, You are cursed more than all cattle, And more than every beast of the field; On your belly you shall go, And you shall eat dust All the days of your life.��
It was Satan who led the people of this world to be accursed, to suffer, to go to hell, and to be destroyed. God said that the very one who brought curses to mankind is the serpent. God condemned this serpent that had led man to unbelief. God specified the serpent�s sin, saying, �You have done this to man,?and rendered His verdict of curses. He said to it, �Serpent, you are cursed more than all cattle and all beasts. You shall crawl on your belly, and you shall eat dust all your life.?
Before Satan, who was actually an angel called Lucifer, challenged God, he had lived feeding on the Word of God. But now, because of his sin, he was accursed and made to eat dust forever. God had made angels live by feeding on His blessings from Him, but after Satan made man fall, God cursed him to eat dust all the days of his life. This meant, �You will no longer partake in the dominion of Heaven.?/p>
That Satan was now to live feeding on dust means that the fallen angel was to live in this world feeding on the lust and greed of mankind. Satan tempted mankind and made it sin, and as a result, he came to feed only on its sins. In other words, God cursed the Devil to eat the vile sins committed by human beings, and prevented him from having true life. God completely cut him off, so that he may never eat the spiritual bread of Heaven or the blessings coming from Him. That is why those who are trapped by the Devil cannot receive and eat the spiritual Word either.
Human beings must eat actual bread in this world, but they must also eat spiritual bread to live. However, most people have been deceived by Satan, and so they are always enslaved by Him. Even those who have not been born again yearn to eat the holy Word of God. But God says that He hid His spiritual bread so that they may never eat it. Genesis 3:24 says, �So He drove out the man; and He placed cherubim at the east of the garden of Eden, and a flaming sword which turned every way, to guard the way to the tree of life.?/i> No sinner can find the Truth in the Bible by himself, nor can he eat it. God Himself ensured this.
Satan has complete dominion over all sinners. That�s why these sinners do not know the Truth of the spiritual gospel of Heaven. This means that as God had told Satan and his servants to feed on only dust all their lives, this stern Word was fulfilled accordingly. Since God permitted Satan and his servants to feed only on vile sins, the Devil and his followers cannot see the spiritual dominion of Heaven.
Even false prophets and the Devil�s children who follow them try to eat the spiritual Word of God by faith, but to no avail. While God�s children who abide in His Church have discovered the gospel of the water and the Spirit—that is, the Truth of the remission of sin—from the Bible, and have taken it as their bread, Satan�s children cannot see it though seeing, and cannot hear it though hearing. Even though they read so many Christians books and listen to so many tapes, they still cannot see nor hear the mystery of the Truth, the gospel of the water and the Spirit. This is why they have not been able to believe in the true gospel so far.
Those who are ruled by the Devil only feed on dust all their lives. In the Bible, dust refers to the human heart or the desires of the flesh. The souls that have not been born again cannot eat the gospel Truth of Heaven, but they are to feed only on earthly things—that is, on filthy sins alone. That is why those who have fallen into Satan�s temptation demand just material things from God. So, those who stand against God dare to eat the fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.
Here in today�s main passage, God said to the serpent, �Because you have done this, You are cursed more than all cattle, And more than every beast of the field; On your belly you shall go, And you shall eat dust All the days of your life.?/i> This passage explains the reason why all those who do not believe in the gospel of the water and the Spirit are made all the more evil.
Satan, who stands against God, is beyond hope. Even though human beings go astray, they still have the opportunity to turn around back to the right place, and they can also receive the remission of their sins by believing in the gospel of the water and the Spirit and be glorified to enter the dominion of God again, but God did not permit this to Satan. Human beings can be approved by God as His people and live in His beautiful domain doing what is right, and this is their blessing; but to Satan, God told him to forever practice only wickedness, and so none other this is his eternal curse. Such a punishment is to be completely accursed. God brought such a cruse to Satan. He said to him, �You can never practice goodness. You will practice only wickedness forever, and you will live in eternal suffering.?So it was indeed an enormous curse.
It is because the Devil is practicing wickedness in this world that everyone on the planet and the whole realm of creation have come to be filled with evil. Since Satan is always doing only evil things in the world, this world cannot be renewed. Ruled by this wicked Devil, the world has nothing that can be improved; on the contrary, it is only becoming more wicked. That is why people living in this world are becoming eviler, and those who are tempted by Satan only do evil deeds. While the righteous have a righteous life to live, for Satan, he is set to do only evil deeds.
The Enemy of God and Mankind
Let us turn to Genesis 3:15. God put enmity between
Satan and mankind.
Enemies fight each other. Mankind and the Devil fight each other as enemies; the Devil is God�s enemy, and he is also our enemy, the enemy of the entire mankind. However, there is no enmity between mankind and God. Human beings are creatures that God made for a profound purpose. It�s because of the fallen angel, Satan, that mankind became God�s enemy in this world.
When God first made this angel, he, too, was not an enemy, but as he challenged the authority of God, he turned into Satan and made mankind fall into sin. God said to Satan that he was God�s enemy. And He told him to become mankind�s enemy as well. So, with his heart determined to stand against God, the Devil is dragging mankind created by God to hell. It�s because Satan is the enemy of both God and mankind that he is dragging human beings to hell, deceiving them, and enticing them to evil. Satan is trying to destroy us humans by preventing us from believing in the Word of God. That is why no one should listen to Satan�s words. Satan is mankind�s enemy. Satan is the enemy that destroys mankind. Since the Devil is the enemy of Jesus Christ, and of mankind as well, even now, he is challenging God.
But when Satan and God fight each other, who would win? God would win, of course. The real battle in this world is the battle between God and the Devil, and in the middle of this battle, we are fighting against Satan on God�s side. When we the born-again fight against Satan, it is by our faith in God�s gospel of the water and the Spirit that we fight. While we humans are actually no match against Satan by ourselves, if we have faith in the gospel of the water and the Spirit, we are more than able to fight and overcome him.
The battle between God and the Devil is a spiritual battle. How, then, do God and Satan wage battle against each other? God said, �Her Seed?shall bruise your head, And you shall bruise His heel.?/i> This meant that God would fight and overcome the Devil with the gospel of the water and the Spirit.
�Her seed?here refers to Jesus Christ. And God said to the Devil, �You shall bruise His heel.?When Jesus came to this earth incarnated in the flesh of man, Satan thought that all that he had to was just kill Him. He thought, �If only I kill Him, I will rule over this world forever.?Satan�s plan, however, resulted in a complete failure, for Jesus not only died on the Cross, but He also rose from the dead again. Satan then tried to assert his dominion over the world by trapping mankind in deception, but because of the gospel of the water and the Spirit, he failed once again.
When God originally told us humans to have dominion over this world, this was a blessing that God gave to mankind. The Devil tried to seize this world with his lies and become its master, but Jesus Christ came to this earth incarnated in the flesh of man. That is how the believers in the gospel of the water and the Spirit became the victors in their battle against Satan. All that Satan achieved was just injuring the body of Jesus only momentarily.
Satan had considered Jesus only as a man. But what happened? Jesus Christ came to this earth, was baptized, died on the Cross, and rose from the dead again. At the very moment when Jesus rose from the dead, the Devil wailed in despair: �Oh no! I shouldn�t have crucified Jesus! It�s all over now! The wages of sin has been paid off. I�ve lost my fight against the Truth. Jesus Christ won. He has accomplished the salvation of mankind through His baptism and crucifixion. Had He not come, I could have been ruling over this earth!?
Because the wages of sin is death, God had to judge mankind�s sins according to His law. That is why Jesus was baptized, shouldered the sins of the world, and paid off their wages by being crucified. Mankind�s sins are extinguished only if their wages is paid, but since Jesus took upon our sins through the baptism He received from John and shed His blood to death, Satan can no longer say anything about mankind�s sins.
It�s because Jesus Christ had taken upon all the sins of the world through His baptism that He had to die on the Cross for sure. Failing to realize this, Satan thought that he just had to kill Him. Just as God had said, �You shall bruise His heel,? Satan entered into people�s hearts and told them to kill Jesus Christ. He went into the Pharisees?hearts, to the High Priest�s heart, and then to the hearts of Roman soldiers and Pilate, and told them, �Kill Him! Just kill Him!?To the Jews, the Devil incited them to crucify Jesus, and to Pilate, he nudged him to forget about trying to determine whether Jesus was guilty or not, and to wash off his hands and just give Him up. So Pilate took water and washed his hands before the multitude, saying, �I am innocent of the blood of this just Person. You see to it" (Matthew 27:24). Then, he delivered Jesus to death. This meant that he insisted on his innocence, but in fact, Pilate had failed to recognize Jesus as the Son of God and the Savior of all sinners, and he ended as an instrument of the Devil.
According to tradition, Procurator Pilate went insane after condemning Jesus, as his conscience was too tormented by his verdict. At the trial, Pilate had said to Jesus, �Do You not know that I have power to crucify You, and power to release You?? (John 19:10) Jesus then had said to him, �You could have no power at all against Me unless it had been given you from above. Therefore the one who delivered Me to you has the greater sin?(John 19:11).
Pilate had asked Jesus, �Are you the king of the Jews?? and the Lord had answered him, �You say rightly that I am a king. For this cause I was born, and for this cause I have come into the world, that I should bear witness to the truth. Everyone who is of the truth hears My voice?(John 18:37). Hearing this, Pilate was gripped with fear. But even as he was fearful, the Jews kept pressuring him to crucify Jesus, and so he just delivered Him to the Jews and soldiers according to his own assessment of the situation. The Devil incited him, saying, �Just kill Jesus. Crucify Him. Pretend not to know otherwise and give Him up to death,?and Pilate, deceived by Satan, came to stand against Jesus Christ. Such people�s end is invariably wretched. Emperor Nero is also said to have ended his life as a madman.
By making mankind in His image, God wanted to reveal His godhood and His glory, but with sin, Satan brought down mankind, whom God loved, and because of this, God said to the Devil, �You are My enemy. It�s now all over for you. You are not just My creature anymore, but you are now My enemy.?As it is written, �Her Seed? shall bruise your head, And you shall bruise His heel,?/i> God had declared war against Satan.
Satan thought that he succeeded by crucifying Jesus, but Jesus rebounded with a comeback win by rising from the dead again. The very moment that the Devil crucified Jesus, he had to give up all the power that he previously had to accuse mankind of every sin and control it.
So, when we turn to Matthew 28:18, we see Jesus saying, �All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth.?/i> Just like this, all authority has now been passed over to Jesus Christ. Before Jesus recovered the authority to rule over this earth, it was the Devil who had this authority over the earth. At first, Adam and Eve had it, but as they lost it to Satan, Jesus Christ recovered what was lost through the gospel of the water and the Spirit. And He decided to return this authority to the born-again saints, and now, Jesus Christ has all the authority to rule over heaven and earth.
That is why Jesus Christ said that He is the King of kings, proclaiming, �All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit?(Matthew 28:18-19). That is why even now, the Devil flees when commanded in the name of Jesus Christ.
Now that Satan lost his battle against Jesus Christ, His name has become the most fearsome name for the Devil. So even when someone who is not born again says to Satan, �In the name of Jesus Christ I command you, go away!?the Devil goes away at least for a while. That�s because the name of Jesus Christ has authority, and this is the very authority that the Lord attained by fighting against the enemy Devil and vanquishing him.
Satan Brings Destruction to Mankind
Satan blew sin into human beings and made them fall, and as they became sinners, he ultimately led them to stand against God. However, Satan has now been made to completely kneel and bow down before Jesus Christ, and before the gospel. God said that He is waiting until all His enemies capitulate before Jesus Christ under His foot (Hebrews 1:13), until mankind overcomes judgment. God has enabled mankind to overcome the Devil by faith in the Word. In other words, God makes us overcome the enemy not by force, but by His true Word of salvation, the true Word of being born again. Having now completely blotted out the sins of this world, Jesus Christ is waiting until those who do not believe in God�s Word and stand on the Devil�s side come under His foot and are condemned.
In the Book of Revelation, we see God treating those who are not born again as His enemies. And He says that these people who follow the Devil will also be thrown into the abyss reserved for Satan. Therefore, we have to keep in mind that the Devil is never our friend, and he brings no benefit to mankind whatsoever.
Yet people recognize all kinds of other gods apart from God. However, these gods are Satan�s crafts and his transformation. Regardless of how they might seem beautiful in the eyes of mankind, all the false gods have come out of Satan. That is why the Bible warns, �And no wonder! For Satan himself transforms himself into an angel of light?2 Corinthians 11:14). We have to realize that apart from the Triune God, there is no other God in this world that makes mankind blessed.
False gods cannot harm us as long as we don�t believe in them, but if anyone does, then he is inevitably bound to be harmed. That�s because the Devil is mankind�s enemy. When Satan is the enemy of both God and human beings, how could he possibly benefit mankind? We must remember that God put enmity between Satan and mankind. Since God defined Satan as the enemy, human beings cannot be blessed by believing in Satan, nor can they enjoy the blessings given by God. Everyone will be condemned unless he receives the remission of his sins by believing in the baptism and bloodshed of Jesus Christ as his salvation—that is, the baptism Jesus received from John to take upon the sins of the world, and the blood He shed on the Cross as the wages of these sins. Given the fact that Jesus Christ came to this earth to save everyone from all the sins of the world, took them upon Himself by being baptized by John and blotted them all out, no one should turn himself into a servant of the Devil by refusing to believe in this.
When the born-again say to Satan, �I command you in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ, go away Satan!?then no matter how strong the Devil might be, he is completely powerless before the name of Jesus Christ and has to flee. Indeed, Satan can do nothing before the name of Jesus Christ. That is why even those who have not been born again invariably use the name of Jesus Christ when they drive out demons.
When anyone believes in Jesus Christ as his Savior, God will bless Him and provide for all his needs. People say that they can still be happy without Jesus Christ, but they should realize that there is no happiness once they drift away from Jesus. We have to grasp that it is Jesus who brings salvation, everlasting life, and abundant blessings to mankind. Only Jesus is the friend and Shepherd of the believers. We have to realize that only this God is the good God, and that all other gods are nothing more than enemies.
�Can there be any good even if one leaves Jesus Christ and His Church??Even among the born-again, some people think, �Now I have been born again, but wouldn�t I live happily for my remaining life if I were to go out to the world and try out different things? Since I will go to Heaven anyway, wouldn�t I live happily on this earth also, if I were to become rich??This, however, is never the case. If we leave Jesus, and if we drift away from the salvation that Jesus Christ has given us through His baptism and blood, there can only be suffering and curses. There is absolutely no happiness for those who leave Jesus Christ. It is completely wrong to think that one can live happily and prosper even after forsaking God�s Church and leaving it behind. No one can prosper if he leaves Jesus.
The Devil invariably brings suffering to human beings and tramples on them. What kind of an enemy would ever wish his own foes to prosper? Satan only pretends to be benevolent to mankind, all the while making people go completely insane, or otherwise turning them into slaves to worldly values. He never leaves mankind in peace, always bringing some sort of illnesses or worries. Simply put, Satan has absolutely no reason to be munificent to mankind.
Among those who have received the remission of their sins, there are some who place certain expectations on the world, thinking that the world is somehow friendly to them. However, in reality, when they befriend those who have not been born again, they only get swindled, gaining nothing. So, if the born-again ever think, �I�ll be happier if I were to go out to the world than just staying in the Church. My way will be all cleared if I go out the world,?they should cast aside such thoughts right away. This is nothing more than Satan�s whispering. All the thoughts stirred up by the Devil are nothing but lies, and they will only lead us to destruction. That is why one�s own thoughts are his enemy. The world is no friend of ours. Only Jesus is our good friend.
The Way of Righteousness Is a Way of Struggle
Let us turn to Genesis 3:16.
Here, God said to the woman that He would greatly increase her pain of conception. Just how much do women suffer to give birth? Imagine carrying a baby in the belly for ten months. The baby would be lovely to the mother, of course, since she is only too happy to carry her beloved child, but her pregnancy is inevitably accompanied by a great deal of pain and suffering, from the baby kicking around in the belly to morning sickness. God said that it is only with such �sorrow and conception?that women can give birth. He also said, �Your desire shall be for your husband, And he shall rule over you.?/i> This, too, is a punishment that God gave to women.
After being born again through the gospel of the water and the Spirit, we now have the desire to serve the righteousness of God willingly. It�s because our hearts now have a spiritual mind that we do spiritual works, not because we had such a mind originally. Only when we plow the fields of our hearts is the spiritual mind planted. If we want to have a righteous and blessed heart, then we must have faith in the Word of Truth and practice righteousness, and this entails a certain degree of suffering and toil.
A spiritual life is never lived without any toil. It requires us to fight and overcome our obstacles by faith. Abiding in God�s Church and the gospel of the water and the Spirit, only when we struggle against and overcome ourselves can we really do spiritual works and practice righteousness through our faith in His Word of Truth. Before our God, there is no accident. There are no such notions as following God automatically and practicing righteousness spontaneously. Even after being born again, we must still struggle against our selves, fight against unrighteousness, battle against the world, wage war against all the false teachings of the world, and overcome in all our struggles.
To do so, the Word of Jesus Christ must be conceived in us, and we must hold onto this Word and believe in it. Even though this Word may sometimes bring trials to us temporarily, it is only when we embrace the Lord in our hearts, and our faith is grown, that we can do righteous works. God is saying to us that practicing His righteousness entails suffering, and having righteous hearts and doing spiritual works are also accompanied by pain. We should now realize that following the Lord is not all that easy, and believe accordingly.
The way of righteousness is the spiritual way of constant battle, and it is the way of constant self-denial. We need to realize that it takes suffering to conceive the spiritual mind. If we secretly harbor a worldly mind, the spiritual mind cannot grow. Therefore, we should ask ourselves whether we still resort to the worldly relationships rather than to be led by God�s Church when we are in trouble. Although the rule of God�s Church is unpleasant to our flesh, it surely is a spiritually beneficial way, and therefore we have to follow it even if it entails suffering. Then, we can really be spiritually upright and walk on the right path. It is after this suffering that the spiritual mind springs forth and spiritual power is generated.
Spiritual Children Are Born with the Labor of Birth
Just how laboring is it when a woman gives birth to a child? It requires tremendous labor. Without labor, we the descendants of Adam cannot bear spiritual children. Just as a woman can give birth to a beautiful baby only if she endures pain, when it comes to giving birth to spiritual children, it cannot be achieved effortlessly without any labor. To deliver spiritual children, we have to plow the field of the heart, sow the seed, weed out the field, and water it continuously. As God said, we can bear children only if we labor hard. No child is born effortlessly.
Do you realize just how much labor a woman has to go through to bear a child of her flesh? Like this, when we bear spiritual children, we also have to go through much labor. You need to realize that spiritual children are born only at the end of tremendous labor and suffering. That is how God has set. No child is ever born effortlessly, but it takes so much labor. Only then can this one life be born and grow healthy.
The born-again are now the brides of Jesus Christ, and for the brides to give birth to the children of the Bridegroom, they must labor. What God said to Eve was spoken to none other than you and me. We have to labor so hard that to bear spiritual children, we have to constantly read the Word of God, pray, and use our faith. After delivering them from darkness, we again have to feed them with the Word of God to nurse them. To bear spiritual children, we must labor and pain must follow. In other words, we cannot try to follow the Lord without any pain, even as we seek to give birth to the spiritual children of the gospel.
After this, God said to Eve that her desire would be for her husband. Before the fall, it was the opposite. When God first made the woman, Adam had said, �This is now bone of my bones And flesh of my flesh.?/i> So the man actually had more desire for the woman than she had for him, but once sin came in, God said that the woman�s desire would be for her husband.
He also said that the husband would rule over the woman and the woman has to be ruled by her husband. This implies that our desire must be for Jesus Christ, and we must be ruled by Him. Before Jesus Christ, not only our hearts but also our everything must be ruled by Him.
God said, �Your desire shall be for your husband, And he shall rule over you.?/i> Is the Lord ruling over you, now that you�ve met Him? Indeed so. It is the Lord who reigns us. Whenever your thoughts are not upright, Jesus points it out. Since the Lord rules over us and leads us to the way of righteousness, all that we have to do is follow this right path. Remember that a woman must be ruled by her husband.
Some people, even after being born again, do not want to be ruled by God, and so they end up leaving the Church. But God�s Church is the place that channels the guidance of Jesus Christ the King, and so refusing to be ruled by this Church is to reject Jesus? guidance. There are such saints, as well as servants, who refuse to do the Church�s bidding and leave it, saying, �No, I won�t do it.?There are some workers who say, �I will live as I want. I want to change the Church style to fit my own taste. Does the Church really have to do only like this? Can�t it do something different? Why can�t we just put up a cross on the top of the chapel and welcome just about everyone as a saint? That�s what I�d like to do.?But that is evil. We must be ruled by Jesus and do what He commands us to do.
What is right? To be ruled by the Lord, or not to be ruled by the Lord? What makes us happiest? To submit to the Lord�s rule, or to live whatever way we want to live? It is when the saints are ruled by God through His servants that they are happiest. How else could they lead a spiritual life properly, if they were not ruled by God�s servants? God�s servants, too, must be ruled by the leader-servant if they are to become good servants. In other words, it is when we are ruled by God that the saints are made to conform to God�s people and the servants are made to conform to God�s servants.
God is King in this Church and invariably rules over all His servants, over you and me alike. So no one in God�s Church is free do to whatever he wants to do. If one is a follower of the Lord, then he can never do whatever pleases him, nor should he. At first, it may seem like a good idea to be ruled by no one and do whatever one wants to do arbitrarily, but if he is not ruled by God, then down the road he will eventually end up a monster, with five eyes, ten mouths and two horns. If the born-again Christians are not ruled by God, they will turn into monsters. God�s servants must also be ruled by Him, as whoever belongs to God�s people must be ruled by Jesus Christ. Each and every one of the people of God must be ruled by Jesus Christ in His Church.
Are you ruled by God? Since God rules over all of us, I, too, am ruled by Him. No born-again Christian does whatever pleases his own heart. If he really is leading the proper Christian life of faith, he is surely ruled by God. Someone who is husbandless or fatherless spiritually, on the other hand, is not ruled.
Because we were born from God through Jesus Christ, we can survive only if we submit ourselves to His rule without fail. As you carry on with your lives in the Church, you should count it as a blessing that God has dominion over you through the predecessors of faith. It is, in fact, when you are ruled by God that you are most blessed. That is how you can bring out all your flaws and come before God�s servants as you really are, and when you do so, you are rebuked and ruled to be people of faith.
The more you are ruled, the more you are refined as great servants of God on many accounts. If you are not ruled enough, there is hardly anything that is refined or spiritual. It is good to be ruled thoroughly. God blesses the saints who are prepared to be ruled. As such, the servants of God should not leave the saints in His Church to do whatever they want, but they have to carefully exert their spiritual rule over them.
Recently, some of our brothers tended to think and act all on their own, but once they submitted to Gods?rule, their hearts were restored right away. I can confirm from their experience that it is when we are ruled by God that our lives of faith, as well as our everyday life, are made joyful. In contrast, when the wickedness aroused in our hearts is not ruled, while it may seem nice for a short while, we are eventually tormented. That is why you have to be ruled by God in His Church. To be ruled is a true blessing, and this is the proper life of a Christian, as God said, �Your husband?shall rule over you.?/i>
The Righteous Garment of Everlasting Salvation That Was Put on Once for All
Let us turn to Genesis 3:17-19. �Then to Adam He said, �Because you have heeded the voice of your wife, and have eaten from the tree of which I commanded you, saying, �You shall not eat of it? Cursed is the ground for your sake; In toil you shall eat of it All the days of your life. Both thorns and thistles it shall bring forth for you, And you shall eat the herb of the field. In the sweat of your face you shall eat bread Till you return to the ground, For out of it you were taken; For dust you are, And to dust you shall return.��
After Adam and Eve offended God�s Word, that is, after they fell into sin, their hearts were totally corrupted by evil. The passage, �Cursed is the ground for your sake,?/i> means that the human heart was cursed. That is why there is nothing good in our hearts as human beings. Now, nothing good could be found in the hearts of Adam and Eve.
On the contrary, there were only evil, filthiness, and sordidness. God then said, �In toil you shall eat of it All the days of your life. Both thorns and thistles it shall bring forth for you, And you shall eat the herb of the field.?/i> By this, God meant that there was nothing of nature to eat. Now, humans had to feed on the Word of Truth that could be attained by faith only when they plowed and sowed their hearts ruled by God.
God continued to say to Adam,
This was the very punishment rendered to Adam. Everyone returns to dust on death. Everyone who is not remitted from his sins is all cast to hell, but the born-again are made to live forever in the Kingdom of Heaven as blessed spirits, rather than returning to dust.
Let�s turn to Genesis 3:20 here. �Adam called his wife's name Eve, because she was the mother of all living.?/i> The woman named Eve became the mother of all living. It is because of Adam and Eve that everyone came to inherit sin. They became our forefather and the mother of all living. When if trace back our lineage, we can see that Adam and Eve are our ancestors and we are their descendants.
Genesis 3:21 says, �Also for Adam and his wife the LORD God made tunics of skin, and clothed them.?/i> Tunics of skin here refer to leather clothes, and leather clothes, even if they get worn out, can be sewed back and made whole again. There is a big difference between these tunics of skin and the garments of fig leaves that Adam and Eve had made for themselves, in that the tunics of skin do not change easily, and even if they are torn, they can be sewed back together and made whole again. The clothes that Adam and Eve had made for themselves were made out of fig leaves, while the garments that God made and clothed them were tunics of skin. These tunics of skin were the kind of garments that do not tear easily and, once put on, last for one�s entire lifetime.
The garments of fig leaves made by human beings, on the other hand, dry out fast and fall apart in just three days. Once they fall apart, they cannot be sewed back together and put on again, but they must be made again from scratch with new fig leaves. Tunics of skin, in other words, are long lasting, while the garments made of fig leaves are only temporary. While all these fig leaves fall apart in a matter of days, the tunics of skin, if one takes proper care in due time, can last for his whole life.
Put differently, the tunics of skin—that is, our salvation by Jesus Christ—never fade nor disappear. Adam wore these tunics of skin until the day he died. Likewise, as God sent Jesus Christ as our propitiation to give us everlasting salvation, the garment of this salvation is forever lasting. Once we put on the garment of salvation that God made and clothed us, it never disappears unless we ourselves take it off. Jesus Christ has clothed us with the garment of righteousness, and this is the perfect salvation that is like the tunics of skin, neither torn nor worn out.
In contrast, the garments of fig leaves that mankind made by itself to cover its shame would have to be changed into new garments once every three days. Thick, lush leaves might last for three days, but new, small leaves of spring would all wither away in less than a day. No matter how human beings may have their own faith, when they hear the Word in the morning and go back home in the evening, it is all gone, and the righteousness attained through their own works disappears by the evening.
�For Adam and his wife the LORD God made tunics of skin, and clothed them.?/i> With this passage, God is speaking to us about the salvation that He has given us through the gospel of the water and the Spirit. The salvation God has given us is not something that disappears in a few days, nor is it torn apart when we commit sin again, making us sinners once more. These God-made tunics of skin are the everlasting garments of salvation. To make a garment of skin, a livestock must be slain. One life was sacrificed and given to us, and this salvation of sacrifice remains forever. The gospel of the water and the Spirit that Jesus has given us is not a salvation that is ephemeral and disappearing, but it is a forever-unchanging salvation. In contrast, the fake righteousness that human beings establish by themselves through such things as their own prayers of repentance or the doctrine of incremental sanctification is torn apart and worn out in less than three days.
As Jesus Christ made the garment of salvation with His baptism and blood for Adam and Eve and clothed them with it, He enabled them to avoid being forever condemned for their sins. God clothed Adam and Eve with the garment of His righteousness made of the baptism and blood of Jesus, and this garment of salvation lasts forever, like the tunics of skin. Abel, too, was still wearing the God-made tunics of skin, and thereafter all the descendants of Adam had to wear these tunics of skin. After Adam and Eve fell, they wore garments of fig leaves at first, but only until God made and clothed them with tunics of skin; after this, even their descendants all wore tunics of skin.
These tunics of skin protected their body. While the tunics of skin protected them from thorns, thistles, and curses, the garments of fig leaves could not protect their skin. In other words, the salvation that God has given us is like the tunics of skin, and God protects human beings by clothing them with the garment of His righteousness made of the baptism and blood of Jesus.
God has clothed us with a salvation that is like tunics of skin. He has clothed us with His righteousness. The righteousness of God has never disappeared, and even now, it continues to clothe our souls with the garment of perfect righteousness, so that we may not be naked. Those who have once put on the garment of righteousness, that is, the salvation of Jesus, can still come before the presence of God through faith, even if they have insufficiencies. The effect of putting on this garment of righteousness lasts forever.
Garments Made by Mankind
Here let us further compare the garments of fig leaves and the tunics of skin shown in chapter three of Genesis. When Adam and Eve fell, they made clothes out of fig leaves and put them on, but God made and clothed them with tunics of skin, after cursing the Devil that had led Adam and Eve to fall. These tunics saved them perfectly, protected them completely, and restored their relationship with God.
While God did curse Adam for his sin, He also made tunics of skin for him, so that he may not suffer and despair in this world. This means that although Adam was driven out of the Garden of Eden, God still made him righteous to escape from all sins and curses.
In chapter three of the Book of Genesis, God is speaking a lot about the Truth of salvation. First of all, He separated the faith of salvation from the faith that cannot reach salvation. The Bible concludes here that the salvation mankind attains by being remitted from sin is of the very tunics of skin that God made, while the man-made salvation is of the garments of fig leaves. Its final message is that the man-made garments of fig leaves cannot save anyone from his sin.
If one makes garments of leaves to be saved from his sins on his own, he would have to keep making them day in and day out, without any rest at all. Since the garments of fig leaves may very well be worn out or torn apart in just a day, one would have to prepare countless garments. These clothes of leaves must be prepared endlessly; one must continue to make them time after time, as he can never have enough. He also has to change into new garments constantly, twice a day, thrice a day, or even ten times a day, with no end in sight. Some mischievous people would have to change into new clothes ten times a day and this would still not be enough.
In contrast, the tunics of skin made by God are long-lasting; once put on, one does not have to change into new clothes. These tunics last for a month, a year, two years, three years, a decade—for eternity, in fact, as they would never wear out. When it comes to the salvation that remits away our sins, this is how the tunics of skin are so different from clothes made of leaves. In other words, the man-made salvation from sin and the God-made salvation from sin are thoroughly different.
People believe, �One is saved by giving prayers of repentance and being sanctified,?and they try hard to hide their shame by leading such a life of faith. In other words, they make and put on garments of imperfect salvation constantly. The tunics of skin made by God, on the other hand, is the garment of perfect salvation obtained by paying its cost with the life of the sacrificial animal, and therefore its price itself is different.
When this is what God is saying in chapter three of Genesis, how could human beings be so pretentious as to extol the merits of the lifeless clothes of leaves, claiming that we must continue to fulfill salvation everyday by being sanctified and giving prayers of repentance? From this alone, we can see that the religionists in this world are all spiritually blind.
The meaningless garments of fig leaves have absolutely no efficacy, no matter how people might keep making them and putting them on. They can forge a whole fashion industry out of fig leaves all they want, but would they really be able to completely hide the shame of the body? Could they protect the skin perfectly? Caught by thorns, the leaves would be torn and the thighs would be exposed; at the slightest exertion, the shirt would fall apart and the chest would be bare—so how long could people really hide their sins with the man-made garment of prayers of repentance?
How could they hide? Human beings are full of sin and mistakes; they are nothing more than just piles of sin, committing transgressions at the slightest provocation and making countless mistakes all along the way. How could they then cover up all their sins with their own prayers of repentance? Do you think that you can cover up your sins by repenting, by hiding them with your garments of leaves?
Did God say, �Adam and Eve, wash away your sins by repenting? Of course not! Human beings simply cannot hide their sins with their own good deeds, no matter how hard they might try. It is precisely for this reason that God Himself killed an animal, skinned it, and made garments for Adam and Eve and put them on; and it was only then that Adam and Eve could hide their shame with these tunics of skin.
This animal foreshadows none other than Jesus Himself, who came as the Lamb. It is by believing in the baptism of Jesus and His sacrifice on the Cross that we obtain our true salvation from the sins of mankind. That is why salvation from sin is not reached by our own works, but by believing in the baptism and blood of Jesus. The entire mankind must realize and believe in this Truth, the gospel of the water and the Spirit.
To Be Born Again from Sin, One Must Cast aside His Own Standards, Prejudices and Thoughts
Having clothed us with tunics of skin, God is saying to us: Whoever makes his clothes out of fig leaves and puts them on can never come into the Garden of Eden. God made it clear that anyone who has anything to do with sin cannot live in the Garden of Eden but must be expelled. We have to realize that God drove out the proud Devil and mankind from the Garden of Eden.
It is written, �Therefore the LORD God sent him out of the garden of Eden to till the ground from which he was taken. So He drove out the man; and He placed cherubim at the east of the garden of Eden, and a flaming sword which turned every way, to guard the way to the tree of life.?/i>
God absolutely refuses to keep in the Garden of Eden whoever eats of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, determines good and evil based on his own standard, and judges God all on his own. God placed cherubim and a flaming sword to guard the way to the tree of life, so that anyone who ate of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil would not be able to live in the Garden of Eden. This means that God has blocked the way to Heaven, thus forbidding its entrance to anyone who clings to his own standard and does not believe in the baptism of Jesus and His blood of sacrifice.
God has set the rule in such a way that no one can ever come to live in the Garden of Eden by adhering to his own standards. You need to realize here that whoever keeps his own standard is driven out of Heaven to hell. God has driven out those with their own standards of thoughts from the Garden of Eden, so that they may never live in the garden, regardless of how they might have lived virtuously, believed in God, made and put on garments of fig leaves, or even made and put on tunics of skin by themselves. And God has placed a flaming sword to guard the tree of life. In other words, God is saying here that anyone who believes in Jesus Christ according to his own standard of thoughts will invariably be cast into hell.
Before God, we must cast aside our own standards of thoughts. Heaven and hell are determined depending on whether or not one knows and believes in what is written in the Word of God and what God really said, and it is those who believe in the gospel of the water and the Spirit that will be blessed. Before this Word of God, one must cast aside his own standards.
What did Jehovah God do for Adam and Eve? What did He say to them? What did He command them? What did He teach them? What did He promise them with His Word? These are important points that must be answered correctly for us to be truly blessed.
Everyone who is not born again has his own standards. Whoever has his own standards of thoughts is ultimately driven out of the Garden of Eden, and the biggest reason why such people cannot be born again is precisely because they cling to their own standards.
God sees mankind having its own standards as the evilest of all, and He said that none other than this is what is demonic. The Bible says, �Behold, the man has become like one of Us, to know good and evil.?/i> My fellow believers, if mankind knew good and evil properly, wouldn�t God have been pleased, rather than upset? God was not offended here because He was somehow zealous of human beings coming to know good and evil, but God said it was evil because they came to have their own standards of good and evil, and thus misjudging them. The judgment of good and evil rendered by human beings all on their own, who came to have a standard of good and evil different from God�s, is evil. What is good is to follow God according to His perfect will, and to emulate this standard.
What happens when human beings try to become like God? They are driven out. Everyone must remember this. No one can enter the Kingdom of Heaven if he keeps his own standards of good and evil; if one interprets God�s Word according to his own thoughts and believes in it according to his own understanding, then he can never enter Heaven, no matter how good a Christian he might be.
Those who have not been born again are all clinging to their own standards. That is why today, even though there are many Christians, few actually can enter Heaven. Those who prophesy, cast out demons, and do many wonders based on their own standards are actually practicing lawlessness, and for this sin, they will be forsaken by the Lord.
Everyone in the world must remember this: To take one�s own thoughts as the standard of good and evil is the way to destruction; the only way to life is to believe in the Absolute God, and in the gospel of the water and the Spirit given by Him. Only God is the most virtuous, He alone is the holiest, and He alone is the fairest.
At the end of chapter three of Genesis, God is saying to us to cast aside our own standards of good and evil—that is, to throw out our own thoughts. He said to all human beings that if they want to live in the wonderful Garden of Eden, they should cast aside this standard called their own thoughts. If, on the other hand, they do not want to come into God�s Kingdom of Heaven, then He told them to keep their own standards.
My fellow believers, if we were to make clothes out of rhino skin and put them on, how would it be? Would it be better? No matter how wonderful this might be, with such tunics of skin, we cannot enter the Kingdom of God. We must invariably put on the specific tunics of skin made from such animals as lambs, goats, or bulls that God has set for us. Only when we thus believe according to the sacrificial system set by God, can we then truly receive the remission of our sins.
We have to cast aside our own standards. Although there are many people in this world who believe in Jesus Christ, most of them cannot enter Heaven. As God made it clear for us here in chapter three of Genesis, it is because these people all believe in Jesus based on their own thoughts that they cannot enter Heaven. We have to remember this.
Also, when we preach the gospel of the water and the Spirit, we must break down such people�s standards with the Word. Their mistaken knowledge must be broken down with the Word of God, or otherwise the gospel cannot enter them. It is you who must teach them this. With the Word of God, you must tell them what is the sin the Bible speaks of, what is the judgment the Scripture speaks of, what is salvation, what is righteousness, and what is to be born again. Only then can they be born again. It�s because everyone has his own standards apart from the Bible that he cannot enter Heaven even if he believes in Jesus, and therefore, we have to explain the Truth to him to enable him to be saved.
In the first three chapters of the Book of Genesis, God summarized the gist of all the 66 books of the Scriptures. The principles of the proper life of faith are all implied here in these three chapters. He wrote about how human beings became sinners, how they can receive the remission of their sins and be born again, how they should be ruled by God, how their desires should be for the Lord, and how they should bear spiritual children with labor. All these things were fulfilled by God according to how He had planned beforehand in chapter three of Genesis.
Let us all believe in God�s planned salvation fulfilled through His gospel, the gospel of the water and the Spirit, and let us all thus receive everlasting life.