“For when we were in the flesh, the sinful passions which were aroused by the law were at work in our members to bear fruit to death. But now we have been delivered from the law, having died to what we were held by, so that we should serve in the newness of the Spirit and not in the oldness of the letter. What shall we say then? Is the law sin? Certainly not! On the contrary, I would not have known sin except through the law. For I would not have known covetousness unless the law had said, ‘You shall not covet.’ But sin, taking opportunity by the commandment, produced in me all manner of evil desire. For apart from the law sin was dead. I was alive once without the law, but when the commandment came, sin revived and I died. And the commandment, which was to bring life, I found to bring death. For sin, taking occasion by the commandment, deceived me, and by it killed me. Therefore the law is holy, and the commandment holy and just and good. Has then what is good become death to me? Certainly not! But sin, that it might appear sin, was producing death in me through what is good, so that sin through the commandment might become exceedingly sinful.”
I praise the Lord who has led me until now
I praise the Lord who has led me to meet you, the precious people of God again. I sincerely thank Him for having blessed me to live a happy life to this day. God has been always with me and had mercy on me, even though there have been times when I felt discouraged, experienced hardships, agony and weaknesses within myself on many different occasions. He has been alive and by my side throughout my life, in both my troubles and joys. There never was an instance when He left me alone, not even for a second.
How much God has blessed us! Were God like us, He would perhaps have had mercy on us for two or three times but would eventually have run out of patience. But God is not man, and His patience has no limit. He continues to bestow His ceaseless mercy on us, regardless of whether we do good deeds or not, whether we obey His Word or not. With such loving God, we cannot help but praise, worship and serve Him. King David praised the Lord throughout his entire life, thanking Him for taking care of him every time he was in trouble through the hardships in his life. He confessed, “For by You I can run against a troop, by my God I can leap over a wall” (Psalm 18:29).
How much God has blessed us! We cannot praise Him enough. Would we be satisfied if we built a church as large as the whole world? Would we be satisfied if we built a church that reached the sky? Of course not! We can build the biggest and the most beautiful church that we can ever imagine, but it is not the size or the beauty of the church that matters, but the fact that God works preciously at calling souls, making them hear His Word and allowing them to be born again by believing in His Word. And there is nothing we can do but only praise our Lord for all these blessings. We give thanks to God for allowing us to serve Him, bearing the fruits of His works from what, surely, would have been only wasted lives otherwise.
Aren’t you thankful that God lets you sit in this new retreat center? Our God has blessed us with His boundless grace and has kept us as the apple of His eye. Who are we and what have we done to deserve all His love? We are no one, and we have done nothing. And yet God has made us precious before Him, not because we have anything to show for, but because we have been born again. We were anything but precious before we met Jesus Christ. God made us, who were foaming in our madness and wandering in the desert, destined to die and vanish away into dust and ashes, His children.
How beautiful and great is the love that God has given us! Praise the Lord! Of the many souls in this world, God has saved us with His unconditional love in His righteousness. There is more to salvation than just deliverance. It means that our souls are now in communion with God. It means that His love is now ours. It means that His blessings, too, are ours to claim.
It is by the amazing guidance and encouragement of God that we still find ourselves in His church. Had God not kept us here, how could we be here? Had He not loved us and blessed us, how would we have been able to preach the gospel and serve Him? We can serve God because He is alive, is with us, and has blessed us.
If the Lord had neither kept nor blessed us, we couldn’t have praised Him before, or even now. God has loved, blessed, encouraged and covered us with His merciful hands so that we might serve, follow, praise and worship Him. Is this not true? We praise the Lord with all our hearts for His amazing work and His endless love for us.
God has done so much for those whom He has saved. That He has delivered us, and that He continues to strengthen the faith of the born-again saints, are the proof that God is holding us, and that He is protecting us. God works and fulfills His will through us.
I believe that God has blessed all His churches, the congregations of the born-again, around the world and will bless them forever. We have experienced much hardships, yet God has always been with us, made us endure and continue doing His works, strengthened our spirits and prepared our hearts to have the faith needed to receive more blessings. How great His grace is! I give thanks to the Lord once again.
We can praise the Lord with our whole hearts
“For when we were in the flesh, the sinful passions which were aroused by the law were at work in our members to bear fruit to death. But now we have been delivered from the law, having died to what we were held by, so that we should serve in newness of the Spirit and not in the oldness of the letter” (Romans 7:5-6). The Bible says that when we were in the flesh, the sinful passions that were aroused by the law were at work in our members to bear fruit to death. However, the Bible also says, “Now we have been delivered from the law, having died to what were held by, so that we should serve in newness of the Spirit and not in the oldness of the letter.”
Can the flesh be delivered from sinful passions? A human being has two facets of existence. One is the flesh and the other is the heart. The flesh cannot reach the righteousness of God however hard it may try. Nor can it keep the Law of God. Our flesh can never keep the Law of God even after we are born again, no matter how hard we try. So, the Apostle Paul says, “For when we were in the flesh, the sinful passions which were aroused by the law were at work in our members to bear fruit to death. But now we have been delivered from the law, having died to what were held by.”
Romans 4:15 states, “Because the law brings about wrath; for where there is no law there is no transgression.” We must praise our God with our hearts. God made us praise Him in the newness of the Spirit, not in the oldness of the letter, because we who were held by the Law were already cursed by the wrath of the Law.
The flesh is different from the heart. The flesh is limited but the heart can receive God’s Word and praise Him by faith. The heart can also be delivered from sin.
We have died to the Law. I am dead because I have died to what I was held by. Our flesh is already dead to God. With the flesh, we can neither reach His righteousness nor become justified before the Law of God. The flesh cannot avoid being judged. Yet God the Father sent us His only begotten Son, Jesus Christ, and passed the whole wrath of the Law onto Him, who was then crucified in our place. God thus has enabled us to serve the Lord by faith in the newness of the Spirit, not in the oldness of the letter, which had held us by the Law, under its wrath.
We can now praise the Lord by faith. The heart can praise the Lord, though we still have the flesh. Our hearts can believe that the Lord loves us. We can praise our Lord because we believe that we have died in Christ. God has saved us from the wrath of the Law. God the Father sent His only begotten Son for us, who were held by the curse of the Law and the judgment of God, and when the fullness of the time came, He passed all our sins and the wrath of the Law onto His Son. God has thus saved those who accept His love and believe in Him from their sins, His judgment, and the wrath of the Law. We praise the Lord for wholly saving us from all our sins.
We believe wholeheartedly that God has saved us to His righteousness. We give thanks, praise and glory to God with all our hearts for His love. But can we do these things with the flesh? No. When we were in the flesh, the sinful passions, which were by the Law, worked in our members to bear fruit to death. The flesh dwells only under the wrath of God.
We are now delivered from this wrath of the Law by faith. God made us serve Him by our faith in His love and salvation, not by the oldness of the letter and not by the Law of God’s wrath, even though we are to be judged by the Law.
None of us can serve the Lord with our deeds. Though we have been born again, we cannot serve Him with our flesh. Is there anyone among us who has been disappointed while trying to serve the Lord with the flesh? We can never serve the Lord with the flesh. The sinful passions always reign the flesh. We cannot serve the Lord with our flesh even after we are born again. We can praise God and serve Him only with our hearts by faith. Therefore, when you praise God, believe with your heart and give thanks for His love. Then, the flesh can become an instrument that follows faith.
I praise the Lord who has saved us from all the wrath of the Law, for I believe in Him with my heart. I give thanks to the Lord. He has wholly saved me. He has delivered me from my daily sins and from the curse of the Law. Let there be no doubt: our Lord has saved us. Despite all our weaknesses and shortcomings, God has saved us because He loves us. How marvelous is it that God would make us righteous, even though we are full of shortcomings? How wondrous is it that God would make us His servants?
We can praise God because He has saved us from the wrath of the Law. We can serve the Lord with the Spirit and with our hearts. We can follow the Lord. We give thanks to the Lord, who has delivered us from our sins and His wrath. Do you give thanks to Him? Did our salvation not reveal just how weak we are? How many times have we failed to live by His will, even though we have tried our best to do so? How many times have we been boastful? How many weaknesses do we have? We can never praise the Lord with our flesh and deeds, not now, nor in the future. We praise God for what He has done with our hearts. Only with our hearts and by our faith can we praise the Lord.
We can’t praise the Lord with the flesh
Our own righteousness comes to be broken into pieces while we follow the Lord. The world of the mind and the world of the flesh must be separated. This is the separation of the spirit from the flesh.
Do you believe this? It is useless for us to try with the flesh. When we sing, rejoice, praise, believe, follow and give thanks with our hearts, our flesh can serve the Lord, yielding to our hearts. We praise the Lord and give thanks to Him for our salvation, singing, “♬All my sins are gone, because of Calvary; Life is filled with song, all because of Calvary; Christ my Savior lives to set me free from sin; Someday, He’s coming O wondrous blessed day! All, yes, all because of Calvary. ♬” But we stumble sometimes because of the flesh. We think to ourselves, “Why am I so weak, though I have no sin?” Then we wonder to ourselves, “‘♪All my sins are gone♪’—that’s right—‘♪Life is filled with song♪’—that’s right too— ‘♪All because of Calvary♪’—that’s all right, but why am I so weak? I should give thanks and follow the Lord more joyfully with time, but why am I so full of shortcomings? Ah, my pitiful flesh!”
When we feel sad, God says to us, “Why are you cast down, O my soul? Don’t you know that I am your Savior? I made you righteous.” We can neither serve nor follow God with the flesh. We can serve God by believing in what He did to save us, by loving Him, giving thanks and glorifying Him with our hearts.
I want you to praise God with your heart. I also want you to believe and give thanks to Him with your heart. These things are possible only through our hearts. They are impossible with the flesh. The flesh always remains unchanged even after we are saved. What the Apostle Paul says in the above passage applies to both before and after being saved. God’s Word is the same to those who are saved and to those who are not saved.
Have you continued pleasing God with the flesh after you were saved?
Have you continued pleasing God with the flesh after you were saved? Do you think that you can please God because you are different from the others and that you serve God more than they do? Those who are filled with their own righteousness will someday fall into a ditch. There are some people who have already experienced falling into a ditch and a tub of manure.
There is a sister who fell into a tub of manure in this Summer Bible Meeting. I mean it was a real outhouse, but fortunately it had not been used yet. If somebody had used it before, she would have been mired in real trouble. We dug some deep holes and made some outhouses on that green hill when we prepared this Bible Meeting. Then, we put a footrest on each toilet, but we hadn’t fixed the footrests to each outhouse yet. So, this sister slipped and fell into the hole. God has dug such a hole for those who are filled with their own righteousness. God wants us to glorify only Him.
My soul feels uncomfortable and unsatisfied when I veer from the right path after being saved. When I ponder on why I feel this way, I realize that my clothes are stained with filthiness. I come to know that I am not supposed to go that way, but I soon forget. As soon as I realize this I repent, saying, “I should not do this. What was I thinking? Oh, Lord. I praise You for washing away all my sins.” But I come to sin again in no time. Sometimes I dwell in God’s grace and suddenly fall into sin. Then, I find myself escaping from sin to the grace of God. Back and forth I waver. So, I sigh in grief and despair at my existence.
I came to know just how dirty I was after all my sins were forgiven. I came to deeply understand and thought, “It’s terrible. Why am I so infirm and weak, though I believe in You, God?” The sinful passions, which are aroused by the Law, work in our members. I realized that the more I tried to live according to the Law, the more my flesh fell into the sinful passions. I came to know that the flesh could never follow God. I came to serve the Lord by presenting my flesh as an instrument of the righteousness to God and praised what God blessed after believing in Him with my heart.
The flesh is but a mass of sinful passions
Those who do not know that they are masses of sinful passions are surprised at how quickly they slip into sin when they quit serving the Lord for a while. We must believe in the Lord, praise Him, glorify Him and follow Him with our hearts. To follow Him with the heart is the blessing of the grace of the Lord. Only when we believe in Him with our hearts can we follow Him. When we are in the flesh, the sinful passions, which were aroused by the Law, work in our members to bear fruit to death. When we do not praise or follow the Lord with our hearts, our flesh quickly falls into the sinful passions. All of us have this tendency; so did the Apostle Paul.
Paul remained single all his life, preaching the gospel. But he came to know that sin was revived through the sinful passions of the flesh. He might have thought, “I am afraid. I was filled with joy some time ago, but why am I so gloomy now? What’s wrong with me? I was so spiritual a little while ago, but I feel like trash now.” After thinking it over, he came to understand that he could not serve the Lord without separating the flesh from the heart. “O wretched man that I am! I can’t do good with the flesh.”
The flesh yields to the heart when we praise and follow God with our hearts. Paul realized this truth. We cannot help but sin. Do you understand this? When those who are sinless praise, believe and follow the Lord with their hearts, the flesh follows the heart. A person may think at first, “I have been saved from all my sins. Hallelujah. I am so happy.” But more and more sinful passions are revealed from the person with time. Those who are filled with their own righteousness are more easily disappointed at their own self as the sinful passions come out of them little by little. Though they may not think so, they are actually worse than what they think of themselves.
We must know that our flesh is a mass of sinful passions. We have no confidence in the flesh; you must not depend on it. Instead, believe in God’s grace, glorify the Lord, and follow Him with all your heart. These are possible only through the heart. Praise the Lord, for it is the grace of God that allows me, who was horrible at speaking and was full of my own righteousness, to preach the gospel! How can I do so without the grace of the Lord? I can only praise my Lord.
I give thanks to the Lord who enabled me to praise Him
I give thanks to the Lord who washed away all our sins and gave us the Holy Spirit to make us praise Him with our hearts, not with our flesh. We can praise and glorify Him because we believe in Him with our hearts.
“So we are always confident, knowing that while we are at home in the body we are absent from the Lord” (2 Corinthians 5:6). I praise the Lord who saved us from all our sins. I praise and thank the Lord. I glorify and believe in Him. The Lord saved us from all our sins, even as we were destined to die after living for sinful passions. He allowed us be saved by believing in God with our hearts. He made us praise Him and gave us joy.
Do not try to serve God with the flesh—it is impossible. Do not try to have godliness with the flesh—it cannot be attained. Give up all such efforts of the flesh. How, then, can we follow God? The answer is with our hearts. We can serve Him with the heart, in the newness of the Spirit. Our God has saved us, so follow Him with your heart, which enabled you to receive salvation.
I praise God. How many people lament over themselves? They sigh with grief and torment themselves, saying, “Why do I behave like this?” Do not be like them. It is impossible for you not to commit sin with your flesh. Don’t try to make what is impossible possible. I want you to believe in God and praise Him with your heart. The flesh will then follow the heart. Have you tried to follow the Lord with your flesh for a long time after you were saved? Do you have a problem doing what you are supposed to be doing? If so, the problem is that you have been trying to serve the Lord with the flesh, not with the heart. Do you know what those who disrespect and slander me say? They laugh at me, scorning at me. But I just smile at them, because I know that they don’t know what’s going on in me.
I can preach the gospel because the Lord already washed away all my sins. If the Lord had not washed away all my sins, I would have already been judged and dead to God. God made us perfect by making us one with the Spirit. He made us the ones who praise Him. He made us live with thankful minds. He made us rejoice in His blessings. Praise God! Praise the Lord who made us His children! May all the glory be His and only His!
It is never too late. Put no confidence in your flesh. Sinful passions come out of us at the first and the slightest chance. The flesh always wants to make itself a priority before the will of God. This is why following God’s will is possible only by faith. It is not possible with the flesh. Do not deceive yourself even after being saved. It is still possible for us to fall, despite our salvation, under the dominion of the flesh, because we know well that the flesh is always imperfect and weak.
We are the people of the Spirit, the people of faith. Put no confidence in your flesh. Repeat after me: “My flesh is like a garbage can.” I want you to remember this. Do not trust yourself. We must believe in and follow God with our hearts. I give thanks to the Lord and praise Him for saving us from all the wrath of God’s law. Hallelujah!