“Then Noah built an altar to the LORD, and took of every clean animal and of every clean bird, and offered burnt offerings on the altar. And the LORD smelled a soothing aroma. Then the LORD said in His heart, ‘I will never again curse the ground for man’s sake, although the imagination of man’s heart is evil from his youth; nor will I again destroy every living thing as I have done.’”
We all should examine our hearts right now to see whether or not we are evil. During the days of Noah’s Flood, God had judged the world because of the people’s extreme wickedness. But in this current day and age God does not judge the world the same way by looking at people’s wickedness. If that were the case, God would judge people’s sins in the way He did in the time of Noah’s Flood, then we would not be able to avoid God’s judgment. Because all human beings throughout the world including you and me are evil before God and because there isn’t a single person who is good, and if God were to judge and punish these evil people, you and I would have had no other choice but to have already suffered the judgment.
Noah came out from the ark after the flood had receded. He then built an altar to the Lord God, and took of every clean animal and of every clean bird, and offered them as burnt offerings on that altar. Just then, Jehovah God smelled a soothing aroma, and said, “I will never again judge as I have judged. I will never again destroy every living thing.” This Word is very important. If that were not the case, why did God say that He will never again judge you and me because of our sins even though we are all lacking before Him and are those that do evil?
We are living in the New Testament era, a period where Jesus Christ perfected our salvation by coming down to this earth. Because Jesus, the Son of God had personally taken on the sins of all humankind by coming down to this earth in the flesh and received the baptism from John the Baptist in the Jordan River and vicariously received the judgment to death on the Cross, He does not judge those who believe in this Truth. In other words, it is because the Son of God who knew no sin took on the sins of this world in place of us humans and paid for the wages of sins by sacrificing Himself on behalf of all humankind. That is why God said that He would never again judge this earth for the sake of the sins of all the people of this world. You and I are not getting judged for our sins because Jesus Christ had received the baptism and the judgment on our behalf. We believe in this fact.
In this world, not a single living person can be found who isn’t lacking. You and I are so wicked and lacking, that is why we commit sins everyday. So the reason why God does not judge us is because Jesus, His Son who is clean and without sin, came down to this earth in the flesh, was baptized for you and me, died vicariously for us on the Cross, and was resurrected. You and I will not be judged for our sins because the price for our sins has been paid completely because God had prepared a clean and perfect sacrificial offering for you and me and because that offering had vicariously suffered as the sacrifice on our behalf. By believing in the gospel of the water and the Spirit with which the Lord has cleansed all our sins away completely, we have become the sons of God the Father who is Holy. How wicked is humankind? God said that every intent of the thoughts of people’s heart were continually evil (Genesis 6:5). But then God smelled a soothing aroma of clean animals being burned and said that He would never again judge the world for the sake of men’s sins (Genesis 8:21).
We Must Know and Believe the Fact That the Thoughts of People’s Hearts Are Fundamentally Evil from Their Birth
When a child becomes an adult, does that person not commit much more evil? Because people are fundamentally evil, God did not put His hopes on people becoming virtuous with growth. That is why God the Father opened up the way for us to become holy by believing in the righteousness of Jesus Christ, His Son. Only the Son of God is truly good, and only He has fulfilled the righteous acts to save us completely from sin. God did never expect Christians of this day and age to become holy through incremental sanctification. However, we as humans tend to expect, “I might get better with age.” But even though we can have such misplaced hopes, God does not. Therefore, instead of putting our hopes on our deeds by thinking, “I will become better with age,” but rather put our hopes on Jesus Christ who has saved us as humans who cannot but commit sins throughout our entire lives. God the Father is saying to us that we must put our hopes on the power of the Truth that His Son had fulfilled by taking on the sins of this world once and for all through His baptism which He received from John the Baptist in the Jordan River and then dying vicariously on the Cross in our place.
Dear fellow believers, do you have a thankful heart towards Jesus Christ? If we did not have faith of believing in the gospel of the water and the Spirit given to us by Jesus, we would have already been destroyed as sinners. It is mentioned in the Book of Hebrews, “And as it is appointed for men to die once, but after this the judgment” (Hebrews 9:27). But with doubtful minds people still say, “There are so many wicked people on this earth, if God really exists, why does He leave these people alone like that?” Do you think you are any different from these people? Honestly speaking, we all are grave sinners more evil than these people. We need to meditate on the Word of the Lord, “He who is without sin among you, let him throw a stone at her first” (John 8:7). We are no different from these people who actually commit adultery because the Lord says, “whoever looks at a woman to lust for her has already committed adultery with her in his heart” (Matthew 5:28).
I once visited a prison in order to preach the gospel to those locked away behind bars. Amongst them was someone who had committed a serious crime but was treated as a big brother despite his young age. There were also people on death row who were treated with utmost cordiality. Prisoners treated him as a big brother because no one knew when he would die after having received the death sentence.
When you ask them what kind of crime they had committed, they will all answer that they have not committed any sin. Even though there are those who admit to having committed a crime, but on most occasions many of them come up with the excuse that they have not committed such a crime because of their own fault but because of the inevitable circumstance they were living in at that time. Nevertheless, after meeting me and hearing the Word, they started to believe in the gospel of the water and the Spirit, and went on to acknowledge the fact that they were once evil people who committed many great sins before God. Everyone in this world distinguishes those who have committed serious crimes as great sinners and those who have committed petty crimes as small sinners, but God sees everyone equally as grave sinners. He accepts only the believers of the genuine gospel as the righteous. In other words, the fact that you and I are able to go on living in this world right now is all due to the grace of the gospel of the water and the Spirit given to us by Jesus.
According to Roman law, during the days of Jesus, people who committed the most serious of crimes were put to death by crucifixion. Jesus also died in this way by being nailed to the Cross by Roman soldiers, but what sort of sin did Jesus ever commit while He was living in this world? Jesus had never committed any sin during His entire life time here on this earth. But as for you, did you ever commit any sin after being born into this world? We all have sinned one time or another. But Jesus Christ never committed any sin, not even once.
That is why God smelled a soothing aroma coming up from the sacrificial offering of clean animals and clean birds, and said, “I will never again judge them for the sake of men’s wickedness.” And He said further, “But the only thing that I will now judge is the sins of those who do not believe in the righteous work that Jesus Christ, My Son has done.” God had changed the target of His just judgment. Dear fellow believers, do you understand me? God had changed the way of fulfilling His righteousness, even though He did not change the standards for the sins of people. As people in Noah’s days were judged for not having faith in the Word of God, even now, people that do not believe in the baptism that Jesus, the Son of God had received and His shedding of blood will suffer the judgment for that sin. Jesus came to this earth, and in order to save us from all our sins by taking them onto His body, He received the baptism. By shedding blood on the Cross, He vicariously received the judgment on our behalf. Then on the third day after His death, He was resurrected and now He sits at the right hand side of God the Father.
Now then, what will be the factor that decides us receiving the judgment for our sins before God depend on? It depends on our heart’s faith; it depends on whether or not we believe in Jesus Christ, the Son of God the Father, who saved us from the sins of the world by coming down to this earth, received the baptism from John the Baptist, and shed His blood. The baptism that Jesus received and His shedding of His blood on the Cross was enough to cleanse away all our sins. Therefore, for all those who believe in the Lord given gospel of the water and the Spirit, they have already received the judgment for their sins; they will never receive the judgment again. However, those who refuse to believe in the Lord-given gospel of the water and the Spirit will receive the judgment for their sins before God and then be sent to hell. It is because they have refused God’s mercy and love. It is appointed by God for people to be born once and to die once. But we should recognize that there is the judgment after that (Hebrews 9:27). A person who believes in Jesus Christ as the Savior will enter the Kingdom of God only after having become a sinless person. But a person who denies the gospel of the water and the Spirit which was accomplished by Jesus Christ will receive the judgment for their sins and be sent to hell.
On the Cross Jesus Christ received the harshest punishment on this earth for our sins. He received this punishment for sin on the Cross for you and me by having taken on all our sins previously by His baptism. We were people who had only evil desires and committed sins according to these lusts before God. But we have received salvation from our sins because Jesus Christ, the Son of God received the judgment on the Cross after having taken on all our sins in the Jordan River.
Just before the Flood of Noah, All the Chosen Animals Went into the Ark
Inside the ark were elephants, apes, deer, goats, owls, pigeons and so on. Also included were Noah’s family. Noah, as well as each of his family members were weak human beings. Surely they all deserved to receive the just judgment for their sins if they did not believe in the Word of God based on God’s righteousness. However, God had promised that He would save them through His sin offering. In other words, by them offering these clean animals and clean birds to God, God said that He will never again judge them after having smelled the soothing aroma coming up from these sacrifices. All the animals, birds and people were able to stay alive because of these sacrificial offerings. That is, we are able to live even now because Jesus Christ, the substance of the clean animal, had received the baptism and suffered by shedding His blood on the Cross. This is the revelation of the burnt offering that Noah had offered up to God; even those animals and people that were unclean were able to receive salvation because of the sacrificial offerings that Noah had offered. This is the gospel Truth of the water and the Spirit.
Are you virtuous before God? Or are you evil? We are fundamentally evil. That does not mean that we are okay to do evil intentionally. Even though we are fundamentally evil, we can go on living by faith for we have received cleansing from all our sins by our faith in the baptism of Jesus Christ who saved us from all evil. Although we cannot go on living virtuously with our deeds, in our hearts, we can do things the Lord finds joy in as we have received salvation by having faith in the gospel of the water and the Spirit and following the Lord of salvation with our hearts. You and I have received salvation because we believe in the Savior Jesus Christ, who had taken on all our sins and had vicariously suffered sacrifice for us.
Dear fellow believers, Noah had offered clean animals on the altar to God, and the altar of burnt offering is a place where sins are judged. The altar of burnt offering is the place where one offers sacrificial offerings by burning them. Because the clean animals had died as the sacrificial offering at that time, all unclean animals were able to live for that merit. Like this, we must also remember the fact that we were able to live because Jesus who is holy and clean had taken on the sins of this world by His baptism and had died on the Cross by shedding His blood. God is Holy. And because God is holy, He can never allow the filth of sins, and that is why He cannot but judge them.
This world is filled with sins, and we are fundamentally evil. Therefore God had to judge us, but instead of judging us according to our sins, God saved you and me from all our sins by having His Son receive the baptism where all the sins of the world were passed onto Him and thus cleansing our sins away and then judging the Son of God vicariously. We must remember the fact that our sins have already been passed onto Jesus Christ. And we must also remember the fact that because Jesus Christ had taken on all our sins, He was the One who had received the judgment for those sins on our behalf. Do you understand me? We must remember both the justness of God and His unfathomable love. Also, God had sent His Son, and through His Son’s sacrifice, He judged all our sins and will never again judge us. We must remember and believe in this Truth.
God places no hope on virtuous deeds from any human being, not even a little. Rather, God is just. Therefore, He had to judge without fail all the sins everyone had committed since their birth. And so, God accepted the clean animals on behalf of us on the altar of burnt offering, and then He set forth His will to never again judge us as sinners. Therefore, the righteous death of Jesus Christ was our death. And according to His promise, “Nor will I again destroy every living thing as I have done,” because of the burnt offerings of clean animals and birds, every living thing on this earth did not suffer destruction. We must believe in this Truth.
Amongst the works that Jesus Christ had done after coming to this earth, the following three are the most important; firstly, the fact that He who is perfectly clean and pure came to this earth. In order to save all humankind, Jesus came to this earth in the image of man through the body of a virgin. And secondly, Jesus who had never even sinned once, took on all the sins of this world onto His pure and holy body by receiving the baptism from John the Baptist, the representative of all humankind. Like this Jesus was bearing the sins of the world during this short time before God. And thirdly, Jesus saved us from all our sins by vicariously receiving the most fearsome judgment on behalf of all the people of this world.
After Jesus had died on the Cross, God resurrected His dead Son and had Him sit on the right hand side of His throne. The resurrection of Jesus Christ was to save people who believe in the righteousness of God. We don’t die once and then just disappear. But rather we will live again. That is why God had established the sacrificial system to save us from sin. He takes those of us who believe in Jesus and the gospel of the water and the Spirit to the everlasting Kingdom of God; but He passes eternal judgment on those who do not believe in the righteousness of God. In order to save those who believe in the righteousness of God, Jesus Christ the Son of God saved us by coming down to this earth, received His baptism from John the Baptist, shed His blood on the Cross, and was resurrected from the dead. We must clearly believe in God’s justness and love.
We Must Know God’s Plan
We must know and believe in God’s plan to save us from the sins of the world through His Son Jesus Christ. If we look in the Book of Ephesians chapter 1, we will see these Words, “Just as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before Him in love, having predestined us to adoption as sons by Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the good pleasure of His will” (Ephesians 1:4-5).
God did not judge unclean animals through the sacrifices of the clean animals and the clean birds. We must come to realize this heart of God. He said that even before the foundation of the world, God had chosen us in Christ. In His heart, God has a plan to save such weak and evil sinners like us in order to make us His children; once we become His children, we become holy and without blame in His love and we can receive all the blessings that He bestows upon us. What I am saying is that God’s heart is like that. God had planned to save us in Jesus Christ and to make us God’s blessed people. This is the basis on which we can believe in God.
If we do know about God’s plan, we can at least believe in the work of salvation that He had done. However, if we do not know about God’s plan, then we will not be able to believe and will start to think, “Why did God do this? Why did God do that?” If we take a look at the Book of Ephesians chapter 1 verse 5 we will find this passage, “Having predestined us to adoption as sons by Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the good pleasure of His will.” The will of God the Father is like this: God the Father wanted to make us His children through His Son. And that is why we say that God is Merciful, Omniscient, Omnipotent, and Omnipresent and why we call Him the God of Love and - the Savior.
We have become God’s children after receiving salvation from all our sins by believing in the righteousness of God. That was God’s gift and blessing. God gave the gift of salvation freely to those who believe in the gospel of the water and the Spirit. The gospel of the water and the Spirit is the Truth of Salvation that enables us to become God’s children. That is why we praise God wholeheartedly, being thankful for the righteousness of God that was realized for us. We are praising the benevolent act of God that saved us. We cannot but be thankful for the purpose for which He had us be born into this world and the salvation by which He has saved us.
Did you also perhaps not think about “For what purpose was I born into this world”? Not only me but amongst you also, there must have been someone you know who had tried to take his own life and leave this world earlier. However, it is fortunate that you and I have lived long enough to know and believe in the gospel of the water and the Spirit. If we were to die and stand before the judgment seat of God without having received salvation from our sins, we will all be sent to the everlasting lake that burns with fire and brimstone. It is a place where the worms do not die and everyone will be salted with fire (Mark 9:48-49).
The Word of God will surely be realized completely in body and spirit. God does not speak to us by exaggerating. People who will go to Heaven are those who believe in Jesus Christ and the gospel of the water and the Spirit. People who still have sins in their hearts for not having believed in the gospel of the water and the Spirit will surely suffer destruction.
Let us read the Book of Ephesians chapter 1 verses 7 through to verse 9. “In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of His grace which He made to abound toward us in all wisdom and prudence, having made known to us the mystery of His will, according to His good pleasure which He purposed in Himself.” Continuing on in verse 11 we read, “In Him also we have obtained an inheritance, being predestined according to the purpose of Him who works all things according to the counsel of His will.” Our salvation has been realized wholly in accordance with the will of God. God wanted to make us His creation and to become His children. That is why God made us His children in His Son.
Some people say, “So long as you go to a heavenly place, regardless of what religion you believe in, isn’t that all that matters?” People may think like that, but the work of God saving us from sins is something that gets done only according to His will. God’s plan was to have whosoever would believe in the salvation given by His Son to become His child. That is why the Lord said, “I am the way, the truth and the life” (John 14:6). He said, “Do not think on your own accord. Without believing in Jesus, no one can enter Heaven.” Yes, this is true. Without having faith in Jesus, there is no one who can be born again and no one can become a child of God. This is something that has been set by God.
Some theologians who study the Bible say that only those who currently believe in Jesus have been chosen before God, but that is not true. It isn’t the case that only those who currently believe in Jesus have been predetermined to receive salvation from God. They say that if a person were to believe in Jesus then that person is someone who has been chosen but if a person does not believe in Jesus then that person is someone who has not been chosen. But the Bible does not say that. The Bible said, “Who [God] desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth” (1 Timothy 2:4), and it says, “In Him also we have obtained an inheritance, being predestined according to the purpose of Him who works all things according to the counsel of His will, that we who first trusted in Christ should be to the praise of His glory” (Ephesians 1:11-12). Our faith does not come first, but rather, what comes first is that God the Father blotted out all our sins in Jesus Christ. God made it like this so that, as Jesus has blotted out all our sins by the gospel of the water and the Spirit, if we were to just believe in this Truth we would be able to receive our salvation. This is the gist of the predestination set by God.
Dear fellow believers, is God first? Or are human beings first? God is first. Is God’s plan first? Or is the faith of man first? God’s plan is first. The fact is there is an order. God established His plan already. God saved all the people in His Son and then He had those who believe in this Son to become His children. That was the will of God and His plan. According to God’s predestination, we have become God’s children by entering into that plan by faith. It is not the case that among so many people we have become the children of God and the members of the born-again Church because we are smarter than others. The only difference is that we have realized and come to believe in first is what God had decided and then what He fulfilled in order to save us. If there is a difference between us and those who have as yet not been born again, it would only be the fact that God has guided us in Jesus Christ to enter God’s Church which is His body and that we have followed that guidance.
Many people these days have too many thoughts of their own. Therefore they have to separate what is erroneous and throw it away. Many still say, “I go to church, therefore I have been chosen. And since that person does not believe in Jesus and just keeps on drinking alcohol, it seems that that person has not been chosen.” That is merely our thinking and not the will of God. God’s heart wanted even that person to become His child by having faith in Jesus Christ. Jesus blotted out all the sins of humankind without any discrimination. Dear fellow believers, do you believe?
God smelled the soothing aroma of clean animals and clean birds burnt on the altar of burnt offering and said, “I will never again curse the ground for man’s sake.” He said here that He will no longer expect human beings to become holy by their own efforts, because the imaginations of their hearts are evil from their youth. Furthermore, He said that from now on He will put His hopes on His Son. That is why He sent Jesus to this earth. And because Jesus obeyed the Word of God, we were able to receive salvation.
Prior to dying on the Cross, Jesus took on all the sins of the world by completely receiving the baptism in the Jordan River. Before dying on the Cross, Jesus prayed in the garden of Gethsemane, “O My Father, if it is possible, let this cup pass from Me; nevertheless, not as I will, but as You will” (Matthew 26:39). This was the time when Jesus already had taken on all the sins of the world in the Jordan River before being crucified. Jesus was aware of the will of His Father. That is why after having prayed to His Father, He said, “Can’t I avoid this? O My Father, if it is possible, let this cup pass from Me,” Jesus then said, “Nevertheless, not as I will, but as You will.” This means, “I will obey if it is the plan of God the Father to save all these wicked people by Me receiving the full judgment on the Cross. Although I have never sinned, I have taken on the sins of all the people of this world. Getting nailed to the Cross and then suffering through that pain is horrifying, but I will obey Your will.” Because Jesus knew how great the agony of the passion of the Cross was, He had prayed the Father to let this cup of passion pass from Him just for a moment, but in the end, He calmed His heart and wished for the fulfillment of His Father’s plan. And so, He gave up His body to the Roman soldiers, and renounced Himself. Jesus renounced Himself like this by obeying the will of His Father in order to save all the wicked of this world. By doing so, Jesus Christ became my Savior as well as yours.
God had planned to save us by smelling the soothing aroma of the offering of clean animals. We must know the heart of God the Father. And we must believe in that heart. Do you think you understand the heart of God the Father? Do you believe in that heart? Do you believe in the fact that in the Jordan River, Jesus Christ had completely taken on all the sins that you and I commit all throughout our lifetime? Do you believe in the fact that Jesus Christ had vicariously suffered the judgment on the Cross on behalf of you and I? Do you believe in the fact that God had brought Jesus Christ back to life in order to bring us back to life as God’s children? Believing in God the Father’s will is the true faith, and the gospel of the water and the Spirit is the true Word that makes us the children of God. Now we must trust in the heart of the Father, and by faith we are working to realize the will of God the Father. The will of God will be done inside you and me as it was done in Heaven. Now the will of God has been realized inside you and me.
Are you and I evil? Or are we not? Even though we are evil, we have received salvation by having faith in the gospel of the water and the Spirit. If this be so, based on what did we get to receive this salvation? We have received this salvation because of the sacrifice of the clean animal and the clean birds. What this means is that we have been saved because of none other than Jesus. Even though we are still evil, we have received salvation because of Jesus. Dear fellow believers, do you believe in this? I praise the Lord.
There is nothing else to say. If you realize that you are evil, you will be thankful for the salvation the Lord had given us; but if you do not realize that you are evil, then you will not be thankful for this salvation at all. That is why Jesus said, “For I did not come to call the righteous, but sinners, to repentance” (Matthew 9:13). Jesus is saying that He came to call those who realize how evil they really are.
You must realize just how evil you are. We are truly evil. If Jesus had not come to this world, we all would have been destroyed as those who deserve destruction. Yet despite this God took pity on us by sending down Jesus Christ to this earth, He has saved us. We are extremely fortunate. Truly by the grace of God the Father, Jesus and the Holy Spirit, we have received salvation and have become the children of God. I want you to be aware of this fact. I mean the fact that God had planned according to His will and had that plan be realized by the gospel of the water and the Spirit through Jesus Christ and that we have become the righteous by believing in that gospel. Not only you but also I am always evil. However, thanks to Jesus Christ, you and I do not get to receive this judgment.
I am so very thankful to the Lord who has realized the righteousness of God in us.