“Paul, an apostle of Jesus Christ by the will of God, to the saints who are in Ephesus, and faithful in Christ Jesus: Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ, just as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before Him in love, having predestined us to adoption as sons by Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the good pleasure of His will, to the praise of the glory of His grace, by which He made us accepted in the Beloved.”
With Christmas just around the corner, some of you might be wondering why I am preaching about the Epistle to the Ephesians instead of Christmas. Tomorrow is Christmas Eve and the day after is Christmas Day, and it will be enough for me to preach about the birth of Christ on those two dates. But still, I would like us to ponder on the meaning of Christmas and the will of God from Ephesians 1:1-6.
I used to send you Christmas cards and gifts in the past, but nowadays I can hardly find anytime to do this. Aside from being too busy, my health has not been that good, and so I’ve been rather too preoccupied. So I ask you for your understanding, and I hope that even though we have missed the chance to exchange Christmas gifts this year, we can still celebrate the Lord’s birthday in joy and rejoice together.
Through today’s Scripture passage, I would like us to examine what the real meaning of Christmas is, and what it has brought to us. It’s written in the Scripture passage that we read together, “He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before Him in love, having predestined us to adoption as sons by Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the good pleasure of His will” (Ephesians 1:4-5). Christmas is all about appreciating such wonderful grace of Jesus and thanking Him for it. We should never corrupt this Christmas Day into a day of fleshly pleasure as the many ungodly do. So today, I would like us all to examine the real meaning of the birth of Christ from the Word of God.
The real meaning of the birth of Christ on this earth is found in the fact that the Lord has made us God’s own children and blessed us to live in the Kingdom of Heaven by saving us from all our sins. It would be a huge mistake if you were to fail to appreciate the love of God even as you celebrate the birth of Christ. Most people can realize Gods’ love from the birth of Christ. Recently I watched a worship service broadcasted on a Christian channel, and I saw the church attendees being overwhelmed by their own emotion and thanking God in tears. However, I believe that such outward emotional expressions are not what matters to our God, but it is far more appropriate for one to know the righteousness of God that has come by the gospel of the water and the Spirit, believe in it, and be saved with thanksgiving.
Each of us has his own liking. Some people are drawn by the members of the opposite sex; some like money; some like animals; some like jewelry; and some like new clothes—everyone has his own preference. Of such things, clothes and jewelry are lifeless things, and so they are matters of individual taste.
But there are many people who love living things. The actor who played in the movie Tarzan lived with animals such as lions and tigers. Why did he live like this? This man was almost drowned while shooting the movie Tarzan. He got burnt and fell into the river while shooting a stunt scene, and then a lion actually jumped into the river and saved him. Afterwards, he came to live with these animals, and from then on he could really communicate with these animals. He had come to truly love these animals in real life instead of just in the movie. Because this lion saved him from drowning, he has been living with the animals to this day and taking good care of them despite the high cost.
Some people love dogs. A certain man cherished and loved his dog, but one day a robber broke into his home. When the robber was about to stab him, the dog jumped in to protect his owner and was stabbed in his place. We hear about such stories from TV or books. Like this, some animals are very loyal to their owners, and many people also love their pets. Some people adopt abandoned and sick dogs and take good care of them. These dogs also appreciate their new owner’s love, and so they follow and obey him well.
I saw a dog once on TV that was injured in the chest and had a cancer-like lump sticking out, and this dog could not even eat by himself. So the owner tried to feed the dog with his mouth, but the dog just looked at the owner and could not eat. So the owner felt so sorry for the dog that he took him to the vet and got him operated on.
How did Jesus Christ love us and save us then? Did the Lord not sacrifice Himself to bless us to enter and live in the Kingdom of Heaven? How did He love us in order to make us God’s children? Did He not want to give us the spiritual blessings in the heavenly places and save us? What did He do for us to deliver us from destruction and hell?
Jesus Christ our Savior sacrificed Himself to save us from all our sins. And it’s all because our Lord loved us that He sacrificed Himself to save us, just as some people love their pets so much that they are willing to do anything to heal their pets when they fall ill. In other words, God our Creator loved us His creatures so much that when we were facing death, God Himself came to this earth incarnated in the flesh of man and saved us personally by being baptized and shed His blood for us. All of us therefore ought to remember the Lord’s sacrifice and love on this Christmas season.
Non-Christians in this world worship various gods, believing that there are many divine beings. Some of them worship practically everything as a divine being, from demons to man-made gods, trees, rocks, mountains, rivers, the sun, some imaginary creatures like dragons, and so on. But there is only one true God who created the whole universe and all things in it, and this God has saved us from all our sins and destruction by sacrificing Himself for us. Through the gospel of the water and the Spirit, the Lord has saved us His creatures once and for all.
If you think of this salvation in carnal terms, you will end up forgetting all about it. But we can never forget the Lord’s love of salvation, for He loved us His creatures so much that He sacrificed Himself to save us. What spiritual benefits have we then received by believing in this sacrifice of the Lord? As the Lord sacrificed Himself on this earth out of His love for us, all of us who believe in the gospel of the water and the Spirit have been saved from all our sins. Some people do everything possible to save their pets when they fall ill regardless of the cost. Likewise, God the Father loved us His creatures so much that when we went astray, our Creator sent His own Son to this earth and saved us by sacrificing this Son.
How Great the Love of Jesus Christ Was When He Sacrificed Himself for Our Salvation
When a pet owner takes his sick dog to the vet and spares no expense to get it healed, the owner demonstrates by his actions just how much he loves his dog. From this dog’s perspective, we may say that he has found tremendous mercy from his owner. But there is only that much that the owner can do for his dog. A loving owner may even spend all his savings and do everything possible to take care of his dog, but no owner would forsake his human dignity just to save a pet. In contrast, the Lord Jesus loved us so much that He became a Man to save us from all our sins. Put differently, He willingly gave up His glorious status in Heaven for our salvation. Like this, to be loved by a human being is in itself quite wonderful, and so how could it be so trivial to us that we have put on God’s love? God’s love is great. It is in fact boundless. You and I have put on God’s infinite love through our faith. God Himself has saved us from destruction by becoming a man and sacrificing Himself for us. How could anyone then say that this love of God is too little? It’s because God so loved us that He saved us from all our sins.
If we see this love and this salvation spiritually, we will see tremendous changes in our lives. But if we think of the Lord’s love just in carnal thoughts, then we won’t see any significant changes. What has God’s love done to our souls? What has happened to our souls now that we have put on God’s love? All of us had to die for our hearts’ sins, but what happened? Because Jesus Christ sacrificed Himself for us on this earth, you and I could be saved from the sins of the world and receive everlasting life. Our souls that had died for sins could be brought back to life thanks to the Lord’s sacrifice.
What an amazing blessing is this love of God? Were we not all dying for our hearts’ sins? And were we not all suffering because of these sins? Did we used to judge and condemn ourselves in self-hatred? Were we not all slaves to Satan and death because of our sins, destined to live an accursed life only to perish in the end? Yet despite all this, the Son of God the Father came to this earth and fulfilled His work of salvation by sacrificing Himself to deliver us from all the sins of the world. Out of His love for us the Lord has blotted out all our sins from our hearts and given us new and everlasting life. That is the real meaning of Christmas.
If we were to celebrate Christmas without really understanding this significance, thinking only vaguely that everyone ought to be rejoiced because the Savior was born on this earth, then we would actually be clouding the real significance of Christmas. The Lord would be disappointed by us. If we let the meaning of Christmas fade away like this, then our hearts would not be joyful either. How would we then be any different from those who don’t believe in the Lord? Even as we are busier than non-believers and face more hardship than they do, we would be no better than they are.
But what is better about us than those who don’t believe in the righteousness of the Lord is that we have been saved from all our sins thanks to God’s love, and therefore we will participate in the first resurrection of the Lord and enter His Kingdom. We have been delivered not only from all the sins of the world but also from our destruction and condemnation. Even though we were suffering under a fatal illness for our sins, we were healed by God’s love. What a wonderful blessing this is? So, on this Christmas let us never forget the fact that we have put on God’s love.
Although you and I cannot find anything worthwhile in ourselves, we have put on God’s love thanks to the righteousness of our Lord, and therefore we are now able to value ourselves. Put differently, since we have put on God’s grace, when we see ourselves, we know that we are precious to God and we can be proud of our newly found status. Even though we may not be rich on this earth, we have been spiritually blessed to have our true status restored as God’s children. That is why we find our existence so worthwhile and honorable. And that is why we thank the Lord in this Christmas season.
Now then, let’s examine God’s love more closely here in Ephesians 1:1-6. In explaining God’s love as preached by the gospel, the Apostle Paul began by saying, “Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ” (Ephesians 1:2). Paul then continued on to explain God’s love in more detail in verses 3-6.
To Whom Does the Bible Say That God Has Given the Spiritual Blessings of Heaven?
In Ephesians 1:3, the Lord is explaining to us to whom He has given the spiritual blessings in the heavenly places, saying, “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ.” It’s written clearly here that the Father of Jesus Christ has given us every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in His Son Christ. Through whom does the Bible say that God the Father has given us heavenly blessings? It says that God the Father has given us every spiritual blessing of Heaven through His Son. Paul wrote here that “the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ” has blessed us, and this means that God the Father has saved us through His Son. God has saved our souls and spirits from all the sins of the world, and it is through the righteousness of Jesus Christ that God has delivered us like this. In other words, God the Father has blotted out all our hearts’ sins and made our souls sinless by sending His Son Jesus Christ to this earth incarnated in the flesh, making Him accept all the sins of the human race by being baptized by John the Baptist, and sacrificing this Son vicariously out of His abundant love for us. It’s because God loves us so much like this that He has adopted as His own children all of us who believe in the gospel of the water and the Spirit.
That is how we have received every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places. God Himself has saved our souls from all our sins by being baptized by John the Baptist for us, dying on the Cross, and rising up from the dead. Therefore, as the Lord has saved us from all our sins out of His love and sacrifice, we have become God’s children and received every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places by believing in this salvation.
Even though Jesus came to this earth as our Savior and blotted out all our hearts’ sins by sacrificing Himself for us, many people don’t believe in this. These people don’t really know the correct meaning of Christmas. Such people are still not ready to celebrate the true significance of the birth of Christ, which is all about the sacrifice the Lord made for us.
It is in Jesus Christ that God the Father has saved us. He has saved us from all the sins of our hearts and souls through the righteousness of Christ. As I mentioned earlier, it’s not our flesh that has been transformed physically, but it is our hearts that have been saved from all our sins and condemnation. Your heart and mine have been completely cleansed and transformed. God has transformed our hearts completely in and through Jesus Christ.
Jesus the Son of God the Father was born on this earth through the body of the Virgin Mary just as promised, and He is our King. He is the King of kings. This King Himself has saved His people by personally sacrificing His body for them. Jesus our King has saved us by being baptized to bear our sins on His own body, giving up His body on the Cross to be crucified, and sacrificing Himself to shed His blood to death. This is the all-powerful sacrifice of God. It is the sacrifice of God Almighty. And it is through such an amazing sacrifice that God has saved us out of His love.
The Apostle Paul said here that God the Father has saved us in Christ rather than saying in Jesus. It’s very important for us to understand why he said so. When we read the Bible attentively, we can all realize right away that the gospel of the water and the Spirit is the real Truth of salvation. Before I was born again, when I used to believe only in the blood of the Cross, I could not quite understand the will of God the Father even as I read this passage in Ephesians. It was simply beyond my comprehension to understand why God the Father said that He has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ, rather than just saying in Jesus. So I just thought to myself that one would come into Christ if he somehow believes in Jesus. However, that God the Father has blessed us “in Christ” here means that in order to blot out all the sins of our hearts and souls, Jesus Christ the Son of God the Father came to this earth incarnated in the flesh of man, bore all our sins by being baptized by John the Baptist, was crucified to death in our place, rose from the dead, and has thereby become our Savior. Therefore, it is in Christ that every human being can receive all the spiritual blessings in the heavenly places. It is only in Jesus Christ that everyone can be blessed by faith.
We Can Receive Every Spiritual Blessing in the Heavenly Places Only If We Know and Believe Properly How Christ, God Himself, Was Sacrificed for Us the Sinners
Exactly how has God saved us His believers? He has saved us by coming to this earth incarnated in the flesh of man; bearing all our sins by being baptized by John the Baptist, the representative of all mankind; and giving up His own body to be crucified to death. This is the love that God has shown to all of us. That is why we praise the Lord, and that is why we are so thankful and joyous from the bottom of our hearts.
None of us should ever consider the birth of Jesus Christ only as a matter of hypothetical notion or celebrate it mindlessly without really understanding its true significance. Rather, we ought to thank God with all our hearts, all our minds, and all our souls for His love and sacrifice in saving us in Christ. It’s only because Jesus sacrificed Himself for us that you and I now have no more sin in our hearts. But no one can be made sinless just by believing in any gospel. We all know that our hearts have become sinless, but we also know that this is possible for only those who believe in the Lord’s gospel of the water and the Spirit. If even one claims to have no sin in his heart, as long as this person does not believe in the love of God, all his sins still remain intact. In contrast, we believe in Jesus and His gospel of the water and the Spirit, and therefore there can be no sin remaining in our hearts even though we have not been seen any physical changes.
We may think it’s only natural for our hearts to have no more sin, but we shouldn’t take this for granted. On the contrary, we should always remember that the Lord was baptized by John the Baptist to take away all our sins and paid off the wages of all those sins with His own blood to make our hearts sinless. The Son of God has saved us by sacrificing Himself for us like this. He has blotted out all our sins from our hearts. So how could we not cherish this? How could we not treasure this amazing love?
It is not just because we believe in Jesus somehow that our hearts have become sinless. Rather, it is because of Jesus Christ who sacrificed Himself for us as revealed in the gospel of the water and the Spirit that we have become sinless by believing in this Truth. We should not think of this grace only as a matter of Christian doctrine. We should instead celebrate the birth of Christ by faith.
Our Lord said during the Last Supper, “Take this bread and eat it, for it is My body. Take this wine and drink it, for it is My blood. Do this in My remembrance until I return.” The Lord was telling us to believe and remember that He had come to this earth and saved us through His water and blood. He was commanding us to engrave His grace of salvation in our hearts and never forget it. Accordingly, we should never forget the fact that our hearts have become sinless all because of our Lord’s love and the sacrifice He made for us.
You should never take the Lord’s love lightly. You shouldn’t think that you have become sinless without any cost at all because you believe in the gospel of the water and the Spirit. Instead, you must realize that the Lord sacrificed Himself for you and that you have put on this love of God Almighty. So I ask you to remember the gospel of the water and the Spirit always. I ask you to praise the Lord until the day He returns. It’s only fitting to do so.
You ought to know how to be grateful for what you should indeed be thankful. It’s such people who know the grace of God. Even in this secular world, loyalty is highly prized. Loyal subjects who laid down their lives for their kings long ago are held in remembrance for generations to come. So given the fact our Lord has made our hearts and souls sinless by sacrificing Himself, how could we not hold it in remembrance? How could we gloss over this salvation so easily, neither remembering it nor giving thanks to the Lord for it? The grace of God must be treasured in our hearts forever. It’s with such a disposition that we ought to celebrate this Christmas.
As our hearts and souls actually have no sin, you and I will go to the Kingdom of Heaven and live there. All of us will soon enter the Kingdom of Heaven and live there forever. While we are still living on this earth, we are serving the Lord’s righteousness, but one day, when either our Lord returns or we go to His presence, we will all enter the Kingdom of Heaven and live there forever. Just as God said in today’s Scripture passage that He has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ, all of us who believe in the gospel of the water and the Spirit will be blessed to enter and live in the Kingdom of Heaven. A glorious life that’s lived in the Kingdom of Heaven awaits us all; and none other than this is our blessing.
If our lives on this earth were all that we had, then we could not call ourselves God’s blessed people. But God sacrificed Himself to enable us to enter and live in the Kingdom of Heaven. To blot out all our sins, the Son of God bore them through His baptism and sacrificed Himself on the Cross to pay off all their wages. The Lord has thereby blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places. And that is why all of us ought to thank the Lord by placing our faith in the righteousness of God.
When we turn to Ephesians 1:4-5, we see the Apostle Paul explaining to us further that God designed and fulfilled a concrete plan to make us His own children and bless us to enter the Kingdom of Heaven. Let’s turn to these verses here: “Just as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before Him in love, having predestined us to adoption as sons by Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the good pleasure of His will” (Ephesians 1:4-5). As the Bible makes it clear here, God the Father chose us in Christ before the foundation of the world. All human beings were created in the likeness of the image of God the Father, and it’s clearly written here that the Father had planned to turn them into His own children and bless them to live in the Kingdom of Heaven.
What exactly does it then mean that God chose us in Christ before the foundation of the world? What is the Bible trying to teach us here? It means that God has saved us through Jesus Christ’s sacrificial work of atonement. Even before creating the universe, and even before making you and me, God the Father had already planned in Christ to make us His sons and daughters. And through the sacrifice of His Son, God has fulfilled this plan by making all who believe in the gospel of the water and the Spirit completely sinless in their hearts.
It is all because Jesus Christ our God sacrificed Himself to save us that we have actually reached our salvation and become God’s own children. It is only because the Son of God sacrificed Himself that you and I have been saved from all our sins. That is why God said here in today’s Scripture passage that He chose us in Christ.
That God chose us does not mean that He arbitrarily selected some people but not others as some theologians claim; rather, its precise meaning is that God chose us in Christ. All human beings have come short of the glory of God, for all have sinned. However, when God the Father created us, He already knew that we would commit sin out of our weaknesses, and therefore He carried out His work of salvation so that all who believe in the gospel of the water and the Spirit, which manifests the righteousness of God fulfilled by His Son’s sacrifice and love, would become His own children. That is why all who believe in the love of Christ, His righteous sacrifice, and His gospel of the water and the Spirit are chosen by God, while those who don’t believe are not chosen. These unbelievers will therefore be condemned by the Lord for their sins.
God the Father had such a plan for us even before creating this universe. Knowing that human beings would fall into sin because of their weaknesses, God sent His Son to this earth to accept all their sins through His baptism and sacrificed Himself for them by being crucified, so that all who believe in this Son’s righteous acts would be made forever sinless in their hearts and become God’s children without any blemish or spot. This was God’s plan for us.
All of Us Must Realize That Our Salvation Was Fulfilled According to God’s Plan
Among today’s Christians in this world, Presbyterians are prone to claim that anyone who believes in their doctrines is the chosen one while everyone else is not. But this is complete nonsense. They are just espousing a completely groundless doctrine, which is known as the Doctrine of Unconditional Election.
What is far more important than any such doctrine is what the Bible is actually saying to us. The Bible was not written according to human knowledge. The Apostle Paul said in today’s Scripture passage that he, being an apostle of Jesus Christ by the will of God, was writing his Epistle to the saints in Ephesus who were faithful in Christ. The Apostle Paul was someone who was saved from all his sins by believing in the gospel of the water and the Spirit that constitutes the righteousness of Christ. He had the Holy Spirit dwelling in his heart. This means that it was the Holy Spirit in the Apostle Paul’s heart who had inspired him to write to the saints in the Church of Ephesus.
If it were up to us, most of us would have just written that God the Father saved us in Jesus before the foundation of the world, but that is not what the Apostle Paul wrote. What did he write then? He wrote, “Just as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before Him in love” (Ephesians 1:4). Paul said clearly here that God saved us in “Him [Christ] before the foundation of the world.”
The Biblical meaning of the word “Christ” is the Anointed One (Daniel 9:24-26), and in the Scriptures, there were three types of people who were anointed: Kings, priests, and prophets. The name “Christ” therefore means that Jesus came to this earth incarnated in the flesh of man in order to save all human beings from their sins as the King of kings and the Creator of all mankind. It also means that Jesus fulfilled His duty as the High Priest by being baptized by John the Baptist to bear all the sins of the human race and dying on the Cross to pay off all the wages of these sins, so that He would save us all perfectly. Having been entrusted with the office of the High Priest, Jesus accepted all the sins of the people of God in this world onto His own body by being baptized by John the Baptist; He then paid off the wages of each and every sin by being crucified to death; and He thus fulfilled His priestly duty to save all His believers from their sins. Moreover, our Lord has made this Truth known to us through the Word of God. Like this, Jesus offered His body to God the Father in order to blot out all our sins.
That is why the Apostle Paul repeatedly emphasizes in Ephesians chapter 1 that it is “in Christ” that we have been saved. Therefore, whoever realizes this Truth and believes in it will surely be saved from all his sins, for the Bible is the Word of God written by the inspiration of the Holy Spirit. All who have now received the remission of sins by believing in the gospel of the water and the Spirit have come to know this Truth thanks to the Holy Spirit dwelling in their hearts.
Even before I understood the gospel of the water and the Spirit, I had tried very hard to explain the Epistle to the Ephesians in my sermons. But I did not know what it really meant when the Bible said that God had saved me “in Christ.” It’s only after understanding the gospel of the water and the Spirit that I was able to truly comprehend that God had saved me “in Christ.” God the Father chose us in Christ, loved us and made us sinless, and He will seat us in the Kingdom of Heaven all in Christ. He has adopted as His own children all who believe in the salvation that has come through Christ. Through the sacrifice that the Son of God made on this earth by being baptized by John the Baptist to accept all the sins of the world and shedding His blood on the Cross, God the Father has saved all of us who believe in Christ. It’s to save His own people from their sins that God the Creator became a Man for a short while and sacrificed Himself as our propitiation. Through His baptism, the Son of God accepted all the sins of the human race onto His own body. He then bore the condemnation of all these sins by being crucified and shedding all the blood of His heart to death. Like this, the Lord paid off all the wages of our sins by sacrificing Himself for us. And He has thereby delivered your life and mine through His sacrifice and love. He has made all of us who now believe in the gospel of the water and the Spirit completely sinless. It’s the Lord who has eradicated all our sins.
This Work of Salvation Was Planned by God the Father Even before the Foundation of the World
Even before creating this world and all its creatures, God the Father had already planned to make us His own children through the sacrifice and love of His Son. Put differently, God had decided to choose whoever believes in the righteousness of Christ. He had already chosen us for adoption as His own sons and daughters for believing in the righteous sacrifice of the Son of God and His love.
When we turn to the Old Testament’s account of Jacob and Esau, we see that Esau trusted in his own strength and did not listen closely to his parents’ teachings. In contrast, Jacob listened to his mother in obedience. What happened to Jacob as a result? He received all the blessings reserved for the firstborn even though he was the younger son. Because of whom was he blessed like this? It’s because of his mother, because Jacob trusted in and relied on her mother’s words, that he was able to receive God’s blessings. My fellow believers, while it’s only too obvious that we are physically weak, it’s also true that our hearts are quite fragile. Nevertheless, we can still receive God’s blessings by believing in His Word.
From our very birth, all of us were destined to be cast into hell. We were born with this destiny because of our sins, and these sins of ours were inherited from our forefathers. That is precisely why God decided to adopt all who believe in His righteousness as His own children. This is the gospel Truth of the water and the Spirit.
Many Christians nowadays tend to think it’s simple and easy to believe in Jesus. For instance, false shepherds usually say the following when they preach to their congregation: “You are a sinner. So you are inevitably bound to be destroyed. But God loved you so much that He built a bridge between Heaven and hell with the Cross. Because the Lord was crucified to death on this earth for your sins, you can now become God’s child if you just accept Jesus into your heart as your Savior no matter how many sins you may have. Would you then receive Jesus as your personal Savior? Do you admit to God that you are a sinner? If so, then repeat after me in prayer. ‘Lord, I am a sinner. But I believe that You were crucified to death for me. I too believe in You. I want to accept You as my personal Savior now. Please come into my heart! Amen!’” This is how most Christians think that they have become God’s children.
But it’s not so easy to become a child of God, just as it required a tremendous amount of hardship and suffering for the Lord to come to this earth and save us. That God has saved us in Christ means that Jesus Christ became our own propitiation to deliver us from all the sins of the world. It was to make each and every one of us sinless that the Lord walked on this earth for 33 years as our sacrificial Lamb. Conceived in the body of the Virgin Mary, the Lord had come to this earth incarnated in the flesh of man in order to fulfill His office as the heavenly High Priest. His life on this earth was full of suffering even from His birth, for He was not only born in a lowly stable, but He also had to flee from King Herod’s murderous hands. Right after Jesus was born, He was visited by wise men from the East who had come to worship Him, but this tranquility did not last long as He had to flee to Egypt to escape from King Herod.
After some years went by, Jesus came to live in Nazareth, and there He worked alongside His father Joseph as a carpenter. He then began His public life at the age of 30, first of all coming to the Jordan River and accepting all the sins of the human race by being baptized by John the Baptist. Having thus accepted all the sins of the world by being baptized by John the Baptist, the Lord was then crucified to death. And having borne all the punishment of our sins with His crucifixion, He rose from the dead in three days after being buried. That is how Jesus has become the Savior of all of us who believe in this Truth. And now, each and every human being all over the world can also become God’s child by believing in the gospel of the water and the Spirit.
How Much Sacrifice Did the Lord Make on This Earth to Save Us from All Our Sins?
God the Father planned our salvation in Christ beforehand. And to fulfill this plan, Jesus was born on this earth incarnated in the flesh of man, bore all the sins of the human race by being baptized by John the Baptist, and died on the Cross. All these things that Christ did for us, from His incarnation to His bearing of our sins and His crucifixion, were the sacrifices that the Lord made to save us.
The very fact that this holy Jesus accepted all the sins of this world onto His body through His baptism is itself a sacrifice, just as it was in self-sacrifice that the Lord was spat upon by the Roman soldiers, they slapped His face, stripped, mocked, and whipped Him forty times less one until His whole body was soaked in blood. A crown of thorns was also put on Jesus’ head and the soldiers struck it with a reed. As a result, Jesus’ face was covered in blood. Jesus was then crucified by having both His hands and feet nailed to the Cross. And as He took His last breath, Jesus said, “It is finished!” (John 19:30) Like this, it’s by sacrificing Himself that the Lord has saved us from all our sins through the water and the Spirit. Moreover, Jesus rose from the dead in three days after being buried just as He had promised. In short, God Himself has saved you and me by sacrificing Himself for us.
I believe in this sacrifice with all my heart. I believe that Jesus Christ has blotted out all my heart’s sins with His baptism and His crucifixion. How about you then? Do you also believe in this sacrifice of the Lord? It’s us the believers in the gospel Truth of the water and the Spirit whom God has chosen. He has chosen us as His own children. So I ask you all to believe in this. Believe in the righteousness of God and do not render His work of salvation in vain. Given the fact that the Lord has saved you by sacrificing Himself for you like this, nothing would be more ungrateful than for you to still refuse to believe in the Lord and render His work of salvation in vain.
Even when it comes to secular norms, any son who neglects his parents and ignores all the sacrifices that they made for him would be considered a completely unfilial son. For a son to refuse to accept the love of his parents of the flesh is the worst act of betrayal that any child can commit. Likewise, if we reject the Lord’s love even as we are His creatures, then we would be committing the most depraved sin. We should never allow this to happen to us. Far from it, all of us must accept the sacrifice and love of Jesus Christ by faith, giving thanks to God and praising Him. We ought to accept the love of Jesus Christ like this and enter the Kingdom of Heaven to enjoy its everlasting glory together with Christ.
This is how God the Father has shown us His love through the sacrifice of His love, and this is the greatest love of all. Just how solemn, merciful, and perfect is this love of God? Who in this world could ever sacrifice himself for us and save us like this? It’s God our Creator Himself who has completely fulfilled the office of the High Priest to save us humans from all our sins. There is no one else but the Almighty God of Trinity who loves us like this. Jesus Christ alone has given us such love and perfectly fulfilled His duties as our High Priest. That is why the Bible says, “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). You and I have received the remission of sins through our faith in the gospel of the water and the Spirit, and it’s we who have put on God’s unfathomable love.
Have you truly put on the gospel love of the water and the Spirit by faith? First Corinthians chapter 13 discusses love extensively, explaining its many dimensions. Isn’t it written there that love does not behave rudely but is kind? Has the Lord ever been rude to us? No, far from being rude, the Lord is so kind that He came to this earth to personally solve away the problem of all our sins. And having come to this earth to solve this problem of our sins, He has indeed taken care of it completely. When we had no satisfaction in our hearts, and when we were all weary from our sins, the Lord came looking for us through the gospel of the water and the Spirit. That is how God loved us all.
So we believe in this love and give all our thanks to God. How could we ever forget this love of God now that we have put it on; how could we ever reject it; how could we not be thankful for it; and how could we not praise the righteousness of God with psalms, hymns, and songs?
A poet wrote in a hymn,
“Could we with ink the ocean fill,
And were the skies of parchment made,
Were every stalk on earth a quill,
And every man a scribe by trade,
To write the love of God above,
Would drain the ocean dry.
Nor could the scroll contain the whole,
Though stretched from sky to sky.”
My fellow believers, Jesus has made us sinless by being baptized by John the Baptist and accepting all our sins once and for all. And He laid down His life for us on the Cross to bear the punishment of all these sins of ours. We believe in this sacrifice and this love, and so how could we not thank the Triune God?
We give all our thanks to this God. Words cannot express just how grateful we are. And that is precisely why we are serving the gospel of the water and the Spirit to return the Lord’s love. Because all of us are truly thankful to God, each and every one of us can serve this gospel of the water and the Spirit wholeheartedly. Moreover, everyone else who is now saved by believing in the gospel of the water and the Spirit will enter the Kingdom of God together with us.
Now that we have received the remission of sins by believing in the gospel of the water and the Spirit, it’s very important for us to reach a wider and deeper understanding of our Lord’s love little by little. After all, who knew that the Lord would love us so much like this? So let us all give thanks to our God for His unbound love.