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6. The Path to Salvation Prepared by God

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And when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree to be desired to make one wise, she took of the fruit thereof, and did eat, and gave also unto her husband with her; and he did eat. And the eyes of them both were opened, and they knew that they were naked; and they sewed fig leaves together, and made themselves aprons. (Genesis 3:6~7)

But What Sayest Thou?

People’s thoughts are different although they are in the same situation. The level of interest, although looking at the same picture, or the level of emotion while looking at the same food, all differ. People have different reactions toward the same objects or the same circumstances. People, for the most part, do not think anything other than the thoughts they normally have. That is why they decide everything according to their own thoughts. All things are done within the world of their own thoughts. In John chapter 9, the disciples asked Jesus about a man who was blind from birth. “Jesus, who sinned that this man was born blind? Was it himself, or his parents?” The disciples saw the blind man and discussed the reason for him being blind. “Who sinned that he was born blind?” “Since he was born blind, it must be his parents’ sins.” “No, why would he become blind if it was his parents who sinned? The parents should be blind then. Then it must be he who sinned.” “How could he sin in the womb?” The disciples could not come to a solution so they asked Jesus, “Was this man born blind because he sinned, or was it because of the sin of his parents?” The disciples saw the blind man from the perspective of, “Whose sin caused this?” But Jesus said, “Neither hath this man sinned, nor his parents: but that the works of God should be made manifest in him.” Jesus’ thoughts were completely different from the disciples’ thoughts. The scribes and the Pharisees asked Jesus in John chapter 8, “This woman was caught in the act of adultery. Moses says that such a woman should be stoned, but what do you say?” They tried to push Jesus into a trap through their own wisdom. If Jesus were to say to stone her, they would have said, “He says to stone her when He claims that He came to save sinners?” And if He were to say to not stone her, they would’ve said, “That violates the law.” Whether Jesus replies one way or another, they were looking for conditions by which to accuse Jesus. But Jesus was not entrapped by their wisdom. If He were, then how could Jesus be God? Jesus said something they could never have imagined whatsoever. “He that is without sin among you, let him first cast a stone at her.” No one ever thought that Jesus would reply with such words. We can see that the thoughts of Jesus were, by nature, different from ours; from man. Not only His perspective of the man born blind, or the woman taken in adultery in the Bible, but His perspectives on everything that happens in your life are different from yours, as well.

Apron of Fig Leaves and Coats of Skins

Adam and Eve’s eyes were opened after they ate the fruit of the knowledge of good and evil in Genesis chapter 3. The first thing they realized afterwards was that they were naked. Because there was nothing else they could do, they plucked fig leaves, tied them up, made aprons, and covered their shameful parts. What would God do at that very moment? Would God have made aprons of fig leaves? If so, then He would be a God who was not much different from man. But God did not do so. When we commit sin, our only thought is to try not to sin again and to cover up our sins. Shamefully, the problem is not whether we are doing well or not, but the important thing is whether you are living by your own thoughts or the thoughts of God. If you try to keep the law and things do not go well, you will labor again to keep it. As you do that many times, you come to realize, “Ah, this is not going to work!” It is ultimately in vain that we labor to not sin. Adam and Eve can only live in darkness if they try to cover themselves with fig leaf aprons, because if they come out in the sunlight wearing fig leaves, the leaves will quickly wither and crumble away. That is why they have to live in the shade. Their lives could only become dark. What did God do? It says in Genesis chapter 3, verse 21, Unto Adam also and to his wife did the Lord God make coats of skins, and clothed them. The method taken by man was to make aprons of fig leaves and temporarily hide their blemishes, but God made coats of skins and completely covered man’s blemishes.

Clothes Paid with Death

This short story in Genesis chapter 3 applies to all of mankind, and it also applies today to both your and my spiritual life. Even now, people who are unable to truly have faith in God and who are unable to receive the grace of God, sin. And, just like Adam and Eve, they live a life of making and wearing fig leaf aprons, while people who receive the grace of God wear coats of skins and live with thankful hearts.

This may upset animal activists, but the clothes man first made were botanic while the clothes made by God were a leather product. You must know the difference between the two clothing items. There is no sacrifice in the fig leaf aprons made by man. The wages of sin was not paid. Our sins cannot be covered unless death, the price of sin, is paid. Death, which is the wage of sin, must be paid for our sins to be taken care of. I attended a Presbyterian church since I was young. I repented daily as I sinned, as taught by the church, and I labored not to sin. “God, I sinned again today. I am ashamed of so many things. Please forgive me. Help me to not sin tomorrow.” That was how I prayed sincerely to God. But the day after I prayed, I would sin again. So I would sin and repent everyday, and lived a life of sinning and repenting. That kind of spiritual life was like a fig leaf apron. Adam may have said, “Wow, it’s very well made today, isn’t it, Eve? It’s soft and comfortable since I used tender leaves,” and proudly wear the apron he had made. Eve may have made aprons with leaves that were similar to arrowroot vines and said, “Adam, doesn’t this look pretty?” But no matter how pretty they were, soon they would wither and crumble away. They would become crushed, and crumble away. That was the spiritual life I lived as I attended church a long time ago. “Father God, I committed such and such sins today. Please forgive me. Help me to not sin tomorrow.” Confessing every sin, one by one, in this manner and trying to cover my sins was the same as making fig leaf aprons. No matter how much I confessed my sins and repented, the fig leaf aprons quickly fell apart and crumbled away no matter how tirelessly I made them. How embarrassing it would be if Adam and Eve made and wore fig leaf aprons, went out in the sun, and the fig leaves crumbled off, revealing their shameful aspects, making Eve say, “Adam, I can see everything.” How embarrassing this would be! We can never become whole trying to cover our sins ourselves. We cannot be perfect. That is why we can never be freed from the state of being sinners. But the coats of skins made by God are different. This is the first time death occurred in Eden. A sinless animal was killed to cover the shame and guilt that came about through Adam and Eve committing sin. The death of that animal, as you well know, represents the death of Jesus Christ. You pray, “God, forgive me! Forgive my sins!” when you steal, lie, commit adultery, or murder. But in your heart, the sin is still alive and torments you. You cannot be truly freed from sin. That is why God does not wash our sins away through the methods of us repeatedly repenting, or shedding tears. He clearly shows us, before our very eyes, that death must occur and punishment for the sins we committed must be received. “Adam, Eve, get over here.” “Yes, God, we are so ashamed.” “Guys, those fig leaf aprons will not do, right? Those can’t completely cover your blemishes, correct? Your blemishes are revealed again and again even though you cover them, right? That is why from now on, I will work. Wait and see.” Then God kills an animal. “This animal did not have to die, but it died because of you. If this animal dies, then with its skin your blemishes will be covered.” When God killed this animal, Adam and Eve clearly saw this sinless animal shed blood and die. They thought, “That animal did not have to die. It did not have to shed its blood like this, but it died because of the sin I committed!” This is what God clearly showed them.

The Cross of Christ Before All Men

Jesus died 2,000 years ago on the cross on Mt. Calvary! Why didn’t God crucify Jesus on the cross in closed chambers, but instead crucified Him before all the people of Jerusalem? Jesus suffered the punishment of the cross before many who shouted, “Crucify him! Crucify him!” He carried the cross up Mt. Calvary before the multitudes. His hands and feet were nailed to the cross in the view of all, and He shouted, “My God! My God! Why have you forsaken me!” before many people. Then He shouted, “It is finished,” bowed His head, and gave up His spirit. Jesus showed the image of His death to all. We, too, can clearly see the image of Jesus dying throughout the Scriptures, which have recorded this fact. “That’s right. Jesus did not have to die on the cross. Jesus shed His blood and died because of the sin of Adam and Eve leaving God and selecting Satan and for all of the sins I have committed! That death is for my sin of lying, coveting, stealing, lusting, committing adultery, hating, and committing murder!” This is what God is clearly showing us. He is saying, “I am crucifying your sin of adultery. Your sin of stealing, your sin of lying, all of the sins you’ve committed I am crucifying.” To crucify all the sins we have committed, God crucified Jesus on the cross along with all those sins. If a person has stomach cancer, the cancer alone cannot be removed. The stomach must also be removed. Even so, the man will die if the cancer remains. His whole life will be lost. It would be great if only the cancer could be removed, but that is impossible and a life is lost. In the same way, it would be great if only the sin can be removed from our hearts. But because this is impossible, Jesus had to bear our sins and be crucified together with them on the cross. He received the punishment for all the sins we’ve committed. God has shown this to us in great detail. When I sin and my heart is in pain and I look to the cross, I can say, “Right, this sin was crucified when Jesus was crucified! The punishment for this sin ended on the cross!” When the ambitions of sin spring up in me, I can say, “This is shameful, but this sin has already been paid for!” Adam and Eve’s shame was completely covered through the death of an animal. This is the difference between God’s thoughts and our thoughts. We pray and beg, saying that we will never sin again each time we sin, but it does not work. We end up sinning again. God knew that our doing this would not take care of our sins, and thus, had Jesus crucified on the cross. He was not simply crucified, but God clearly showed the crucifixion of Jesus to all. Loving folks, who among you lives without sinning? Everyone has sinned. That sin lives and works in your heart, causing you shame and pain, keeping you bound and making you afraid to come before God. God, in order to give us true freedom from this sin and to take care of sin, clearly displayed before our very eyes, Jesus shedding His blood and dying on the cross. When we see this precisely, we come to discover, “Ah! If the Lord was killed on the cross, my sins are forgiven!” The death of Jesus shows that He has completely received the punishment for all your sins. Adam and Even distinctly saw God killing an animal to cover their blemishes. They said, “That animal does not have to die, but it is dying for our sin. Through its death, the punishment of our sin is over. Because death, which is the wage of sin, has been paid, our sins are covered when that animal dies.” God did not select the methods we humans use because He wanted to truly free us from sin and give us liberty. We think that everything will be fine only if we confess our sins, beg for forgiveness, try not to sin, and are good from then on. But God did not do it that way. He did not just forgive sin, but He sent the punishment for our sin and took care of it on the cross. When the sounds of Jesus’ crucifixion, “Boom, boom, boom,” shook Mt. Calvary, they were the sounds of your sins being taken care of. All of the sins you’ve committed had been paid for on the cross. Just as the coats of skins were enough to cover Adam and Eve’s shame, the cross of Jesus is enough to give us freedom through covering the various filthy and dirty sins of our heart.

Believe in God Who Perfected You

God has already shown us the secret of salvation in Genesis chapter 3. We have lived with the method of us doing well and trying not to commit evil. But the method of God was different from our method. The thoughts of Jesus differed from the thoughts of the disciples when looking at the blind man. The scribes and the Pharisees thought Jesus would say, “Stone her,” or, “Don’t stone her,” in regard to the woman taken in adultery, but instead, Jesus said, “He that is without sin among you, let him first cast a stone at her,” which was completely different. The thoughts of God and our thoughts concerning our sins are very different as well. We try to take care of sin by saying, “God, I sinned. I committed adultery. I stole. Forgive me.” That is not God’s method. He did not forgive our sin, but punished and took care of our sin before our very eyes. For our hearts to have true freedom, God covered our sins completely on the cross. The Bible clearly shows us the difference between God working and our works. In Luke chapter 15, the prodigal son wore filthy rags and could only starve to death in the pig pen when it was he who was at work, no matter how hard he worked. But when the father worked, the prodigal son became clean and truly blessed. We cannot become whole when we work, but we can become whole when the father works. Do not try to make yourselves diligent, who are filthy, dirty, and evil even now, but believe in God who has perfected you. No matter what sin you may have committed, God has perfectly and spotlessly disposed of your sins on the cross. He has already delivered punishment for all sins and has gotten rid of all sins. Loving folks, the works of the Lord are completely different from ours. That is why we throw away our own methods and ways and believe solely in the Lord. Just as God made the coats of skins and put them on Adam and Eve to give them freedom, Jesus took care of every single one of your sins through dying on the cross. Do not think of anything else, but believe this and gain freedom from sin. And I hope that you will thank God, who has cleansed you from sin. When you become freed from the position of sinner and stand before God, the grace of God will surely overflow in you.

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