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 Sermons on important subjects by Rev. Paul C. Jong

 

The Healing of Spiritual Lepers


< Matthew 8:1-4 >
“When He had come down from the mountain, great multitudes followed Him.And behold, a leper came and worshiped Him, saying, ‘Lord, if You are willing, You can make me clean.’ Then Jesus put out His hand and touched him, saying, ‘I am willing; be cleansed.’ Immediately his leprosy was cleansed. And Jesus said to him, ‘See that you tell no one; but go your way, show yourself to the priest, and offer the gift that Moses commanded, as a testimony to them.’”



They say that a leper hardly feels any subjective symptoms of leprosy until three years have passed since the virus first infected him. But from the fourth year, some objective symptoms appear slowly. And it takes three more years that he can no longer hide his infection from others, as its symptoms are fully revealed. This is the nature of leprosy.

Today’s scriptural passage describes Jesus’ healing of a leper. The event described in this passage actually happened, and through it, God is revealing the nature of our sins, and He is also telling us the truth that He has completely solved this problem of our sins.

The leper in today’s passage did not hide himself but came before Jesus as he wanted and asked Him to heal him, for he earnestly longed to be cured from his illness. This leper had faith that Jesus could heal any diseases, and that no one else but Jesus could cure him from his illness and make him clean. Jesus saw the faith of this leper and He fulfilled his wish, the same as in the case of the centurion later. We have to keep in mind here what Jesus really wanted to heal was not the physical illness per se, but the disease of sin.

Leprosy here indicates that in our hearts and bodies, there are sins that are just like it. From the very moment we were born from the wombs of our mothers, we were all born with 12 diseases of sin. When we were just babies, we did not realize that we were such wicked sinners, but once we grew up to a certain age, we came to realize our true selves, and we could not hide this from God. Then, we came before Jesus in faith, and said to Him, “If You are willing, You can wash me from all my sins.” This is how you and I have received the remission of our sins. When we have such faith that Jesus has can heal us from all our sins, we can boldly ask Him His healing.

Did Jesus heal this leper at once, or did it take more time for Him to heal him? The Bible says that Jesus healed him all at once. You must therefore realize that Jesus has not healed you from your sins in several steps, but He has healed you once for all through the gospel Word of the water and the Spirit.

A woman suffering from hemorrhage was healed and the fountain of her blood was dried up all at once when she touched Jesus’ garment by faith (Mark 5:25-34). Naaman, the commander of the army of the king of Syria, was also healed from his leprosy at once when he obeyed God’s Word by faith (2 Kings 5:1-14), and the leper in today’s passage, too, was healed at once as soon as Jesus’ hand touched him. If we only have faith in the Word of God, then we can all come to know and believe in the power of salvation that has made all our sins of mankind disappear, and by this faith, we can all receive the everlasting remission of our sins once for all. Everyone’s disease of sin can never be healed step by step, but it is cured all at once by faith in His Word.



The Difference of the Faith of the Religionists And That of Those Who Believe in the Power of the True Gospel

The difference between the religionists and the people of true faith is this: The religionists, because of their ignorance of the truth, mistakenly think that they can be remitted from their sins by saying the prayers of repentance everyday, even as they dwell in sin day after day, but in contrast, the believers of the gospel of the water and the Spirit are now living amidst God’s blessings as His own children by having been absolved from all their sins once and for all.

The Bible clearly declares that everyone can be saved from all his sins only by faith in His Word. If we could have solved our heart’s problem of sin on our own, through such means as our own strength, our own works, our own prayers of repentance, and our own virtuous deeds, there would have been no need for Jesus to come to this earth. And if we could have solved the problem of sin through such efforts, we would never have been able to meet Jesus during our entire lifetime.

No one can solve the problem of his sins on his own, no matter what he does and how hard he tries, and the key for the solution is found only in believing in the gospel of the water and the Spirit. Humans are such beings that cannot avoid but commit sin no matter how hard they try not to, and therefore they must instead believe in the gospel of the water and the Spirit. If one realizes clearly that the prayers of repentance can never make his sins disappear, and that thus he cannot solve the problem of his sins all by himself; if he instead comes before God and confess to Him that he is a grave sinner; and if he believes in the gospel of the water and the Spirit, then there is no sin whatsoever that cannot be solved away. When sinners come before Jesus and ask for His mercy, Jesus will surely solve away all their sins once for all through the gospel of the water and the Spirit, just as He had healed the leper all at once.

It is when our true selves are fully revealed before God as sinners and we desire the salvation of Jesus that the Lord remits away all our sins by giving us the gospel of the water and the Spirit. You need to realize that only those who ask for God’s mercy, saying, “Lord, have mercy on me. I cannot but go to hell because of my sins,” can be delivered from all their sins and become His own children. For all sinners, when they admit their fundamental selves as sinners and ask the Lord for His mercy, God will bestow the everlasting remission of sin that He has already fulfilled through the gospel of the water and the Spirit.

Romans 3:10 says, “There is none righteous, no, not one.” With this passage, the Apostle Paul referred to those who have not yet received the remission of their sins. It was to make sinners perfectly sinless and turn them into God’s children that Jesus came to this earth. But unfortunately, most Christians are still found as the half sinners. Though in this world there may be half remission of sin or the half righteous people, in the Kingdom of God, there are no half righteous people, nor half sinners. Who are the half sinners? They are those who try to be forgiven form their sins by saying the prayers of repentance everyday. It is not by giving such prayers of repentance that all our sins are blotted out, but by believing in the gospel Word of the water and the Spirit.

Jesus is the One who has completely healed mankind from their diseases of sins with the gospel truth of the water and the Spirit. Jesus did not differentiate between original sin and personal sins when He spoke of sin, and He did not approve the faith of those who believe that although Jesus took away their original sin, they must be forgiven of their personal sins through repentance. Those who believe so are hurting God’s heart and will be destroyed, for they will remain and live the rest of their lifetime as sinners.

God does not accept such half-faith. If one believes in Jesus, then he believes in Him 100%; alternatively, if he does not believe in Jesus, then he does not believe 100%. There is, in other words, no such a thing as 50% faith. What is so-called “the doctrine of justification”? It is ‘the credo of being regarded as righteous by faith’―that is to say, they believe that Christians can be called to be righteous because of their faith in Jesus even though they still have their sins intact. What a nonsense it is! Our Lord does not approve a sinful man as sinless just because he believes in Jesus. When we come to know the gospel of the water and the Spirit from the Scriptures, we know that the Bible tells us that once our Lord removed our sins from us and completely blotted them out, all the sins of everyone have already disappeared. What has thus washed away our sins is the baptism that Jesus received (1 Peter 3:21).

Generally speaking, most of today’s Christian leaders say that Jesus took away original sin, but we must be remitted of our personal sins separately by giving our prayers of repentance. The Bible, however, does not differentiate between ‘Sin’ and ‘sins,’ in other words, original and personal sins. Before Jesus, all sins, both great and small, whether original or personal, are equally manifested as ‘the sins of the world’ (John 1:29). Just as sewage water, tap water, and the water running in a creek are all the same water, all sins are the same sins of the world. As it is written in the Bible, “They are blind leaders of the blind. And if the blind leads the blind, both will fall into a ditch”(Matthew 15:14), because their leaders themselves have not been born again, they do not know how to solve the problem of sin, and this is why they believe in such groundless doctrines telling them God will forgive their sins whenever they give their prayers of repentance.



Everyone Must Believe in the Power of the Gospel of the Water and the Spirit

What, then, is the true repentance for the remission of sin? It is to turn back from their flawed knowledge and mistaken beliefs and to believe in what is right. Mankind’s sins cannot be forgiven just by asking the Lord everyday to forgive them.

The Lord says, “For I desire mercy and not sacrifice, and the knowledge of God more than burnt offerings”(Hosea 6:6). Our Lord Jesus came to this earth out of His compassion for all the souls that are bound to hell for their sins. The will of God the Father was to make the sinful beings sinless through Jesus Christ, to sanctify them, and to thereby enable them to take part in His Kingdom. This is why our Lord came to this earth and completely fulfilled the will of the Father through the gospel of the water and the Spirit.

Romans 6:23 states, “For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.” Though our God is the God of love, He cannot avoid but send all those who have sin to hell, and His love is to give the remission of sin to the believers of the gospel of the water and the Spirit, so that He may dwell with them forever in His Kingdom. God has given us, in other words, the gift of the remission of sin that has turned us sinless.

Nowadays, there are too many Christians who believe in Jesus on their own, in whatever way they want to, all based on their own thoughts. Say that someone is now standing before the Lord after spending his entire lifetime in religious devotion and piety, faithfully offering tithes, donating a lot of money to his church, regularly attending morning prayer meetings, and so forth. He may say to the Lord exultantly, “Lord, here I am. This sinner of so many iniquities now stands before Your presence!” What would the Lord say to him then?

In Matthew 7, Jesus said, “Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven.Many will say to Me in that day, ‘Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Your name, cast out demons in Your name, and done many wonders in Your name?’And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness!’” This is what our Lord will say to him. Our God is neither the Father of sinners nor their Lord, but He is the Father of the righteous and the Lord of those who have been born again and received the remission of their sins. Even if this man says to the Lord, “Lord, do you not know me? For You, I devoted my entire life to testify Your name,” God will only say to him, “How dare you pretend to be My son when you have sin. All that awaits you is hell, you who practice lawlessness!”

Therefore, what all sinners must do first is to believe in the gospel Word of the water and the Spirit right now and receive the remission of their sins by faith. This is the most beautiful and precious faith. The false Christian leaders may gather all kinds of sinners who have not received the remission of their sins into their churches. But can anyone really call them as saints? How can there be a ‘sinful’ saint? Anyone who has sin is not a saint, but merely a sinner. One can be called as a sinless saint only after he has received the remission of sin by believing in the gospel of the water and the Spirit.

It is written in Hosea 4:6, “My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge. Because you have rejected knowledge, I also will reject you from being priest for Me; Because you have forgotten the law of your God, I also will forget your children.”

The beginning of all knowledge is to know God, and yet countless people are unable to put down their flawed and deluded knowledge and are living as hypocrites. This is why our Lord will say to them when the last day comes, “I do not know you.”

The only way for a sinner to become sinless is to believe in the Word of the remission of sin. Along with our faith in the deity of the Lord, we must have faith in the gospel Word of the water and the Spirit. Yet many people have instead ignored the power of the gospel of Jesus’ baptism and His Cross, wasting away their lives in their futile pursuit of illusive incremental sanctification based on their fallacious belief that they can be gradually cleansed from their sins.

Christianity is not a religion where one is to reach his salvation through his own effort and discipline, as Buddhists emphasize that one must try to be a man of virtue and mercy. But, it is impossible for a human being to become absolutely sinless no matter how hard he tries to be virtuous. The true Christian faith is one that believes in the salvation of grace, of the gospel of the water and the Spirit, which flows from above without any human effort-that is, it is the faith that believes in the love of God that has delivered us from drowning. Just as the leper was immediately healed of his sickness by the love of our Lord and the power of His truth, we, too, can also be saved from all the sins of our hearts as soon as we believe in the power of the gospel of the water and the Spirit and recognize our Lord’s love for us.



In the Old Testament, God Showed His Salvation through Moses

What the Lord said to the leper after healing was this: “See that you tell no one; but go your way, show yourself to the priest, and offer the gift that Moses commanded, as a testimony to them.” The gift that Moses commanded here refers to a lamb, that is, a sacrificial animal.

“Now the LORD called to Moses, and spoke to him from the tabernacle of meeting, saying, ‘Speak to the children of Israel, and say to them: ‘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. 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.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 1:1-4).

Regarding the gift that Moses commanded, verse 2 above says, “You shall bring your offering of the livestock-of the herd and of the flock.” By giving the Law, God enabled mankind to realize that they are sinners, and then through the sacrificial system of the Tabernacle, He gave the people of Israel the statue that they should be remitted from all their sins by passing them to such sacrificial offerings. God so loved us and wanted to save us from our sins that He established the sacrificial system with such offerings as lambs and bulls that would have to die in our place.

In this sacrificial system, ‘the laying on of hands’ was very essential. This meant “to pass over” or “to transfer.” When a man possessed by a demon lays his hands on someone else, the latter equally turns into a demon-possessed man, for the laying on of hands means “to pass on.” Therefore, when a sinner of the Old Testament times laid his hands onto the head of the sacrificial lamb, all the sins in his heart were passed onto the animal (Leviticus 16:21). After that, he had to kill the lamb to draw some blood, and then the priest took some of its blood with his finger, put it on the horns of the altar of burnt offering, and poured all the remaining blood at the base of the altar. And the priest had to burn the animal on the altar for a sweet aroma to the Lord. This was how the Israelites received the remission of their sins during the Old Testament times (Leviticus 4:27-31).

The blood put on the horns and the base of the altar was the life for the wages of sin. The Bible states that the life of the flesh is in the blood, and that it is the blood that makes atonement for the soul (Leviticus 17:11). The horns of the altar of burnt offering implied the Books of Judgment (Revelation 20:12). Every transgression is to be written on the Books. And the sinners will be judged according to their works, by the things that were written in the books. This is why we have to receive the perfect remission of our sins while we are living on this world.

In this New Testament age, then, by what kind of faith have we received the remission of our sins? Where can we find evidence that we have been saved from our sins? The evidence of our salvation from all sins can be found only in our faith in the gospel of the water and the Spirit; it is not through the visions, the ecstasies, or other tongues that we can attain the confirmation of our salvation. Only by the Word of God can we realize how we are sinners, and testify how we have been saved from all our sins. This Word of testimony is the gospel Word of the water and the Spirit.

“For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life” (John 3:16). God the Father gave His only Son Jesus to save us from all the sins of the world. How did He save us from sins? Jesus thus fulfilled all the righteousness of God by coming to this earth, becoming our own sacrificial offering like the sacrificial lambs and goats of the Old Testament, actually accepting the iniquities of sinners onto His body through His baptism, and thereby blotting out the sins of the world. This truth was shown through the daily offerings of the Old Testament. We must realize just how Jesus Christ accepted all the sins of mankind that we commit everyday when He came to this world. Only then can we be freed from all the sins of the world.



The Old Testament’s Offering of the Day of Atonement

Let us now turn to Leviticus 16:29-34.“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. It is a Sabbath of solemn rest for you, and you shall afflict your souls. It is a statute forever. And the priest, who is anointed and consecrated to minister as priest in his father’s place, shall make atonement, and put on the linen clothes, the holy garments; then he shall make atonement for the Holy Sanctuary, and he shall make atonement for the tabernacle of meeting and for the altar, and he shall make atonement for the priests and for all the people of the assembly. This shall be an everlasting statute for you, to make atonement for the children of Israel, for all their sins, once a year.”

This passage describe the offering of the Day of Atonement that God had permitted to the Israelites for the sake of those who could not offer sacrifices everyday, where the High Priest could give sacrificial offerings once a year for the entire people of Israel. Through this annual sacrifice, God had bestowed the blessing of the remission of their yearly sins to the people of Israel.

Leviticus 16:6-10 states, “Aaron shall offer the bull as a sin offering, which is for himself, and make atonement for himself and for his house.He shall take the two goats and present them before the Lord at the door of the tabernacle of meeting.Then Aaron shall cast lots for the two goats: one lot for the Lord and the other lot for the scapegoat.And Aaron shall bring the goat on which the Lord’s lot fell, and offer it as a sin offering.But the goat on which the lot fell to be the scapegoat shall be presented alive before the Lord, to make atonement upon it, and to let it go as the scapegoat into the wilderness.”

God, in other words, had given the sacrificial system that allowed the Israelites to receive the remission of their sins through their faith by passing not just their daily sins, but all the sins of the entire year onto the sacrificial offering once for all. Aaron here was Moses’ brother, and he was also the High Priest. Aaron brought one of the two goats into the court of the Tabernacle and passed all the iniquities of the people of Israel onto it by putting his hands on its head. Having thus passed the Israelites’ sins onto the sacrificial goat all at once, the High Priest then killed this goat, took its blood inside the veil-that is, into the Most Holy-and sprinkled it on the mercy seat and to its east for seven times. Even the High Priest could not enter inside the veil unless he was atoned by laying his hands on of a sacrificial animal and brought its blood with him.

The Tabernacle was divided into the Holy Place and the Most Holy, and the High Priest could enter into the place where God’s Ark of the Testimony was placed only when he had the blood of the sacrifice that had received the laying on of his hands. It was by seeing this blood of the sacrifice that God permitted Aaron to enter into the Most Holy. So Aaron killed the sacrificial goat that had accepted the sins of all the people of Israel with the laying on of hands, took its blood into the Most Holy, and sprinkled it on the Ark of the Testimony seven times. As golden bells were attached on the hem of the robe of the High Priest, they rang when he sprinkled the blood, and hearing this sound of ringing bells, the people of Israel could confirm that the blood of the sacrificial animal that had accepted their sins was indeed being sprinkled, and thus reaffirming the remission of sin in the hearts of the believers.

“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”(Leviticus 16:20-22).

The one goat that was “for Jehovah” was offered as a sin offering, by which atonement was made. But the sins of the Israelites must also be visibly banished from them, and therefore the High Priest also had to lay his hands on the head of the other goat by confession of their yearly sins, and then let it be “sent away for Azazel” into the wilderness (see Leviticus 16:8-10 of the American Standard Version). Here the scapegoat, ‘azazel’ in Hebrew, means ‘to be set out’ for the total separation of sin.

Taking one of the two goats as the scapegoat, the High Priest laid his hands on its head and passed all their sins to it by confessing over it all the iniquities of the people of Israel as they were all watching outside the gate of the court of the Tabernacle. It was then released into the wilderness by the hand of a suitable man to die. This sacrificial goat, in other words, was to shoulder all the sins of the Israelites that it had accepted by the laying on of the High Priest’s hands, and it was to die in the wilderness for sure. By the releasing of the scapegoat into the wilderness, God had freed all the people of Israel from their sins. This is the very sacrifice that God commanded Moses to offer. It was through the laying on of hands and bloodshed that God had enabled all the people of Israel to receive the remission of their sins.

The sacrificial system of the Old Testament was one that taught the truth that God would send Jesus, and that as His Lamb, Jesus would accept and shoulder all the sins of every sinner living in this world through His baptism, and that He would thus wash away all mankind’s sins, whether of their daily lives and entire lifetimes. All the people of the Old Testament believed that it was through the sacrificial system of the Tabernacle that their remission of sin was brought to them. Now, the people of the New Testament also have countless sins, whether committed intentionally or unintentionally, and they need to find out how they can solve the problem of these sins, and how they can be remitted from them all.



The New Testament’s Offering of the Great Atonement

The Old and New Testaments of the Bible match with each other (Isaiah 34:16). What part of the New Testament then matches with the Old Testament’s offering of the Day of Atonement? Let’s examine what exactly Jesus first did to blot out all our sins.

“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’” (Matthew 3:13-17).

God sent His Son Jesus as the One who “will save His people from their sins” (Matthew 1:21). The One who had created the universe, in other words, personally came to this earth through the Virgin Mary incarnated in the flesh of a man as the Lamb of sacrifice. The ministry of Jesus began with His baptism. By “then” in the above passage, it refers to the year when Jesus turned 30. This was the year when Jesus was baptized by John the Baptist.

Who was John the Baptist? “Assuredly, I say to you, among those born of women there has not risen one greater than John the Baptist; but he who is least in the kingdom of heaven is greater than he.And from the days of John the Baptist until now the kingdom of heaven suffers violence, and the violent take it by force.For all the prophets and the law prophesied until John” (Matthew 11:11-13).

As the above passage tells us, Jesus said that “among those born of women there has not risen one greater than John the Baptist.” The one greater than all the prophets on this earth, greater than Isaiah, Ezekiel, and Elijah, and greater than even Moses, was none other than John the Baptist, the representative of all mankind.

In the Old Testament, the high priesthood was to be succeeded by one of the male descendants of Aaron when he got 30 years of age. Just as the High Priest, Aaron’s descendant, had passed all the Israelites’ sins to their sacrificial goat by laying his hands on its head, so did God raise a representative of mankind called John the Baptist to pass their sins onto Jesus, so that God could blot out all our sins of every mankind living on this earth. God had sent John the Baptist to this earth, in other words, as the last prophet. The last High Priest was none other than John the Baptist, a descendant of Aaron.

“There was in the days of Herod, the king of Judea, a certain priest named Zacharias, of the division of Abijah. His wife was of the daughters of Aaron, and her name was Elizabeth.And they were both righteous before God, walking in all the commandments and ordinances of the Lord blameless.... He will also go before Him in the spirit and power of Elijah, ‘to turn the hearts of the fathers to the children,’ and the disobedient to the wisdom of the just, to make ready a people prepared for the Lord” (Luke 1:5-17).

Above passage Just as God had passed the sins of the people of Israel only through the descendants of Aaron, He chose a descendant of Aaron, as He had promised, to pass all the sins of everyone in this world. That’s why He sent John to this world six months prior to Jesus to turn many to the wisdom of the just and to make ready a people prepared for the Lord (Luke 1:17). In other words, John the Baptist was the greatest of all those born of women.

Like this, God raised John the Baptist as the representative of mankind, and it was through him that He passed mankind’s sins onto Jesus. John the Baptist also came before Jesus as a witness; from the Word, we also need to find out how John bore witness. For the people of Israel, it was because Aaron had passed their sins that they could see the evidence of the fact that all their sins were indeed passed on. Likewise, the fact that John the Baptist passed all our sins of mankind to Jesus Christ is the very evidence that shows how our sins have been blotted out.

As mentioned before, and as shown in Matthew 3:13-17, Jesus was baptized by John the Baptist. This baptism is very important to every Christian. Christians have generally been baptized by water. However, they often receive their baptism without even realizing its meaning. So baptism is given to whoever promises to keep the Ten Commandments, and to faithfully attend Sunday church services, and recognizes the Lord as his Savior. In this world, even among Christians, it is extremely rare to find anyone who truly knew the meaning of baptism when he was baptized.

Jesus came to this earth and was baptized by John the Baptist; what we need to realize here is why Jesus had to be baptized. Every Christian who professes to believe in Jesus must ask, “Why did Jesus have to be baptized, when He was sinless?” Yet those who have not received the remission of their sins know nothing about this question, no matter how fervently they might believe in Jesus. Only those who have received the remission of their sins can give the correct answer to this question.

Jesus is the heavenly High Priest while John the Baptist is the representative of mankind, the earthly High Priest. John the Baptist had the authority to pass all the sins of mankind to the Lamb Jesus, and Jesus, as the High Priest of the Kingdom of God, was given the role of blotting out all the sins of mankind by sacrificing His own body, not the blood of animal, as their offering-that is, by accepting all the sins of mankind and giving up His body to God as their sacrifice. The High Priest of the Kingdom of Heaven is Jesus (Hebrews 5:10, 6:20, 10:9-14).

Jesus said in Matthew 3:15, “Permit it to be so now, for thus it is fitting for us to fulfill all righteousness.” He was baptized in the Jordan River, the river of death. To baptize, ‘baptizo’ in Greek, means to immerse, to submerge under water, to cleanse by dipping or submerging, to wash, or to make clean by passing over filth. Therefore, baptism has the same meaning as ‘the laying on of hands’ in the Old Testament. Just as sins were passed with the laying on of hands, all our sins of mankind were passed onto Jesus when John the Baptist baptized Him. It was because all the sins of mankind were passed onto Jesus that He was vicariously condemned in our place as our own sacrificial offering and was buried. Like this, the very event through which Jesus accepted all the sins of mankind from John the Baptist was none other than His baptism.

It was to fulfill all the righteousness of God to every one of us, and to completely blot out all the sins of every human being, that Jesus came to this world and was baptized. Do you think that Jesus was baptized just because He was humble? This is not the case at all! Jesus said to John the Baptist solemnly, “Permit it be so now.” When Jesus said this, He meant, “You shall pass the sins of mankind to Me and I shall shoulder them; what I must do is to remit away all mankind’s sins by becoming your own scapegoat before your eyes,” for it was to take upon the sins of mankind that Jesus had come to this world.

People are bound to hell because of their sins. They are agonizing with worries because of their sins, and have been deceived by Satan because of their sins. Jesus is the One who came to this earth to save such people like us from our sins, to make us righteous, and to turn us into God’s own children. When Jesus was baptized by John the Baptist and came out of the water, the Holy Spirit descended from Heaven like a dove and testified that He was the Son of God. The Holy Spirit was the One who bore witness to the Truth. God the Father Himself testified that His Son Jesus accepted all the sins of mankind once for all by being baptized.

“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.” That God sent Jesus to this earth, passed all the sins of mankind to the Son, and sacrificed His Son to give us eternal life and make us sinless-none other than this is the significance of the very event of baptism. Through His baptism, Jesus accepted our sins from John the Baptist, the representative and the last High Priest of mankind, were immersed into the water (signifying His death), and then came out of the water (signifying His resurrection). Through this baptism, a form of the laying on of hands, John the Baptist passed our sins to Jesus. The sins of the world, in other words, were actually removed from mankind to God Himself.

It is because the sins of mankind were actually passed onto Jesus that God says that we are now without sin. Had Jesus not taken away all our sins when He came to this earth, then regardless of how much we believe in Him, we would have had no choice but to remain as sinners. Having blotting out all our sins through His baptism and bloodshed, God admonishes us, “Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you and your house will be saved”(Acts 16:31). By believing in the baptism and blood of Jesus, we must be washed from all our sins once for all.

“The next day John saw Jesus coming toward him, and said, ‘Behold! The Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!’” (John 1:29) John the Baptist continued to shout to people that the sins of us mankind were all passed onto Jesus through His baptism. The one who shouted, “He is the very Son of God, the Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world,” was none other than this John the Baptist.

Jesus shouldered the sins of the world by being baptized and carried them to the Cross. About 1,970 years have passed since the time Jesus took away the sins of the world. Jesus who took upon the sins of mankind had to give up His life on the Cross. Jesus took upon all the sins of the world. Through His baptism, Jesus took away the sins of our fathers and mothers also, for they, too, are the people of the world. All the sins that we commit from our birth to our death, whether committed intentionally or unintentionally, belong to the sins of the world. These sins were also passed onto Jesus through the laying on of the hands of John the Baptist. The sins that we had committed in our teen years are also the sins of the world, and so they, too, were passed onto Jesus. Jesus, in other words, did not just take away the sins of a few special, but through His baptism and bloodshed, He took away all the sins that everyone in this world commit throughout his entire lifetime until his death, and solved them all away.

However, only those who believe in the gospel truth of the water and the Spirit, that Jesus accepted our sins through John the Baptist and has remitted them all away, can receive the remission of their sins by this faith. They are the only ones who can be saved from all their sins by faith. But, unfortunately, most people still remain imprisoned by their sins because they do not believe in this gospel of the water and the Spirit. God’s door was already opened long ago, but people are still bound to perish because the doors of their hearts are not opened yet, and because they do not believe in the gospel Word of the water and the Spirit.

The sins that we committed from birth to 20 and when we were 21–30 years old are also “the sins of the world,” and so these sins were all passed onto Jesus, and the sins that we committed when we were 31–40 years old are also “the sins of the world,” and so they, too, were all passed onto Jesus. He is the Son of God who took upon each and every one of our sins. Are not the sins that people commit when they are 41–100 years old also the sins of the world? Jesus also took upon all these sins through His baptism, for they are also the sins that we commit in this world. Because the love of Jesus is eternal and boundless, He did not divide our sins into original and personal sins, but He accepted all our sins through His baptism and shed His blood on the Cross to His death.

Had Jesus not come to this earth, had He not been baptized, and had He not shed His blood, then our faith of the remission of sin would have been all in vain, the death of Jesus Christ would also have been in vain, and for us to believe in the Lord and suffer for Him would all have been in completely futile.

Were the sins of your children passed onto Jesus through His baptism? Let’s confirm this. Aren’t your children living in this world? If they are living in this world, that it is only too clear that their sins were also passed onto Jesus. The proof for this is the baptism that Jesus received from John, and the condemnation of their sins is the very blood that Jesus shed on the Cross (John 19:30-34). The sins of your grandchildren, and the sins of the their descendants who are not even born yet, were all passed onto Jesus through His baptism, and this Jesus shouldered all our sins and remitted them all away on the Cross. Though we commit sins everyday because of our weaknesses, such sins that we commit are also the sins of the world, and therefore Jesus took them away through His baptism and blood.

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John 8:31-32 state, “If you abide in My word, you are My disciples indeed. You shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.” The truth here is none other than the very righteous act of Jesus that He fulfilled with His Word. It is deeply disturbing that most Christians still believe such false doctrinal or denominational teachings that they must keep the Sabbath and say the prayers of repentance everyday to be forgiven for their sins. They believe that Jesus took away their original sin, but He did not take away their personal sins. This is why they have no other choice but to become even more sinful sinners as time passes by. Their efforts may seem admirable, but as far as their salvation is concerned, this is not really where their devotion should lie.

What we must do is to believe in the gospel of the water and the Spirit, and to thereby receive the remission of our sins. This is the will of God for us. The more we try to keep the Law, the more difficult it is for us to do so, and we end up discovering ourselves that we are in fact becoming even more of a sinner before God. But by believing in the gospel Word of the water and the Spirit that the Lord has given us, we can all indeed be saved from all the sins of the world. Hallelujah!

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