“And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of Man be lifted up, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have eternal life. 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. For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved. He who believes in Him is not condemned; but he who does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God. And this is the condemnation, that the light has come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil. For everyone practicing evil hates the light and does not come to the light, lest his deeds should be exposed. But he who does the truth comes to the light, that his deeds may be clearly seen, that they have been done in God.”
What was in God the Father’s mind when He sent us His only begotten Son? In His mind was His profound love for all of us. There can be no doubt whatsoever that God the Father loves us. No one would ever give up his own beloved son for someone whom he hates. It was because God the Father loved us so much that He could give up His beloved, only begotten Son.
As I meditate on the Word of the Bible, I think deeply about how God must have felt when He sent His Son into the world. And through the Word of God, I came to realize just how great His love for us is, and words cannot thank Him for this love. If God had no love for us in His heart, how would the Lord Himself have come to this earth and fulfilled His works of salvation? If He had not loved us, what meaning would His acts of sacrifice have? It is fundamentally because God loves us that the works of salvation He fulfilled can touch our hearts, and we are exceedingly grateful to Him. The very fact that there is love for us in God’s heart leads us to thank Him even more profoundly. And we can also experience God’s love in all its depth.
John 3:16 describes God’s special love for us very well. Because God the Father loved us, He gave us Jesus, His only begotten Son. And God revealed His love for us not just with words, but He showed us this love with His own deeds. See for yourself what kind of love this God has given us. Jesus accepted all our sins through the baptism He received from John the Baptist, and by being crucified, He ended the condemnation of the sins of this world. And He arose from the dead in three days, ascended to the Kingdom of Heaven, and promised us that He would return to this earth again. That we have received this amazing love—the love with which God the Father gave us His Son, the love with which Jesus sacrificed Himself—is so overwhelming that words cannot describe all our gratefulness. The work of the gospel of the water and the Spirit was initiated by God who loved us. It was because God truly loved us that He could send us His only begotten Son, pass our sins onto this only Son, crucify Him, and resurrect Him; and God the Father will send Him again to this earth with His second coming.
What Is Truly Valuable for Human Beings?
What is the most precious thing for human beings? It is neither money, nor any fame, nor any power. What is most needed by and most valuable to mankind is eternal life and the love of God. If we have accepted the love of God into our hearts, we can persevere and endure through any hardship, and we can also wait for Him. And in this love we can enjoy true rest, and receive new strength and peace. From where do all these blessings flow? They all flow from this heart of God that loves us.
It is by abiding in this love of God that all of us are living our lives of faith in peace. When we are tired and weary in our struggles, we are strengthened by God’s love. Put differently, it is His love that strengthens us the most in all times, times of both happiness and sadness. It’s God’s love that has settled us in the Lord’s heart and made us dwell in it. It is when we know and believe that God loves us exceedingly that our hearts can receive new strength as we carry on with our lives. The source of the strength that enables us to continue to live spiritually in this world is this love of God the Father for us. Because God loves us, we receive the strength to go on day after day, today and tomorrow, and it is by this strength that we are actually carrying on with our lives.
If God had no love for us in His heart, our life itself would be non-existent. If God were to turn His face from us or have no interest in us, this itself would mean our spiritual death. If we cling to someone who is not interested in us at all, and whose heart has completely left us, then our hearts would lose all strengths. As we carry on with our lives, we should never forget that God made us, has saved us from all our sins, and protects us always. If we ever feel as if God has abandoned us, then we will end up as a kite whose string has snapped. It is because we believe in God’s love that we can also have faith in Him. Our lives of faith entirely depend on whether we have received God’s love for us or not. It is because we know and believe that God has a fundamentally loving heart for us that we can carry on with our lives by trusting in Him and following Him. It is by believing in His love that we are living spiritually in this world day by day. From the very fact that we are living spiritually in this world, we can realize just how much God loves us. God’s love that is found in His heart is what enables us to live spiritually. That we are now living by the love of God itself proves that He loves us exceedingly with His heart. And those who know and believe in this are the truly happy ones.
We Live by Feeding on God’s Loving Heart
It is thanks to God’s love that we are enjoying all its benefits in our lives. It is because of the loving heart of God the Father that we are now living. Do you believe so? And our Lord, with His loving heart for us, also keeps us as the apple of His eye. We are loved so much by God in our lives.
Is there anything excellent in your abilities? You may have some merits and win power in this world through them, but this can never quench your soul’s fundamental emptiness. There probably were times like these when your life felt quite empty and meaningless. In some ways, we may say that it was when our lives had nothing special and were only hopeless and tiresome, that we were saved through the gospel of the water and the Spirit that God gave us. When we were tired and weary of our sins, and when we were exhausted with an emptiness that was never filled no matter how diligently we had lived, our Lord came to meet us through the gospel of the water and the Spirit. This gospel of the water and the Spirit was the light of salvation of Jesus, who took away all our sins, emptiness, tears, insufficiencies, weaknesses and iniquities.
When we really think about the reason why we live, we cannot deny the fact that it is because of the Lord’s love that we live. It is because we know and believe that Jesus also has love for us in His heart. No matter what good deeds we might do before God, and no matter how much He might bless us materially, give us health and everything that is good, if He fundamentally did not have a loving heart for us, all these things would be no more than materials that will pass away. Those who have received the remission of sin and have spiritually become God’s children are not pleased by just these materials that are devoid of God’s love.
It is the loving heart of God the Father from which we draw the strength to carry on with our lives. The reason why God gave us His only begotten Son is also because of this loving heart that He had for us. God loved us so much that He gave us His only begotten Son for us, so that we may not perish. And God loved us so much that He not only gave us His only begotten Son, but He also completed the work that saves all souls.
Through today’s Bible passage, we can see and appreciate God’s heart toward us. To reiterate what God did for us because He loved us, we know that He made us because He loved us, and He also sent His Son to save us; and we know that Jesus, God Himself, gave up His own body and sacrificed Himself because He loved us. When we receive a letter, we don’t just read what is written there, but we read the very heart of the writer that is hidden in his words, and it is this heart that pleases us, draws our gratefulness and moves us. Likewise, it is when we see God’s heart of love buried and held in His Word that we are inspired. When we read the Bible, we can all realize that God loved us so much that He sent us His only begotten Son Jesus. God the Father, our Lord, and God the Holy Spirit all love us so much. Our hearts have melted before God’s exceeding love, and through the gospel of the water and the Spirit, we have become sinless and are living our lives with God as His own children.
The Lord Did Not Come to Condemn Us!
It is written in John 3:17-18, “For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved. He who believes in Him is not condemned; but he who does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.” Whoever believes in this love of God is saved by accepting and believing in all the ministries of this Son Jesus whom God the Father sent to deliver us from our sins. However, he who does not know that God the Father has a loving heart for him cannot accept Jesus. And this person cannot accept the true salvation that Jesus fulfilled through the gospel of the water and the Spirit. Whoever does not believe in the God the Father’s heart cannot believe in Jesus. Only when we believe that God the Father loves us with His heart can we accept all these things that Jesus, whom God had sent to save us, did for us, and only then can those of us who thus believe be saved.
Jesus continued to say in verses 19-21 in today’s Scripture passage, “And this is the condemnation, that the light has come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil. For everyone practicing evil hates the light and does not come to the light, lest his deeds should be exposed. But he who does the truth comes to the light, that his deeds may be clearly seen, that they have been done in God.”
Put differently, it is essentially because God loves us that He has saved us. We must believe that God has loved us always, both before and after we were saved. If we do not know this love, then we are bound to betray the Lord, and our faith is bound to stumble. God has made us, who have been saved through the gospel of the water and the Spirit, His own children, and as a result He can now freely bestow on us all His blessings and grace. My fellow believers, do you believe in this love of God?
It is written, “The letter kills, but the Spirit gives life” (2 Corinthians 3:6). If you take a literal approach to the Word of God, you may think that the Bible says so many strange things, since it says in some places, “You will surely die,” while it also says in other places, “You will surely live.” However, when we grasp God’s heart hidden in the letter, we can also know why He is saying like this. It is critically important for us to know the loving heart of God.
Between our brothers and sisters, and between the servants of God and His saints alike, we must be able to appreciate each other’s heart. If we do not appreciate each other’s heart, and our relationship is only hypocritical and shallow, then it is rather obvious that we would be pleased only when we hear compliments, and that we would hate each other if what we hear is even slightly disappointing or unpleasant. When God Himself came to this earth and willingly became our propitiation by being baptized and bleeding to death, and when He loved us this much and still continues loving us so, if anyone cannot believe this, or misinterprets and misunderstands this, then his faith cannot be the right faith. If we do not plant God’s love in the center of our hearts, carnal thoughts are bound to emerge, making us think that God hates us, spurns us and despises us, and we will ultimately end up drifting away from Him. Therefore, we have to know God’s heart, we have to know each other’s heart as His saints, and we have to know the hearts of His servants. When we thus appreciate each other’s heart, we can have true fellowship and love one another, new hope and new strength will spring forth, and new blessings will be bestowed on us from above.
When do the unsaved in this world despair? They despair when they do not know that God loves them. This is the single biggest reason why they remain unsaved. Jesus was baptized and died for us because of His heart’s desire for His children to be freed from their sins, so that their separation from God would be ended and they would become one with God; it is because people do not appreciate this heart that the doors of their hearts remain unopened and they remain unable to believe, thus rendering them incapable of being saved. In contrast, whoever knows that the Jehovah God loves him, and believes in the gospel of the water and the Spirit, is able to believe in and accept everything that this God has commanded him to believe.
It Is Indispensably Important for Us to Know God’s Heart
God loves all those who have been born again by believing in the gospel of the water and the Spirit. Do you believe this, my fellow believers? Do you know this? For God loved mankind so much, He came to this earth incarnated in the flesh, was baptized by John the Baptist, and shed His blood on the Cross. Could we turn away from this love of Jesus, who has given us the gospel of the water and the Spirit to save mankind from all sins, and say that we don’t know it? If you do not realize this love, you cannot be saved, and your life itself would remain miserable, and only death will await you. And all those who have been saved by believing in the gospel of the water and the Spirit must appreciate and understand God’s love even more profoundly once they are saved. It is when they know and believe in God’s heart that they can spread the gospel in obedience to and union with the Word of God, and they can wait for all the promises of the Lord that are to be fulfilled.
The born-again brothers and sisters of faith must trust each other’s heart. In addition, there must be true love in the relationship between the servants of God and their brothers and sisters of faith. The love that exists among the born-again is such that while they may dislike each other temporarily, there cannot be real hatred in the depth of their hearts. They only rebuke the erroneous hearts, acts, and thoughts that prevent them from receiving God’s blessings, and they only have pity and compassion for those whose faith is small and weak—this is all there is to their hearts; they harbor no fundamental hatred. Those who have been born again of the water and the Spirit know the true love of God, for they have been remitted from so many iniquities, and therefore they do not harbor any fundamental hatred or malicious intent for others; however, since it is still possible for them to be drawn to their flesh momentarily, and make such mistakes from time to time, it is imperative that they remember God’s heart, realize the depth of their remission of sin, and plant God’s love in their hearts even more profoundly.
Of course, there could be some cases of conflict even in God’s Church. It is because we do not appreciate each other’s heart that misunderstandings arise, and it is because of such misunderstanding that conflicts and jealousy ensue. Our true, beautiful relationship that we have with each other would then disappear and we would be unable to serve the gospel in union with each other. In cases like this, we have to share fellowship to solve the problems with broadminded conversation in Christ. Try to hear rather than to insist on your own righteousness, for it is written, “Let every man be swift to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath” (James 1:19). We should reach a solution according to the Lord’s pleasure rather than just trying to satisfy each party in human perspective.
God is love. It is written in the Bible, “In this is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins” (1 John 4:10). Because God loves us, He has saved us through gospel of the water and the Spirit, and as the Holy Spirit, He has come into the hearts of all who have accepted this love of God by faith. Since Jesus has now come into us and dwells in us as the Holy Spirit, while we the born-again hate unrighteousness and sin, we do not hate the people themselves. Such hearts are clearly present in the saints and the servant of God who have been born again of the water and the Spirit. We also know very well that this is precisely because God’s love is in our hearts.
What is the most indispensable truth we must know to live out our lives? We have to know that God has a loving heart for us. It is when you realize this that you can find the energy and joy to carry on with your life of faith. Unless we recognize this truth, and if we instead only look at our circumstances in carnal terms, then we cannot really have any faith, and everything is only tiresome and irksome to us.
God forever loves us with all His heart. It is because this much is so definite that we carry on with our lives of faith in happiness and with hope. It is because God the Father has a loving heart toward us that we live our lives of faith in joy. Had God the Father had no love for us in His heart, neither could we have been saved, nor could we have lived our precious lives for His righteous work. The love of our Lord is revealed fully in the gospel of the water and the Spirit. It has delivered and transformed us from our fate that had destined us to live our lives no differently from the beast.
Today, that we can live out our faith as God’s children, serve and follow Him, come together in our gatherings like this, and preach the gospel to the world, is all because we believe that in the heart of God the Father, there is unwavering love for us. It is because of this love of God the Father that we are now alive, and are also carrying on with our lives. In the days to come also, thanks to God the Father’s love, we will continue to live out our faith forever. As we live on, we should never forget that our very existence and our very salvation are all because of the love that is found in God the Father’s heart toward us, and we should remember that it is because He has this loving heart for us that we have received the remission of our sins. While it is not new to us that the very existence of this world and the Kingdom of God is because of God the Father’s loving heart for us, we ourselves, and the Truth itself, also exist all thanks to this love. We are therefore grateful everyday for the fact that we are living in God the Father’s love. Let us, then, give our thanks for God’s love that has been bestowed on us freely. Let us unite together in this love of God as the righteous who have received the remission of sin. And let us live our lives giving glory to the Lord until the day the gospel of the water and the Spirit is all spread throughout the whole world.
God Loved Us So Much!
“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. For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved” (John 3:16-17). This passage tells us God’s purpose for sending us His Son Jesus. Our existence was such that we could not but commit sin in this world, and we were destined to go to hell for our sins. Yet despite this, Jesus, whose name means the Savior, loved us so much that He saved us from the sins of the world. By believing in Jesus, we are not only saved from our sins, but we are also saved from the judgment of God, as well as from the traps and oppressions of the Devil. And we are also delivered from the curses of the Law.
“That the world through Him might be saved” (John 3:17). It is through Jesus that we have been saved from our sins. And the word “world” here refers to the entire human race. Comprehensively spoken, this world includes you and me. The gospel of the water and the Spirit is the salvation that delivers all the people of this world, like you and me, from sin and all its condemnation. Jesus came to this world to save us from all curses and the oppressions of the Devil. He did not come to condemn, but on the contrary, He came to save us from all our sins, as it is written, “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). Jesus Himself said that He was sent to this earth to save the world from sin. It’s not the world in its physical sense that our Lord has saved, but He has saved human beings, who were made in the likeness of God’s image, from the sins of the world.
Having made the whole human race, God commanded them to rule over everything on this planet earth. And by this world, He referred to people like you and me, and in particular, He spoke about you and me who know Jesus properly and believe in Him properly. And telling us just how much God loved us and how He has saved us, He told us that He loved the world through the gospel of the water and the Spirit. He loved us so much that He saved us from all our curses, destruction, and condemnation of sin by giving Himself to us as our propitiation. God has indeed saved us perfectly through the gospel of the water and the Spirit.
From what state of sin have we been saved? I am asking, in other words, about the state from which all the people living on this earth, including you and me here, have been saved from all sins. From what state has God saved us? We are so insufficient, weak, and full of mistakes that we are bound to sin until the day we die, and we cannot avoid going to hell for these sins. This is precisely our state from which God has saved us. By sending us His Son, God has saved us from all our sins through the gospel of the water and the Spirit. Can you now see this love of God, that He loves us so much?
You and I commit countless sins throughout our entire lifetime, like thick mist and dark clouds, and yet because God loved us even such people like us, He delivered us from all our sins by sending His only begotten Son Jesus. God the Father passed the sins of us mankind that hung over us like thick clouds, condemned His Son instead of us, and by doing so, He has saved all of us who believe in Him from our condemnation and curses of sin. Therefore, by the phrase, “God so loved the world,” we can measure just how much God loved us.
We must remember this Word, that God loved us so much that He sent His only begotten Son, and has saved the people of the entire world from all their sins, from condemnation and destruction, and from the curses of the Devil and the curses of the Law. So how could we ever forget this passage, “God so loved the world,” when it means that God loved us and saved us far more forcefully and abundantly than the sins we commit? And since the reason why we can live out our lives is because God had sent His only begotten Son to this earth so that we may not perish for our sins, how could we ignore it and pretend not to notice?
Truly, our Lord did not come to this earth to condemn the world. Jesus came not to condemn our wrongdoings, but to save us, who had fallen into sin and weakness, from all our curses. We must know this love of God. It was to save us from our sins that Jesus the Son of God came to this earth. We must all realize and believe that Jesus came to this earth not to condemn us for our sins, nor to judge us for our wrongdoings, but precisely on the contrary, to solve away the problem of our sins. This Jesus, who came to this earth to take upon our sins, be condemned in our place, and save us from our sins, truly loved us all.
Isn’t this, above all else, the true love of God? Except this agape love, which is genuine love of the omnipotent God who loved the weak unconditionally, what else would we ever need? That He wanted to save us at any price, just because He loved us so much and we were the objects of His love, that He loved us simply because He loved us, this true love that has no conditions other than love itself, is the very love of God. To love unconditionally, and to love without reward, none other than this is the very agape love with which God loves us.
My fellow believers, love must have no condition, and love must be pure. Yet the love that is found in human relationships is conditional without exception. Only God’s love is unconditional. Even the love between parents and children, which we admire the most, still is conditional in some aspects. Of course, compared to friendship or romantic love between opposite sexes, parental love is somewhat deeper and greater, but compared to the love that God has toward us, who created the universe and made us mankind in the midst of it, it is nothing.
God created us mankind for the purpose of making us His own people. Because God made us in His image with love from the very beginning, God bestowed His unconditional love on us, for we were so lovable to Him. This is why it is crystal-clear that God has saved us, and why it is so certain that He came to this earth purposefully to save us. It is so amazing that our Lord came to save us, and it is so marvelous that He has saved you and me through the gospel of the water and the Spirit. If you put yourself in His shoes, and actually think about how you have to pay any price and endure through anything to love someone, you will then realize just how great God’s love is.
My fellow believers, when someone loves another person, he acts upon his love, not because this is demanded, but simply because he loves, for there is no fear in love. Not all of us are capable of this love for 100 percent, but humanity is not completely devoid of this kind of love, and so some of its aspects can still be found. At times, when such love is found, it is seen to us as beautiful love, but when you realize God’s love, we can really fathom just how beautiful and perfect this love is.
Because God is perfect, He is capable of having perfect love. In fact, only God can love us perfectly, for He is different from us humans. One of the many differences between God and us human beings is that because He absolutely has no insufficiency whatsoever, once He decides to love us, He can love us to complete perfection. While we ourselves may fall astray, we may betray Him, and we may bring disappointments to His heart, God still loves us only perfectly, and is devoid of any insufficiency whatsoever, for God Himself is perfect. God therefore loves us perfectly. That He has blotted out all our sins once and for all by sending us His Son is precisely God’s perfect love.
There is nothing that God cannot do, and this God loves us all. That God so loved the world means that God actually loved none other than you and me. Do you all know this, that God loves you? By any chance, is there anyone who does not know that God loves him? There indeed are people like this. My fellow believers, before we met Jesus, we did not know just how much God loved us. But once we knew God’s love and we ourselves loved Him, we could all think about and realize our true selves, and understand why we had felt so miserable all the time. The actual reason for this was because we had not responded to God’s love.
It is written in the Bible, “For love is as strong as death, Jealousy as cruel as the grave” (Song of Solomon 8:6). My fellow believers, God loves us perfectly so that we would accept His love with gratefulness. But if we reject this love, His love is changed into hatred and turns extremely cruel. God has loved everyone. He still loves us all. Our God loved us so much that He has saved us all. It’s just that some of us do not realize this on our part.
As God still loves you even now, He is knocking on the door of your hearts, saying, “I love you. I loved you. I loved you so much. Have you done anything wrong? Is your conscience troubled? Do you have anything that would condemn you? I took all such things upon Myself, and I was condemned in your place. Is your heart troubled? What makes you troubled so much? I also took away the very causes of such troubles. Don’t you realize that I loved you? I loved you so much that I made it possible for your heart to be truly joyful and happy. If you are still suffering and have no joy, in spite of what I have done for you, then you surely do not know the Truth. I really want you to know the Truth.”
John 3:18 says, “He who believes in Him is not condemned; but he who does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.” Let’s examine just this single passage here. Here, “Him” refers to Jesus. This means that whoever believes in Jesus is not condemned, no matter what wrongdoings he might have done and how many sins he might have committed in this world. The reason for this is because Jesus is his Savior, and he believes that Jesus has blotted out all his sins; therefore, he is not condemned. However, Jesus also said here that he who does not believe is already condemned, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.
In other words, some people are condemned because they do not believe in the name of the only begotten Son of God. What is the name of this only begotten Son of God? It is Jesus. Since it is said here that one is condemned because he does not believe in the name of God’s only begotten Son, clearly, the name of this only begotten Son is not the same as the name of any human being. Nowhere does it say here that one is condemned because he does not believe in the name of John Doe or Jane Doe. Nor is he condemned for not believing in the name of the president of his country. Because of not believing in whose name, then, did Jesus say here that one is condemned? He said that it is for not believing in the name of the only begotten Son of God that one is condemned.
What, then, is so significant about the name of the only begotten Son that we would be condemned if we do not believe in this name? In the name of the only Begotten Son, that is, in the name of Jesus, there is the authority of God. When God the Father sent His Son to this earth, He commanded that the Son’s name should be called Jesus. The name Jesus means “the Savior,” as it is written, “He will save His people from their sins” (Matthew 1:21). In the name of Jesus, there is the power to save us from all our sins.
The name “Jesus” means that He is the One who will save His people from all their sins. This name therefore is a very powerful name. It is the very name that can deliver sinners without fail. The name ‘Jesus’ means that He will save His people from their sins (Matthew 1:21), and therefore, Jesus is the Almighty God of salvation, and the Savior of all mankind. Therefore, not to believe in the name of Jesus is not to believe in the very Savior, and this is why one is condemned.
Jesus the Only Savior
God said that there is only one name under Heaven that can save us (Acts 4:12). This means that everyone under Heaven can be saved only if he believes in this Jesus, and that whoever does not believe in Jesus cannot be saved. No matter who, if anyone wants to be saved from his sins and be delivered from his futility, emptiness, destruction, and accursed life, he must believe only in Jesus, and he must believe that it is only this Jesus who has saved him. Put differently, we can be saved only if we believe in Jesus’ name and realize, “Jesus the Almighty God is truly my Savior! He has saved me! He has saved me perfectly by giving me His perfect love! This is how He has saved me!” On the other hand, if one does not believe in Jesus, then he is already sinful. Whoever does not believe is sinful, and is therefore condemned. Jesus used the word “condemn” here, and this word is used when one is found guilty and sentenced. And it is because one does not believe in Jesus that he is condemned for his sinfulness.
We humans are all alike. We were all born in this world the same, we all commit sin everyday the same, we all struggle equally to meet our daily needs to house, clothe, and feed ourselves, and we will eventually all die the same and return to dust. However, although all human beings commit sin equally, there are those who have sin, and then there are those who have no sin. As it is written, “There is none righteous, no, not one” (Romans 3:10), everyone commits sin, but there still are those who have become righteous by believing in Jesus.
At the same time, however, even while Christians believe in Jesus, some are saved from all their sins and others are not. This is because the latter, though they call on the name of the only begotten Son, do not really know or believe in the salvation that Jesus has brought to them. This is why many Christians who do not believe in the Truth still retain their sins in their hearts, even though they all call on the name of Jesus.
The sins that are in people’s hearts are written in the tablet of their hearts (Jeremiah 17:1). This is why they are condemned for their sins, just as the Bible says, “The wages of sin is death” (Romans 6:23). Because the wages of sin must be paid only by life itself, sinners should be sentenced to eternal death—that is, they must suffer the second death. In other words, sinners must be cast into hell. This is what today’s Scripture passage means by saying, “He who believes in Him is not condemned; but he who does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God” (John 3:18).
Jesus the Son of God is the One and only God. There are all kinds of creatures in the universe, but Jesus is not a creature. He alone is the only begotten Son of God, and He alone is the Lord of creation who made the universe and everything in it, including you and me. He is the Creator. We use this word “Creator” to refer to some divine Being who created the world, and this Creator is none other than Jesus.
We, the creatures whom Jesus our Creator made, were deceived by Satan and came to have sin. To save us, this Creator Jesus then intentionally came as a man. Although Jesus could overcome Satan more than sufficiently with His power, because He is the God of Truth and the fair and equitable God, He accepted the sins of His beloved ones through His baptism, was condemned vicariously in their place, and has thereby saved them to complete perfection. Jesus is the God who died for us at the hands of His enemy.
The population of this whole world is over 6 billion. Apart from the 6 billion people living in this age right now, how many more people have lived and died before? Since there must have been far more than 6 billion people who were born and died from the beginning to now, I came to wonder where all these dead people were buried. A huge number of people were born and died time after time, and most of the dead were buried under the ground, but we only see very few tombs, either in public cemeteries or private ones. I was once quite intrigued by this.
My fellow believers, once we were born, we should put on God’s love, be saved, become righteous, and live happily on this earth, and when we move onto the next world, we should live happily forever in the most beautiful Kingdom of Heaven. Yet the countless people who are born and die in this world still carry many sins in their hearts. Even the so-called “Christians” still have sin despite claiming to believe in God and in His Son Jesus. Why do these Christians then suffer death for their sins, even though they insist that they believe in Jesus as the Savior who has delivered them from all their sins? This is quite a riddle.
The fact that they are tortured by their sins, even though Jesus who has saved mankind is available to them, is because they actually do not believe in the name of the only begotten Son. All these people must believe in the only Savior who came to save mankind and has completed His perfect salvation. Whoever believes in the only Savior, Jesus the Almighty who came to save mankind by taking away all its sins, no longer has any sin. Jesus was baptized to accept the sins of the world, was crucified and condemned on the Cross instead of human beings, and paid off the wages of sin on their behalf. Such people who believe in this Jesus are now sinless, for all their sins were passed onto Jesus; they have nothing for which to be condemned, for Jesus bore all their condemnation; and although they were clearly born into this world as sinners, they have now become the righteous who have no sin.
However, God also made it clear that those who do not believe in the name of the only begotten Son—that is, in Jesus who has perfectly blotted out all their sins—remain sinful, and are already condemned. Anyone who has sin in his heart is already condemned to destruction as a sinner. Even if one believes in Jesus, if he still has sin in his heart, then it is already determined before God that he would be cursed to hell. This is why it is so wrong to retain sin even as one professes to believe in Jesus. It is because this person does not believe in the power of the name of Jesus that he still has all his sins intact. All of us must therefore be absolutely sure to believe in Jesus as our Savior.
My fellow believers, do you believe that Jesus took upon all our sins and blotted them all out through His baptism? As you carry on with your life in this world, just how many sins do you commit? Does your life have any satisfaction? Isn’t it true that you are never satisfied, no matter what you do? Even as you drink, sing and dance around, isn’t it just sadness that remains in your heart? The sinful can find no satisfaction in their hearts. Unless we really believe in the powerful name of the only begotten Son, and we meet this Jesus who has blotted out all our sins, we can have no satisfaction; our hearts remain empty and our thoughts are all confused; and when we look up at the sky, it is beautiful and clean, but when we look at our hearts and deeds, we cannot lift our faces because of shame. When we see the sparkling eyes of the children and hear their innocent voices, they are so clean that they contrast even more sharply to our own filthy hearts.
Every sinner has no satisfaction in his life. This is why everyone must believe in Jesus. The name of Jesus the only begotten Son is so great and so powerful that He has blotted out all our sins. If we hear this, learn and understand it through the Word, then putting on God’s love, we become His sinless children who are not condemned; we are turned into the righteous; and, while we are living on this earth also, there is so much peace, joy, and happiness in our hearts.
Have any of you, by any chance, lived your life in vain all this time, unable to meet Jesus? Even now, it is not too late. Let’s turn to John 3:19. “And this is the condemnation, that the light has come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil.” God told us here why the sinful have sin. Their condemnation is due to the fact that even though the light has come into the world, they loved darkness rather than light, and their deeds were evil. God is the light. The single most important attribute of all lights, whether we are speaking of the sunlight, the light of the stars, an electrical light, or even the glow of a firefly, is that they illuminate to eradicate darkness. It is the Truth that is the real light. That God has saved us is the true light. The salvation of God is the true light that has brightly illuminated our souls that had been darkened by our sins. The only begotten Son Jesus truthfully took our sins away, was truthfully condemned for our sins, and has truthfully saved us from our sins.
Didn’t You Ignore the Will of Jesus?
Why, then, do we humans still have sin? Why are human beings so accursed? Why are their lives so wretched? Why is life so hard, and why is there no satisfaction in our hearts? Why is life not what it’s supposed to be, why can’t we live like human beings, and why are our lives so sad and lonely? It’s all because we are hiding ourselves from Jesus, even though this Jesus, who is the light, came to this world and has saved us.
What is God saying to us humans? “Born as sinners, and sinning until the day you die—this is who you are. You are therefore sinners. But I came to save you, for I had compassion for you. I took away your sins like this, I was condemned for them like this, and I blotted the sins all out like this. Believe in Me and be saved. If you believe in Me, you will become righteous; if you believe in Me, you will become My children; and if you believe in Me, your hearts will become sinless.” Life is so miserable precisely because people do not believe in this Word of Truth that our Jesus spoke, for they are afraid that their sins might be revealed.
This is why we must give ourselves up before this God-spoken Word. When the Word strips us naked and reveals our true selves, those who acknowledge this are saved by God. And even when God throws all kinds of insults at them, telling them, “You commit all kinds of sin because you were born as a sinner; you are a filthy, shameful human being,” they still acknowledge them all, admitting, “Yes, Lord, I am a fool and an idiot.” If the Lord says, “You are a seed of evildoers,” then we should answer as follows: “Yes, You are right. My seed is such that I can only do evil. As I have inherited such seeds of evildoers from my parents, all that I ever do is evil. And throughout my entire lifetime, I have been a hypocrite. I’m just pretending to be good, when in fact I can’t really do any good at all. At every opportunity, I steal, at every opportunity, I sin, at every opportunity, I commit evil deeds, and at every opportunity, I commit selfish acts.” Just as the Bible tells us in Mark that there are twelve kinds of sin in the human heart, there indeed are many sins in this heart of mankind. In this passage from Mark 7:21-22, God said, “For from within, out of the heart of men, proceed evil thoughts, adulteries, fornications, murders, thefts, covetousness, wickedness, deceit, lewdness, an evil eye, blasphemy, pride, foolishness.”
Do you or do you not have such a heart? Of course you do. You and I alike were all born with such a heart. Is it because we were taught to commit wicked deeds that we do these things? No, certainly not. Were you taught in the kindergarten, “You are so cute! You should grow up to be a thief”? When you moved on to the elementary school, were you taught, “You are so cute! You should grow up to be a swindler”? Far from it, you probably heard your teachers saying on countless occasions, “You were born on this earth with a special purpose. You should grow up to fulfill all your potential and contribute to this society.” I am sure that you all heard this time after time.
Your grandparents also told you, “Grow up to be a pillar of this nation.” Though they had dotted on you so much and asked you time after time to become a pillar of your nation, how did you actually turn out to be? We all grew up with such teachings. We were all taught both from public education and family education to build our character and grow up to be good people. Even until we graduated from college and grad school, we had always been educated to become the kind of people who help others. When all your learning was over, and you were about to get married, you were told, “Be patient. Be nice to your spouse. Be kind to your in-laws. Endure all things, and only then can you truly raise a family. Patience is the single most important virtue that can save your marriage.” Just how many times were you drilled with such teachings?
We were all taught to be virtuous, patient, and good people, but how have we actually turned out? Just how many sins have we committed? When we were young, we didn’t commit too many sins, simply because many of these evil deeds were beyond our immature faculty, but once we grew up, didn’t we each develop our own inherited skills, and haven’t we, from then on, taken a free reign to commit all kinds of sin? We stole money from the pockets of our mothers to buy cookies; we snatched up the money that was supposed to be paid for tuition and spent it all on ourselves; we did everything possible to make our parents miserable, as if their happiness was our own misery; and when our parents went through all that trouble to put us through school, from junior high to high school and to college, all to educate us, we only did exactly what we were told not to do. We all knew only too well that we were supposed to live virtuously, but we still continued to sin, so much so that we should be ashamed of ourselves whenever we see the clear, blue sky. This is precisely how our lives are.
In other words, God is telling us, “You are evil. You commit sin all the time. You are so wretched. You deserve to be cast into hell.” When God says so, we should admit ourselves and ask for His mercy, saying, “Yes, Lord, You are right. That is who I am, from the very beginning. Will You just leave me like this?” God will then bring us joyful news, telling us, “I had so much compassion for you that I sent My Son. Because I desired to save you through My Son, I sent Him to this earth to deliver you.”
There are two things that God is saying to us here. First of all, He is telling us about our sins. He explains to us what kind of seed we are, what kinds of sins and how many sins we commit, how we die, and where we are sent condemned by God after our death. Second, God tells us, “I sent My Son to this earth. To save you from your sins, I sent My Son, and I passed your sins to Him and made Him shoulder these sins of the world. And by making Him carry the sins of the world and die on the Cross, and by bringing the condemnation that is meant for you on My Son instead, I have made you sinless. All of you, therefore, should believe in My Son and be saved!”
However, the wicked do not accept this. No matter how they are told, “Believe in Jesus; He has blotted out your sins with the gospel of the water and the Spirit,” they still refuse to believe, and, moreover, they say, “I’d rather believe in my own fists.” But it is so foolish and useless to raise their fists that are only the size of a tomato, to roll up their sleeves, to reject God, and to instead rely on their own strength.
Humans are such weak beings. No matter how big and strong anyone may be, once he catches common cold, he is easily knocked out. It is because God knows us so well that He said, “Because you will be cast into hell if you have sin, I passed all your sins to My Son, and I made Him condemned in your place. If you believe in this Son of Mine, you will be saved and become righteous. I will now no longer condemn any of you who believes.” Yet despite this, human beings are so wicked that they still believe in their own fists or in the religions of the world.
Just look at Mike Tyson, the former heavy-weight boxing champion who was famous for his iron fists. In his much anticipated comeback match against Evander Holyfield in 1997, Tyson bit Holyfield’s ear when he found himself pummeled by his opponent. He had thought of himself unbeatable, and yet when he found out otherwise, he ended up biting his opponent’s ear. Isn’t this, after all, what human beings are?
My fellow believers, just how wicked are human beings? You and I are also this kind of people who would bite others and injure them if we are cornered. We, too, are all wicked. Before the God-spoken Word, we must never deny our wickedness. Aren’t we thieves? We are indeed thieves. Aren’t we all murderers? We are indeed murderers. When we hate someone, what do we think about him? Do you wish him well? No, of course not. We are likely to think inwardly, “I wish he would trip and fall somewhere and die from a brain injury. Or when he is driving, maybe his car would fall off a cliff and he would die in the burning wreckage.”
When wickedness arises in our hearts, what happens? If you stir sewage, all kinds of filthy stuff swirls up; likewise, when the wickedness of mankind is agitated ever so slightly, all kinds of sin are stirred up. When we finally come to our senses, we hide our wickedness with our goodness, pretending to be someone that we are not. When the person whom we had slandered behind his back just a minute ago appears right before us, we change our colors immediately, and, pretending to be very friendly, we shamelessly say, “How have you been?” When we look at the children at Sunday school, we see that even they are like this: they cling to us if we are nice to them ever so slightly, and yet they turn sulky in no time if we say anything even slightly unpleasant to them. Human beings are all that much wicked.
When you were young, did you know that you were wicked? You probably didn’t realize this, right? A famous Korean poet wrote that he wanted to have not even a spot of shame when he looked up to the sky. Didn’t you live with this yearning also? What is more, you probably thought that you were living virtuously like this, and thought of yourself as a good person. But what happened as you grew old? What virtue, if any at all, could you ever find in yourself? It’s out of sheer ignorance that people say human nature is essentially good. Far from it, there is nothing good in us, and it is only our basic human nature to be exceedingly evil. When starved enough, and there is nothing else to eat, human beings are even willing to eat their own children (2 Kings 6:26-29).
There is no limit to human atrocities. Just look at what happened during World War II. All kinds of unspeakable atrocities were committed, from the genocide of 6 million Jews to all the medical experiments that were performed on the living. Countless people were tortured, maimed, and killed for no other reason than their ethnicity, just because they were different from the aggressors. And the human race is no better even now. These atrocities still continue unabated in many corners of the world.
Do you think that women are somehow different from men, that they are docile like sheep? Far from it, women, too, are as wicked as men. Long ago, I didn’t realize this, to the point that when I saw schoolgirls, I thought to myself, “They seem so innocent and pure, yet why am I so filthy like this? People like me shouldn’t be in this world. I should just go into the mountain to be a monk and separate myself from society.” However, down the road, I eventually came to realize that women were just as wicked as men. I had admired them simply because I didn’t realize this fact. Just take a look at what happens when women get into a fight. They yank on each other’s hair, they kick each other, and they curse each other as if there is no tomorrow. There is no gender or age difference to human wickedness; men and women, and the old and the young alike, are all clearly evil.
Since the Word of God is infallible, we must acknowledge it with a yes and believe in it. God created us, and therefore, He knows all about what kind of seed we are. For us to stand and argue against Him and to refuse to accept His Word by saying no to Him—this is nothing else but evil. As a matter of fact, the reason why people cannot receive the remission of sin, nor be blessed, nor become righteous, is all because they hide themselves, for they fear that their sins and wickedness would be revealed, and because they intentionally do not listen to the Word of God and ignore it instead. This is precisely why they cannot be healed from the wickedness of their hearts.
When a doctor diagnoses what illness his patient has and prescribes him medication, the patient should follow the prescription if he wants to be healed. If the doctor is any good, the patient must listen to and follow what the doctor says; if the patient doesn’t listen to the doctor, he just can’t be healed. Likewise, if we want to be healed from the illness of sin in our hearts, we must come forth before Jesus, and we must be healed by believing in the gospel of Truth, the gospel of the water and the Spirit that Jesus has given us.
Are You Doing and Believing in the Truth?
John 3:21 says, “But he who does the truth comes to the light, that his deeds may be clearly seen, that they have been done in God.” Put differently, God knows all about us. There is nothing that God does not know about us. This passage, where God said that he who does the truth comes to the light, is the real truth. Since God Himself, who created us and knows all about us, said so, it can only be the infallible truth. God had told us that He would save us by sending His only begotten Son and passing our sins onto Him; God had told us that He would give Heaven to all those who believe in Him; God had told us all about how the next world and the present world would unfold; and God had told us what would happen to His believers and what would happen to unbelievers.
Previously, in verse 20, it was written, “Everyone practicing evil hates the light and does not come to the light” (John 3:20). We really must acknowledge the God-spoken Word and follow it. Everyone who loves God must acknowledge Him. God said that He actually created the universe, made you and me, and reigns in the next world also. When we hear His Word, if we would just nod our heads and accept it, we would then receive the remission of our sins, whereby God would blot out all our sins. Just as we believe that God created the universe to bless us, it is God who brings happiness to our lives. Whenever we hear His Word, there is nothing else for us to do except to say, “Yes.”
“But he who does the truth comes to the light, that his deeds may be clearly seen, that they have been done in God” (John 3:21). Those who have received the remission of their sins have nothing else to do but just say yes to God’s Word of Truth and believe in it. “Father, Your Word is the Truth, and just as You pointed out, this is in fact who I am. And for me, who was bound to hell like this, You sent Your only begotten Son, and You have saved me by condemning Your Son. Now there are no longer any sins of the world, for Jesus took them all away. You have saved me like this. Since Jesus took all my sins away, I now have no sin. I believe, Lord!” This is all that we can say. Whatever God gives freely, we have no choice other than to receive it with gratefulness. That’s all we should do before Him.
If I were to tell you that when I was a kid, I had followed my mother everywhere and took care of the kitchen, wouldn’t you say that you can only take my words at face value and believe in me, since you never actually saw this? If you know me as an honest man who can only say what is true, you would have even more reason to believe that once upon a time washing the dishes was second nature to me, that I fired up the stove when my mother was washing the rice, that I swept the yard when my mother was mopping the floor, and that I was quite a family man. I quit doing these things when my parents passed away, but I liked cooking and cleaning so much that for a very long time, I had done many house chores, so much so that I felt it was my calling. So I know how women feel. I know very well how they feel when the house is all tidied up and cleaned from top to bottom, when they are done washing even the rag clean. It’s quite possible that the one who cleaned the room would feel happier than the one who enters into a clean room. Of course, if she had cleaned the room for someone whom she loves, and he is happy in the room, then she would be even happier.
I like doing these things so much, but I just don’t have the time to do them anymore. If I were not spreading the gospel, this is what I would like to do. I still like to prepare food for my acquaintances. I am very good at these things. Does it seem hard to believe? Long ago, I actually did all these things. But since you never saw me doing so, all you can do is just believe. What your eyes have seen is easy to believe. What was not seen is very hard to believe, but if you know who I am, then you would believe in my words, even though you never actually saw what I did.
To believe in the gospel through which God has blotted out your sins is also like this. Did you actually see Jesus accepting all your sins when He was baptized? It was Jesus’ divine duty to accept all our sins and put them on Himself. That He shouldered all our sins and was condemned for them is the very unconditional love that He had for us. But did we see this? No, it’s only written in the Bible. Is what God has spoken to us, then, all just a lie, or is it the Truth? It’s the Truth. When God has told us to believe, is it right to disbelieve His Word just because we didn’t see it? Absolutely, no!
Since the Word of God is all true, that we have not seen with our eyes means that we have even less choice but to believe. Did we see it when God created the universe and all things in it? It’s because we didn’t see this that through about 40 men of faith and spanning about 1,600 years, God wrote this Word, saying, “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth,” and He has preserved it to this day so that we may be able to read it. There is nothing else we can do other than believe in this.
If God tells us that we are wicked, we should just believe so, or otherwise how else would we realize this? If you think, “Actually, I think I am at least a little bit good,” this is truly a foolish thought. You must instead believe, “God’s Word is truly right. I have nothing but wickedness.” It is because we believe in God that we are saved by truthfully believing, “I was this kind of seed from the beginning, but the Lord has saved me through the gospel of the water and the Spirit.” My fellow believers, do you really believe in God? Do you believe in Him, I beseech you all. There is nothing else to do but believe in His Word. Isn’t the gospel of the water and the Spirit that God spoke to you true? Of course it is true.
What do people in the world say to you? They all tell you to live virtuously. What about the false pastors who are trying to defraud you all in the name of Jesus? They seat you and tell you not to commit sin. This, my fellow believers, is what thieves and swindlers say. Do we ever sin because we actually want to sin? Do we no longer commit sin just because we are told not to sin? No, we commit sin whenever our circumstances allow, for our hearts fundamentally desire to commit sin; if anyone commits sin because he is told to commit it, and does not commit sin because he is told not to commit it, then he is no human.
Out of our insufficiencies, just how many sins do we commit with our hearts, our minds, and our deeds, even while we are unaware of this? It would be wonderful if we could somehow control all these things, but since we are only human, we are always insufficient, and unable to control ourselves, we sin all the time. Precisely because God knows very well that we cannot avoid but sin, He is telling us to be saved by believing in His Son Jesus. This is why we should attain salvation by believing in Jesus with all our hearts. Do you now understand?
Let us end our discussion here for today, but if the Lord allows me, I will continue to share this Scripture passage in detail. We have been saved by believing in Jesus, the only Savior of mankind. I give all my thanks to the Lord who has saved us from all our sins through the gospel of the water and the Spirit.