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 Sermons on important subjects by Rev. Paul C. Jong

 

Those Who Received
Heavenly Blessing by Faith


< 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 in 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.'"



Blessed are those whose sins have been blotted out

I give thanks to the Lord for having saved many souls these days. The Bible talks about blessed people in Romans chapter 4, so I would like to talk about those who have been blessed.

"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'" (Romans 4:6-8). The Bible talks about those people who have been blessed before God. Truly blessed are those whose sins are blotted out before God and to whom the Lord will not impute sin.

Before we go deeper into the Scriptures, let's examine our present state as it is. The Bible talks about the blessed people who have received the remission of their sins. Let's then think about whether we also deserve to be blessed or not.

There is not a single person in this world who doesn't sin. Mankind commits as much sin as a thick cloud just as it is written in Isaiah 44:22. Nobody is able to avoid God's judgment without the grace of Jesus Christ.

We were delivered from our sins and from God's judgment by Jesus' baptism and blood on the Cross, through which the Lord gave us the remission of sins. Furthermore, we are now able to live because of the sacrifice Jesus Christ offered. Could there possibly be one who never commits sin in this world throughout his/her whole life? Whether one is a person who has received the remission of sin or not, one sins throughout his/her life. Since we continually commit sins without even realizing it, we are destined to receive judgment due to the sins.

I believe in the fact that a person who possesses even the slightest amount of sin will go to hell. Why? Because the Bible says that the wages of sin is death (Romans 6:23). The wages of sin, whatever it may be, should be paid and the sins are forgiven only after one has paid the price. Sin only brings judgment.

We live amidst all sorts of sin, both grave and small, such as sins due to ignorance, sins committed with knowledge, and sins caused by infirmities. Strictly speaking, we cannot help but to admit our sins before God, even if we have good excuses to give Him. Do you agree with this concept? It is not right for us to refuse admitting our sins even though all our sins have been forgiven. Everyone must admit the things that should be admitted.



Only the righteous can praise the Lord

The righteous, whose sins and iniquities have already been forgiven and covered, are sinless and give thanks to God. We cannot but thank God every hour and minute, whenever we come forth before Him, for the Lord took away all our sins, even though our sins are as much as a thick cloud. We give thanks to the Lord who took away all our sins by being baptized by John the Baptist at the Jordan River, and received the judgment on the Cross in our place.

If the Lord had neither taken all our sins onto Him through His baptism nor had been crucified and died to pay the wages of sin, could we impudently call Him the Father? How could we praise the Lord? How could we praise the name of God and give thanks to His gift of salvation and glorify Him? All these are due to the gift of God's grace.

We, as the saints, can praise the Lord and give thanks to him at this time because our sins have already been blotted out. Through Christ's sacrifice and the fact that the Lord took away all our sins, including the sins as small as a whit, we can praise the Lord.

Though we have been forgiven for our sins, we cannot become perfect by our deeds while living on this earth. All of us are weak, but we, as the righteous, praise the Lord who paid the wages of all the sins of sinners with His grace. Are you in the darkness? No matter what kinds of darkness may exist, if we acknowledge even the smallest bit of sin before God, if we confess that we have sinned before God, and if we believe in the Lord who took away all these sins, the truth of the Lord will allow us to praise and give thanks to Him. We become the saints who cannot help praising Jesus Christ because of His grace and forgiveness of sins. Moreover, we become the worshipers to God after receiving the grace of the remission of sin in our hearts.



If we are made righteous without works, it is the gift of God

"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 in 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" (Romans 4:1-5).

Human sin is expiated only after its wages are paid. Are you sure that your conscience is cleansed? Regardless of what kinds of sins they may be, our consciences can be cleansed only after the wages of sin are paid. We, sinners, had no other choice but to die, but the Lord died for our sins. Therefore, sinners were made to be righteous by being saved.

In Romans chapter 4, Paul said that sinners were saved by Jesus Christ, who took all the sins of the world onto Him at the Jordan River and was crucified to be judged for their sins, using Abraham, the ancestor of faith who believed in God's word, as an example. The Bible says that Abraham became righteous because he believed in God. He was not saved by his own deeds, but by the faith in God's word. Therefore, God accounted him to be righteous. Abraham obtained salvation by believing in God's words and became the father of all those who believe. He became righteous by believing in the covenant of God.

What is the salvation from sin and the grace of God that were bestowed on us sinners? Let's think about this to make the point clear. "Now to him who works, the wages are not counted as grace but as debt" (Romans 4:4). This verse talks about the salvation of God, which saved us from all sins. It talks about the remission of sins. "Now to him who works, the wages are not counted as grace but as debt." If a man receives wages for his work, will he regard his wages as grace or as a debt? Paul the Apostle explains salvation, using Abraham as an example. It is natural for a man who worked to receive the wages for his work in return. However, if we are made to be as righteous as the saints, even if we didn't lead perfect lives, it is through God's gift, not through our own efforts.

"Now to him who works, the wages are not counted as grace but as debt" (Romans 4:4). The salvation through the forgiveness of sins is due to the Lord's baptism and bloodshed of sacrifice. Salvation was made possible through grace and the gift of the remission of sins. Mankind cannot restrain from sinning, so they are forced to admit that they have sinned. They cannot wash away their sins, no matter what doctrines they may believe, or however hard they may pray for their sins.

The only way for sinners to wash away their sins is to believe in the salvation that says the Lord took the sins of the world onto Him by being baptized by John the Baptist at the Jordan River, and was crucified to receive the vicarious judgment for the sins. Sinners don't have the qualifications to pay for their own sins with any kind of sacrifice made on their own. All that sinners are able to do is to believe in the salvation through the forgiveness of sins. The only thing they can rely on is God's grace.

By receiving baptism at the Jordan River, Jesus took away all our sins in the most suitable way, and by sacrificing Himself on the Cross, sinners were saved from all their sins. This includes the small sins we commit due to our weaknesses under Satan's deceptions and the sins as big as a high mountain. Therefore, sinners received salvation by the faith in the baptism and the blood of Jesus Christ. Through God's free gift of salvation, we who were sinners are now righteous.



The remission of sin is given only by grace and gift

Paul the Apostle talks about how a sinner is saved from all his/her sins. "Now to him who works, the wages are not accounted as grace but as debt." He explains the grace of salvation by comparing it to the labors in this world. If a sinner, after having worked before God, says that he/she obtained salvation from his/her sins, it is not out of God's gift but out of his/her works instead. The remission of sins is given only by grace and as a gift. None of our deeds are included in the grace of God. Was the salvation from sin that we received God's gift to us, or not? Yes, it was. We had no other choice but to perish because of our sins. However, Jesus Christ, our Savior, took all our sins onto Him by getting baptized by John the Baptist at Jordan River.

We were saved from our sins by believing in the fact that Jesus Christ paid the wages of death and died for us. He sanctified us by taking away all our sins through His baptism and saved us from all our sins by bearing the sins to the crucifixion. All these are out of the grace of Jesus' salvation. Our being delivered was made possible through God's grace. It's a gift. It's free of charge. Sinners were saved by God's love toward sinners. Jesus took away all our sins through His baptism and saved sinners from all the sins in the world and from all the judgments of God by being crucified.

"But to him who does not work, but believes in Jesus Christ who justifies the ungodly, his faith is accounted for righteousness" (Romans 4:5). Before, we talked about the person who works. The phrase, "But to him who does not work" refers to those who don't perform any virtuous deeds for the purpose of becoming righteous. Paul continues with the rest of the verse by saying, "but believes in Jesus Christ who justifies the ungodly, his faith is accounted for righteousness."

He uses the ungodly as an example to explain God's righteousness. What does it mean to be ungodly? An 'ungodly' person is one who doesn't stand in awe of God and just leads a loose life until his/her last breath, which is the exact opposite of being godly. This word indicates one who sins before God until the day he/she dies. It is true that people are born full of sin. Furthermore, it was the true nature of humans to be destined to receive God's judgment due to their sins.

However, it is written, "But to him who does not work, but believes in Jesus Christ who justifies the ungodly, his faith is accounted for righteousness." Here, the phrase "But to him who does not work" means "although he is not godly." Are we godly before God? -No, we are not.-

The Lord says to us, the ungodly, "You are without sin and you are righteous." The Lord took away the wages of all our sins and paid for them. Do you believe that Jesus has already paid the wages of sins absolutely? To the believer, his/her faith is accounted for righteousness. "You are right. You really believe in it. You are my righteous people. You have no sin because I blotted them out when I was baptized by John the Baptist and by being judged for all your sins on the Cross!"

God took away all the ungodly sins of this world by Jesus' baptism, although all of mankind is ungodly. God sent His Only begotten Son and took away the sins by His baptism and He was crucified in place of the ungodly. God fulfilled both the laws that said that the wages of sin is death and the law of God's love at the same time. He saved all sinners from their sins.

God says, "Yes, you are sinless. My Son saved you. You have been saved," to those who believe that Jesus took away all the sins of this world at the Jordan River through His righteous act on behalf of sinners. Therefore, they are made righteous even if they haven't been godly. God says that they are His sinless people, although they are ungodly when He sees their faith in the salvation of the Lord. Blessed is the person to whom the Lord will not impute sin.

God asks us if we are godly. "But to him who does not work, but believes in Him who justifies the ungodly, his faith is accounted for righteousness." Do we do good deeds? We can't do good but are only apt to sin. Nevertheless God Himself saved us with the gift of salvation. We believe in the salvation of the Lord, namely, the baptism and blood of Jesus!



We must live by the faith in the salvation of the Lord

We come to praise the Lord and give thanks for His gift of love and grace of salvation from sins, knowing how willingly He paid all the wages of the sins of us, the ungodly. We cannot thank Him enough for His paying the wages of our sins through His baptism and the Cross, when we admit we are ungodly before God. However, we can't give thanks for God's grace if we think we are godly.

To the person who believes in Jesus Christ, who justifies the ungodly, his/her faith is accounted for righteousness. Those who believe in the redemption and judgment of Jesus, which makes them righteous, receive the gifts of God. Nobody is godly before God because they make many mistakes while trying to live godly.

The fact that humans cannot help sinning proves their ungodliness. Therefore, I live by the faith in God's salvation, although I am ungodly. To live by faith does not mean to live as one pleases. There is a certain way to live by faith for one who has become righteous by faith.

Every single day, the gospel of the salvation of Jesus is needed by the born again saints. Why? Because their deeds are not godly on the earth and they cannot help but to sin all their lives. Everybody should hear the good news that says Jesus took away all the sins of the world through His baptism. The righteous must hear and recall the gospel every single day. Then, their spirits can live and be repeatedly strengthened like a spring. "But to him who does not work, but believes in Jesus Christ who justifies the ungodly, his faith is accounted for righteousness." For whom is this message? This message is designed for all the people in this world, including you and me.

The Bible tells us in detail how Abraham was made righteous. To the person who works, God' salvation isn't appreciated and he/she will reject it instead. Such a person doesn't give thanks for the gospel. First of all, what verse 4 describes is a person who works, that is, tries to do virtuous deeds, to enter the Kingdom of Heaven. This kind of a person never gives thanks for Jesus' sacrifice. Why not? Because he/she works and does many virtuous deeds while offering the prayers of repentance to be forgiven of his/ser daily sins, and thus he/she think his/her own exploits have worked somehow in receiving the forgiveness of hi/her sins, he/she is not thankful for His absolute grace, which is this gospel. Therefore, the person cannot truly receive the gift of God's salvation.

The Bible says, "But to him who does not work, but believes in Jesus Christ who justifies the ungodly, his faith is accounted for righteousness (Romans 4:5)." This means that the Lord perfectly saved those who were ungodly and whose sins could not be forgiven by their own deeds. It also shows us that God's grace is revealed to the righteous, who were saved by receiving the remission of sins.



But the person who works doesn't consider His grace as grace

Romans 4:5 is applicable to one who acknowledges God and believes in His words, just as Abraham did. We believe in the Lord who saved the ungodly. There are two kinds of people among Christians: those who still work to be forgiven for their sins and those who have been delivered absolutely from their sins. As it is written in verses 4 and 5, "He who works" and "does not consider the wages as grace," rejects the grace of the remission of sins because he comes to God with works after believing in Jesus.

People cannot but remain sinners because they offer their deeds to God. The Doctrine of Justification is a Christian doctrine that states that a believer can and should be incrementally sanctified little by little until the day he/she dies, and thus it leads believers to reject the gift of the remission of sins and to fight against God. The Bible doesn't say that a person becomes righteous incrementally. Those who try to be sanctified incrementally by praying for the forgiveness of sins, by doing good, and by cleansing his/her dirtiness are the ones who work. These are the people who deserve to go to hell as Satan's servants. They cannot be accounted for righteousness because they reject the grace of the Lord.

None of us is godly. However, so many people are heading for and believing in the wrong direction at this moment. They believe that their actual sins are forgiven when they repent daily, knowing that Jesus washed away all their past sins. They do this because they think they are a bit godly. They show off their goodness and cleanliness before Jesus. In the end, they come short of the remission of sins, the gift of God.



Who is blessed?

The saints who are delivered from all their sins became righteous by having faith in Jesus. The answer to the question of what kind of person can become righteous is this: A person who knows his/her infirmities well and is not able to offer repentance prayers for his/her sins is apt to become righteous by faith among many others. Only those who aren't good at doing good deeds, making prayers, performing godliness, and who are poor in spirit will receive the gift of the remission of sins from Jesus. They will be made righteous. These people have not done good things before God.

The only thing they have done is to frankly admit their sins, saying, "I have sinned. I am a sinner who has no other choice but to go to hell when I die." Then Jesus Christ gives him/her the gift of complete salvation He had accomplished. Believing in the fact that the Lord was baptized by John the Baptist in the Jordan River to take away all their sins and was crucified, truly enables sinners to be saved from all the sins in their hearts. They were clothed with the blessing of becoming God's children. It is God's gift for sinners to be saved from all their sins before Him. I give thanks to the Lord, Jesus Christ, for having been delivered from being perished.

 

In verse 6, Paul the Apostle describes the man blessed by God "apart from works." He clarifies the following three parts concerning "to work." First, "He who works," then "He does not work" and lastly "without works." The Bible says, "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" (Romans 4:6-8). "To have been imputed by the Lord" does not mean that God accounts a person as sinless, even though he/she is with sin, but He truly meant that the person actually has no sin.

God tells us about the blessedness of mankind. People who have been forgiven for all their sins are happy, aren't they? Nobody is happier than us. Nobody is happier than a person who has received the remission of sins. It means that whoever has sin, even as small as a whit, will be judged by God, and can never be happy at all. However, the righteous are happy because they have the remission of sins. God says, "Blessed is the man to whom the Lord will not impute sin" (Romans 4:8).

"Whose sins are covered" means that the Lord blotted out the sins of all mankind. David also said, "Blessed are those whose iniquities are forgiven." Blessed are those whose sins are forgiven, although they sin everyday in this world. The righteous, who have received the remission of sins, have been saved from their lifelong sins through Jesus Christ. The righteous are truly happy.



Blessed are those whose sins are covered

Secondly, what kind of person is happy? "Blessed are those whose sins are covered." We always sin, but what it means to get one's sins covered is that Jesus took away all our sins by His baptism and crucifixion. Then will God the Father judge us? Have all the sins of sinners been covered? We will not be judged because Jesus took away all our sins, shed His blood on the Cross and died for us because we are in Him.

Blessed are those whose sins are covered. Death, which is the wages of sin, doesn't fall on us because Jesus took away all our sins by the baptism. Hallelujah! We are happy. Do we have sin? No. Those who neither know Jesus Christ, who came by water and blood, nor know that all the sins of the world were passed onto Him when He received baptism in the Jordan River, will always have sin even if they believe in Jesus fervently.

However, those who know about the truth of salvation and believe in it possess no sin. Blessed are those whose sins are covered. Blessed are they who have passed over all their sins to Jesus Christ at the time He was baptized by John the Baptist. Who is really happy in this world? Blessed are they who have the Savior for themselves, in spite of their weaknesses. Blessed are those who believe in Jesus, the Savior, who took away all their sins, including the smallest of sins, and who was crucified to be judged in their place.



Blessed is the person to whom the Lord will not impute sin

Blessed are those who believe in the truth of salvation and have the good Shepherd within themselves. Thirdly, David said, "Blessed is the man to whom the Lord will not impute sin" (Romans 4:8).

We who possess the remission of sins are righteous, even though we are weak. Our flesh is still weak even if we are righteous by faith. Did the Lord take away all our sins through His baptism? Does the Lord regard us as the ones to be judged? No. The Lord doesn't admit that we should be judged, although we are insufficient and weak. Why doesn't the Lord impute sin to us? Because He already paid the wages of sin and was judged for us. The Lord neither remembers the sins of the person who is made righteous by faith nor accounts the person to be judged.

Blessed is the person who is made righteous by faith. Blessed is the person who is born again of water and the Spirit (John 3:5). We usually seek after worldly things and lose His blessing, forgetting the fact that God saved and blessed us. We will be against God when we lose His grace. We must bear the grace of God in our minds. The salvation of God exists within believers.

The Holy Spirit of God dwells within those whose sins have been blotted out. Only the righteous will not be judged by God. Blessed are those who are not judged by God in this world and in the Kingdom of Heaven. Why? Because they are accounted to be righteous by God, received His love and became His children.



We are blessed by faith

Blessed are those who became the righteous by faith. Are the born again the blessed before God? -Yes.- Paul the Apostle said, "Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, in everything give thanks" (1 Thessalonians 5:16-18) because he was blessed by faith as a descendant of Abraham, the father of faith. We are the descendants of Abraham too. Abraham was saved by having faith in God's word, just as we do. God spoke to Abraham, "Do not be afraid, Abram. I am your shield, your exceedingly great reward" (Genesis 15:1).

But Abram said, "Lord GOD, what will You give me, seeing I go childless, and the heir of my house is Eliezer of Damascus?" Then Abram said, "Look, You have given me no offspring; indeed one born in my house is my heir!" And the word of the LORD came to him, saying, "This one shall not be your heir, but one who will come from your own body shall be your heir." Then He brought him outside and said, "Look now toward heaven, and count the stars if you are able to number them." And He said to him, "So shall your descendants be." "I believe it, Lord." Thus, Abraham believed in the words of God.

Can you believe in God's word like Abraham in this world? Doesn't it seem impossible for humans to do so? Abraham's wife was too old to bring forth a son. However, Abraham believed in God's word at a time where there was little hope. Therefore, Abraham was accounted to be righteous before God.

Jesus blotted out all our sins. Jesus took all our sins onto Him by His baptism and was judged for us with His blood. We became the descendants of Abraham by receiving the remission of sins and God's salvation because we were so ungodly, while others did not believe. The Bible says, "The foolishness of God is wiser than men, and the weakness of God is stronger than men" (1 Corinthians 1:25). God turns those who believe in the gospel of God into His children through their faiths in the baptism of Jesus (the water) and His Cross (the blood). This may seem to be foolish to mankind, but the salvation of God and His wisdom of the remission of sins are as such. It may also seem foolish from a human point of view, but God saved sinners from all their sins with His free gift.

 

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Jesus called one out of ten thousand people from the four corners of the world and blessed them and saved them and received praise through them. Were we blessed or not? -Yes, we were.- Don't forget it was not because of your works. We are blessed because we believed in the blessings God gave us, and because He gave us faith through His words. God made us His children by coming by water, blood and the Spirit (1 John 5:4-8), and because He gave us His love.

We are blessed even if we live with many weaknesses on the earth. I really give thanks to the Lord. He gave us those precious blessings, didn't impute sin, forgave all our iniquities and covered us, even when we, the ungodly, were not able to work for our sanctification. We have been blessed with salvation only through faith.

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