“Now the serpent was more cunning than any beast of the field which the LORD God had made. And he said to the woman, ‘Has God indeed said, ‘You shall not eat of every tree of the garden’?’ And the woman said to the serpent, ‘We may eat the fruit of the trees of the garden; but of the fruit of the tree which is in the midst of the garden, God has said, ‘You shall not eat it, nor shall you touch it, lest you die.’’ Then the serpent said to the woman, ‘You will not surely die.’ For God knows that in the day you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.’ So when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, that it was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree desirable to make one wise, she took of its fruit and ate. She also gave to her husband with her, and he ate. Then the eyes of both of them were opened, and they knew that they were naked; and they sewed fig leaves together and made themselves coverings. And they heard the sound of the LORD God walking in the garden in the cool of the day, and Adam and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the LORD God among the trees of the garden. Then the LORD God called to Adam and said to him, ‘Where are you?’ So he said, ‘I heard Your voice in the garden, and I was afraid because I was naked; and I hid myself.’”
Cunning Satan the Devil
Today, we looked at passages from verses 1 through 10 in the Book of Genesis chapter 3, and the passage begins with, “Now the serpent was more cunning than any beast of the field which the LORD God had made” (Genesis 3:1). It is written like so in the Bible. The serpent mentioned in the Bible refers to the Devil in a spiritual sense. Serpents actually do exist in this world. But I guess serpents must have been wiser than many other creations. The fact that serpents were intelligent and cunning must have been true.
What does the Bible say about how the serpent had tempted Eve? The serpent asked Eve, “Has God indeed said, ‘You shall not eat of every tree of the garden’?” (Genesis 3:1). Like this, the serpent tempted her, and the woman said to the serpent, “We may eat the fruit of the trees of the garden; but of the fruit of the tree which is in the midst of the garden, God has said, ‘You shall not eat it, nor shall you touch it, lest you die” (Genesis 3:2-3). She had said such faithless words. It means that Satan the Devil could achieve his objective by shaking Eve’s faith. Having done so, the serpent was able to make Adam and Eve pick and eat the fruit of the tree that God had told them not to eat. Eve had her husband Adam commit the same sin, and just as they had taken the fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil and eaten it, they came to realize that they were naked and hid themselves among the trees of the garden out of shame. Consequently, they started wearing coverings made of fig leaves sewn together, and this was the origin of man-made religions on this earth.
We who believe in the gospel of the water and the Spirit should go on living by knowing about and coping with Satan the Devil’s plot. We should be aware of the fact that Satan tries to deceive us with his wicked tricks so that we cannot meet with and believe in the gospel of the water and the Spirit through the Word of God. What is Satan’s strategy? He wants to turn people into ethical and moral beings who will find it impossible to believe in Jesus through the gospel of the water and the Spirit and receive salvation. This is a tremendously wicked trick before God. The fact that people picked and ate the fruit God had told them not to eat, that they wore coverings sewn with fig leaves, and that they hid themselves among the trees—all these mean that we human beings have started believing in God by creating Him on our own. This has obscured our spiritual state so that we may not be able find out about the God-given salvation with which God has saved us humans by coming by the gospel of the water and the Spirit. As a result, people have started to go against the gospel Word of the water and the Spirit with false gospels. Satan’s servants today are ministering to turn Christians into ethical and moral people. For a Christian to live only ethically does not mean that this Christian has met the genuine Truth. In order to be liberated from one’s sins, one must be saved from all sins by believing in the God-given gospel of the water and the Spirit. Becoming people of God is the greatest goal for every one.
However, Satan the Devil and his servants still try to separate people from God by placing ethics and morals of the flesh into their hearts and consequently inspire into them a value system that regards ethics more valuable than their salvation by believing in Jesus. And those false prophets feed people with the leavened Word. So people tend to think that because they believe in Jesus as the Savior they have to be kind, that because they believe in Jesus they have to be loyal to their country, that because they believe in Jesus they must not lie, and because they believe in Jesus they have to be virtuous Christians. Such are all false words and thoughts. Such thoughts and plans are the wicked deception from Satan and his servants. Even now, a great number of Christians are getting deceived by the words of Satan’s servants.
Satan the Devil’s Trap
Satan the Devil inspires into Christians the ethical teachings that are not of the gospel of the water and the Spirit. What is one of the traps that the Devil uses to smother people with sins? It is to turn Christians into humane and ethical people, rather than turning them into those who believe in the gospel of the water and the Spirit. He says through his servants, “Because Christians are people of God, they must live virtuously.” And with such words, he leads people into chaos and void. Is it true that we would be perfected before God if we were to become ethical people? But this Satan the Devil deceives people with plausible words, and as a result, those who have been deceived are striving throughout their entire life to become virtuous. To die as a failure deceived by Satan the Devil and thereby hasn’t become virtuous is the miserable image of people.
That was why God had said not to take the fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil and eat it. He said not to eat the fruit of that tree because He wanted people to gain everlasting life by taking the fruit of the tree of life and eating it. God has told people throughout the world to gain eternal life by taking the fruit of the tree of life and eating it. This Word means that God has given people new life through the gospel of the water and the Spirit so that they will never again suffer destruction due to sins.
The tree of life God had placed in the Garden of Eden refers to Jesus Christ whom we believe in. Our Lord has given us the remission of sins by the gospel of the water and the Spirit that He Himself had completed. The Lord has remitted all our sins by coming to us by the water and the blood. If we did believe in Jesus Christ who has given us new life by the gospel of the water and the Spirit as the Savior, we will never again suffer destruction due to sins.
Despite the fact that God has given us new life, there are many people who falsely teach others to live by ethics rather than the faith of believing in the gospel of the water and the Spirit. They aren’t people of faith. Satan the Devil has made them live as an ethical person parted from the gospel of the water and the Spirit. By using his servants, Satan the Devil is deceiving people, who can otherwise obtain everlasting life by believing in the gospel of the water and the Spirit. Satan’s servants stand at the forefront of those who currently make people lose their faith with which people can obtain new life by believing in the Word of God and lead a blessed life at the Garden of Eden. Satan the Devil still uses this method, even now. Satan the Devil continues to say that even thought having faith in Jesus is also good, you must also go on living with a faith that is ethically sound and become such a virtuous person.
Just because we believe in Jesus as the Savior, must we believe in and follow false Christian doctrines only? Are pledging allegiance and giving up one’s life for one’s country everything for Christians? Dear fellow believers, let me have your answer. The Bible does not say so. In the Word of God, it is said that we must be faithful to the Kingdom of God as His workers who believe in the gospel of the water and the Spirit.
However, Satan the Devil wants to induce virtuous deeds from Christians by fabricating Christianity to be one of the worldly religions. “For God knows that in the day you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil” (Genesis 3:5). Like this, Satan the Devil always speaks lies. He still says that you will not die even if you do pick that and eat of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.
In the Book of Genesis chapter 2 verse 17, God said, “But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat of it you shall surely die.” God said that if you were to eat the fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, you would “surely” die. He was saying, “If you come before Me with your own deeds, you will surely die. Because you are a creation, you cannot meet My expectations with your virtuous deeds. Thus, do not come forth to show off your deeds. Obtain life by eating the fruit of the tree of life, and then come before Me.” God still wants us to live together with Him forever by believing in His righteousness.
Satan the Devil Is Always a Liar
In the Gospel of John, it is written that whenever the Devil speaks lies, he speaks from his own resources. Likewise, the serpent said to the woman, “You will not surely die.” Satan always spoke lies. Satan the Devil deceives everyone with lies. How did he deceive? He did so by saying, “For God knows that in the day you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil” (Genesis 3:5).
Could a person be like God just by picking the fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil and eating it? No, that is not so. Satan the Devil always lied to people and seduced them with words that are similar in content with the Word of God by citing the Word of God. “If you pick the fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil and eat it, you will be like God.” Like so, Satan the Devil speak words that inspire action-oriented faith into the hearts of people. The Devil constantly inspires people to do something. He says like this: “If you believe in Jesus Christ and live ethically, you will go to Heaven.”
You must have preached the gospel to all sorts of people. What do people consistently say? Don’t ministers within today’s Christianity say that one must believe in Jesus as the Savior and lead a virtuous life? As a result, Christians nowadays harbor such action-oriented faith, and they actually strive to lead a virtuous life in their own way. For they lead a life that is aimed at a wrongful purpose, they cannot but lead a hypocritical life, instead of a life based on the faith of believing in the gospel of the water and the Spirit. People think that one must go on living upright in one’s actions, but they are in agony because their own actions aren’t upright. And as a result, they become ostentatious and hypocritical people before others and before God. Truly, they try hard to think of themselves as someone who carries out upright deeds before God by hypnotizing themselves.
But the reality is that our actions aren’t upright. The faith asked of us in the Bible tells us to receive the remission of sins by believing in the gospel of the water and the Spirit, not by our deeds, and then live by faith in God’s righteousness. But people do not think like that. That is why the spiritual life of Christians ends up falling into a dilemma. Because Christians fall into their hypocritical deeds, they go on and on falling into chaos, void, and darkness over and over again. Even today, people inside Christianity fall into the depth of chaos, void, and darkness because they are listening to the words of Satan the Devil and do not have the faith of believing in the gospel of the water and the Spirit.
This Devil advises people who haven’t yet been born again to have an action-oriented faith. He always taught falsely by saying, “Live upright. Live kindly. Lead a life that is ethically sound.” Therefore, not only the Buddhists but also Christians who haven’t been born again fall into their own acts of hypocrisy. Religious leaders of the world today also tell people, “Live upright. Live kindly. Be loyal to your country. Be a righteous student. When you come home, be a good son or a good daughter. When at work, be a very trustworthy worker. Be a highly exemplary citizen in your society. Be the best in your field, whatever it may be. And live diligently and sincerely.”
Deceived by Satan the Devil, all people try to live having exerted all their efforts into the field. However, among those who have been deceived by Satan the Devil, there isn’t a single person in this world who has truly lived according to the Word of God. The Lord told everyone, “Have no other gods before Me. Honor your parents. Do not murder. Do not commit adultery. Do not steal. Do not bear false witness. Do not take the name of God in vain. Remember the Sabbath and keep it holy. Do not serve nor bow down to a carved image,” but is there any person who has kept these commands 100%? The fact of the matter is that there isn’t a single person who has done so.
But, Satan the Devil makes everyone challenge God’s commands. The most representative example is that he provoked Adam and Eve to pick and eat the fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil forbidden by God. God wanted us to enter Heaven by eating the fruit of the tree of life, in other words, by believing in the gospel of the water and the Spirit. However, out of total impudence, most Christians still want to attain everlasting life and become like God by eating the fruit picked from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. And thus, most Christians have resolved to lead a virtuous life, saying, “I will live upright. I will live kindly. I will really carry out Christian ethics properly. In my vocabulary, there isn’t the word, weakness. I will live acting truly upright. I will live without any single piece of shame even when I look toward the sky. I have set my life’s goal like this. I will live like so.” However, those who have established such a goal will all go to hell without exception. These people who are trying to realize something with their own rightfulness for having been deceived by the Devil will be going to hell because they do not believe in the righteousness of God.
Now that you and I have been born again by believing in the gospel of the water and the Spirit, living truly ethically upright isn’t the will of God. But rather, what God wants from us is for us to go on living exalting God’s righteousness. God has given eternal life to us, and we must take the new life by believing in that gospel. Being thankful that the Lord has bestowed us with the remission of sins, we must obey the command of God to spread this gospel faithfully. All religious people as well as church goers who haven’t yet been born again for not knowing the gospel of the water and the Spirit are putting forth their hypocritical life, having been deceived by the Devil. Are their lives acceptable before God? No. They are heading for hell in spite of themselves. So we should pledge ourselves to serve the gospel, saying, “I will live for those who haven’t yet received the remission of sins, even if I have to sacrifice myself, even if I have to take a loss, and even if I will truly be unable to do all the things that I desire to do! If they want to receive the remission of sins by believing in the gospel of the water and the Spirit, I will make any sort of sacrifice, pay any price, and meet any loss.” For a born-again Christian to make efforts for the gospel of God, to live by faith using all his strength, and to live for the salvation of souls is the proper life before God. Such life is in fact a truly righteous life before God. We do not go on living in order to show off our rightfulness of the flesh. Instead, the proper life for the righteous is to spread the gospel of the water and the Spirit.
When the woman saw that the tree was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree desirable to make one wise, she took of its fruit and ate. She also gave the fruit to her husband. Then Adam also ate it. Thus, their eyes were opened, and they realized that they were naked. They felt ashamed, for it so much so that the very first human beings, Adam and Eve, sewed fig leaves together and made themselves coverings. World’s very first clothing fashion was the fig leaves worn by Adam and Eve.
This means that they had tried to cover up their sins by their own virtuous acts. However, no matter how kindly you live by your own virtuous acts, the sins that you have committed cannot be covered up by them. Let us assume that Adam and Eve had covered up their entire body with fig leaves. As the sins that they had committed before God have been written into the tablets of their conscience, would they have been able to cover up even those sins with fig leaves? Could a person cover up the sins that he has committed before God on his own? They cannot be covered entirely. In spite of it all, if a person were to try to cover up just his body, then it just goes to prove that he is still spiritually blind. Therefore, no matter how hard one tries to cover up his sins with his righteousness, it just wouldn’t work. No matter how hard one tries to cover up his sins with his virtuous deeds, one cannot truly cover up his sins. Deceived by Satan the Devil, people who try to cover up their sins with their virtuous deeds are the ones who sew fig-leaf garments everyday to wear them.
Dear fellow believers, you and I are wearing clothes right now, but why are we wearing clothes? Although there is the purpose of trying to protect the body, we do so because we want to cover up our private body parts. Deceived by the Devil, people are putting on coverings made of fig leaves in order to cover up their shameful sins. In other words, people have fabricated worldly religions. What do these fig-leaf garments represent? It represents worldly religions people have fabricated and believe in.
Why then do you think they had made covering out of fig leaves instead of using Palm tree leaves with which they could have covered up their entire body all at once? There is meaning and reason behind the fact that they had made coverings by sewing together fig leaves. A fig leaf is shaped like an open palm with fingers extended, pointing out the fact that people are trying to cover up their sins with their virtuous deeds. It means that people have tried to cover their sins that violate the Word of God with their own efforts and ethical deeds. But it is something that is gravely wrongful.
Even those who are inside Christianity today are wearing coverings sewn together with fig leaves for having been deceived by Satan the Devil. Aprons made of fig leaves would get torn in less than three days, and thus, they would become something that will need mending. If people were to move around in coverings made of fig leaves, they would get torn. If one were to sit down, those clothing would easily get torn, and with a little passage of time, they would just wither up. Because the fig leaves would have withered, if one were to sit down or make a big motion, they would have just crumbled down completely, and thus, one had to make another garment to wear.
No person can cover up his sins with ethically virtuous human deeds. Neither human will nor virtuous acts can have three day’s effect. Human actions and will are such that they do not even last the duration in which fig leaves can function as coverings. Dear fellow believers, is this actually so, or not? Yes, it is. Let us assume that you had tried to cover up sins you had committed with your ethical efforts instead of believing in the gospel of the water and the Spirit given by Jesus Christ. How long do you think that will last? If it had lasted three days, then it has lasted long. It is because even though you may possess an ethical faith today, you will not be able to stop committing sins for the next three days.
No matter how much one has rendered ethically virtuous deeds, once a person commits a sin before God, those kind deeds one has performed will break apart all at once. Then, it is the case that one has to carry out good work again. If a person commits a sin less than three days after having done a good work, then he has to render virtuous deeds again. And, if one has to render virtuous deeds every time he commits a sin, then carrying out tens of virtuous deeds everyday would not even be enough. Therefore, a person cannot cover up any of his sins forever by making coverings out of fig leaves and wearing them.
Do You See Sinners Hiding in a Crowd?
Hearing the voice of God, where did Adam and Eve hide? They hid among the trees. “Then the LORD God called to Adam and said to him, ‘Where are you?’ So he said, ‘I heard Your voice in the garden, and I was afraid because I was naked; and I hid myself’” (Genesis 3:9-10). In many occasions, trees mentioned in the Bible refer to people. For example, Judges 9:8 states, “The trees once went forth to anoint a king over them. And they said to the olive tree, ‘Reign over us!’” Also, when Jesus healed a blind man and asked if he saw anything, he said, “I see men like trees, walking” (Mark 8:24). Often, in the Bible, such trees are metaphorical expression for people.
Where do people hide? Where do sinners hide? They hide in the forest of religion. People who have sins in their heart are bound to seek religions. The fact of the matter is that people hide themselves in various religions: some people in Buddhism, some people in Islam, some people in Mormon, some people in Hinduism, some people in Catholicism, some people in Confucianism, and some people in Christianity that hasn’t been born again. As it is best to sit in the middle of the classroom to hide during a class that asks students many questions, people who have committed many sins against God, people who have lots of sins, and people who haven’t received the remission of sins always like to hide in a church with many members or in a religion where lots of the same people gather around. That is just human mentality. Sinners always feel comfortable at a place where there are many sinners.
Because sinners who haven’t yet met the gospel of the water and the Spirit find themselves exposed in a small church, they like large churches more than a church with a small number of members. In places like a newly planted church, there are just a minister and his wife, along with some workers and one or two brothers and sisters. Altogether, there are just six or seven people. In such instance, the minister who is one of the seven stands in front and gives a sermon, and one other person plays the piano. Then, the remaining five people take their seats. With just five people sitting, they all come into a single view. The righteous would be fine, but just think about someone who hasn’t received the remission of sins having come and sitting there. How uneasy would that person feel? Truly, people like that person do get to feel uneasy. They are uneasy about not knowing when the preacher will be throwing them a question during the sermon. “Alas, I feel uneasy. Oh my, do I feel uneasy. I hope this sermon ends soon. I strongly feel that he will throw me a question. This is a strange church.”
And so, that is why people do not enjoy going to places with few people where there aren’t that many people gathered around. Whatever the case, they feel comfortable when they go to places that are swarming and crowding with people where no attention would be drawn to them. It is the case that their hearts are at ease since the probability of a question being thrown at them will be low if they were to stay deep inside a place where somewhat large numbers of people have gathered together despite some lacking. Even the born-again are like that. This so-called human mentality is like that. Our Lord has even spoken all about human mentality in the Bible.
Is it a Christian’s duty for you to go on living ethically well by having nothing to do with the Word of God? That is not so. Dear fellow believers, we have been born again, but is it the case that we have to go on living well at home, in society, and at work for souls to be saved? Even though we say we have been saved, as we do not believe in the Word of God and do not act by faith, is it the case that we have to live kindly for souls to be saved? But, that is not so. In order for you to have your family, as well as all the people in the world, receive salvation, you must first believe in the gospel of the water and the Spirit recorded in the Word of God and spread it.
True virtue is spreading the gospel of the water and the Spirit so that people may receive the remission of sins. True virtue is serving, volunteering, and living for the work of spreading the gospel. The very act of spreading the gospel to the sinners is what true virtue is. Picking the fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil and eating it will only let you have you own standard of good and evil. It does not help you to discern good and evil. Only when you have eaten the fruit of the tree of life, you will be able to live rightly by distinguishing good and evil.
What did people become by picking and eating the fruit of the knowledge of good and evil? They became spiritually blind. Ever since then, people have been fumbling about, “Which is the way?” Then, they tried to hide their shame. They have become spiritually blind. Can people hide their sins that they have committed by having been deceived by the Devil with ethically virtuous human deeds? Even though they cannot hide them, how come they even know that? Having become spiritually blind, not knowing what is true and right, they cannot but try to cover up their sins with ethically virtuous human deeds. Such is exactly the life of the blind who have been deceived by the Devil.
But what happens when you pick the fruit of the tree of life and eat it? If you eat it, will there be life, or will there be not? Once you pick and eat the fruit of the tree of life, your eyes will open. And you will gain strength. New life will gush out. When we believe in the gospel of the water and the Spirit, new life will begin to stir. Just like the Scripture passage written in the Book of Revelations, “He went out conquering and to conquer,” (Revelations 6:2), we get to go on and on conquering Satan ceaselessly by believing in the gospel of the water and the Spirit inside our hearts. As for those who believe in the gospel of the water and the Spirit, new strength will continue to spout out like spring water inside their heart. As long as we have picked and eaten the fruit of the tree of life by believing in the gospel of the water and the Spirit, we would become like that. When we believe in the gospel of the water and the Spirit, our eyes will open. And thus, we will be able to carry out the will of God by having understood what it is to do good, what pleases God, and what the will of God is. And, we will become capable of carrying out the will of God. People who believe in the gospel of the water and the Spirit will live with God forever.
God has told us to eat the fruit of the tree of life that is in the middle of the Garden of Eden. However, instead of eating the fruit of the tree of life, people ate the fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. Even though God said, “If you eat the fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, you will surely die,” why did they eat it? They were deceived by the Devil for they did not have faith. They were deceived because they did not have the faith of believing in the Word of God in their heart. If you believe in the Word of God, you do not get deluded by Satan. If you believe in the Word of God preached by His servants who have the Holy Spirit, you will have all the wonderful things and get to enjoy everlasting life filled with blessings and joy.
However, why can’t people these days believe in the gospel of the water and the Spirit? Why do they believe in hollow words instead of believing in the Word of God? But, why do they believe in teachings such as, “If you live kindly, you will receive blessings from God”? God has given us the fruit of the tree of life, that is, the gospel of the water and the Spirit, and said, “You can have everlasting life only if you just eat it.” But why do people try to believe in the words of Satan’s servants? If you believe in the Word of God, there will be the everlasting life and blessing for you yourselves as well as for all your descendants. Yet, why can’t people believe in the Word spoken by God?
Dear fellow believers, God speaks to you and me even today. He says to us: “Believe in the Word of God and believe in God, believe in the words of those sent by God; do not believe in your own thoughts, do not believe in your own will, do not believe in your own virtuous deeds, do not believe in the words of people of this world, and just believe in the Word of God. Then you will receive every blessing from Me and get to lead a genuinely virtuous and righteous life based on faith.” Do you believe that living out a life of faith is truly virtuous in the realm of faith?
Our brothers and sisters of Nathanael College Mission held a book exhibition at a nearby teachers’ college for a few days. Because it was the campus festival week, there were many religious groups holding religious activities. But, they weren’t able to help other souls be born again, for they did not know the gospel of the water and the Spirit themselves. It is because they are the spiritually blind who have only picked and ate the fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, not the fruit of the tree of life. And, they were just frantic trying to live virtuously despite having sins in their heart for not having been able to receive the remission of sins. If they were to just go on living virtuously as human beings, it would be fine, but having been completely deceived by the Devil, they spiritually go on doing what the Devil commands. They interfere with those who are preaching the gospel of the water and the Spirit. They take away people who have just barely received the remission of sins and give them spiritual poison. These are the sorts of acts that those who have become servants of the Devil do.
Dear fellow believers, we must lead a genuine life of faith by holding on to the faith of believing in the gospel of the water and the Spirit. I mean we must all offer the remainder of our lives for God and live for God. It is because God has saved you and me, because He has given us the everlasting life, because He has given us new life, because He has also given us Heaven, because He has given us all the riches and honor, and because He has given us all the blessings. Thus, it is only right that we live for Him, and that is something blessed.
We must live for God. Even though we cannot completely go on living by the Law due to our lacking, we who have received the remission of sins by believing in the gospel of the water and the Spirit should live by the faith and give thanks to God until we get to stand before Him.