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And Rebekah heard when Isaac spake to Esau his son. And Esau went to the field to hunt for venison, and to bring it. And Rebekah spake unto Jacob her son, saying, Behold, I heard thy father speak unto Esau thy brother, saying, Bring me venison, and make me savoury meat, that I may eat, and bless thee before the LORD before my death. Now therefore, my son, obey my voice according to that which I command thee. Go now to the flock, and fetch me from thence two good kids of the goats; and I will make them savoury meat for thy father, such as he loveth: And thou shalt bring it to thy father, that he may eat, and that he may bless thee before his death. (Genesis 27:5~10)
Spiritual life is composed of “repentance” and “faith.” Repentance is turning from our current path because it is crooked and wrong. Then it is possible to have faith to believe in God. The greatest reason spiritual life does not succeed is because people do not know precisely what repentance is and, therefore, is not properly achieved. Spiritual life is so easy if you discover yourself and repent, no matter who you are. I learned about repentance as I attended church as a young child. The pastor taught us that saying, “I stole. I lied. I hated others,” and confessing our wrongdoings before God was repentance. I continued doing such repentance to a certain extent, but when I would repent in this manner, I would sin again, repent again, and then sin again. My life was just a repetitious cycle of sinning and repenting and sinning and repenting. My life of sin, however, would not end even though I had repented. That was the constant existence of my spiritual life. To have a greater faith than others, although I felt sleepy, I would wake up early in the morning, go to early-morning prayer services and confess my sins. My spiritual life was going to church and emptying my heart whenever it would be filled with sin. However, people labeled me a person with a good spiritual life. I was filthy with many evil things inside me, but I felt good that others were saying that my faith was good. As I read the Bible from then on, I came to know that Biblical repentance was completely different from what I had learned from my church pastor in my childhood. God did not want me to confess the symptoms, saying, “I stole something. I committed adultery. I lied. I hated.” The Bible was talking about our dirty nature, about how we could only steal, could only lie, and could only be lustful. After David committed adultery with Uriah’s wife, what did he write in Psalms when he was confessing his sin? He did not say, “God, desires arose in me when I saw her, so I committed adultery,” confessing the symptom of adultery. Rather, he confessed, “I was shapen in iniquity; and in sin did my mother conceive me.” We can see the image of David confessing before God, that he was by nature, a cluster of sin.
If You Catch the Disease of Sin
If one catches leprosy, there are symptoms such as one’s eye brows falling off, fingers getting cut off, and the nerves becoming paralyzed. When these things happen, one should not try to keep their eye brows or fingers from falling off. It is the bacteria that is affecting the body. One should not try to fix the paralysis in the nerves, but treat the source of leprosy, which is the leprosy bacteria. Just as there are many symptoms when one has leprosy, there are a variety of symptoms when one catches the disease of sin. Symptoms from typhoid or malaria are quite obvious, like high fever, but when one catches the disease of sin, hatred arises, distrust arises, lust arises . . . . Many kinds of sin arise. The fact that you have committed adultery, committed thievery, or committed murder is merely the fruit or result of the sin in you. Such things are not the root of sin itself. Since adultery, murder, and theft come from the evil characteristics in you, it is not that you should confess these symptoms before God, but as you see these symptoms, you must say, “This is how dirty and evil my insides are!” and repent, distrusting yourself who had the dirty heart. This is true repentance. If you turn from yourself, saying, “I committed theft,” the heart to steal arises in you again. You make confessions, saying, “I committed adultery,” but a lustful heart arises in you, and when you feel regret, saying, “I lied,” another deceitful heart arises in you. Because everything that arises in you is evil and deceitful by nature, you must distrust all things that arise in your heart. It is saying, “I cannot do good because I am evil and deceitful! I cannot do righteous deeds!” When I attended church as a child, I appeared to be good outwardly because I tried to live better than other children. Thus, I thought I was good, and that, to a certain extent, if I tried hard, I could go to heaven. However, one day, I saw my image reflected through the eyes of God. Before this moment, I had the heart, “Who does not sin? Still, I did not commit any great sins.” Nevertheless, when I saw myself that day, I realized what a dirty, filthy, and evil person I was. I came to know that I could only be cursed. I was full of hatred, lust, and wickedness, and therefore, I came to know that all the good I did was fake; they were hypocritical good deeds only to cover my evilness. I had no way and no hope in front of God.
The Two Paths to Come Before God
Like we talked about in the last issue, Genesis chapter 27 illustrates the images of two individuals who went before God to be blessed. Esau, in accordance to the words of his father, hunted an animal himself and bore the heavy animal on his shoulders, climbing over mountains as he sweated much to reach his house. Then he skinned the animal, made savory meat, and served it to his father. He should have surely been blessed, but Esau was cursed.
What did Jacob do? Since he was too evil and dirty, he had no confidence that he would be blessed by his father. Thus, he said to his mother, Rebekah, “Mother, my brother Esau is a hairy man, and I am a smooth man. My father peradventure will feel me, and I shall seem to him as a deceiver; and I shall bring a curse upon me, and not a blessing.” Rebekah answered, “Upon me be thy curse, my son: only obey my voice and go fetch me them.” Jacob realized that it was impossible for him to labor and to try on his own to come before his father to be blessed. Therefore, he did not rely on himself, but with faith to trust in what his mother, Re-bekah, prepared, he went before his father and was blessed. Esau is a foreshadowing of people who try to be blessed through doing good deeds and doing well themselves. Jacob, on the contrary, is the image of a person who cannot be blessed, but cursed, because he is filthy and dirty. There are two ways to come before God. One is to rely on your effort, labor, and works. On the surface, this appears to be belief in God, but this is not belief in God. It is belief in one’s self. The other way is to rely only on God because there is no good in you. Only this is the true faith to believe in God.
I Am Esau
When Rebekah told Jacob to only obey her words in Genesis chapter 27, Jacob answered, “My brother Esau is a hairy man, and I am a smooth man. My father peradventure will feel me, and I shall bring a curse upon me, and not a blessing.” Then Rebekah said, “Upon me be thy curse, my son.” While reading this verse once, I was able to realize its meaning. The only one who can say, “Upon me be thy curse,” is the Son of God, Jesus Christ. No one can take the place of our sins or receive the curse in our place. Rebekah represents Jesus Christ who bore our sins and was punished in our place! Then I read the verses that followed. Esau went before the father with the fruits of his labor and sweat. Jacob completely went forward exactly with what his mother, Rebekah, prepared. He followed his mother’s will and went forward with the dish she cooked. In addition, since Jacob was a smooth person, his mother decorated Jacob with goat skin so that he would lack nothing in standing before his father. Jacob trusted his mother and went forward wearing what his mother prepared for him. His father, Isaac, asked Jacob, “Who are you?” “I am your firstborn Esau,” Jacob replied. Jacob did not call himself Jacob, but Esau. He completely cast himself away. His own image, his own goodness . . . . Jacob did not say, “Father, remember the good deed I did that one time? I obeyed you. Remember that and bless me.” He threw himself away and only took what his mother prepared for him and went before his father. “I am your firstborn Esau.” This verse is so amazing. It is because it depicts the love and grace Jesus bestowed on to us. Jesus not only took care of our sins when He was crucified, but also gave to us the goodness, holiness, and the righteousness of the 33 years of His life. Lastly, he gave us his own name. He allowed us to use His name freely. Therefore, when we pray, we do not pray in our name, but in the name of Jesus. When you withdraw money from the bank you can get it only with the name of the account holder. Likewise, we turn in the form in the name of Jesus when we seek from God. Now we come before God in the name of Jesus. “Who are you?” “I am Jesus.” Is this right? It is right! It is all because Jesus gave us His name for us to use. We not only pray in the name of Jesus, but we have now died and have become a part of Jesus. On the surface we are ourselves, but inside we are Jesus. “Who are you?” “I am Jesus.” “Ah, is that so?” God does not want you to become a little better than the dirty, filthy person you are and then come forth to Him. Because you are a dirty sinner, He throws you away and accepts only Christ. What happens when Jacob goes before his father in his own name? “Yes, father, I am Jacob.” “Why did you come? I asked for Esau. Leave immediately!” He would have been kicked out. But Jacob went out in the name of Esau. His father then felt him. “Let me feel you to see if you are Esau.” The amazing thing about this is that since his mother, Rebekah, knows the father so well, she made the food to fit the father’s taste, and she also knew that his father would feel Jacob. Thus, she put Esau’s clothes on Jacob and decorated him with goat skins like Esau. Just as Rebekah did this to Esau, Jesus does this to us and speaks to us. “Do not do good for yourself and bring it forth to God. These may look good in your eyes but in the eyes of God, they are like filthy rags, deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked. Throw everything of yourself away, and do not live your life; you shall live My life. No matter what you do from now on, do it in My name.” “Yes, I understand. Now I am dead, and Jesus, who is not me, lives in me. Now I am Jesus.” We have blemishes and are dirty, but since Jesus is perfect, we come before God believing and relying on the fact that Jesus has given us His righteousness and His name. Right then, God joyfully accepts you. This is what Genesis chapter 27 is telling us.
From the Life of Trusting Yourself to the Life of Trusting Jesus
People think that things will go well if they simply try hard and keep the law in their spiritual lives. God wanted to teach us the fact that this will not cause our spiritual lives to succeed. Esau hunted and made a dish according to the father’s words but was cursed. However, Jacob did not do anything at all. He went forth to his father with all the things his mother prepared. Jacob’s mother prepared and completed everything so that he would lack nothing in coming before his father to be blessed. She even promised that she would receive the curse that would come upon Jacob. This is what Jesus did to us. Jesus received the curse we should have received, and prepared all things for us to be glorified and blessed. We need only to come before God in the name of Jesus Christ. I did not know this for a long time, and I tried to go before God through my good deeds. Therefore I felt free to come before God when I had tithed and had done good deeds. In contrast, I felt ashamed to come before God when I had fought, lied, or done something bad. In reality, I often committed wickedness in my life and I always went before God with a shameful heart, begging for forgiveness with my tears. I did not know that was wrong, but later found out that this was something that was in contempt with God. I was not accepting what Jesus prepared for me, but was trying to do good myself to come before God. I later on realized that God was not pleased by this. Now, I do not come before God through myself. Because my nature is evil and false, I completely distrusted myself as a whole and threw away everything I had done. Then the good committed not by me, but Jesus, became my goodness; my righteousness. Since everything Jesus did became mine, I felt so free coming before God. Now I do not trust myself. I trust Jesus. I am a filthy, dirty human being, but I believe in Jesus who cleansed me and justified me through the blood of the cross so that I may lack nothing to stand before God. As my life changed in this manner, from a life of trusting myself to a life of trusting Jesus, the Holy Spirit began to work amazingly inside of me. Before, I could not do any good even when I tried. But my life changed as the Holy Spirit began to take charge of my life. My flesh was still dirty, and evil things constantly sprang up. However, when Jesus was not inside me, such things dragged me around. But since Jesus conquers them, I am no longer dragged by them. I defeat sin and I can see that Jesus chisels me into the life with which God is pleased.
Like Riding an Airplane on a Snowy Day
Believing in God is not believing in yourself. It is throwing yourself away because you are filthy and dirty, and then believing in Jesus. This is like not traveling in a car on a snowy day because the roads are too slippery, but going on the trip by plane. When you are riding in an airplane, what does it matter that it is snowing and that the roads are slippery? If we likewise rely on Jesus to come before God, so what if you are dirty and so what if you are deceitful? I lack much and have weaknesses even now, but I come before God boldly because I come through the righteousness, not of myself, but of Jesus. Jacob had no conditions by which he could be blessed by his father. His mother prepared all things for him to be blessed, and Jacob was blessed by believing in them. Jesus has, in the same manner, prepared all things for us to stand before God without lacking anything. Therefore, we stand before God relying on this. I have no doubt that then God accepts us joyfully and bestows His grace onto us. Loving folks, many people try to exalt their own righteousness in front of God. Many try to come before God with their own goodness and holiness. This is completely useless. If you become freed from yourself and become strengthened by Jesus, your image does not matter at all. Esau, who tried to be blessed through his sincere efforts, was cursed, and Jacob, who received his mother’s grace, was blessed. If you come before God with your actions, you are cursed. When we come before God with the faith to believe in Jesus who died on the cross for us, I believe that grace and blessing will then overflow in us.