God of Salvation

“Now I am no longer in the world, but these are in the world, and I come to You. Holy Father, keep through Your name those whom You have given Me, that they may be one as We are. While I was with them in the world, I kept them in Your name. Those whom You gave Me I have kept; and none of them is lost except the son of perdition, that the Scripture might be fulfilled.”

‭‭John 17:11-12 ‭NKJV‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬

God established the first covenant with the people of Israel and made great efforts in order to be with them. But in the end, He found that they did not have the heart to love God and thus came to establish a new covenant with them.

So then, why is it that they cannot love God? How come they do not have the heart to love God? That is because they belonged to the devil. Thus, in John 8:44, Jesus said, “You do the desires of your father the devil.” In him, there are lies and death. There is no life. Hence, everyone was under his influence and could not escape it.

That is why He says whoever is sinful is of the devil. The Son of God came to the earth to destroy that devil and deliver those who were in slavery to him.

And after He finished that work, He ascended to heaven. But to protect His beloved ones while they are still on the earth, the measures He implemented were to give them great authority, power and the gospel, namely the name of God.

Before Jesus went up to heaven, He said, “Protect them in this world by giving them this name.” He also said that the name was the Father’s name. The Son received the Father’s name and did the Father’s work in the Father’s name. Then, He also entrusted us humans with that work. He did not only give us the authority of the name but also the works of God which is in that name.

So then, since when did that name exist? It is the name which has been from the beginning. What is the meaning of that name? What is the meaning of the name Jesus? It means to save His people from their sins. If the name means to save His people from their sins, since when did that name exist? From the beginning. Then that means there was a plan to save mankind from the beginning. If that is the case, we could think that it was not because man fell that God decided to send His Son. God gave His Son the name Jesus and said the name means He will save His people from their sins. If we think of that – how the name means to save His people from their sins – then we could suppose that it was because man sinned and fell, so that God decided to send His Son. So, depending on the viewpoint, it can be interpreted that way.

However, the latter is not really the case, for the plan to save mankind would have been included within God’s great will from the eternity past. But what is significant is that the name Jesus means the God who saves. The meaning of the name itself is the God who saves His people from their sins. God the Savior.

Before God was even mindful of man (even though God would have planned to save mankind from eternity past), God is the Redeeming God.

Why is that? Even if it was not for man, God is the God of love. Why? Why is that? Because God loves whom? His Son. He loves Himself and His Son. He loves His Son. Since the Son was with God from the eternity past, the relationship of God and the Son is continuing since the eternity past. God is love.

In this way, God is the Savior. In the eternity past, the Son of God decided that He would lower Himself down to this Hades so that He would become One that must be saved by God. This was the plan made in the eternity past.

So, the name of God. In the relationship of the Son and God, there was already a plan determined in the eternity past that God the Father would save His Son. The Son determined to become a being that needs saving. And here this is explained within the context of the relationship of God and His Son.

We have now entered into that relationship. That is why man is also saved as Jesus Christ was. Did Jesus Christ ever sin? No, He did not sin. But He carried sin. He came into this Hades, into this water where He could not escape through His own means. But God saved Him so that He was able to leave this place Hades which is ruled by the devil. It is the same for man. Through Jesus Christ and His name, we are able to escape from Hades.

Our faith life is led within this place where the devil rules, therefore, we absolutely need salvation. Without God’s help, we cannot possibly survive in this world ruled by the devil. We just can’t survive. We cannot escape. The devil is called the prince of this world. What does that mean? He has authority, and since his authority is great, since he has absolute authority, everyone has to follow him whether or not they like him.

I think there are more people who dislike President Myung-Bak Lee. Nevertheless, everyone is governed under the law legislated, the rules and policies he is enforcing. Whether or not they like him, they have to follow his rules. There are, of course, people who want to revolutionize it. However, even those people are under his power.

Though the people under the Law tried to love God, even they were within the devil’s control. The devil is the prince of this world.

Presently, people fight each other politically, and in our eyes, they appear to be on differing sides. Because they are always arguing. The coalition and opposition are always against each other. But actually they are puppets manipulated by a greater force. They are all on the devil’s side. Whether the coalition or the opposition, they are on the devil’s side. They are under his control. We do not even need to get to the devil. They are all under the control of a more powerful hand that controls the whole world.

So many years ago, when President Dae-Jung Kim and President Young-Sam Kim were running for the presidency, they were fighting and arguing as if they were enemies. But then they attended international conventions together, sipping wine together. We see politicians of opposing parties having a go at each other, and we suppose they don’t like each other. Though they debate and argue during the day, they go out together in the evening and have a drink. They all do that. They are not actually fighting. They are under a certain power. And they are controlled by a certain power.

So, on this earth, it seems as though believers of God are on God’s side and Gentiles are on the devil’s. However, at the end of the day, whose side is everyone on? The devil’s. Everyone was on the devil’s side. Until the Son of God came, nobody could see that. But when He came, it was revealed.

Thus, the world totally belongs to the devil. The only way to escape this is salvation. The grace of God, that is, His salvation, is the only way. We cannot escape by any other means.

So, what is our relationship with God? It is definitely that of the Savior and the saved. Our relationship with Him is that of needing His absolute help. No matter how much we know of God and say we work together with God, what is the relationship that we must never forget of? That God is the God who saved me. This is foundational. This grace is the basis on top of which we can do God’s work. Once we forget this, we try to match up against God. We have been saved. We start by receiving grace.

Thus, even now, the devil does not rest just because we have been saved. It is not that the devil does not touch us anymore just because we are saved. No, he attacks us all the more. Therefore, it is necessary that we rely on the Lord. We are always in need of more of the Lord’s grace. That is why we rely on the Lord.

Let us in our faith, rely on the Lord in every moment and situation. When people become experienced and get the hang of things, they rely less on God because they think they can handle it with what they have. Once we start doing that, whose control are we under? Yes, the devil’s control. We might think we are standing against the devil, but often times we do not realize that we are being controlled by the devil and helping him.

So let us never forget that we are beings who need our Savior and His help. We must always supplicate in prayer as we carry out the Lord’s work. It is not by our wisdom or knowledge, even though you might think something is right by your wisdom and knowledge. In Jesus’ name, I bless you all so that you will always seek the Lord’s grace, wisdom, knowledge and His help in doing His work. Let’s pray.

God Our Father, guide us so that we do not become people who work without reflection, relying solely on our own experiences. Instead, lead us to always seek Your true grace through thoughtful consideration. We pray in Jesus’ name, Amen.

Sermon by Pastor Ki-Taek Lee
The Director of Sungrak Mission Center
Sermon on December 4, 2012
Translated by Sungrak Mission Center English Team