Source of Blessing (Galatians 3:13-14)

Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law by becoming a curse for us, for it is written: “Cursed is everyone who is hung on a pole.”He redeemed us in order that the blessing given to Abraham might come to the Gentiles through Christ Jesus, so that by faith we might receive the promise of the Spirit.

(Galatians 3:13-14)

The passage we read today is from Galatians 3. To explain briefly first, Jesus Christ was cursed. Jesus is the One that people whom people who go to church regard as their Lord. We know that He is God. However, when He came to the earth, what He had to endure was the curse. It was the most terrible curse. He was crucified, which was a method of execution. The fact that He was sentenced to death itself was tormenting enough and unjust, and yet He was subject to public execution. He was cursed, causing Him to be shamed before many people. People who do not understand why He was cursed might think He did something deserving of the curse. But we came to realize that the curse He bore was for us to receive blessings. Because He was cursed, we could be blessed.

We were supposed to be cursed. There is a song called ‘the Thornbush’ in Korean music. Just like how you get pricked if you get too close to a thornbush, we were all like thornbushes ourselves. We kept hurting other people. Not only did we hurt others, we also got hurt. We were constantly causing pain to one another, trapped in the cycle of this curse. That’s why some people even choose suicide as a means to escape. However, who would have known? Those who took their own lives in an attempt to break free from the curse only found a more frightening reality awaiting them.

God sent Jesus, the sinless One, to bear the curse so that we may not be cursed. That is why we thank Him, follow Him, and serve Him. Thankfully, He didn’t remain dead; instead, God raised Him from the dead among the many who were dead. And those who believe in Jesus have the testimony that He has risen. It is a marvelous thing.

Then, where is He after He was risen? He is not on the earth. He ascended through the clouds, causing people to lift their heads and watch Him go into the sky. Where did He go? He is not located somewhere in space, but in the spiritual world that is beyond the universe, as the Bible tells us. So, He is there, and one day, we, as His believers, will also go there.

Going to heaven doesn’t mean we will have a boring time in heaven. Just how diverse is this world? Heaven will be even more diverse than this world. When I came back to Korea for short visit while staying in China as a missionary, people asked me a lot of questions. “Are there watermelons in China? Do they have apples? Do people have computers in China?” And I answered them, “They have everything that we have in Korea, and there are many things in China that we don’t have in Korea”. Obviously, there would be more diversity and variety in China since their land is much larger.

In the same way, everything that exists on Earth will also exist in heaven. However, many things that are in heaven are not found here on earth. Yet, everything on Earth is present in heaven. Our God sent His beloved Son to die. Does that not make Him sorry? But that’s how confident God was. Heaven was pre-prepared for the Son, as a compensation, where He will be eternally glorified. He is there right now. He promised us that He will take us there as well. Believers will have a body that is forever imperishable and enter heaven. This is the reason we believe in Jesus.

Certainly, when we believe in Jesus, we establish a relationship with God. As a result, we can receive God’s help and the emptiness of our hearts disappears. Additionally, we can receive answers to prayers and even gain financial help at times. We can prosper and receive help in various ways. However, the ultimate purpose is to enter heaven.

Even though we may receive a lot of help on the earth, we must rid our hearts of impatience. If we believe in Jesus today and expect a change to occur just next month, we may be disappointed. Of course, when we first have faith in Jesus and undergo a transformation, we may experience significant changes. I’ve seen many people who were healed of their sickness right after being baptized. However, my point is that if we planted a seed, it won’t bear fruit the next day just because we are believers. We have to wait for a long time. Similarly, you must be patient until you begin to experience blessings as you obey God’s words.

What I want to share with you today is that this blessing is referred to by God as “the blessing of Abraham”. It is stated that Jesus was cursed so that we may receive the blessing of Abraham. God promised a blessing to Abraham, and what He planned through Abraham has come to fulfilment, leading us to believe in Jesus.

However, when He promised Abraham, He said, “You are a blessing! Through you, all nations on the earth will be blessed!” This is the nature of the blessing given by God. When we receive a blessing, it is not just for our own happiness, but through us, many other people also receive blessings. That is why He referred to Abraham as a source of blessing. If you believe in Jesus and have been baptized, you have already received blessings. Therefore, since you are already blessed, you just need to wait patiently for that blessing to bear fruit.

Not only have you received blessings, but you can also become a source of blessings through which many others can receive blessings. And it must be that way. Your family will be blessed through you. Even the taxi driver who drives you will receive blessings through you. There are many people in the world who are suffering and feeling hopeless. They don’t know how to live their lives, and many are wasting their lives on futile pursuits. When those people meet you, they will receive the blessing God has given to you. Therefore, you must keep in mind: “I am a source of blessing!”

If you come to church and believe in Jesus from today, you shouldn’t only think about yourself being blessed. Instead, you need to come to have the faith that my family will be blessed through you, your friends will be blessed, your neighbors, and even the people you don’t know will be blessed through you. And this actually happens. To what extent does that blessing spread? It reaches all the nations of the world. So the peoples on earth may be blessed through you. You won’t understand God’s heart unless you have this in your heart.

You might have come to church with the intention of receiving help from God. However, when God created humanity and provided salvation, He had a purpose for you to be partakers in His work. Thus, not only is God the blessed One, but He also blesses those who draw near to Him. In the same way, you can become a blessing for those who come near you. It is not a command to “Become a source of blessing!” but rather a statement that “You shall be a blessing!” That’s what it means to believe in Jesus. This is why it is written, “Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you and your household will be saved!”

I met Jesus in 1992. I was very lost before I met the Lord Jesus, and in various ways, I experienced a great change and incredible joy. Even though my family used to follow traditional practices as the eldest, now everyone believes in God. The first person I evangelized was my grandmother. My grandfather had already passed away, and when I shared the message with my grandmother, she had been going to the Buddhist temple for over 80 years. She had even inscribed the names of her descendants in the temple.

But before she passed away, I introduced God to her. Since we didn’t have much time together, I gave her the Bible to read. I printed the Bible with large letters for her, and she read the entire Bible once and was baptized before she passed away. At the time of her passing, none of my family members were believers. My father, uncle and aunts did not have faith. However, in my grandmother’s final moments, my younger brother and I, along with a few others sang hymns and kept by her side with God’s word. Then she passed away, but we couldn’t tell whether she had fallen asleep or had passed away because she had a smile on her face as she departed. She had a big smile on her as she died.

As many elderly people might have experienced, when individuals pass away, their appearance in their final moments is not always pleasant. Some may leave in a horrible manner. However, my grandmother was smiling as she passed away. My aunt, who had been a lifelong Buddhist, was very surprised when she saw her mother’s face. She said, “There must be something!” And she told me, “If I want to go where my mom has gone, I will have to start attending church!” From that day on, she began attending church. Similarly, after witnessing the change in my grandmother, a change came upon my parents too, and they decidedly said, “Just as our mother had faith, we should also go where she has gone!”

Since then, each member of my family started to change. We were the head family, although not my father’s, but my grandmother’s family. I had a big uncle, and his son, my cousin, was in charge of ancestral worship. However, since there were more than one ancestral worship ceremony every month, I think it was really hard for him. My cousin’s wife, who had to prepare for the ancestral rites for 10 years, also suffered from depression for 10 years. She was on antidepressants for 10 years. So my cousin was having a hard time. When I preached the gospel to his wife, she was very interested and accepted Jesus Christ. What do you think happened afterward? She stopped taking antidepressants, and she became a different person.

What do you think happened to my cousin after seeing that? He saw with his own eyes that God is living because he went through the painful times with his wife and noticed the change that came upon her. He decided that he should have faith too and now leads a faith life. Before, when our family came together on Full Moon Festival, we used to perform ancestral rites. But now we have a worship service. And we are witnessing how different are the lives of family members who believe in Jesus are compared to those who don’t.

We are receiving blessings on earth, but it doesn’t stop there. We will receive eternal blessings in heaven, which is even more joyful over. We also have testimonies on Earth. Not only have my family members changed, but each of them is changing the lives of many people in their own regions. At the moment, it is not just people in Korea, but also those in China who are being blessed through me because I served as a missionary in China. People of other language groups are also receiving blessings. The entire world is coming together and moving as one. The word of God, which says that all nations on earth will be blessed through us, is actually being realized in our time.

This is a reflection of God’s nature. He not only wants to bless us but desires for more people to be blessed through us. If you understand God’s heart and obey, God will be pleased and He will be with you more bountifully.

So, if you have come to believe in Jesus and have started your faith journey, it’s important to understand that your faith isn’t just for your own benefit. Now, you should have a heart of sharing your faith and the blessings you have received with others. To do this, active participation in church life is essential. If only you want to be blessed, you can just remain where you are. But if you want others to be blessed through you to please God, be absorbed into the church life. Be educated in the church, give service and then be used for the works that help others not only yourself. Then the glory you receive in heaven will be enriched.

The concept of glory varies greatly among individuals on Earth. There’s the glory of a beggar and then there’s the glory of a country’s president, and even among presidents, there are differences based on the size and influence of their nations. Though they are all people, the glory that they have varies. The glory of the president of a big country and the glory of a beggar in a small country will be very different though they are both humans. Not only are there humans, there are animals too. For example, there are dogs and worms. Worms have flesh and so does a president. But what a difference there is between the two! It’s a world of difference.

In this way, the glory that we will have in heaven will vary from person to person. For this reason, you must be used to bless more and more people on earth. Then, you will shine in heaven like the sun. Although there are countless stars, they become invisible when the sun rises. Just like that, I pray in the name of Jesus that your glory will shine like the sun.

Please do not let it end with just receiving blessing for yourselves. Instead, determine yourselves, “Now I will make the people around me receive blessings. I will strive to bless more and more people! So, let’s engage in church life! Let’s participate in education and service!” I bless you in Jesus’ name. I’ll pray.

God our Father, thank You for calling these souls here today to become a source of blessing. Father God, though their eyes may not yet see, help them to see with their eyes and experience more over time. Furthermore, help them to be a blessing to many others, starting with their family, relatives and neighbors, reaching to the people they do not know so that they fulfil their duties as a source of blessing. In Jesus’ name. Amen!

Pastor Ki-Taek Lee
The Director of Sungrak Mission Center