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In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth. And the earth was without form, and void; and darkness was upon the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters. And God said, Let there be light: and there was light. And God saw the light, that it was good: and God divided the light from the darkness. And God called the light Day, and the darkness he called Night. And the evening and the morning were the first day. (Genesis 1:1~5)
Genesis Is the World of Our Heart
When we read Genesis, we see that there is truly a precious spiritual secret of God there. I have read Genesis many times over a long period of time, and I used to simply think, “Ah, God created the heaven and the earth. The earth was without form, was void, and was in darkness.” But one day, I was amazed while reading Genesis. Genesis was actually talking about the world of our heart. The earth in Genesis chapter 1 was without form, was void, and was in deep darkness. Thousands and tens of thousands of years had passed by in that darkness. When God saw this earth, He thought, “Why is it so dark? Why doesn’t it have any life? Why is there no light?” and was not pleased with what He saw. God began to speak to the earth because He wanted the earth to bloom with flowers, bear fruit, and overflow with love and hope. “Let there be light.” “Let the waters above the firmament divide from the waters below the firmament.” “Let the earth bring forth the herb yielding seed, and the tree yielding fruit whose seed is in itself.” “Let the fowl fly in the open firmament and let fish swim in the waters.” The earth changed into the image God wanted as His words came upon it. While reading the Bible one day, I discovered that this was exactly like the change that came upon my heart.
When the Light of the Word Came Upon My Heart
I had long been bound inside of sin, but I had all of my sins washed away and became born again through the Holy Spirit one autumn day in 1962. I used to sing, Happy day, happy day, when Jesus washed my sins away, only with my lips, but it became a praise in my heart. I was freed from sin and had true liberty from the day I had all of my sins washed away. There was no hope in my life whatsoever before this. There was no light. Just as the earth was locked inside of darkness for thousands and tens of thousands of years and flowed towards darkness, I too was born in darkness, and my heart only continued toward darkness until I saw the light of God. What are the things of darkness? Distrust, hatred, spite, dissipation, lust. . . . Such things are all within the power of darkness. I had tried to defeat the darkness myself, and I tirelessly tried and struggled not to sin. However, it did not work no matter how hard I tried because the power of darkness was so great. Even though I prayed, “God, forgive this sin! And do not allow me to sin today!” countless times. I could not be freed from the power of darkness; the power of sin. But one day, the light of the word of God entered my heart. This light cast out the darkness. This did not happen through me laboring and defeating the power of darkness. I could not cast out the darkness without light, hatred could not be cast out without love, and despair could not be cast out without hope. Love, light, hope. . . . These things belong to the light, and the things that belonged to the darkness, such as despair and sinfulness, all departed when the light of the word came upon my heart. I saw the word of God changing me in an amazing way as it entered my heart. The word of God would enter my heart from time to time when I would read the Bible, and it would change my life, little by little. I once read, “When you are bidden, sit down in the lowest room, then he that bade thee will make you sit in the highest room.” I would always strain to sit in places higher than others before this. But after this moment, I always tried to sit in the lowest room. Then I could see God exalting me. There is no change when the word of God is accepted simply as knowledge or theory. Change arises when it is accepted into the heart by faith. It was so amazing seeing the light enter my heart and destroying the darkness, to see love enter and destroying hatred, to see hope enter and destroying despair, and to see joy enter and destroying sadness.
It Hurts but I’m Healed!
I suffered much from a gastric ulcer a few years ago. I lost about 7kg in three months. I would have diarrhea whenever I ate. I chewed one spoonful of rice a hundred times, but I would still get diarrhea. After about three months, I thought, “I can’t live like this,” because the medication would help only for a few days, then fail. I prayed before God. “God, my stomach hurts so bad. Please heal my stomach.” One day, while I was praying, a Bible verse came to mind: What things soever ye desire when ye pray, believe that ye receive them, and ye shall have them. (Mk. 11:24)
The Bible said, “Whatever you seek in prayer, believe that you have received it.” I then had the heart, “If that is so, since I just prayed to God to heal my stomach; if I believe that my stomach is healed; then it will be done.” I thought in my heart, “What should I do if I believe that my stomach is healed? Since it’s completely healed, I should eat rice, spicy kimchi (popular Korean dish), bean paste. . . . ” However, I felt that if I did do this, my stomach would rupture and I would die. I thought, “Should I believe these words, or just pass them by?” If I did not believe in these words, it meant that I do not believe in the words of God at all, and I could not do that. I once again thought, “Will I really die if I believe these words? The word of God says that if I believe, it shall be done according to my faith. Then if I die, it means that God lied. That cannot be! I will not die!” I was able to have this assurance of faith in my heart. I prayed to God again. “God, thank you. I believe you will hear my prayer. My stomach is completely healed. I believe that it is healed.” My wife set the table for breakfast. She set up many different kinds of food because guests were over, and in one corner, she prepared a small bit of porridge, some soy sauce, and a few pieces of pickled beef. I did not eat that that day, but I finished an entire bowl of rice. My wife was surprised as she walked by. “Honey, what are you doing?” I smiled and said, “I’m completely healed,” to my wife. I put down the spoon after breakfast, but my stomach hurt so bad all of a sudden, and I could not bear it. I ran to the bathroom. Diarrhea gushed out of me. My stomach hurt so much and it was extremely painful. Right then, I heard a voice inside of me. “Hey, you don’t even have faith. Your stomach might rupture and you might die if you continue this. You get diarrhea even with porridge, and you think you are going to be okay doing this?” However, surely this was not the voice of God. I could recognize that this voice that was opposite to the words of God, who said, “Believe that which you have sought in prayer. Then it shall be done,” was the voice of Satan. I said, “No, my stomach is completely healed,” in my heart. Then I heard another voice. “Hey, if you are healed, then why does it hurt? If it’s healed, then it’s not supposed to hurt. It hurts and it’s healed? Is this what you call being healed?” I had nothing to say. I thought about it again. “No. My stomach hurts now, but the Bible says that if you believe that you have received what are you seeking for in prayer, then it shall be done. I believed that my stomach was healed, and He said that it would be healed, if I believed. My stomach is healed. It hurts now, but it is healed!” Although I was having diarrhea, I had assurance in my heart that my stomach was healed because it was the promise of God that my stomach would be healed. I had another bowl of rice for lunch. Again, I had diarrhea. Nevertheless, I believed in the promise without a single doubt in my heart regardless of such a circumstance. That evening, someone invited me to dinner which was at a hotel buffet restaurant. It had 350 kinds of food, and I thought, “Since my stomach hurts, I’m only going to have some porridge,” as I entered the restaurant. Then I thought, “Oh yeah, I’m completely healed!” I cleared five plates that evening. I was so full that I had a difficult time driving and coming back home. I did not have diarrhea that night. When I woke up the next morning, I felt extremely comfortable inside. My stomach was completely healed. This was because of the promise of God. Such incidents deeply led my heart from believing in my experiences or in myself into believing in God. Before I was born again, I could not refrain from my thoughts, even if they were opposite from the word of God. I spent much time in confusion, thinking, “Well the word is right, but the circumstances are like this. . . . ” I could not stand in faith. The problem with spiritual life is that you listen to the words of God, but you listen to the voice of Satan at the same time. The two voices enter you and the latter keeps you from going one way or the other. The change that was upon me after I received the forgiveness of sin was that I was able to believe more and more in the word of God, no matter what the circumstances were. Would there be light simply because God said, “Let there be light,” on this earth which was without form, void, and in deep darkness? But amazingly, although we do not understand how, light was there because it was God who spoke. When He said for the water above the firmament to divide from the waters below the firmament, it did so. It was done according to the word of God. Whether I understood it or not, I saw that the word of God lived and worked in my heart when I believed in the word of God.
Laid on Him the Iniquity of Us All
A few days ago, I met a precious person and preached the gospel to him over dinner. “I’m sorry, but I would like to introduce a Bible verse to you.” He was joyful and said that he would like to accept. I read Isaiah chapter 53 to him. But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities; the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed. All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and the Lord hath laid on him the iniquity of us all. (Is. 53:5~6) He and I were talking about something else, so I was worried that he would feel awkward and would not be accepting if I spoke about the Bible. But unexpectedly, his eyes widened. The Bible says that Jesus was wounded with thorns for our transgressions and that He was bruised for our iniquities. It says that God has laid upon Jesus the iniquity of us all. This is the word of God. In the word of God, it says that all of our sins have moved onto Jesus Christ. It means that it was we, who sinned, but it is not our responsibility. Jesus must take the responsibility, and He has to take care of it. According to this promise recorded in Isaiah, Jesus bore our sins, was crucified, shed His blood, and died.
But You Sinned
That is what the Bible says, but thoughts different from the Bible rise in us. “But I’m still a sinner because I sinned.” “Jesus was crucified, but my sins are probably not cleansed.” “Other sins may be washed, but not this one.” This is what Satan tells you. God told Adam and Eve, “If you eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, you will surely die,” but Satan said the exact opposite, “You will not surely die. The day you eat it, you will become like God.” Satan is the same, even today. Sadly, Adam and Eve believed the words of Satan rather than the word of God and ate the fruit of the knowledge of good and evil. Although there are clear words of promise in the Bible, there are many people today who hear those words and then make their decisions based on their own judgment. The Bible says, “The Lord hath laid upon him the iniquity of us all,” but Satan says, “But you are a sinner because you sin.” That is why, when a person hears these two things, he thinks of himself and comes to the conclusion, “Jesus was crucified for my sins, but I am a sinner because I sin.” They try to live a spiritual life with a conclusion completely different from the word of God. Jesus was tempted by Satan in Matthew chapter 4. The difference between when Adam was tempted and when Jesus was tempted was that Adam made the decision himself, after he heard the voice of God and the voice of Satan. However, Jesus said, “This is what is recorded in the word of God,” no matter what Satan said. Jesus did not add His own opinions whatsoever. When Satan said, “Make these stones into bread,” Jesus did not consider whether that was a good thing to do or not. He simply said, “This is what the word of God says.” Only the word of God was living inside of Jesus.
According to the Word
Receiving forgiveness of sin and becoming born again is not through us doing something or putting forth effort. Sin cannot be forgiven through our own effort. It is impossible to wash away sins through our strength. If it were possible, God would not have sent Jesus. Jesus would not have been crucified. Because we could not take care of our sins, God sent Jesus and had Him crucified him on the cross. The Bible says, “The Lord hath laid on him the iniquity of us all.” God laid all of our sinfulness upon Jesus Christ. If so, no matter what sin we commit or what life we live, all of our sins have been moved onto Jesus. There is no sin in us. Jesus is responsible for washing away all of our sins. It is something Jesus has to take care of. It has nothing to do with us. He was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities. Jesus was crucified not for His sins, but for ours. If our sins had not moved onto Jesus, He could not die for us. God passed our sins onto Jesus even before we were born, and Jesus received the punishment for our sins. If so, then our sins are cleansed. How cleansed are they? 70 percent? 80 percent? 90 percent? No. 100 percent! Jesus completely washed our sins clean at the cross. This is what the Bible is telling us. Satan deceives us into feeling as if there is still sin in us, as if your our sin had not been washed away. You may have the memory of committing sin. You may feel have a guilty in your conscience. You may be suffering from sin. Anyhow, according to the Bible, your sins have been moved onto Jesus, and He received the punishment for all your sins. That is why the Bible says that we are righteous; that we are clean.
One Thing We Have to Do
Now there remains one thing we must do. “Will you believe in your own thoughts, or will you believe in the word of God?” Everyone, I hope that you will throw your thoughts away and believe in the word of God that says the blood of Jesus has completely cleansed your sins and has sanctified, justified, and purified you. This is what 1 Corinthians chapter 6, verse 11 says. And such were some of you: but ye are washed, but ye are sanctified, but ye are justified in the name of the Lord Jesus, and by the Spirit of our God. The word testifies, “Although you have done such evil and wickedness, you have been cleansed, sanctified, and justified within the grace of God.” Believing in God is not believing in your own thoughts, but believing what the word of God says; that your sins have been washed away, and, that you have been sanctified and justified. Judging for yourself upon hearing the word of God and the voice of Satan, as Adam did, is not true faith. The 66 books of the Bible are the word of God. If these words come to you by faith, the word will cast away the doubt in you, cast away the sin, and cast away the despair to lead you to a joyful, blessed life.