Christ has redeemed us from the curse of the law, having become a curse for us (for it is written, “Cursed is everyone who hangs on a tree”, that the blessing of Abraham might come upon the Gentiles in Christ Jesus, that we might receive the promise of the Spirit through faith. (Galatians 3:13-14)
Death of Jesus Christ on the cross, and his suffering, so pity and cursed as people saw, show that he was cursed indeed. He was cursed. He was not worthy of curse; actually, the curse has nothing to do with him, but he was cursed. Why? For us, he was cursed for us. That curse had been originally ours. What curse captured us? The curse of the Law had been holding us. Why? Is the Law full of curses? No. The Law is holy, full of God’s love. However, when we humans stand before that holy and just law, we have no choice but to be cursed. Why? Because we are sinners. So, these sinners have to be cursed existences before the Law; We have no choice other. Then, Jesus let us be released from this curse of the Law. He took this burden we had been carrying. Jesus paid the debt we were supposed to pay to the Law. To redeem is to buy a slave, and then because of buying him/her means he/she is mine, setting him/her free, like “You are now free.” So, Jesus redeemed us like, “Although You have been living as a slave until now, from now on live freely.” To do that, Jesus was cursed. For this task, the Bible said, “Cursed is everyone who is hanged on a tree.” This passage was written in Deuteronomy 21:23. It said, “a hanged man is cursed by God.” Originally the cross is a punishment that began in Roman times. So, Jesus received a punishment of Rome, a cruelest punishment Rome could have inflicted. In fact, the Law also states hanging a sinner on a tree to punish finally. So According to the Law, Jesus was cursed, and according to the law of the world, he was cursed the same. So, who hanged him on a tree?
The Law of God and the best civilization of men hanged him on a tree. He was the cursed one before men and before God. Jesus took our curse this way for us to receive something inside Jesus Christ. Receive what? What would be the opposite of a curse? God said, “I have set before your life and death, blessing and curse. Therefore, choose life, choose blessing, that you may live.” So, Jesus was cursed for us, that we receive a blessing. This is something like this. When the wife of Isaac blessed her son, he said, “What if father curses me? What if I pretend to be my brother before him, and he curses me?” Then she said, “If he curses, I will take that curse. You take the blessing.” This is the heart of our God. So, Jesus, being hanged on the cross, was like, “I will take the curse. You take the blessing.” And he accomplished that task.
By the way, how do we call this blessing? We know the blessing comes from God. So, we suppose “The blessing of God” or “The blessing of Christ,” but this Bible said, “The blessing of Abraham.” We receive the blessing of Abraham inside Christ. Why do we call this “The blessing of Abraham”? Because this is the blessing that God promised to Abraham. Has God promised before then? No, not before then. God hasn’t promised this kind of blessing to humans at any time, but he chose Abraham for the first time, and He planted this blessing on him. The Bible expressed this promise of God, this Word of God as “a seed.” “The seed of God.” God planted this seed on this field, and the first field on which he planted “the seed” is Abraham. Through Abraham, this seed did not die and thrived. Abraham was a good field. His receiving of this Word with faith, without doubt, and keeping it till the end made this seed grow, be a sprout, and from that, branches, stem, then leaves, flowers, and bear the first fruit then, plenty of fruits. Just like this, we were made to receive the blessing of Abraham, not just for the Jews but also for the Gentiles.
And what is this blessing? “so that we might receive the promised Spirit through faith.” It said, “The promise of the Spirit”(KJV) means, in easy words, “the promised Spirit,” which Jesus said as “the promise of the Father” in Acts 1:4, which the Father promised in Joel, which Jesus promised for his three years and just before he ascended into heaven as well. “Receive the Holy Spirit. Stay in Jerusalem and receive the Holy Spirit. Receive the Holy Spirit that the Father promised.” Our Jesus wants us to receive the promised Holy Spirit; this is why he died on the cross. So, the fact that we have received the Holy Spirit is the sure proof that we have the blessing of Abraham inside us. The blessing of Abraham entered inside us. We have received the Holy Spirit; he did not suddenly fall from the sky, but is said as “the promised Holy Spirit.” The Bible didn’t say “receive the Holy Spirit,” but it said, “receive the promised Holy Spirit.” Although the Holy Spirit came to the humans for the first time on the day of Pentecost after Jesus ascended into heaven, strangely, whenever Jesus spoke about the Holy Spirit, he always said, “receive the promised Holy Spirit.” When he told us to receive the power, he didn’t sound like “receive the promised power.” But about the Holy Spirit, “Receive the promised Holy Spirit.” He spoke this way because the Holy Spirit was promised since God gave the promise to Abraham; this promise was included. “Receive the promised Holy Spirit!” We believed in Jesus, received the Holy Spirit. This is not a personal experience. We experienced it these days, but when we experience it, we who have faith must know that the promise God gave to Abraham 4000 years ago came true to us. People keep making mistakes and failing because people keep thinking of this faith as their own and only regard it as their own problem, but this faith is historical. It is diachronic. Diachronic. In order to have this faith, you need to have a perspective to insight into the history. If someone receives the Holy Spirit, speaks in tongues and sees only those, that person’s eyes are dark. We need to see like an eagle, springing up to the high sky, and see all the forest. So, we should be like, “Oh, it’s not mine, I didn’t do it, but what was promised to Abraham came true to me.”
Yesterday some people got the gold medals(from the Olympics). When someone gets a gold medal, who does the camera take? the person who got the medal. Then that person becomes a hero. Viewers can just see that person, but people who know something don’t think of that person as a hero. Whether that person is a shooter or a Judo player, oneself did not make that person. Oneself did not like “Oh, I’m going to go for the Olympics!”, but someone made that person. Who made that person? One’s coach. It’s the work of the coach. The people who won the medals are the coaches’ work. Though the person wins the medal, the coach made him. The person who raised this person and encouraged this person with this Olympics in mind already, and when this person says “I’m not going to do it,” the person who made him hold on to it, grow, and finally win the gold medal is the real hero. He didn’t want to do this. He didn’t want to continue, he wanted to quit, and he tried to quit, but the coach kept holding him and told him not to let it go. The medal is actually won by the coach. So, when he’s on the Olympics, he appears on the TV alone, but when it’s over, no one likes it more than the coach. The coach goes mad. So, the Judo player who got the gold medal yesterday, at first, he was happy, but he didn’t realize what he had done. But when he saw his coach, the coach was so excited, and then he wept so much, and he hugged his coach so long, and then he bowed to his coach. I was very relieved then. Because I have watched other games, like the shooting game, but nobody else was doing that. The hero is the coach who made and trained him to shoot even when he fired in the shooting game, but the coach wasn’t treated at all, and the players didn’t treat their coach well either. But this guy, he hugged his coach so many times, and he bowed to his coach, when the TV was on, broadcasting to the world. He knew what he was doing; he knew what this gold medal meant.
Just like this, today, we have received the Holy Spirit. But people just think like, “Oh, I have received the Holy Spirit!” They think that they received the Holy Spirit, and that’s it. However, for that to happen, Abraham made such a choice 4000 years ago. If he had not made a choice, this blessing could not have come to me. And if Jesus had not died for that 2000 years ago, this blessing could not have come to me. And also, if God hadn’t said such prophecies of faith in the past through those prophets, this would have had nothing to do with me. And, if there hadn’t been any prophets in the old testament times, nor Abraham, then even if the Holy Spirit comes on, who knows whether this is the Holy Spirit or a demon? Therefore this(faith) can be nothing but mysticism, if so. But our faith has grown since that 4000 years ago. It finally got fruit, and we ate it these times, 4000 years later. We have to think about the person who sowed the seed 4000 years ago, and the field that was a good field then, and that it finally flowed down to here. This is not my subjective incident, but it’s a historical event. That plenty of the objective histories, the facts, those appeared to me as fruit this way. So, we cannot doubt it. we can never doubt it, for this is not my personal experience. This has plenty of proofs: so many records, proofs in the past, those who have experienced it, Jesus Christ who finally laid down his life for it, and witnesses who testified for it. Many have shed their blood to deliver it. Also, there were many people who came to preach the Gospel in our country and died, and in the end, it came to me. It came to me so difficult, and we have received such grace and received the Holy Spirit, yet we don’t even thank who delivered the Gospel to us. Do you remember? the person who delivered you the Gospel? We usually forget it completely, how desperately the person prayed for me, how hard the person who raised me worked for me. And when we succeed and grow, we think like, “I’m clever, I’m good, I’ve worked hard.” We don’t think about those tremendous histories in the past. However, we are able to own this nowadays because there were so many wonderful incidents. Our faith is not subjective nor improvised but historical. Historical. So, without a historical perspective, we cannot have this faith. We need to have a historical perspective.
So, what is Faith? Faith is not the happiness in the heart. Also, when I read the Bible, Ah! Suddenly it makes my heart passionate. This isn’t faith either. This is not. What is Faith? Everything Jesus has done is prophesied by the prophets. Therefore, what we experienced in Jesus is also foretold by the prophets. There are all prophecies recorded in the old testament Bible, in old-testament times, and are they true indeed? Are they fulfilled? Are they corresponding with the life of Jesus Christ? So, we go and check it out. And when we do, it corresponds. “Wow, how the recording 2000 years ago can be fulfilled to him, 2000 years later?” And “how what Jesus said would be fulfilled to me, 2000 years from then? Will it be fulfilled indeed? It says, ‘to those who believe it will be fulfilled.’” When we believe it and obey it, it is fulfilled to us. So, what we believe is this Bible. We believe in the truthfulness of the Bible. “Oh, this is not the ordinary book. It’s the holy book. everything written to this is fulfilled.” And since in this fulfilling book is the story that we receive salvation, that we receive eternal life, and that we go to heaven, even if we haven’t been to heaven, we believe them all. Why? In the Bible, let us say there are 100 prophecies. when we believed 99 of them, then even though we didn’t see the last one fulfilled yet, we can be sure it would be fulfilled. because we have the proof. Therefore, we believe that not because it makes our hearts passionate. Some people experience that. When they read the Word, their heart becomes passionate. But when it doesn’t happen, they say, “Nowadays, the Word doesn’t enter me.” Also, there are strange people. They say, “Nowadays, praying can’t be done well.” These people must have done praying wrong usually. I don’t understand what they are saying. “praying can’t be done well!” when they pray, they should have some kind of strong feeling, but nowadays they don’t feel like that. Some kind of feeling should strike them strongly, but it doesn’t feel like that. So, praying feels like talking to the wall, so it feels bland. This is what they’re saying. This is because they believe their prayers are fulfilled when they feel such feelings. So, they have been praying in vain. Such is called praying with one’s own faith. Praying is not done because we have some feelings; it is done because we believe the Words the Lord promised. It is talking to the Lord. It is asking the Lord. “Lord, send me the angels so that I do the things I intend to do well, and help me so that I can do those with your power!” When I pray like this, I have no feeling. But I asked. I asked according to the promise of Jesus. Then, I am sure Jesus heard it. therefore, I am also sure that Jesus will fulfill it. This is praying. This is asking. Do we need some strong feelings, sentiments, and relief from our hearts to pray? Some people need those. They pray for their heart to be relieved, not to hand the prayers to God. They go to the prayer room because they feel frustrated. when they don’t pray for some time, they feel frustrated. They also feel frustrated when they don’t exercise for some time. Then, they go to the prayer room and pray like “Jesus!! Jesus!!” for an hour, and their hearts are relieved. So, they say, “Whoh, feels like I’m alive.” Instead of praying, they can go to the mountain and shout like “Viva!!” they will feel like they’re alive. They can also go to the playground and run for an hour. Then blood will be supplied to cells of the whole body, and the lungs will shrink and expand, and it will feel relieved. It would be the same as praying in the prayer room for an hour for them. They would be like, “Uh, it’s strange! I feel relieved when I don’t pray!” So, we don’t pray so that we would be relieved; we do to hand what we want to God. They would not pray until they feel frustrated. That would be like singing. I used to sing a lot. popular songs, playing the guitar. After singing a lot, it felt very relieved; it relieved my stress, and with a drink of beer, shouting like “Ahhhh!” used to be much more relieved. Why not do it that way? Why not sing the Gospel that way? So, some people don’t know what faith is, and they live their life of faith. they have nothing to do with the promise. Therefore, how do we earn faith? “give me faith,” they say, “by putting your hand on me.” This is a dumb thing to do. How can we earn faith by putting hands on the head? They do this because they have no knowledge of the Word. From where does the faith come? “from the hearing.” and from where does the hearing come? “from the Word of Christ,” the Bible said. (in Romans 10:17) The Christ’s Word. So, the whole of the Bible has prophesied about Jesus. Therefore, we need to know those prophecies, and we need to confirm that those prophecies have been fulfilled. That is the faith, knowing the prophecies, and seeing those have been fulfilled. This is faith. And if you believe it, let the words that Jesus foretold come true to you. That is experiencing the Word. that is experiencing the Word, none other. So, we NEED to have faith that has a firm foundation. Otherwise, that can’t happen. Let us pray that we have faith with a firm foundation.
Pastor Ki-Taek Lee
The Director of Sungrak Mission Center