“So He got into a boat, crossed over, and came to His own city. Then behold, they brought to Him a paralytic lying on a bed. When Jesus saw their faith, He said to the paralytic, ‘Son, be of good cheer; your sins are forgiven you.’ And at once some of the scribes said within themselves, ‘This Man blasphemes!’ But Jesus, knowing their thoughts, said, ‘Why do you think evil in your hearts? For which is easier, to say, ‘Your sins are forgiven you,’ or to say, ‘Arise and walk’? But that you may know that the Son of Man has power on earth to forgive sins’—then He said to the paralytic, ‘Arise, take up your bed, and go to your house.’ And he arose and departed to his house. Now when the multitudes saw it, they marveled and glorified God, who had given such power to men. As Jesus passed on from there, He saw a man named Matthew sitting at the tax office. And He said to him, ‘Follow Me.’ So he arose and followed Him. Now it happened, as Jesus sat at the table in the house, that behold, many tax collectors and sinners came and sat down with Him and His disciples. And when the Pharisees saw it, they said to His disciples, ‘Why does your Teacher eat with tax collectors and sinners?’ When Jesus heard that, He said to them, ‘Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick. But go and learn what this means: ‘I desire mercy and not sacrifice.’ For I did not come to call the righteous, but sinners, to repentance.’”
Through today’s Scripture passage, I hope to share God’s blessings with all of you. The passage above describes Jesus’ healing of a paralytic. When people brought a paralytic to Jesus, He said to him, “Son, be of good cheer; your sins are forgiven you.” At that time, hearing what Jesus said, some of the scribes thought to themselves, “This Man blasphemes! He is so arrogant!” Knowing what these scribes thought, Jesus said to them, “Why do you think evil in your hearts? For which is easier, to say, ‘Your sins are forgiven you,’ or to say, ‘Arise and walk’? But that you may know that the Son of Man has power on earth to forgive sins.” There was no way that Jesus would not know the hearts of the scribes. This is why He said to them, “Why do you think evil in your hearts?”
What, then, is evil thought? It is to disbelieve in the power of the Lord. Not knowing who the Lord is and not believing in Him are precisely what is evil. Jesus has forgiven all our sins except the sin of blaspheming the Holy Spirit, which is the only sin that cannot be forgiven. This sin is not believing in Jesus, and not believing in the gospel of the water and the Spirit that He fulfilled. Therefore it is impossible for those who commit this kind of sin to become sinless. If we were to speak of the greatest sin of all sins, it is the sin of unbelief. This sin of unbelief is a million times greater than the sins that we commit with our acts. Not believing in Him is the most evil and greatest sin of all.
As four men brought a paralytic to Jesus, Jesus immediately said to him, “Son, be of good cheer; your sins are forgiven you.” At that time, there were scribes standing by Jesus. The scribes were men of considerable education and training. In today’s parlance, they were equivalent to public officials. So these scribes were the public officials of the state of Israel at that time. Hearing what Jesus said to the paralytic, they thought to themselves, “He is so arrogant! He is the most arrogant one among those I have ever seen! How dare one say, ‘Son, your sins are forgiven you’? I can’t grasp how this Man called Jesus can say such words! He is blasphemous!” They thought that Jesus uttered words that no man should utter. Since Jesus said, “Son, your sins are forgiven you,” these scribes, who did not believe Jesus to be God, could not help but think in this way.
Jesus Is God to Everyone
In this age and time, when we watch TV, we often come across some religious leaders making their frequent appearances and saying, “I have forgiven your sins.” Since these people, as mere human beings, are saying such words as if they were God, we can only consider them as being extremely arrogant.
The scribes in today’s Scripture passage also thought like this, considering Jesus to be utterly arrogant. They didn’t say so in words, but Jesus still knew what they were thinking, and He told them that they thought evil in their hearts. He rebuked their evil thoughts by saying, “I said this so that you may know that the Son of Man has power on earth to forgive sins.” And He actually wanted everyone to realize that Jesus Christ who came as the Son of Man indeed had the power to forgive sins.
We say that someone is blasphemous when this person, in his arrogance and pride, does not know his proper place and tries to exalt himself beyond God. The scribes thought that what Jesus said was arrogant blasphemy because they did not believe that He was indeed God Himself and the Son of God. But this was only a reflection of their evilness, for Jesus was in fact God. Jesus is the Lord of all things who created mankind and the universe, and He is the Lord of all hosts, of all things that are found in the domain of this entire universe.
This is who Jesus actually is for us, but the scribes did not realize His standing. Jesus told them that they had evil thoughts because He knew that this was how they thought of Him. So He said, “I said what I said so that you may know that the Son of Man has power on earth to forgive sins. If I had instead said, ‘Son, rise up, pick up your bed, and go to your home,’ and if the paralytic got up, took up his bed and went to his home, perhaps you would have understood this. But this is not the case.”
Our Lord explained this by contrasting two different ways that He could have said, asking the scribes, “Which is easier, to say, ‘Your sins are forgiven you,’ or to say, ‘Arise and walk’?” Which do you think the scribes considered easier? It would have been acceptable for them had Jesus said, “Son, be healed from your paralysis, take up your bed and walk,” rather than saying, “Son, your sins are forgiven you.” But because Jesus was the Son of God, the Absolute Being, whose power was far greater than this, He said, “Your sins are forgiven you,” so that people may know that the Lord has the power to forgive the sins of mankind. It was to let them know that Jesus had this authority to forgive sins that He said this.
When we profess to believe in this Jesus, we all believe that He is the Creator who made the universe and the Savior who has saved us from all our sins. But actually, there are times when we lower His standing, because for God the Father, Jesus is His Son. However, although Jesus is indeed the Son of God, He Himself is in His essence God the Almighty also. Jesus is God Himself who has the power to forgive mankind’s sins, and He is our Savior. And Jesus Christ came to this earth and actually blotted out all our sins with His baptism and His blood on the Cross.
What is your understanding of who Jesus is, and how do you believe in Him in your hearts? Do you not, by any chance, believe in Jesus as the scribes had believed? When Peter believed in Jesus and made his confession of faith, he said, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.” How do you regard Jesus, and who do you believe He is? Do you really believe that Jesus Christ is the true God Himself? There is God the Father to Jesus Christ, but for you and me, Jesus Christ is the same God.
Have You Recognized Jesus Properly?
When Jesus came to this world, He was actually denounced and despised, treated as a negligible person. The Bible says, “He was in the world, and the world was made through Him, and the world did not know Him” (John 1:10). In other words, He who is the Creator and the Lord of all of us came to this world, but the world did not recognize this Lord and failed to receive Him as such. Who exactly did not receive Him? Everyone in this world.
Have we not forgotten this truth, though we have been saved from all our sins by believing in Him through the gospel of the water and the Spirit? Have you not, by any chance, forgotten about who Jesus is, ignoring His honor and dignity, setting Him aside behind your back? There is the Father above Jesus Christ, but for us, “God the Father,” the Father of Jesus Christ, is God, and so is Jesus Christ the same God and Absolute One. Why? Because He is our Lord, and because He actually came to this earth and has saved us from all our sins through the gospel of the water and the Spirit. Not only does He have the authority to forgive our sins, but He is also our Lord, and the Creator who actually made us all. He is in fact our Lord, God and the Savior for everyone.
Have you not, by any chance, looked down on Jesus? Are we not, in other words, thinking of Jesus as somehow lower than God the Father, since He is the Son of God, in spite of the fact that Jesus is God Himself? From a human point of view, many people have a tendency to think of Jesus Christ to be one level below His Father. But Jesus is also the true God for us (1 John 5:20). To His Father, Jesus Christ is indeed the Son, but for us He is God. This faith is extremely important.
Jesus is God Himself who must not be ignored at all, the Almighty and Omnipotent One who must not be lowered ever so slightly. Disbelieving in the deity of Jesus is equivalent to committing the sin of blasphemy. The God who has not only become the Savior that has saved us from all our sins, but is also our actual Lord, is none other than Jesus Christ.
Unless we have the faith that knows and believes in Jesus correctly, we are bound to have evil thoughts like the scribes. And we end up despising Jesus. How evil is it for us to accuse Jesus of blasphemy? How wicked is it not to believe in Him? Not believing in Him is the greatest sin of all. It is because people do not believe in Him that they are bound to hell.
You and I must believe in Jesus Christ as our Savior and the Son of God. We must never think of our Jesus as being inferior to God the Father. We must believe in Jesus as God Himself who has no insufficiency. Jesus Christ is God for us. He is the very God who is coequal with the Father.
When Jesus Christ came to this earth, He did so by lowering Himself to an unimaginable extent. It was to save mankind from sin that Jesus Christ came to this earth incarnated in the flesh of man. But, undeserving of His standing, just how little respect did He get, and just how much was He despised? How much suffering did He embrace whenever He was despised beyond measure?
Do we, the born-again, not get angry inside when those who have not been born again boast of themselves, ignore us and despise us? This is because in our hearts we have faith that we are the people of God, and because we indeed belong to Jesus and will reign with Him. Because we are God’s people, we are fundamentally different from those in this world who do not believe in Jesus Christ. We are new creation, while they are old creation, and they are to perish, while we are to enjoy eternal life and reign with Jesus. This is why when we are ignored or mocked by those who are not yet born again, our pride is injured and we feel completely indignant.
So when we ourselves are like this, how would Jesus, God Himself, have felt? We cannot even imagine how insulting He must have felt whenever His own, mere creatures ignored Him, God the Creator.
When four men brought a paralytic before Jesus, He said to him, “Son, your sins are forgiven. Stand up and walk.” This was something that Jesus was more than qualified to say. Jesus said this to the paralytic because he truly believed that Jesus was the Son of God and the Absolute One. This paralytic really believed in his heart that Jesus was his Savior and God Himself. He believed, in other words, that Christ came to this earth incarnated in the flesh of man and saved him.
It is because he had approached Jesus with such a heart that our Lord, knowing the center of his heart, said to him, “Son, your sins are forgiven you.” It was because the paralytic recognized who Jesus was and believed in Him that he was actually forgiven from all his sins by faith.
This is why it is so important for us to realize who exactly Jesus is when we profess to believe in Him. If we do not have the proper recognition and understanding of Jesus, then all our faith is bound to fall down. It is when we know God correctly that our faith becomes whole. Unless we know Jesus Christ properly when we believe in Him, our hearts cannot stand on firm faith, even if we have been saved from our sins by believing in the gospel of the water and the Spirit. Those who do not have the correct faith cannot stand upright. Although they have come to know the knowledge that enables them to receive the remission of sin, they do not know how to be led, whom to obey, or how to live. And eventually, they come to abandon their faith.
That’s why we have to believe in not only this gospel, but we must live the kind of life that believes in Jesus and follows Him. If we have been remitted from our sins by believing in Jesus Christ, then we have become His people who must obey His will according to His commandments. It is only proper that Jesus would give the remission of sin to and command over not only us the people of God, but everyone in this world.
So what Jesus said was only proper for Him to say, and yet because people did not quite realize who Jesus was, they failed to understand the Word of truth that He spoke.
Jesus Christ Himself, in other words, can forgive our sins. There is no other name by which we can be remitted from our sins. It is written in the Bible, “Nor is there salvation in any other, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved” (Acts 4:12). In today’s Scripture passage, Jesus Himself also said, “For I did not come to call the righteous, but sinners, to repentance” (Matthew 9:13). Only Jesus has such authority.
Actually, what appears quite formidable in our eyes is rather simple to Him. We must believe in Him from His standpoint. Based on such faith, we call upon God first whenever we pray. By doing so, we confess that He is God, and we call on not only God the Father, but Jesus and the Holy Spirit as well. For us, God the Father is God, as is Jesus Christ God, and so is the Holy Spirit. Because the Triune God is one God, when we call on His name and believe in Him, we should not think of Jesus or the Holy Spirit as the God who is somehow inferior to God the Father. Rather, we must think of them as the same God.
Since the God of Trinity is actually the same God, we must all believe so without fail. God the Father, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit differ from one another only in positions and roles, but for us, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit are still all the same God. Therefore, whenever we pray, and whenever we think of Jesus and call on Him, we must believe Him as the truly omnipotent and omniscient God, the God who has the power to forgive mankind’s sins and to judge them all.
In our hearts, there must be this faith that believes in Jesus Christ as God, as the Absolute One who reigns over all of us. When we have this kind of faith, we do not get lost and go astray from the righteous way, but we can live in such a way that makes our lives relevant to all the Word of Jesus Christ. Why? It is because Jesus is God, our Absolute One, that we cannot consider what He has done as useless acts, but we accept His works as the absolute Word that must be believed and followed. Therefore, we never react adversely to the fact that Jesus has forgiven our sins, and that Jesus rules over us. It is only natural for us to be ruled and led by Him, and for us, this in itself is a source of our happiness. Is this not the case for you?
To this very day, the question of whether or not Jesus is God or a man is the issue that has been most frequently argued and contested by theologians, and with no conclusion in sight, there is no end to this debate. Many of them cannot even explain the doctrine of Trinity when asked about it. As a result, though they claim to believe in Jesus as their Savior, their sins still remain intact in their hearts; they say that Jesus has saved them, but they do not know the true remission of sin; and in extreme cases, the religious pluralists even say that there is salvation in other religions as well.
Because they do not know the deity of Jesus and do not believe in it, they have not been saved from their sins even as they profess to adhere to Christianity. And they claim that one can find his salvation and enter the Kingdom of Heaven even through a non-Christian religion, justifying themselves by invoking the need to find peaceful harmony with other religions. This is why they are all bound to perish.
What led these so-called doctors of divinity to say such things? They say these things because they do not know who Jesus really is, and they do not believe that He is God Himself. So while they recognize that He is the Savior who has the power to forgive sins, when it comes to the question of whether He is a man or God, they do not realize that He is in fact God. Their faith is like a house built on sand, and it will fall down all at once in a blink of eye.
The Ruin of a Powerful Cult Founder
There was a famous founder of a Christian cult that used to be quite influential all over Korea for a while. Before he established his cult, he used be an elder in the Presbyterian Church. One day, an amazing, miraculous power descended on him. Whenever he laid his hands on people in the name of Jesus, they were healed from their illnesses, and so many people began to revere and follow him. He eventually left the Presbyterian Church to establish his own denomination. Wearing white garments and standing before many, he exercised his seemingly miraculous power, and whenever he did so, his followers jumped around, clapped their hands, and shouted out in joy, all together making quite an impressive scene. His followers completely lost their reason, stuffing his treasury with their precious jewelry, from gold to silver. Just by holding a single meeting, he could gather enough precious jewelry and treasures to fill several large bags, and so he became extremely wealthy in no time, buying up huge tracts of land and houses.
Although he had accumulated his great wealth by exercising such wonders and miracles in the name of Jesus, because he did not believe in Jesus as God Himself, nor in God and in the Word of God as well, when he was facing his last days, he ended up cursing and blaspheming Jesus. He then ordered his minions to remove every cross from his churches. In the end, he came to deny Jesus, and his faith crumbled down entirely. Such was the end of one who did not believe in Jesus as God.
The root of our faith that believes in Jesus Christ as our Savior is the fact that “Jesus is God.” Only when we believe that Jesus Christ is God can we believe that He came to this earth incarnated in the flesh of man for us, took upon our sins by being baptized, died on the Cross, and has thereby saved us. It is by believing in this that we can receive the remission of our sins. Only when we believe in the deity of Jesus can we recognize that all the Word that Jesus spoke is true, and follow it.
Unless you believe that Jesus is God, your faith is bound to crumble without fail, no matter how ardently you might believe Him to be your Savior. And in the end, when you happen to face some spiritual troubles while serving the Lord, you are bound to also abandon Jesus and God the Father. Therefore, it is extremely important for us to believe that Jesus is our Savior, the God of creation, and the Lord of judgment as well.
The reason why the scribes in today’s Scripture passage failed in their faith despite believing in God is because they did not recognize who Jesus was. In contrast, the paralytic in the passage recognized Jesus as God and believed Him to be so in his heart, and because of this He was told by Jesus, “Son, your sins are forgiven you”—he thus received the blessing of the remission of his sins, was completely healed from his illness, and could now return to his home with a sound body. The scribes, on the other hand, were rebuked, because they did not realize who Jesus was and did not believe in Him. They were not only rebuked, but they also failed to receive the remission of their sins, and they remained bound to the eternal pit of fire.
The Lord Came to Call Such Weak Ones as Ourselves
Jesus said, “I did not come to call the righteous, but sinners, to repentance.” This is why the Bible also calls Jesus Christ as the Son of Man, who was born unto this earth through the body of a virgin named Mary, seemingly as a son of a man. Because God became a son of a human being, and because the Almighty God came as a son of a man to save us, He is also called as the Son of Man. Jesus, the true God, came to save all humanity as the Son of Man, but while one man, the paralytic, recognized Him, another kind of people failed to recognize Him. Here lies the crossroad that leads everyone either to salvation or to non-salvation.
Therefore, having faith in the deity of Jesus is as indispensably important as for us to have faith in the gospel of the water and the Spirit. To believe that Jesus is God is the basic foundation of faith, and it is this faith that will sustain our spiritual lives until the very last days.
Theologians and countless people have debated over the issue of whether Jesus is human or divine, and this debate is still not over. But with faith, we can resolve this issue once for all. Jesus is God. He is the Almighty God. Just as God the Father is the Almighty God, as is also the Holy Spirit, so is Jesus Christ.
Jesus Is Our God the Savior and the Son of God
Genesis 1:2 says, “The earth was without form, and void; and darkness was on the face of the deep. The Spirit of God was hovering over the face of the waters.”
The “Spirit of God” here refers to the Holy Spirit. That the Spirit of God was hovering over the face of the waters means that the Holy Spirit was hovering over this atmosphere. God then created everything one by one with His Word. In Genesis 1 to 2, which gives the account of God’s creation of the heavens and the earth, it is not just God who is mentioned, but His Son and the Holy Spirit are also mentioned. When God made man, He said, “Let Us make man in Our image.” So from this expression “Our,” we can see clearly that God is triune.
When God created the heavens and the earth in the beginning, He said, “Let there be light.” This passage also speaks about Jesus Christ. The passage, “The Spirit of God was hovering over the face of the waters,” refers to the Holy Spirit. So God the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit are all one God.
All the three Persons of the Triune God are the same Almighty God. We must not forget that we have been saved by believing in all these three Persons of the Triune God. My dear fellow Christians, do you believe that Jesus is God the Almighty and Absolute, and that He is the Savior? Everyone must believe this truth, for it is extremely important. So we must reaffirm this faith in our hearts over and over again. We must place this truth in our hearts and reaffirm it.
No matter how ardently we believe in Jesus as our Savior, if we do not believe in His Person as the Absolute God, then our faith is bound to collapse. This kind of faith that is bound to collapse and melt away is without boldness, and it makes us unable to realize our status as the children of God and His workers. As such, it becomes impossible for us to have any pride. People who are in this kind of faith adhere to Christianity merely as one of the religions of the world, and regard Jesus as merely the founder of their religion. As a result, they end up thinking, “So I must have believed in just one of the many religions of the world,” and perish away. It is my hope and prayer that your faith is not this kind of spineless faith.
When I understood the gospel Truth of the water and the Spirit, I came to realize that the doctrinal faith, no matter how long one might have studied, is all in vain, and is nothing more than leaven. There are various kinds of theology that are no different from the secular knowledge of this world, which must be dumped into garbage cans. Such useless scholarship that has neither the answers nor the truth, but only generates controversies day after day, amounts to no more than leaven.
In particularly, let me warn you that the born-again and those who want to be born again must avoid it. Our Lord Jesus says, “Take heed and beware of the leaven of the Pharisees and the Sadducees” (Matthew 16:6). Why? Because once someone eats this kind of leavened bread, it is hard to be born again, and if the born-again eats such leavened bread, they are bound to die. I am so thankful for this life of faith that I now have, where I have encountered the gospel of the water and the Spirit and am led by Jesus Christ my God.
We must realize and believe that Jesus is absolutely God Himself for you and me. Jesus is the Absolute One. Jesus Christ is the Absolute God. He is the true God who has the same authority, power, strength, and sovereignty as God the Father.
Jesus once said to Phillip, “He who has seen Me has seen the Father” (John 14:9). Until now, no one has seen God the Father, but he who has seen Jesus has already seen the Father. This is because Jesus is God Himself. And Jesus also says that He has the power on earth to forgive sins. We must have faith in the Word of God. It is my wholehearted desire that you and I would all hold this faith in our hearts.
While I would really like us to have this kind of faith, in this world, there are many people who are like the scribes. We need to be well aware of this fact. When we preach the gospel, for those who do not believe that Jesus is God, no matter how much we telling them about the gospel of the water and the Spirit, it is all in vain. This is because when such people hear the Word without believing deep in their hearts that Jesus is God, what they hear only turns into a mere doctrine.
If you and I do not want to become such people, there must be faith in our hearts, believing that Jesus who has saved us is fundamentally God Himself. The Word of Truth can work in our lives only when we have faith in Jesus as the God of creation who made the whole universe and everything in it, faith in Him as the Savior, and faith in Him as the God of judgment.
Jesus is alive even now, and He reigns over us as the Absolute God. Having become our Shepherd, He leads us to good places, and He also rules over everyone alike—the wicked and the good, and the believers and the unbelievers. We must believe that none other than Jesus Christ is this God. We must know that this very Jesus Christ whom we believe in and hold onto as our God is running the universe.
Who Do You Think Jesus Is?
Who do you think Jesus Christ is? Do you think He is God, or do you think He is a sage among humans? Do you think of Jesus as God, and do you believe in Him as God?
Jesus cannot be compared to mere creations, for He, with God the Father and the Holy Spirit, is the One who created the heavens and the earth and everything in the universe from the beginning. Who made and runs this galaxy? Who established order in the universe and runs this entire universe with the utmost precision? It is Jesus Christ.
The name Jesus means the Savior, and the name Christ means the anointed King. This means, in other words, that Jesus is God Himself. Jesus Christ our God is now running this universe and everything in it. Both Heaven and hell are also under the domain of Jesus Christ.
The reason why I continue to emphasize that our hearts must have this faith is because faith springs forth from hearing the Word, just as the Bible says, “Faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God” (Romans 10:17). Your faith that is based upon God’s Word will give you the strength to overcome any persecution or tribulation to come. This is why you must continue to hear the Word and fortify your faith, believing that Jesus Christ is the Absolute God, and that you have been born again through the gospel of the water and the Spirit.
By this concrete faith, you can actually receive God’s help in your everyday life. And you can be bold, and your prayers can be answered whenever you pray to God by placing your faith in Jesus as the Absolute God. Such knowledge and faith is what strengthens the power of your prayers.
Christianity has spread widely throughout the whole world, but in reality, not even its foundation has been laid out solidly. This foundation was built during the Early Church period, but it crumbled down in no time. Regardless of how long the history of Christianity might be, because its foundation was lost, its history had to be rewritten.
Take a look at the famous professors and doctors of theology in this world. Even as they are criticized and denounced explicitly, they cannot say a word in return, and when they are asked to criticize fallacious doctrines or arguments, they are unable do raise any critique at all. All that they try to do is to pick a hole with something else that their eyes can see, but because they know nothing about the Truth, they cannot provide any serious critique. When those who claim to believe in the Word of God do not even understand it, nor believe in it properly, isn’t it only obvious that they have no spiritual discernment?
When I first published small pamphlets containing the gospel of the water and the Spirit, some pastors and theologians tried to denounce me, since some aspects of what I wrote seemed to be different from what they believed. But when they compared what I said to the Word of the Scriptures, they could not find anything to criticize, and so they put off the debate for a while. Several years have passed since then, but they are yet to say a single word against me to this day.
Open the Bible. Written in the Bible is the gospel of the baptism that Jesus received and of His Cross. It speaks of water, which is the baptism that Jesus received from John. We can find the gospel Word of the water and the Spirit everywhere in the Scriptures.
However, because they fundamentally have no fear of God, they don’t care about the Word of God, and they even try to attack the Truth with their worldly knowledge, which God said is no more than excrements. It is because Jesus is God that He came to this earth, was baptized, shed His blood to death, and rose from the dead again, all to save us personally. Yet despite this, people who know nothing are propounding and arguing for fallacious doctrines that distort the truth and are completely baseless. Those who believe in God must fear Him, return to His Word, believe in Jesus who is God Himself, and truly believe in the gospel of the water and the Spirit fulfilled by Jesus.
Christ is the Prophet, the Son of God, and the heavenly High Priest. This Jesus who came to this earth is the King of kings who bore all our sins and blotted them all out. The King of all is Christ, and the Son of the living God is Jesus.
When Peter confessed, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God,” he meant that Jesus is the Absolute God. He is the Son of God and the true God, who created the universe and all things in it, and who has saved us perfectly as well. While He is God Himself, because He has a Father, He is the Son of God the Father. Our Lord is the Christ, the Son of the living God. It was after Peter made this confession of faith that he was approved by Jesus.
As Peter’s faith was approved, with Jesus saying to him, “Your faith is correct,” he was so overwhelmed that he stood against the righteous way of Jesus with his carnal thought. When Jesus said, “I must be crucified to death,” Peter was so emotionally overwhelmed that without even realizing the reason why Jesus would die, he blindly objected to His death, saying, “Far be it from You, Lord; this shall not happen to You!” Jesus then said to Peter, “Get behind Me, Satan!” Jesus did not tolerate that anyone, even Peter, would spoil God’s plan overwhelmed by his carnal emotions. That’s why He rebuked him harshly.
There are times when we also behave like Peter. At times, even as we have worked really hard for the Lord, God’s servants might rebuke us that what we did was not right. It is when we are overwhelmed by our carnal emotions, and when we are overzealous in our desire to serve God, that we often make the mistakes that Peter made.
There are many times when we make mistakes from our failure to discern what is spiritual from what is carnal. In other words, we often fail to discern what is spiritually beneficial to us. For example, in dealing with those who are insufficient, we need to show our patience when patience is needed. But we have to reproach them when spiritual mistakes are made, and they need to be rebuked. What we must realize here is that if we mistakenly think being kind to each other only in the flesh is the same as the true love, and if we behave like this, then this will lead us to our destruction.
At any rate, we must realize that Jesus is God, believe in His baptism and bloodshed, and live our lived led by God. And sinners really must realize that they absolutely need Jesus, and they must look for Him. The salvation that Jesus Christ, the Absolute One and God Himself, has brought to us through the gospel of the water and the Spirit, is absolutely needed by all sinners.
It is because all sinners need the gospel of water and the Spirit that the righteous who already believe in this gospel must preach it to these sinners. As it is written, “Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick,” we have to deliver the true gospel even more to those who really know their sinfulness and therefore are suffering from their sins. Actually, everyone in this world needs Jesus, but there are those who do not realize this need. As a result, they will end up becoming unbelievers in Jesus.
We must believe that Jesus is the Absolute God, that He has blotted out all the sins of the world through His baptism and His bloodshed on the Cross, and we must thank Him for all these things. However, there are many people who do not believe so. Because they do not believe in the gospel of the water and the Spirit, they will all be destroyed in the midst of their sins.
In order for us to receive the remission of our sins and to have concrete faith in God, we have to believe in Jesus as the Absolute God. This is what is truly crucial. You and I must never forget but always believe in the fact that it is because we have been remitted from our sins and truly accepted Jesus as our God that we have been delivered from our destruction.
Indeed, we had been sick from the illnesses of sin, but by encountering Jesus Christ the Son of God, we have been healed from all our spiritual diseases. This was such an important and precious event. As someone who could not avoid but be cast into the everlasting fire, we had been destined to be destroyed; yet God had so much compassion for us that He revealed Himself to us, among all people, and has bestowed His grace of salvation on us. This is how we have been saved.
Our Lord said, “I did not come to call the righteous, but sinners.”
Who needs the Lord? He is needed by sinners like us who know the diseases of sin and want to be healed. Because He is our Savior and the Absolute God, we who had been spiritually sick needed Him desperately. Were it not for this God, the Absolute One, we could have never avoided but face our destruction. This is why Jesus, God Himself, had to become our own Shepherd. So it is because this God has actually delivered you and me from our sins that we have become who we are now—that is, we are God’s own people.
We were such beings that could be saved only if Jesus saved us. Jesus had to embrace us with His almighty power. There is a future for us only if He takes responsibility for our afterlife. He is the Being who is absolutely needed by all of us. Those who think that they have no need for Him may not believe in Him, but you and I believe in Him and follow Him, for we need Him desperately. We need God for every moment and every second.
I know only too well that because I am so insufficient and weak, I have no choice but to believe in Him and rely on Him, and I do indeed need Him desperately. What about you then? Do you also need Him desperately? Or do you not need Him that desperately? Everyone must in fact need Jesus desperately, and must believe in Him absolutely. We must pray by faith and live by faith.
Since we have become God’s children by faith, there is even more reason for us to live by absolute faith. As such, we have become immensely blessed ones in this world. I am so thankful for this. Receiving the remission of sin may not seem to amount to much, but what is hidden in it is truly amazing.
My dear fellow believers, reading this sermon may not seem like such a big deal, but it is in fact an amazing blessing, and while for us to serve the Lord may not appear as something that important, it is in fact the greatest thing in this world, the likes of which are not found in this world.
Does the fact that we have been remitted from all our sins seem unimportant to you? If so, it is time for you to wake up. We, who have received the remission of our sins, are truly great people. We are the extraordinary men and women who have received our amazing salvation, who have become God’s own children, and who believe in this majestic God.
It is my sincerest hope and prayer that you would all keep this faith to the end, and serve the gospel in union with God’s Church until the day you meet the Lord. Together, let us all believe faithfully, let us serve our God diligently, and let us then meet our Lord in joy.
I give all my thanks to God. I admonish each and every one of you to believe that Jesus is the Absolute God.