“Now Adam knew Eve his wife, and she conceived and bore Cain, and said, ‘I have acquired a man from the LORD.’ Then she bore again, this time his brother Abel. Now Abel was a keeper of sheep, but Cain was a tiller of the ground. And in the process of time it came to pass that Cain brought an offering of the fruit of the ground to the LORD. Abel also brought of the firstborn of his flock and of their fat. And the LORD respected Abel and his offering.”
In Genesis chapter two, the Lord God commanded the first man Adam, saying, “Of every tree of the garden you may freely eat; 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.” In the middle of the garden, there also was a tree of life, and it is of this tree of life that God wanted mankind to eat and live forever.
However, in Genesis chapter three, the serpent came to Eve and tempted her to eat the fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, saying, “If you eat from that forbidden tree of the knowledge of good and evil, you will become like God.” It was Satan’s trick trying to destroy God’s justice and love. Adam and Eve had been living in the Garden of Eden, but, in the end, as they were deceived by the serpent and ate the fruit forbidden by God, they were driven out of God’s garden.
It is indispensable that when we believe in God’s Word spoken to us, we should know the real meaning behind His Word. In other words, our faith must not be blind, but accompanied by a full understanding of the real meaning of the Word. We need to realize that Satan is trying to corrupt the Word of God, and that those who listen to and believe in Satan’s words will turn into his servants. We have to realize that true faith is corrupted when one does not believe in God’s Word exactly as it is written. We must know and believe that only God is the Absolute Ruler who can judge good and evil justly.
Satan is the fallen angel that had challenged God’s authority. The Bible writes that although this evil angel challenged God’s authority, he could never overcome Him. When the serpent came to Adam and Eve, it wanted to fulfill its wish by deceiving them, but ultimately, it could not but submit to the amazing providence of God. Satan challenged God once again, only to be cursed by God in the end. We need to realize, however, that this Satan, even though he was defeated by God, still continues to incite people to challenge God and eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil forbidden by God. When we look at the process that led us humans to fall into sin, it teaches us many lessons and also warns us to be wary of the words of the Devil.
When Adam and Eve listened to Satan’s words and ate from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, did they really become like God? Not at all! As always, Satan’s words were nothing more than lies. Far from becoming like God, man saw the advent of sin in his heart, followed by only suffering and curses. Those who were deceived by Satan came to make their own foolish religion and believe in it, making and putting on garments of fig leaves. When Adam and Eve ate from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, they did not really become like God; on the contrary, sin came into their hearts, and they fell down to be brought under the curses of God. As a result, they weaved fig leaves together and put them on, and they hid themselves foolishly and cowardly behind the trees.
What other lessons does the fall of man teach us? It teaches us that we must believe in the Word of God exactly as it is, without adding or subtracting anything. This event also teaches us about the great providence of God. In Genesis chapter three, we can see how God made a special plan to bless us to become His own children. Put differently, the passage in chapter three of Genesis shows us God’s providence.
This passage reveals that before God, one cannot be saved from all his sins through his own acts of weaknesses, but only by the boundless mercy of God bestowed through Jesus Christ. For us to really become God’s children, we must first come into God’s providence prepared for us. To give the blessing of everlasting life to mankind through the washing of sin, God momentarily allowed Satan’s temptation. In other words, for us to reach the glory of becoming God’s children, we first had fallen into sin and thus become the objects of God’s salvation. Put differently, only when human beings go through the suffering of sin, and are washed from sin by believing in the gospel Truth of the water and the Spirit that the Lord has given us, can they then receive the blessing of becoming God’s true children.
The garments of fig leaves that Adam and Eve made and put on themselves after their fall were imperfect garments, drying out and falling apart in just a day or two. These garments made of fig leaves imply the man-made garments made of one’s own hypocrisy. In other words, these clothes are the garments of religion that human beings made for themselves. Such garments made of mankind’s false goodness can never save the fallen man. God has made it absolutely impossible for anyone to be saved from the sins of the world through the virtuous deeds of his flesh. That is why Genesis 3:21 says, “For Adam and his wife the LORD God made tunics of skin, and clothed them.”
As we know, the spiritual garment that is obtained by understanding and believing in the righteousness of God is fundamentally different from the garment of religion made of false virtues of mankind; as far as their power is concerned, they are set apart by miles of difference. The garments of fig leaves that human beings make and put on themselves can never cover their sins. Such clothes are not worth wearing, for they are easily torn apart in no time. In contrast, the tunics of skin that God made are the garments of His righteousness, so strong and sturdy that once put on, it will last forever.
What does the difference between these two types of clothes tell us? It teaches us that we can never solve the problem of our sins through our own good deeds, and that for us to be washed from our sins, we must only put on the God-made tunics of skin, the garment of His righteousness, by faith. Yet the reality is that most Christians do not believe in the gospel of the water and the Spirit that holds the righteousness of God, but instead, they are wearing the garments of their own prayers of repentance, much like the garments of fig leaves that Adam and Eve wore. The Bible plainly shows how mankind, ever since its fall from the grace of God, has been trying to cover its shame and evils with its own false virtues.
A life that is ensnared by the trap of religion is miserable, where one has to keep making and wearing garments of leaves every day. However, just as God had compassion for Adam and Eve and made tunics of skin to clothe them, so has God given the gospel of the water and the Spirit through His Son to free all human beings from the miserable trap of religion by completely covering all their sins and shame. This gospel is the very gospel of great mercy that holds the righteousness of God. God has made it possible for us to receive the true remission of our sins through the gospel Truth of the water and the Spirit that He has given us, and God has also allowed us, who believe in this gospel of Truth, to always come and stand before His presence as holy beings. You must believe that God has made you believe in His righteousness to never revert back to your old sinful self; you must remember this, and you must hold on to it. Now, whoever believes in the gospel of the water and the Spirit can be made new as one of God’s own people.
However, since you were born with sin by nature, you must first admit that you were bound to hell for this sin. Human nature is such that everyone constantly commits sin while living in this world. Everyone wants to commit sin always, just as God said to Cain, “If you do well, will you not be accepted? And if you do not do well, sin lies at the door. And its desire is for you, but you should rule over it” (Genesis 4:7).
Like this, we were all born as sinners, routinely and habitually committing sin throughout our lifetime, but God has saved such sinners like us. The gospel that washes all of us from our sins is the gospel of the water and the Spirit. So we must believe in this gospel of the water and the Spirit with our hearts and receive the true remission of our sins.
However, as the Bible says, “But these speak evil of whatever they do not know; and whatever they know naturally, like brute beasts, in these things they corrupt themselves” (Jude 1:10), many people today do not accept the gospel of the water and the Spirit out of their natural bias, and, not only this, but they actually stand up against the gospel, thus walking straight into their own destruction. In emphasizing their own thoughts and their own virtuous deeds, and in making their own religion of false virtues, they are offending God’s Truth. With their carnal thoughts and instinctive knowledge, people come up with their own religion of hypocrisy, and they worship the gods of their own making. But can any such man-made, false religion really wash away their sins? No, of course not!
Christians all over the world must cast aside their present faith, which they have harbored only as a matter of religion, and instead believe in the gospel of the water and the Spirit. To this day, they have tried to wash away their hearts’ sins not with the gospel of the water and the Spirit, but with their faith in the blood of the Cross alone. But with this kind of faith, were they able to really remove their sense of condemnation that inevitably follows whenever they sin? No, they could not be truly freed from their sins. If you believe in Jesus as your Savior, but only based on what your flesh knows naturally, then would you be able to cleanse away your sins with this kind of faith? No, you could never achieve this. If this is true, then you really need to ponder on this point carefully here. And you should turn around, believe in the gospel of the water and the Spirit, and take hold of the righteousness of God.
The world is now filled with countless religions. Every society has its own religions, as Herbert Spencer said that people made society in fear of their life, and they made religion in fear of their death. Theologians argue that even cannibals have their own religion. However, we must realize that all these religions are blocking people from the way to the Truth. Every religion has its own belief system based on the natural values and knowledge of man, who ate from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, and therefore it is inevitable for all religions to stand against the gospel of Truth where all the righteousness of God has been fulfilled.
Our God is telling us that it is wrong for us to try to be saved through our religious practices. By practicing religious virtues, no one can completely wash away his sins, nor can anyone be freed from all his sins. What we must all realize is that it is only when we put on by faith the righteous garment of salvation God has made for us, that we can receive the remission of sins, and we can also be made forever whole. God has perfectly blotted out all your sins and inequities with the gospel of the water and the Spirit.
The Gospel of the Remission of Sin That God Has Given Us
As we turn to Genesis 4:1-5, it is written: “Now Adam knew Eve his wife, and she conceived and bore Cain, and said, ‘I have acquired a man from the LORD.’ Then she bore again, this time his brother Abel. Now Abel was a keeper of sheep, but Cain was a tiller of the ground. And in the process of time it came to pass that Cain brought an offering of the fruit of the ground to the LORD. Abel also brought of the firstborn of his flock and of their fat. And the LORD respected Abel and his offering, but He did not respect Cain and his offering. And Cain was very angry, and his countenance fell.”
Actually, Cain and Abel were not the only children born from Adam and Eve, but many others were born as well. But the Bible only speaks of these two sons, and the reason for this is because God wants to teach us with this passage that among those who profess to believe in God, some are saved, but others are not. Moreover, this passage also teaches us that mankind cannot blot out its sins with the religion of its own making. It tells us that if people want to receive the remission of sins from God and become His people, they must bring to God an offering that’s desired by Him by faith, and give the righteous offering of faith to God.
As Cain and Abel grew up, they each had a job; Cain’s was farming, and Abel’s was cattle-raising. Since Cain was a farmer, he brought such produces of the ground as potatoes, corn, sweet potatoes, and rice and offered them to God sincerely, and he wanted God to accept them. In contrast, Abel took the firstborn of the flock, split open its stomach, took out the fat attached to its entrails, put its flesh and fat on an altar, and offered them to God by burning them. Whose offering did God accept? God rejected Cain’s offering and only accepted Abel’s offering.
The Fruit of the Ground Here Refers to the Practices of Man-made Religions
The fruit of the ground that Cain offered to God had no real Truth, nor real life. No matter how we humans might take something of our own as our offering to God and give it to Him with all sincerity, we cannot fulfill the righteousness of God on our part. God does not want any offering of the ground that holds man’s own devotion, nor does He accept it. What God wants from us is the offering of sacrifice that has life and blood. Unless people give the just offering that pleases God, God does not accept any of their offerings. The firstborn of the flock—that is, the sacrificial offering of atonement—was to find and restore our life again.
God thus accepted Abel’s offering. He accepted the firstborn of the flock and their fat. This sacrificial offering foretells that God would send His only begotten Son to this earth and save us from our sins, foreshadowing the gospel of the water and the Spirit. This gospel of the water and the Spirit is the gospel through which the only begotten Son of God has saved us humans from all our sins, by taking them upon Himself through His baptism received from John. When we believe in the One who came by the water and the blood (1 John 5:6)—that is, in Jesus—as our Savior and offer this faith to God, God approves and accepts our faith, gives us the remission of sins as well, and also blesses us to become His own children. In other words, it is when we believe in the baptism of Jesus, thus passing all our sins by faith to the body of Jesus our propitiation, and when we offer this faith to God, that God remits away all our sins on account of this faith. None other than this is the very Truth of salvation, with which God has saved us from our sins out of His love for us.
All the sinners born as the descendants of Adam must take the offering that God has set for them when they come to God and stand before His presence. This is the law of salvation that God promised in detail through the Book of Leviticus. In Leviticus chapter one, God called Moses to the Tabernacle of meeting. And He said to Moses, “When any one of you brings an offering to the LORD, you shall bring your offering of the livestock—of the herd and of the flock” (Leviticus 1:2). And God told the people of Israel that their offering to God had to be unblemished livestock. In other words, God told the Israelites that if they wanted to receive the remission of sins, they should bring unblemished livestock and sacrifice them to God.
In the age of the Old Testament, unblemished animals such as bulls, sheep, or goats were the offerings that were sacrificed to God. It was these offerings that God accepted in pleasure. As it is written, “If his offering is a burnt sacrifice of the herd, let him offer a male without blemish; he shall offer it of his own free will at the door of the tabernacle of meeting before the LORD” (Leviticus 1:3). That one had to offer his sacrifice out of his own free will meant that he couldn’t just give any offering in whatever way he deemed fit, but he had to give an offering that God would accept in pleasure according to the requirements of the sacrificial system that He had established. In other words, the sacrificial animals specified by God as acceptable offerings were unblemished bulls, sheep, or goats, and before sacrificing one of these animals, a sinner had to pass his sins to it by putting his hands on its head. So, God Himself said, “Then he shall put his hand on the head of the burnt offering, and it will be accepted on his behalf to make atonement for him” (Leviticus 1:4). This means that when one laid his hands on the head of the sacrificial offering, it would be accepted by God in pleasure to make atonement for him—that is, he would receive the remission of sins. In other words, as his sins would be passed onto the sacrificial offering, God would accept this offering and remit away his sins. So this is how the people of the Old Testament’s time gave their offerings to God.
Let us turn to Leviticus 4:27-31 here: “If anyone of the common people sins unintentionally by doing something against any of the commandments of the LORD in anything which ought not to be done, and is guilty, or if his sin which he has committed comes to his knowledge, then he shall bring as his offering a kid of the goats, a female without blemish, for his sin which he has committed. And he shall lay his hand on the head of the sin offering, and kill the sin offering at the place of the burnt offering. Then the priest shall take some of its blood with his finger, put it on the horns of the altar of burnt offering, and pour all the remaining blood at the base of the altar. He shall remove all its fat, as fat is removed from the sacrifice of the peace offering; and the priest shall burn it on the altar for a sweet aroma to the LORD. So the priest shall make atonement for him, and it shall be forgiven him.”
In the age of the Old Testament, all the people of Israel, commoners and nobles alike, had the Word of the Law, which specified in detail the “do’s and don’ts” governing their lives, such as the following commandments: “You shall have no other gods before Me. You shall not make idols. You shall not bow to them. You shall not take My name in vain. You shall keep the Sabbath holy. You shall honor your parents. You shall not murder. You shall not commit adultery. You shall not steal. You shall not covet.” These ten statutes of God provide the gist of the Law called as the Ten Commandments.
Because human beings are too weak, they all commit sin constantly. What did God say that the Israelites had to do when they committed sin with their acts or hearts? When the people of Israel committed sin unintentionally by doing something against any of the commandments of the Lord and were guilty, and they came to be aware of their guilt, they had to bring unblemished animals as their offerings. They then first passed all their sins to the sacrificial animals by laying their hands on the heads of the animals, and then killed and offered them to God (Leviticus 4:27-28).
Most of you probably have seen some sort of painting depicting a stone altar of burnt offering, with firewood spread out, a slaughtered animal placed on top, and fire burning below. This depicts the burnt offering that was given to God. Whenever the people of Israel in the age of the Old Testament committed sin, they passed their sins to a sacrificial animal by laying their hands on its head, and drew its blood by cutting its throat and gave this blood to the priest. The priest then took some of its blood with his finger, put it on the four horns of the altar of burnt offering, and poured the remaining blood on the ground. He then took out its fat, placed the fat on top of the altar of burnt offering along with its flesh, and offered them to God by burning them.
When we turn to the Book of Leviticus, we see how God established the sacrificial system to remit away people’s sins, specifying requirements for such offerings as burnt offerings, peace offerings, and sin offerings. God made it clear that a sinner should kill an animal on his behalf in place of his own death, place it on the altar of burnt offering, and offer it to God as his sacrificial offering of atonement. According to this sacrificial system, the sinners of the Old Testament had to bring a sacrificial animal and pass their sins to this animal by laying their hands on its head. The sacrificial animal that accepted people’s sins through the laying on of their hands had to die invariably to pay off the wages of their sins on their behalf. In other words, the one who passed his sins to the animal killed it, drew its blood, and gave this blood to the priest; the priest then took its blood with his fingers, put it on the horns of the altar of burnt offering, and poured the rest of the blood on the ground. He then offered all its flesh to God by burning it. When the priest thus gave the sacrifice to God, the sinner that gave the offering could receive the remission of sins. Through this God-established sacrifice, the sinner could be remitted from his sins. With this sacrificial system, God opened a way for the people of Israel to be remitted from all their sins by faith, no matter what iniquities they might have had in their hearts. This is what the sacrificial system was all about.
Therefore, as God promised that He would forgive all the sins of His people, according to this promise, the people of God in the Old Testament laid their hands on the head of the sacrificial animal and offered its blood to God. Since they all sinned every day, this meant that all of them had to offer their sacrifice of atonement every day and receive the remission of their sins on a daily basis.
Yet it was intolerably painstaking for them to offer sacrifices day after day. So God established another sacrificial rite for them, and this was the statute concerning the Day of Atonement. This sacrificial rite allowed the people of Israel to pass all the sins they accumulated over a year at once. It was a sacrificial rite of mercy, where God allowed the High Priest to pass onto the sacrificial animals all the sins committed by all his people for a whole year, by laying his hands on the heads of the animals on their behalf.
This sacrifice on the Day of Atonement was offered every year on the tenth day of the seventh month. Let us turn to Leviticus 16:29-30 here: “This shall be a statute forever for you: In the seventh month, on the tenth day of the month, you shall afflict your souls, and do no work at all, whether a native of your own country or a stranger who dwells among you. For on that day the priest shall make atonement for you, to cleanse you, that you may be clean from all your sins before the LORD.”
God made the High Priest give the sacrifice that blotted out the entire year’s sins committed by the entire people of Israel all at once. Prior to this, when the Israelites committed even the smallest sin, they each still had to bring a sacrificial animal, pass their sins to it by laying their hands on its head, and kill the animal and burn it. But this was way too complicated, with not nearly enough animals to go around for all the sins that the Israelites committed, and so God made the High Priest give a special sacrifice to blot out all the sins of the Israelites for an entire year. In other words, God allowed them the statute that blotted out all their yearly sins at once. That is why according to this statute, on the Day of Atonement, a man named Aaron came to offer sacrifice to God as the High Priest.
The Everlasting Sacrifice of Atonement
Let us turn to Leviticus 16:17-22: “There shall be no man in the tabernacle of meeting when he goes in to make atonement in the Holy Place, until he comes out, that he may make atonement for himself, for his household, and for all the assembly of Israel. And he shall go out to the altar that is before the LORD, and make atonement for it, and shall take some of the blood of the bull and some of the blood of the goat, and put it on the horns of the altar all around. Then he shall sprinkle some of the blood on it with his finger seven times, cleanse it, and consecrate it from the uncleanness of the children of Israel. And when he has made an end of atoning for the Holy Place, the tabernacle of meeting, and the altar, he shall bring the live goat. Aaron shall lay both his hands on the head of the live goat, confess over it all the iniquities of the children of Israel, and all their transgressions, concerning all their sins, putting them on the head of the goat, and shall send it away into the wilderness by the hand of a suitable man. The goat shall bear on itself all their iniquities to an uninhabited land; and he shall release the goat in the wilderness.”
The man named Aaron here was the High Priest, and it was this man, as the representative of the people of Israel, who ministered to pass all their sins to the sacrificial animals. First, he prepared two goats, one to be sacrificed in the Tabernacle, and the other to be sacrificed for atonement before the people of Israel watching. This second goat was called “the scapegoat.” On the head of this scapegoat, Aaron laid his hands and thus passed all the sins of his people all at once, led the goat into the wilderness, and set it loose in the desert. As a result, the goat was to wander around in the wilderness and die, all the while shouldering the sins of the Israelites.
This is the offering of atonement that the people of Israel gave. Therefore, those who wanted to live in cleanness every day had to bring a sacrificial animal every day, pass their sins by laying their hands on its head, kill the animal, and give its blood to the priest. The Bible states, “Without shedding of blood there is no remission” (Hebrews 9:22). It is because the Israelites’ sacrificial animals accepted their sins through the laying on of their hands that the animals had to shed their blood of life.
This is the very fulfillment of the God-spoken Word, “For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Romans 6:23). Anyone who has sin before God must be condemned and die for this sin, and that is precisely the reason why God sent His only begotten Son to this earth for us. When the Bible says, “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son,” this means that God gave His only begotten Son to us out of His love for us, and that because God so loved us, He sacrificed Himself and saved us from sin, all to bring us back to life.
Unlike the Old Testament’s Time, We Can Now Be Washed from All Our Sins Once and for All through the Gospel of the Water and the Spirit
You and I are now living in the age of the New Testament. Though we are living in an enlightened age, you and I still continue to sin. Who commits no sin at all? Everyone commits sin without exception.
Some people, however, believe and claim that they can be remitted from their sins if they give prayers of repentance. So having committed sin every day, they go to church and give their prayers of repentance, saying to God, “Lord, I’ve sinned like this. Please forgive me.” But can they really be forgiven from their sins in this way? Absolutely not! No one can wash away his personal sins through his own prayers of repentance.
Would any Christian deliberately try not to keep the Law? No. On the contrary, most Christians try very hard to keep the Law. But could they be made righteous by keeping the Law of God to perfection? Could they really be remitted from all their sins through their own religious devotion and altruistic deeds? Never! From the very beginning, God made it clear that no one can hide his sins by making and putting on garments of fig leaves. In other words, no sinner can ever receive the remission of his sins through any religion of this world.
Through what, then, can we be remitted from our sins? God said that it is by believing in the gospel of the water and the Spirit, the gospel through which God has saved us from sin, that we can receive the remission of our sins. In other words, when we understand the gospel of the water and the Spirit that has blotted out all our sins, and believe in this gospel, we can be saved from our sins. While human beings can never be saved from sin through any fruit of their flesh, if they believe in the gospel of righteousness completed by the Lord God, they can then receive the remission of their sins and become righteous people. It is harder for the rich to enter the Kingdom of Heaven through their own righteousness than for a camel to go through the eye of a needle, but God has completed our “salvation from sin,” which is impossible to be attained by our own virtuous deeds, and He has given it to us as a gift. That is why when Jesus spoke about our salvation from sin, He said, “With men this is impossible, but with God all things are possible” (Matthew 19:26).
As we carry on with our lives in this world, we cannot help but commit sin every day, for we are all too insufficient. Who in this world does not sin? If there is anyone who commits no sin against God or fellow human beings while living in this world, let him speak out now. Christians today say, “Believe in Jesus. You’ll go to Heaven if you believe in Jesus,” but when we ask them, “Do Christians commit no sin while living in this world?” they say, “Of course not; even Christians still sin.” When we then ask, “What do you do when you commit sin?” they say, “All that I have to do is go to church and give prayers of repentance.”
Does this make sense? This, my fellow believers, is complete nonsense. In fact, this is the very reason why so many non-Christians are denouncing Christians. They ask, “If a man kills someone, and then goes to church and prays, ‘Lord, I’ve done wrong. I’m giving You my prayer of repentance. Please forgive me,’ then is this murder’s sin washed away?” They have a valid point here; indeed, sin does not disappear just by offering prayers of repentance.
Still others think that if they do a lot of charity work and give a lot of church offerings, their sins would somehow be written off, as if they were paying off debts. All this is nothing more than mistaken knowledge, a result of “whatever they know naturally” (Jude 1:10). Just because Christians offer a lot of money to God, would their sins disappear? Would God’s blessings flow to you just by giving church offerings? In other words, would your hearts’ sins really disappear if you offer all your hard-earned money to God? Is our God such an unjust God who would accept a bribe like this, and prevent anyone poor from setting even a foot inside His Church?
Let’s assume for a moment that there is an electrician here, whose job is to climb an electric pole and repair it. This electrician climbs up to the top of a pole, lays out his tools on the pole, and drops one of them by accident. The tool falls on top of a passerby, killing him instantly. The electrician here killed someone unintentionally. Like this, human beings are so insufficient that they commit sin constantly, but do their sins disappear just by offering prayers of repentance? No, of course not! Whether one commits sin intentionally or unintentionally, all sins are washed away only by believing in the gospel of the water and the Spirit where the righteousness of God is manifested.
All the sins of mankind are washed away only if people know the God-given gospel of the water and the Spirit and rely on this gospel. The God that Christians believe in is a just God, and that is why God said, “The wages of sin is death,” meaning, “If you kill someone, then you must also die.” Even if we don’t commit sin intentionally, we are still capable of sinning unintentionally, and so if God’s just law were applied to us, we should have been put to death a million times.
God is just. God is truly fair. The Law says that if anyone intentionally kills someone, this murderer must be put to death without fail (Numbers 35:16-21). Put differently, God had established a just law mandating “an eye for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth.” According to the Law of God, if someone struck another and broke his tooth, he had to give up his own tooth as well. In Islamic countries, the Law is still applied literally, and so when a thief is punished, his hand is cut off. This is how strict the Law of God is. So if the Law of God were applied to everyone, we would all have to be condemned for our sins and put to death.
How, then, can human beings avoid death, when they cannot help but sin constantly? How can they ever be saved? Because God so loved mankind, He could not just leave human beings alone to die for their sins. That is why God gave the sacrificial system to wash away people’s sins justly. In other words, God allowed sinners to prepare a sacrificial animal, pass their sins to this animal by laying their hands on its head, kill the animal to pay for the wages of their sins, and thus be remitted from their sins—by establishing this sacrificial system, God fulfilled both His justice and love.
Although You and I Both Continue to Sin Even Now, God Has Already Blotted out All Our Sins
Is there anyone in this world who commits no sin against God or fellow humans? No, there is none. I myself also commit sin. How, then, can we avoid death, the wages of our sins? In other words, how can we avoid the everlasting punishment of hell? There is absolutely no way for us to blot out our sins by ourselves, and therefore we have no other way but to receive the remission of our sins from God Himself. If so, then how does our God blot out all our sins? God has blotted out all our sins with the gospel of the water and the Spirit that has fulfilled His righteousness.
Let us turn to Matthew 3:13-17: “Then Jesus came from Galilee to John at the Jordan to be baptized by him. And John tried to prevent Him, saying, ‘I need to be baptized by You, and are You coming to me?’ But Jesus answered and said to him, ‘Permit it to be so now, for thus it is fitting for us to fulfill all righteousness.’ Then he allowed Him. When He had been baptized, Jesus came up immediately from the water; and behold, the heavens were opened to Him, and He saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and alighting upon Him. And suddenly a voice came from heaven, saying, ‘This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.’”
The sacrificial system of the Old Testament was a shadow of the New Testament, and the substance of this sacrificial system is the everlasting propitiation of Jesus revealed in the New Testament. Some people say, “God’s love and justice met on the Cross.” And claiming that God has saved humans from their sins only through the blood of the Cross, they preach a “half gospel.” However, we must realize that it is in the gospel of the water and the Spirit that the justice of God and His love met to perfection. In other words, Jesus, God Himself, offered His body as the everlasting propitiation for our sins through the just means foreordained in the sacrificial system of the Old Testament, and it is because of this that we have received “the love of the truth” (2 Thessalonians 2:10).
To save us from the sins of this world, God the Father sent His only begotten Son to this earth incarnated in the flesh, passed all the sins of the world to the body of the Son through His baptism, and crucified this Son to the Cross to bleed and die in our place instead of sinners. And God the Father then resurrected the Son. How Jesus has thus saved us from sin is all contained in the gospel Truth of the water and the Spirit. This gospel is the gospel of the water and the Spirit that Jesus fulfilled.
When Jesus turned 30 on this earth, to take upon all the sins of mankind through His baptism, He walked toward John, who was baptizing the people of Israel in the Jordan River. Jesus wanted to be baptized by John the Baptist. John the Baptist makes his appearance here, and this John who baptized Jesus was none other than the representative of the entire mankind. He was the greatest of all who were born of women (Matthew 11:11).
As Jesus sought to be baptized by John the Baptist, John said to Him, “I need to be baptized by You, and are You coming to me?” By this, John meant, “Jesus, You are the Son of God and the Creator of mankind, and so why do You want to be baptized by me? It is I who should be baptized by You.”
Jesus then commanded John the Baptist, saying, “Permit it to be so now, for thus it is fitting for us to fulfill all righteousness. Only when you and I do this can we fulfill all righteousness. Only when you put your hands on My head and pass all the sins of mankind to Me, can I then carry all these sins of the world to the Cross and shed My blood, and thus fulfill the will of God the Father. Only when we thus fulfill the justice and love of God can the entire mankind be saved. So you should baptize Me.” So this is why Jesus was baptized by John the Baptist.
The Bible clearly declares that it was to fulfill all the righteousness of God that Jesus was baptized by John the Baptist (Matthew 3:15). To blot out all the sins of mankind, Jesus wanted to be baptized by John the Baptist, and it was also indispensable that He should receive this baptism. When Jesus came out of the water after being baptized, the gates of Heaven were opened, and God said, “This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.”
Just as it is written in John 3:16, “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,” God indeed gave His only begotten Son for the sake of humanity. The “world” here refers to the entire human race.
To save us from sin, God the Father sent His only begotten Son to this earth, and as He made this Son be baptized in the Jordan River in the same way as the Old Testament’s laying on of hands, Jesus accepted all the sins of the entire human race. In other words, our Lord accepted all the sins of mankind by being baptized by John the Baptist for us, so that He may blot out all the sins we commit throughout our entire lifetime, all the sins of your forefathers, and all the sins of every human being who will ever live until the end of mankind. This work is the very gospel of the water and the Spirit fulfilled by the baptism Jesus received in the Jordan River and His blood on the Cross.
When Jesus was baptized by John the Baptist and came out of the water, God the Father said, “This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.” By this, God was saying, “This is My Son. My Son took upon your sins by being baptized, and because of this, He will shed His blood and die on the Cross. But I will resurrect My Son Jesus Christ back to life again. This is My righteous act fulfilled to save you from sin. And it is My love.” It is because of this love, because God loved you and me so much, that He was baptized by John the Baptist and shed His blood to death. None other than this Truth is the gospel of the water and the Spirit.
That the Lord was baptized by John the Baptist is the same as a sacrificial animal taking upon mankind’s sins through the laying on of hands in the age of the Old Testament. Just as in the age of the Old Testament, God killed a sacrificial animal for mankind’s sins and clothed Adam and Eve with tunics of skin, our salvation by God is one that was put on us by God, perfected through the propitiation of Jesus, the Lamb of God. We cannot be saved through any religion that worships man-made idols, but as God clothed us all at once with the garments of everlasting salvation that He made for us with the gospel of the water and the Spirit, He has forever delivered us from all our sins.
Jesus came to this earth more than 2,000 years ago. And when He turned 30, He was baptized by John the Baptist. The reason for this was to fulfill all the righteousness of God. Just as it is written in Matthew 3:15, “Permit it to be so now, for thus it is fitting for us to fulfill all righteousness,” Jesus washed us from the sins of the world by being baptized by John the Baptist in a form of the laying on of hands. The word “thus” in Matthew 3:15 here means that in the Old Testament, “just as one’s sins were passed onto his sacrificial animal when he laid his hands on its head, and God accepted this offering and blotted out his sins when the animal was bled, killed, and offered to God,” it was to accept our sins that Jesus was baptized and came out of the water.
Because Jesus accepted all our sins by being baptized—in other words, because He accepted all our sins like the sacrificial offering of the age of the Old Testament—He had to shed His blood and die, and that is why He was crucified for us. And He then rose from the dead again. In other words, although we had no choice but to die for our transgressions and sins, to save such people like us from our sins, the Lord was baptized by John the Baptist, shed His blood for us, and rose from the dead again. This is the very reason why Jesus came to this earth. Jesus took upon all our sins once and for all when He was baptized by John the Baptist.
Jesus Is the Lamb of God Who Took away the Sins of the World
Let’s turn to John 1:29. “The next day John saw Jesus coming toward him, and said, ‘Behold! The Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!’”
Because Jesus accepted all the sins of the world once and for all by receiving His baptism to fulfill all righteousness, all the sins of this world were passed onto the body of Jesus, and that is why Jesus became the Lamb of God who took away the sins of the world. Through this baptism that Jesus received from John the Baptist, He took upon all the sins of this world once and for all.
You all commit sin in this world. But Jesus took away all the sins of this world, so that He may carry them to the Cross. That is how, by saving us from our sins all at once, Jesus has become your Savior and mine.
Jesus Christ shouldered all the sins of this world all at once, carried them to the Cross, and shed His blood for us. It is written John 19:17-18, “And He, bearing His cross, went out to a place called the Place of a Skull, which is called in Hebrew, Golgotha, where they crucified Him, and two others with Him, one on either side, and Jesus in the center.”
Why was Jesus crucified to shed His blood? It’s because He had at once accepted all the sins of this world through His baptism. We must realize the gospel Truth of the water and the Spirit. It was to blot out your sins and mine that Jesus was baptized by John the Baptist, and because Jesus had thus accepted all the sins of the world already, He bore all the condemnation of sin by being crucified.
Regarding Jesus’ crucifixion and death on the Cross, John 19:28-30 write the following: “After this, Jesus, knowing that all things were now accomplished, that the Scripture might be fulfilled, said, ‘I thirst!’ Now a vessel full of sour wine was sitting there; and they filled a sponge with sour wine, put it on hyssop, and put it to His mouth. So when Jesus had received the sour wine, He said, ‘It is finished!’ And bowing His head, He gave up His spirit.”
As Jesus was crucified and shed His blood, and as He neared His death on the Cross, He said, “It is finished!” (John 19:30) Why did Jesus say this just before dying? That’s because Jesus had taken upon all the sins of mankind through the baptism He received from John the Baptist, and now, having carried these sins of the world to the Cross, He paid off all their wages with His own bloodshed and death. Jesus at once accomplished the complete removal of all our sins. And having risen from the dead again, our Lord said, “Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age” (Matthew 28:19-20).
Are We Truly Made Sinless If We Believe in the Righteousness of God?
Let us turn to Romans 3:19-20 here. “Now we know that whatever the law says, it says to those who are under the law, that every mouth may be stopped, and all the world may become guilty before God. Therefore by the deeds of the law no flesh will be justified in His sight, for by the law is the knowledge of sin.”
No one in this world can ever be saved from his sins by believing in Jesus only as a matter of religion. God said here, “Whatever the law says, it says to those who are under the law.” What does this passage mean? It means that the Law speaks to those who still do not realize that God has saved them, and who, bound in their sins, cannot but die and go to hell. What does the Law say then? It says, “Every mouth may be stopped, and all the world may become guilty before God”—in other words, it declares, “You are exposed as a sinner before the Law, and you must be condemned for your sins.”
Moreover, our Lord also said, “Therefore by the deeds of the law no flesh will be justified in His sight, for by the law is the knowledge of sin.” By this, the Lord made it clear here that salvation cannot be reached by believing in Christianity only as a matter of religion, as if it were merely a religion of the world. No matter how virtuously anyone might live, no one can keep the Law to 100 percent perfection. Through the Law, God said to us, “You shall have no other gods before Me; you shall not commit adultery; you shall not steal; you shall not bear false witness; you shall not covet.” Put differently, God is telling us through the Law, “You are a sinner—you have other gods in your heart, you commit adultery every day, you cannot but bear false witness, you would gladly steal anything if given a chance, and you cannot control your covetousness.”
The Law demands holiness from us. Regarding the standard of this holiness demanded by the Law, Jesus Himself said, “Whoever looks at a woman to lust for her has already committed adultery with her in his heart” (Matthew 5:28). Religionists think it is okay as long as they don’t break the Law with their actual deeds, but the Lord said here that anyone who harbors a lustful desire in his heart has already committed adultery. Therefore, no one can escape from the condemnation of the Law of God, and no one can be saved from his sins by keeping the Law.
Let’s turn to Romans 3:21-22 here: “But now the righteousness of God apart from the law is revealed, being witnessed by the Law and the Prophets, even the righteousness of God, through faith in Jesus Christ, to all and on all who believe. For there is no difference.”
The Bible said here, “Now the righteousness of God apart from the law is revealed.” This means that we can now obtain our salvation from sin just by believing in the righteousness of God—not through religion, nor through prayers of repentance, nor by giving a lot of church offerings, nor by living virtuously. In other words, God has now opened a new way for us to reach our salvation from sin. It means that God has clothed His righteousness on those who believe that Jesus Christ has saved them by being baptized by John the Baptist to accept all their sins, dying on the Cross, and rising from the dead again. In short, it is by believing in the gospel of the water and the Spirit that we are saved from all our sins.
God said in Romans 3:23-26, “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, being justified freely by His grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, whom God set forth as a propitiation by His blood, through faith, to demonstrate His righteousness, because in His forbearance God had passed over the sins that were previously committed, to demonstrate at the present time His righteousness, that He might be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus.”
What does this passage mean? It means that when Jesus Christ came to this earth, He fulfilled the righteousness of God. How did Jesus Christ achieve this? He achieved it by accepting all your sins and mine once for all through the baptism He received from John the Baptist, by bearing all the condemnation of sin on the Cross on our behalf, the condemnation that you and I should have borne, and by thus saving us all. That is how we have now been justified freely by the God-given grace of salvation. This is the very gift of the righteousness of God.
The righteousness of God was completed by the “righteous act” (Romans 5:18) of Jesus Christ, the only begotten Son of God the Father, and was given to us as a gift. And the “righteous act” of Jesus Christ is that He accepted all the sins of the world through the baptism He received, died on the Cross, and rose from the dead again to save us from all our sins. None other than this is the very gift of the love of God. That is why the Bible said here that we are “justified freely by His grace.”
It is by admitting God’s righteous work with our lips that we can reach true salvation. Because we have received the gift of salvation by believing in the righteousness of God completed by Jesus, we have now been made righteous and become God’s own children. In other words, one is remitted from all his sins not by not committing any sin, nor by practicing many virtuous deeds, nor by offering a lot of money, nor by offering prayers of repentance, nor by leading a pious religious life. True salvation is attained just by believing in the righteousness of God through which Jesus Christ has saved us from sin. This is the very gospel of the water and the Spirit, the Word of Truth that leads us to Heaven.
God said in Romans 4:1-8, “What then shall we say that Abraham our father has found according to the flesh? For if Abraham was justified by works, he has something to boast about, but not before God. For what does the Scripture say? ‘Abraham believed God, and it was accounted to him for righteousness.’ Now to him who works, the wages are not counted as grace but as debt. But to him who does not work but believes on Him who justifies the ungodly, his faith is accounted for righteousness, just as David also describes the blessedness of the man to whom God imputes righteousness apart from works:
‘Blessed are those whose lawless deeds are forgiven,
And whose sins are covered;
Blessed is the man to whom the LORD shall not impute sin.’”
My fellow believers, what kinds of people are blessed before God, and what kinds of people are unblessed? The blessed are those who have been saved from all their sins. Although Abraham was approved by God as a righteous man, this does not mean that he was approved by God for his “righteousness” by not committing any sin and living virtuously. How was Abraham justified then? He was saved from his sins by believing in the righteousness of God. Through what kind of faith, then, was he saved from all his sins?
God opened Abraham’s spiritual eyes: He made Abraham realize the meaning of His righteousness held in the sacrifice of atonement. In other words, Abraham became a righteous man because he believed that just as God accepted sinners’ offerings and blotted out their sins when they brought a sacrificial lamb or goat, passed their sins by laying their hands on its head, and offered to God, so would Jesus Christ come to this earth, take upon our sins by being baptized, die on the Cross, rise from the dead again, and thus save us all. Abraham, too, was saved from his sins by believing in God, through the Word that God spoke to him. That is how Abraham became a happy man before God.
The Bible said here, “Blessed is the man to whom the LORD shall not impute sin.” My fellow believers, does this then mean that even though we have all sinned before God, God would simply overlook our sins for no reason? Not at all! God said this under the premise that His Son would come to this earth and fulfill all His righteousness. In other words, although any offense committed by mankind is a sin before God, our Lord has saved us from all such sins by being baptized by John the Baptist and shedding His blood on the Cross. It means that Jesus, God Himself, took care of all the wages of sin and paid them all off.
Therefore, anyone who believes in this Jesus Christ who has blotted out all our sins as his Savior is a blessed one. By believing in the gospel of the water and the Spirit, we have been forgiven from our lawless deeds, and we have thus become blessed people. The happiest people in this world are those who have received the remission of sins by believing in the gospel of the water and the Spirit.
Romans 4:25 says that Jesus “was delivered up because of our offenses, and was raised because of our justification.” Because Jesus Christ came to this earth, because Jesus Christ was baptized by John the Baptist, and because Jesus Christ took upon all the sins of this world, He had to stand in the court of Pilate, receive forty stripes less one, and shed His blood to die on the Cross; and He eventually rose from the dead again. It is because of our offenses that the Lord was baptized, died for us, and rose from the dead again.
We commit transgressions before God every day. But, through His baptism Jesus Christ accepted from John the Baptist, He took all these transgressions, whether committed with our hearts or acts, and died for our sins and rose from the dead again. To save us from all our sins, Jesus Christ was baptized on our behalf and died to bear the condemnation of sin in our place. And He rose from the dead again to bring us back to life from our death.
That is why Romans 5:1-2 says, “Therefore, having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom also we have access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God.” In other words, we have been justified by faith. We have attained righteousness by believing in the Truth. God has saved us by giving up His own Son, for He loved us. Just as God had accepted a sacrifice offered according to the just requirements of the sacrificial system of the Old Testament, so has God accepted those who believe in the “everlasting propitiation” that Jesus offered through His baptism and the blood of the Cross, and God has given them the remission of their sins.
Let us now turn to Hebrews 10:9-10 here: “Then He said, ‘Behold, I have come to do Your will, O God.’ He takes away the first that He may establish the second. By that will we have been sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all.” “The first” here refers to the Law. It means that our salvation cannot be achieved by the Law. Once mankind fell, God gave us the Law, and through this God-given Law, He enabled us to realize our sins. Only when we realize our sins can we know and believe in Jesus Christ as our Savior, and attain the remission of all our sins.
What did Jesus Christ come to do on this earth? It is to do the will of God the Father that Jesus Christ came to this earth. While the so-called sages in every other religion all lived and died for the glory of their own flesh and to show off their own righteousness, Jesus Christ came to this earth with a great plan to save us from our sins. And through the lips of David the Prophet, Jesus spoke about what He would do beforehand: “Then I said, ‘Behold, I have come—In the volume of the book it is written of Me—To do Your will, O God’” (Hebrews 10:7, Psalm 40:6-8).
What is so unbelievable here, when we confirm that Jesus Christ our Savior came to this earth to fulfill all righteousness of God? What is the righteousness of God then? God’s righteousness is His work of salvation that has delivered you and me from sin and condemnation by being baptized by John the Baptist and shouldering all our sins, dying on the Cross, and rising from the dead again. It is, in other words, the very fact that for our sake, Jesus Christ the Son of God has saved you and me through the gospel of the water and the Spirit.
It is written, “He takes away the first that He may establish the second. By that will we have been sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all” (Hebrews 10:9-10). Following the will of the Father, Jesus Christ offered His body once for all. It is because Jesus was at once baptized, died on the Cross at once, and rose from the dead again, that we have now been sanctified. Is it by keeping the Law that we have been sanctified? Absolutely not! It is by believing in the gospel of the water and the Spirit that we have attained holiness.
My fellow believers, if you want to believe in Jesus, you must first know the gospel of the water and the Spirit and believe properly. Those who do not know the gospel of the water and the Spirit, or those who know it but do not believe in it, can never receive the remission of sins. Many Christians say, “If I sin, all that I have to do is go to church and ask the Lord to forgive me.” They are blasphemers of the gospel. It is precisely because of these people that non-Christians have so much aversion toward Christianity.
Let us turn to Hebrews 10:11-14: “And every priest stands ministering daily and offering repeatedly the same sacrifices, which can never take away sins. But this Man, after He had offered one sacrifice for sins forever, sat down at the right hand of God, from that time waiting till His enemies are made His footstool. For by one offering He has perfected forever those who are being sanctified.”
Jesus Christ said here that He offered one everlasting sacrifice for our sins. This means that Jesus was baptized and died on the Cross to blot out all our sins, and in doing so, He offered one everlasting sacrifice once for all. In other words, Jesus Christ at once shouldered all the sins that you and I commit until the day we die, and He became our eternal propitiation. Having offered the everlasting sacrifice, Jesus Christ rose from the dead and ascended to Heaven, and He is now sitting at the right hand of God the Father. The Lord now no longer works to blot out the sins of the world.
Everyone must therefore attain his salvation by believing in the gospel of the water and the Spirit, which declares Jesus Christ has already blotted out all the sins of the world. Coming here over 2,000 years ago and living on this earth for 33 years, Jesus fulfilled all the righteousness of God by being baptized and shedding His blood. Jesus has blotted out all your sins. Now, whoever believes in the gospel of the water and the Spirit will receive the remission of sins. Jesus has fulfilled all the righteousness of God.
The passage from Hebrews here said that Jesus offered one everlasting sacrifice to God the Father, and then sat at His right hand, but what follows is also crucially important: It continued on to say, “From that time waiting till His enemies are made His footstool. For by one offering He has perfected forever those who are being sanctified” (Hebrews 10:13-14). This means that anyone who wholeheartedly believes in what Jesus has done for him will be forever remitted from all his sins, but anyone who otherwise does not believe in the gospel work of the water and the Spirit fulfilled by Jesus will forever be condemned for his sins. Those who do not believe in the righteousness of God become His enemies precisely because of their disbelief. The Lord will wait until His Church finishes spreading the gospel of the water and the Spirit all over the world, and when His time comes, He will lift up all the gospel believers to the air and welcome them to the wedding ceremony, but He will trample on all who do not believe in this gospel of Truth. When it said here that the Lord would make His enemies into His footstool, God is expressing here His just wrath, saying that He would take as His enemies all who reject His love and stand against Him, and trample on them to crush them.
God continues on to say in Hebrews chapter ten: “But the Holy Spirit also witnesses to us; for after He had said before, ‘This is the covenant that I will make with them after those days, says the LORD: I will put My laws into their hearts, and in their minds I will write them,’ then He adds, ‘Their sins and their lawless deeds I will remember no more.’ Now where there is remission of these, there is no longer an offering for sin” (Hebrews 10:15-18).
My fellow believers, God said here, “Their sins and their lawless deeds I will remember no more,” and that now “there is remission of these.” Each and every sin that has ever been committed and will ever be committed by us is all included in “their sins and their lawless deeds” here, from the sins that you and I have already committed to the sins that we commit today, the sins that we will commit tomorrow, the sins that we will commit until the day we die, the sins of your forefathers, the sins of your parents, and the sins of your descendants alike. Our Lord has remitted away all these sins. Jesus was delivered up because of our offenses, and was raised because of our justification (Romans 4:25). Therefore, before our Lord, there is no other way for us to reach our salvation but only by believing in the gospel Truth of the water and the Spirit with our hearts, the gospel through which God has saved us all. We can never be saved by a religious faith.
The word “religion” derives from the Latin word “religio,” which means “to tie fast.” It implies holding onto something to rely on. But it has nothing to do with our salvation. When a helicopter rescues someone drifting in the middle of an ocean, if he just holds onto the lifeline with his own hands instead of wrapping himself around with the rope, he is bound to fall sooner or later. No matter how strong his arms might be, when the helicopter is shaken by turbulence while flying for several hours, he is bound to plunge down eventually, even if he were the world champion in arm wrestling. Just holding fast onto God blindly cannot save us; we can be saved wholly when God Himself holds us with His true Word of salvation. We are to reach our salvation by believing in the fact that the Lord has blotted out all our sins. It is achieved neither through our own acts, nor by begging the Lord for forgiveness, nor by diligently giving morning prayers, nor by faithfully offering the tithe, still less by living virtuously.
I know that there are some people who would say, “If one receives the remission of his sins once for all, then wouldn’t he commit sin freely?” Far from it, those who are made sinless by believing in the gospel of the water and the Spirit are even less prone to sin, for they are afraid of sinning. Do you now understand this? Even though you still commit sin because your flesh is still insufficient, your hearts are convicted whenever you sin, right? Isn’t the Holy Spirit displeased whenever you commit sin?
Who would be more likely to go to a dirty place between someone in clean clothes and someone in dirty clothes? The one in dirty clothes wouldn’t care where he goes, since his clothes are already ruined. In contrast, the one in clean clothes would avoid anything that’s filthy. If your heart has indeed received the remission of your sins by faith, then you would not go to any filthy place that would defile you. Isn’t this true?
It is our Lord who has saved us from all our sins. No one can therefore be saved from his sins through his own efforts. It is only when we believe in the gospel of the water and the Spirit, which constitutes the righteousness of God, that we can all reach our salvation.