“Therefore remember that you, once Gentiles in the flesh—who are called Uncircumcision by what is called the Circumcision made in the flesh by hands—that at that time you were without Christ, being aliens from the commonwealth of Israel and strangers from the covenants of promise, having no hope and without God in the world. But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ. For He Himself is our peace, who has made both one, and has broken down the middle wall of separation, having abolished in His flesh the enmity, that is, the law of commandments contained in ordinances, so as to create in Himself one new man from the two, thus making peace, and that He might reconcile them both to God in one body through the cross, thereby putting to death the enmity. And He came and preached peace to you who were afar off and to those who were near. For through Him we both have access by one Spirit to the Father. Now, therefore, you are no longer strangers and foreigners, but fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God, having been built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ Himself being the chief cornerstone, in whom the whole building, being fitted together, grows into a holy temple in the Lord, in whom you also are being built together for a dwelling place of God in the Spirit.”
Is It Thanks to the Lord That We Have Been Washed from All Our Sins?
The Apostle Paul is the one who preached the gospel of the water and the Spirit to us the Gentiles. Here in today’s Scripture passage, Paul said that our Lord has at once broken down the wall of all the sins and trespasses committed by you and me. Our Lord has demolished all at once the wall that had separated mankind from God. The root of all our unhappiness is our sins, but the Lord has taken care of all our sins by bearing them on His own body. Therefore, all of us who believe in the gospel of the water and the Spirit can always come to the presence of God boldly by trusting in His Word.
That we are living by faith before our God means that He has broken down the wall of sin that had separated us from God. In other words, we can now live by trusting in the righteousness of the Lord because He bore all our sins once and for all. If we did not have such faith, then it would have been impossible for us to always live boldly before God. How could we then carry on with our lives in this world? Given the fact that our weaknesses are still exposed even after being saved from all the sins of the world, if our Lord did not bear all the sins committed out of our fleshly weaknesses through the baptism He received from John the Baptist, how could we call on the name of God or worship Him? Indeed, we can call on the name of God boldly and worship Him in holiness and truth like this because our Lord took upon all the transgressions that we commit with our weak flesh.
That is why we can call Jesus “our Lord,” and as we believe in the righteousness of God, we can also serve Him and praise Him. And now that we have become sinless by believing in the gospel of the water and the Spirit, we can all pray to God. Because we believe that the Lord has broken down the wall of separation by bearing all the sins committed by the entire human race out of our weak flesh, we are compelled to praise God.
Our Lord has completely demolished the wall of all our sins that had blocked us from God, eradicating each and every trespass committed with the flesh. The problem, however, is that too many Christians try to come to the presence of God by relying on their own good works, instead of having faith in the gospel of the water and the Spirit that constitutes the righteousness of the Lord. But when their own good works are soon exhausted, they find it impossible to move any closer to God. It then becomes impossible for them to lead their lives of faith before God. The Bible says, “The just shall live by faith” (Romans 1:17). The gospel of the water and the Spirit constitutes the righteousness of God. And it is through our faith in this true gospel that we worship God, praise His righteousness, and find strength from Him. The Lord knows only too well just how weak we are, for He Himself personally experienced our human weaknesses. So our Lord knows all about our weaknesses, whether of the heart, the mind or the body. That is why the Lord bore all our sins through His baptism. It’s because the Lord knew us so well that He could take away each and every sin of ours (Psalm 103:12-14).
Does this then mean that we the born-again now have no more human weaknesses? Have all our weaknesses disappeared now that we believe in the righteousness of the Lord? No, that is not the case. We still have many weaknesses. Even someone who has faith in the righteousness of God still retains his weak flesh, and therefore all of us must admit that we still commit sin. You and I must admit to God that we ourselves are too weak. What makes it possible for us to overcome our weaknesses is our faith in the righteousness of the Lord, but without this faith, it is impossible for us to overcome our fleshly weaknesses and serve the Lord’s righteousness. Although we are not perfect in our flesh, we can still wage our spiritual wars by believing in the righteousness of God, and by this faith it is possible for us to live for God’s righteousness. This is simply impossible unless we have faith in the gospel of the water and the Spirit and believe that the Lord bore all our sins once and for all through His baptism. This means that we must stand unwaveringly on the rock of salvation by trusting in the gospel of the water and the Spirit. You and I must stand steadfast before God by our faith in the gospel of the water and the Spirit, and if this is still not enough, we must ruminate on the gospel of the water and the Spirit. It’s then that we can stand in the presence of God and praise Him throughout our entire lives. In other words, it is by trusting in the gospel of the water and the Spirit that we can live out our faith like God’s faithful servants written in the Bible. It is only by our faith in the righteousness of God that all of us can live a righteous life.
It is absolutely imperative for us to admit all our weaknesses and trespasses by trusting in the gospel of the water and the Spirit. We must recognize just how insufficient we all are, and we must also acknowledge the gospel power of the water and the Spirit. And we must look towards our Lord, trusting that He bore all our sins through His baptism and shed His blood on the Cross in our place.
What Should We Believe to Please God?
We can please God only if we believe in the gospel of the water and the Spirit. Indeed, this faith in the gospel of the water and the Spirit is what pleases God, it is what makes us serve His righteousness, and it is also what compels us to praise God and practice His righteousness. We are nothing in God’s sight unless we have faith in His righteousness. This should be the guiding principle for our lives of faith. Unless we have faith in God’s righteousness, we can neither follow God nor serve His righteousness, and it’s also impossible to rely on God in our lives of faith. Even though we have been saved from all the sins of the world, we still have many weaknesses in our flesh. Despite the fact that we all know what is right and what we ought to do, often times we find our flesh doing something entirely contrary to what God wants us to do.
Every human being in the flesh has weaknesses. But the Lord bore all such weaknesses and solved away all our sins, and that is what the Bible means when it says that the Lord has broken down the middle wall of separation (Ephesians 2:14). With the gospel of the water and the Spirit, the Lord has demolished the wall of our sins and set us completely free from them to no longer have anything to do with any sin at all.
Even though our flesh is so weak, as long as we believe in the gospel of the water and the Spirit given by the Lord, we can always praise God, pray to Him, and live with thanksgiving. In other words, because our Lord bore all our sins and trespasses once and for all, it is now possible for us to serve His righteousness. The Lord took upon all our weaknesses once and for all through the gospel of the water and the Spirit. He bore each and every transgression and solved it always, including even the sins that we are not aware of.
It is absolutely imperative for you to understand this gospel of the water and the Spirit. Because we do not fully admit our fragility, we often find it difficult to tolerate ourselves when we succumb to certain weaknesses. However, we no longer need to suffer because of this, for we can all resume a holy life and sustain it. Our Lord knows all about us, even unto the inmost recesses of our hearts. He knows us even better than we know ourselves. He has a deeper understanding of our weaknesses than we have, and that is precisely why He bore all our transgressions. And this is how the Lord has become our Savior. By being baptized and shedding His blood, He has broken down the wall of separation that was blocking us from God. All of us must grasp this. We must realize that our Lord has saved us from all our sins more than completely. And trusting in the Lord, we must give all thanks to Him.
There are so many things that we don’t know about ourselves. Despite this, we are still prone to deny it and pretend to know all about ourselves. But all of us must realize that we are exactly who the Word of God says we are. How would you react if God said to you that you are the same as the worst and most depraved sinner in this world? Would you be able to admit that you are indeed the vilest sinner of all? Regardless of whether you admit this or not, you are in fact such a sinner by nature. You must therefore grasp just how evil a sinner you are, and you must believe that the Lord bore all such wicked sins of yours through the gospel of the water and the Spirit.
By What Faith Can We Lead a Godly Life?
We can lead a proper life of faith when we believe that our Lord truthfully bore all our sins and trespasses to take away each and every sin ever committed by us. When we believe that the Lord bore all the sins that we have ever committed out of our fleshly weaknesses, it is then that we can live out our faith without any shame or guilt. It is therefore absolutely critical for all of us to always live by our faith in the righteousness of God. The Bible clearly teaches us that “the just shall live by faith” (Romans 1:17).
Despite this teaching, do you find that your life of faith is not always consistent? By any chance, do you have no hesitation to believe in the Lord only when your acts are virtuous, but unable to trust in the Lord without any shame when your deeds succumb to your weaknesses and shortcomings? Why is this so? It’s because you do not know yourself. And it’s because you do not rely on the Lord completely that you end up being so preoccupied with your own works rather than faith.
Most people do not really know just how weak they are. Some people deny this and claim that they know how weak and lacking they are even if others don’t. However, our nature is such that we are actually far weaker than what we know. Our human nature is far more wicked and weaker than the extent of our own awareness. So it’s absolutely necessary for us to admit that we are more wicked and weaker than what we are aware of. When we fail to admit this, we find it intolerable to see ourselves succumbing to weaknesses and doing something far more wicked than we ever thought we could do, and so we try to justify this by telling ourselves that it’s only a temporary aberration. Even when we commit sin, we delude ourselves into thinking that this is not who we really are, and we do this because we don’t understand the full extent of our wickedness and find it unbearable to admit that we are so evil. But it is in our fundamental nature as human beings to be so weak and evil.
We are feeble beings at all times. And we won’t be freed from all our weaknesses until we go to the Lord or the Lord comes to take us away for our bodies to be transformed in the resurrection. Even though our hearts have been transformed to turn us into people of faith, our bodies have not been changed yet, and therefore we still remain extremely weak. The problem is that we ourselves are not fully aware of just how weak we are. But this does not change the fact that we are far feebler than what we know.
However, all our sins committed out of such weaknesses were at once taken away by the Lord when He was baptized. This is the gospel of the water and the Spirit and the real Truth of salvation. How deeply do you understand and believe in the gospel of the water and the Spirit? God’s gospel of salvation is profound. Although it is simple for us to receive the remission of sins, the depth of this true gospel that saves us and brings us back to life is unfathomable. Some people have criticized me for putting too much emphasis on the gospel of the water and the Spirit, saying, “All that Pastor Paul Jong knows is just the gospel of the water and the Spirit.” They wonder if the gospel of the water and the Spirit is the only path to salvation, but the answer is yes. The gospel of the water and the Spirit indeed means everything. It is all that matters in the Kingdom of Heaven. This genuine gospel means everything to us, for it is in this gospel that our lives of faith and our hope are found.
In this past week alone, just how often did you succumb to your weaknesses? Whenever we fall into weakness, we are prone to think that it’s not our doing, saying to ourselves, “Why am I so weak when it’s not in my nature? Why did I do such wicked things?” It’s because we have too much expectations on our flesh that we find it so hard to recognize such an unflattering self-portrait. But in reality, what our weak flesh does is the exact reflection of our actual nature.
However, no matter what our circumstances are and what weaknesses we have, we can all overcome them by trusting in the Lord. That’s because the Lord has completely demolished every wall of separation that had blocked us from God. The Lord bore all our sins. Through His baptism, He bore each and every sin that we commit with our flesh out of our weaknesses. This is the gospel Truth of the water and the Spirit. And we the born-again must believe in this Truth and stand unwaveringly on this faith.
For all who know and believe in the perfect gospel of the water and the Spirit, it is by faith that they cleanse their conscience. Put differently, it is by faith that whoever has this perfect gospel washes away all the sins committed with his flesh and acts. It is written, “Whoever carries part of the carcass of any of them shall wash his clothes and be unclean until evening” (Leviticus 11:25). The Bible often uses the washing of unclean clothes to illustrate the washing of sins. In the Scriptures, clothes refer to one’s acts. One’s unclean clothes refer to the sins committed out of his flesh, and this implies that through His baptism and blood, the Lord bore all the transgressions committed out of our weaknesses. It means that the Lord has saved us from all our sins.
We Must Actually Think of God’s Grace All the Time
We ought to lead our lives of faith by trusting that our Lord has saved us from all our sins. Unless we have this faith, our salvation will be stranded. If we try to lead our lives of faith without trusting in the gospel of the water and the Spirit, then our faith will go down just like a ship crashing into a reef or an iceberg to be flooded and sink to the bottom of the sea.
My fellow believers, our Lord has saved us perfectly from all the sins of this world. It’s absolutely imperative for all of us to have unwavering faith in the righteousness of our Lord and His salvation. We ought to praise the Lord, singing, “Our faith in the Lord prevails over everything.” We have to confess that our faith in the Lord Jesus has enabled us to overcome all our sins and condemnation, allowed us to practice righteousness, and blessed us to live a righteous life. That is just how important it is for us to have faith in the gospel of the water and the Spirit. And that is just how blessed we are when we have faith in this true gospel. Whatever Christian doctrine you know right now is not what’s important, but to actually believe in the gospel of the water and the Spirit is what’s truly important.
We are the saints who have been saved from the sins of the world, and when we unite ourselves with God’s Church, we are released from all the transgressions engulfing us in this world, and that is how we can renew our strength, praise the Lord, and receive blessings from God in our lives. However, if we the saints fail to unite ourselves with the Church even after accepting the gospel of the water and the Spirit, then we not only are bound by our own weaknesses but Satan will also tie us down completely with sin, and as a result, we will be neither free, nor be able to praise God, nor run boldly toward Him. Ultimately, our faith will go bankrupt. And none other than this is the spiritual curse.
I know very well just how weak we all are. And when I read the Bible, I see that the Lord knows me far better than I do. So I am compelled to believe that through the gospel of the water and the Spirit, the Lord bore all the sins and trespasses committed out of my fleshly weaknesses. I believe that the Lord is our Savior who bore all the sins committed out of our weaknesses and saved us from them all. It’s because our Lord has actually saved us by being baptized by John the Baptist and shedding His blood on the Cross that I am admonishing you not to fear any evil power of this world but to live boldly by your faith in the righteousness of the Lord. If we are united together by this faith and determined to tackle all the trials of our lives by this faith, true happiness will indeed come to us all.
However, if we fail to live out our faith by trusting in the gospel of the water and the Spirit, then our ship of faith will surely sink. Anyone who does not live by faith even after being saved from all his sins by believing in the gospel of the water and the Spirit is actually in a worse predicament than those who have not been born again, for it is written in Hebrews 10:26, “If we sin willfully after we have received the knowledge of the truth, there no longer remains a sacrifice for sins.” As this passage makes it clear, we will surely perish spiritually if we lose our faith after receiving the remission of sins by believing in the gospel of the water and the Spirit. In other words, unless we abide in God’s Church and listen to His Word of faith, we will face spiritual destruction. If we the righteous are not united with God’s Church, then we will be defeated by Satan even as we know that our Lord has saved us from all our sins. In short, we will ultimately turn into Satan’s servants if we fail to defend our faith in the gospel of the water and the Spirit until the very end.
Therefore, my fellow believers, whenever we discover our weakness in our daily lives, it is absolutely imperative for us to overcome them by trusting in the gospel of the water and the Spirit. If we otherwise succumb to our weaknesses and fail to be freed from our transgressions through our faith in the gospel of the water and the Spirit, we will surely be defeated by Satan.
Now that we have received the remission of sins, it is truly blessed for us to abide in God’s Church in our everyday lives. Such a blessed life makes us always bold and strong, frees us completely from everything that binds our hearts, and brings all the blessings of God to us. There is absolutely no loss to our souls or ourselves when we receive the remission of sins and unite ourselves with God’s Church. If you think in carnal terms, then you are prone to feel as though it would be disadvantageous to you if you unite yourself with God’s Church. When a saint who has united with the Church looks at someone who has not, this faithful saint may wonder if he is leading a foolish life. However, my fellow saints, it is never disadvantageous to you to be united with God’s Church. For anyone who believes in the gospel of the water and the Spirit, it is in fact a great blessing to his faith to be united with God’s Church and be nurtured with its spiritual bread. There is absolutely no loss to suffer when you invest your time to listen to God’s Word and share fellowship in the Church, for this only strengthens your own soul. Far from bringing any loss, it will bring tremendous benefits to your heart.
It is written in Matthew 4:4, “Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God.” If we had left the Church even after receiving the remission of sins through the gospel of the water and the Spirit, only to end up in the wrong place instead of living out our faith, then clearly we would all have been too busy to just commit countless sins. In contrast, if you come to the Church to listen to the Word, share fellowship with other saints, and pray to God, your soul will be recharged and reinvigorated, enabling you to carry out your spiritual work diligently and faithfully. So it’s actually very beneficial for you to abide in God’s Church. When you come to the presence of God and live by faith, it brings nothing but benefits to your life; it is never a loss. Our faith in the righteousness of God brings nothing but benefits.
Of course, some people who don’t realize this complain about how their lives have been ruined and nothing has been achieved as a result of believing in Jesus, but you should grasp here clearly that this is a myopic view stemming from one’s inability to see anything else but what’s right before his eyes. It’s only because we don’t pursue our carnal affairs right away that they seem to be going wrong. Moreover, because we have been born again, our circumstances have also changed, and it takes some time for us to adjust to our new environment. Some of us might have changed their jobs, while others might have adjusted themselves to even more drastic changes. This period of adjustment can be quite difficult and frustrating. However, if we patiently seek spiritual things, then in due time we will also receive abundant material blessings. Once we set our minds on the work of the Spirit, we will surely live a far more prosperous life than the one we led when we were following the flesh, just as the Word of God says, “Seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you” (Matthew 6:33).
It Is a Huge Benefit for You to Believe in Jesus and Live Out Your Faith
There is nothing that is more beneficial to our lives than believing in the Lord. There is nothing on this planet that is more blessed and beneficial to us than receiving our salvation and living out our faith diligently. Now that we have been saved from all our sins, to live out our faith and walk with the Lord is extremely beneficial to all of us in both body and spirit. Do you also believe so? Because the gospel we believe in is God’s gospel, we never tire of it even if we speak of it every day. Even if we were to spend all the days of our lives to speak of and about the gospel of the water and the Spirit, we couldn’t possibly speak of all its wonders. Our lives of faith are not just a matter of intellectual exercise. Rather, it is a spiritual matter, and therefore faith is what’s really important. And faith grows only by listening to the Word of God. So, now that we have received the remission of sins and reached our salvation, the more we listen to the Word of God in our lives of faith, the more our faith will be strengthened. If we otherwise fail to listen to the Word even for just a week, it will seriously deteriorate the condition of our hearts and souls. That is why it’s so important for the righteous to listen to the Word every day.
Although God’s work is not visible to a sinner’s eyes, the righteous do have the dominion of God in their hearts and lives. It’s true that sometimes our hearts are joyful and bright, but dark at other times. Although it’s not possible to show the dominion of faith like the material world, there actually is a spiritual realm. We can see with our own eyes and verify with our hearts that we are indeed rejoiced when we listen to the Word of God in His Church, but suffer to perish in the end if we don’t come to the Church nor listen to the Word. Those who are spiritual can lead a godly life only when their hearts are alive with faith; if the faith in our hearts perishes, then our very existence is dead even if we are physically alive.
The Lord says that anyone who is not spiritually minded is like the beasts that perish. A pig is happy so long as it has enough to eat even as it’s rolling in all kinds of filth. It’s obvious to the fact that as soon as it’s fattened enough, it would be dragged to the slaughterhouse and put to death. Like this clueless pig, those who don’t set their purpose on spiritual work and are just content if their basic needs are met, only end up being dragged into the everlasting slaughterhouse of hell to suffer endlessly.
All of you must grasp here that living out your faith has absolutely no downside. Yet Satan tries to deceive us into thinking otherwise, often by misquoting Scripture passages. For instance, when we turn to the First Epistle of John, we see the Bible saying, “The anointing which you have received from Him [the Holy Spirit] abides in you, and you do not need that anyone teach you; but as the same anointing teaches you concerning all things” (1 John 2:27). Satan distorts this passage to set up a trap for us, saying to us, “You don’t need to attend church anymore. No one needs to teach you anymore since you are taught by the Holy Spirit.” Although we all believe in the gospel of the water and the Spirit, some of us who are spiritually immature are particular vulnerable to such a trap.
However, my fellow believers, it is through the Church that the Holy Spirit works. The Holy Spirit always works through God’s Church. He never works by Himself. Yet Satan is trying to blow such mistaken thoughts into the righteous to devour them.
How about you then? Have you truly been blessed to be washed from all your sins by believing in the gospel of the water and the Spirit? Ephesians 2:14 says, “For He Himself is our peace, who has made both one, and has broken down the middle wall of separation.” That the Lord has broken down the wall of separation means that through the baptism Jesus received from John the Baptist, He bore all the sins committed out of our weak flesh.
The Bible then goes on to say in Ephesians 2:15 that the Lord has “abolished in His flesh the enmity, that is, the law of commandments contained in ordinances.” Before we were born again, we had all been God’s enemies. Why? It is because we were completely incapable of keeping God’s commandments. However, our Lord has abolished the Law of commandments by being baptized and thus bearing all the sins of the world on His own body.
The flesh of Jesus and His blood are testified throughout the whole Bible. Although the Apostle Paul often spoke about the blood of Jesus, he also put a great deal of emphasis on His flesh. That Jesus has abolished all our sins with His own flesh means that He has taken them all away through His body and blood. It means, in other words, that Jesus offered His body on the Cross as our propitiation because He had borne all our sins on His own flesh. That is why Jesus was baptized by John the Baptist and shed His blood on the Cross to be condemned in our place. Instead of us dying for our sins, Jesus had accepted them once and for all by being baptized, and He had died in our place.
It’s also written in Ephesians 2:15, “As to create in Himself one new man from the two, thus making peace.” We were separated from God under the commandments of His Law, but through the redemption of Jesus Christ, that is, through His flesh and blood, our Lord has made us new creatures and reconciled us to God. The Bible goes on to say, “That He might reconcile them both to God in one body through the cross, thereby putting to death the enmity. And He came and preached peace to you who were afar off and to those who were near. For through Him we both have access by one Spirit to the Father. Now, therefore, you are no longer strangers and foreigners, but fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God” (Ephesians 2:16-19).
All of us who have received the remission of sins are God’s family. As fellow members of God’s Church, we are brothers and sisters to each other. Indeed, we are closer to one another than even our very own brothers of the flesh. We cherish each other more than our own brothers and sisters. The concern we have for our fellow born-again believers is greater than what we have for even our own parents of the flesh, and we cherish one another more than anyone else in the world. We care about each other more deeply than any of our own parents of the flesh like this because all our spiritual brothers and sisters are one family. Indeed, whoever is called a brother or sister in Christ is greatly blessed, for this is an extremely honorable title.
The Bible says that we have “been built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets” (Ephesians 2:20). And just as this passage says, we have indeed been built on the foundation of the Apostles and the prophets of the Bible. In other words, we have reached our salvation by believing in God exactly as His servants in both Testaments believed in Him.
The Bible also says that Jesus Christ Himself is the chief cornerstone (Ephesians 2:20). Jesus has come by the water, the blood, and the Spirit, and He is the most indispensable cornerstone for our salvation. There is no god under the heavens and the earth but Jesus who can save us in His name.
The Apostle Paul went on to say in Ephesians 2:21-22, “In whom [Jesus Christ] the whole building, being fitted together, grows into a holy temple in the Lord, in whom you also are being built together for a dwelling place of God in the Spirit.” This passage explains how our faith is built. It teaches us that our house of faith is being built as we get connected with each other.
We the believers in the gospel of the water and the Spirit are connected with one another. Jesus Christ is the Head of God’s Church, the Church is His body, and we are its members. We therefore all need one another. As our Lord is saying to us to abide in God’s Church, we should indeed abide in God’s Church to be nourished in both body and spirit.
Our Lord bore all our sins and trespasses through the gospel of the water and the Spirit. He has thereby become our own Savior. And to all of us who are abiding in God’s Church as its members in obedience to the Word, the Lord gives all the blessings we need according to His time. Let us therefore all thank Jesus Christ for making us one with God, and let us resolve ourselves to live by trusting in everything He has done for us and every Word He has spoken to us.