And God said unto Noah, The end of all flesh is come before me; for the earth is filled with violence through them; and, behold, I will destroy them with the earth. Make thee an ark of gopher wood; rooms shalt thou make in the ark, and shalt pitch it within and without with pitch. And this is the fashion which thou shalt make it of: The length of the ark shall be three hundred cubits, the breadth of it fifty cubits, and the height of it thirty cubits. A window shalt thou make to the ark, and in a cubit shalt thou finish it above; and the door of the ark shalt thou set in the side thereof; with lower, second, and third stories shalt thou make it. (Genesis 6:13~16)
If Any Man Will Come After Me
People, by nature, have no righteousness. Therefore, we cannot become righteous no matter how hard we try. When we are trying to do good, we may create a good image to a certain extent, but there is no one who can produce any true good in the eyes of God.
When we go to heaven, people are divided into two types. One type goes forth with the good they have done, keeping the law, and providing relief to poor people. The good or righteousness you have done seems good and righteous, but it is vain in the eyes of God. Because God has said such things are not good, people who bring forth what they have done ultimately can only be destroyed. The other type is saved through accepting the righteousness of Jesus. Saved people realize that they cannot become holy and righteous through their own actions. They know their goodness is in vain, and throw away their own goodness and righteousness.
The prodigal son could only go to the pig pen when he was at work. However, when he threw his own methods away and returned to his father, his father made him clean, holy, glorious, and changed him into a whole new person. For God to work inside of us, we must abandon all our righteousness, goodness, or any other thing that we have that comes from us. Jesus said, “If any man will come after me, let him deny himself. . . .” This means that one must throw away everything of himself. Throw away the good that you have done, the tithes you have tithed, the early morning prayer services you have attended, and accept the things God has done.
Noah built the ark according to the Word of God at the time of the flood. But why did the other people not build the ark? Noah entered the ark. Why did the other people not enter the ark? They were intoxicated with their own good deeds. Perhaps this was what they said:
“Since Noah is an evil scoundrel, he would have to build an ark. We are not like Noah. We have lived as good people. If we do well, God will not destroy us.”
Because they believed in themselves, they were not interested in the goodness or the salvation of God.
Rooms Shalt Thou Make in the Ark
God told Noah to build the ark.
Make thee an ark of gopher wood; rooms shalt thou make in the ark, and shalt pitch it within and without with pitch. (Gen. 6:14)
The ark did not come from the thoughts or heart of Noah. There was no ark in Noah’s heart. There was no judgment or salvation in his heart. But after God spoke to Noah about the curse, judgment, and inevitable destruction, He taught Noah the path to receive salvation through grace.
If you search the layout of the ark closely, it says, “Make thee an ark of gopher wood; rooms shalt thou make in the ark.” This shows us the great plan of salvation. There were deer, rabbits, and goats in the ark, but lions, leopards, and tigers were there as well. If so, how afraid would the animals such as deer, zebras, and other herbivorous animals be to enter the ark?
“There are lions in there. If I go there, the lions will eat me.”
God knew of this beforehand and provided rooms. A zebra would become afraid when it hears a lion’s roar, but all the lion can do is make noise. It cannot reach the zebra. The zebra is then not afraid of the lion whatsoever. Outside the ark, the zebra would be as good as dead in such close proximity with the lion, but it is safe inside the ark. God had rooms built inside the ark, and prepared everything perfectly, such as food so that there would be no lacking in making it through the flood.
The ark represents Jesus Christ. All the conditions to avoid judgment, curse, and destruction are met when we enter Jesus.
I was once invited by a church in Chicago to preach so I went there. I preached in San Antonio the day before and it was 100 degrees Fahrenheit there even though it was in the month of March. It is early spring in March in Korea, so I had not brought any short-sleeved clothes with me. I went to a nearby mall, bought one, and wore it. I went to Chicago the next day. I was sleeping on the airplane when it was losing altitude to prepare for landing. When I awoke and looked out the window, and I saw Lake Michigan, the buildings along the lake, and O’Hare Airport, the airport was completely covered in snow. I got off the airplane and it was so cold I shivered the entire way to the church. There were glass windows at the church, the curtains were closed, and it was cozy because the heater was on. People would take off their thick coats as they entered and came in to have service. When I saw this church, it had all the conditions to overcome the cold. It was still winter outside the chapel, but inside the chapel it was spring. The chapel would probably say, “Whosoever comes to me shall not experience any cold.”
The perfect condition of salvation is inside the ark; inside Jesus.
Pitch It Within and Without With Pitch
Make thee an ark of gopher wood; rooms shalt thou make in the ark, and shalt pitch it within and without with pitch. (Genesis 6:14)
God said to pitch the inside and the outside of the ark. Why did He say this? At that time, the machinery and techniques were not as advanced as today, so there would be cracks and blemishes in the ark. The people and animals aboard the ark would die if water were to enter through those cracks. Therefore, God told Noah to pitch the inside and the outside of the ark.
But why should they pitch the inside and the outside? It was because Noah and his family saw the ark from the inside, and God saw the ark from the outside. God sees the ark pitched on the outside and says, “Water will not seep through. It is safe.” While Noah sees the ark pitched on the inside, he says, “Water will not seep through because the ark has been pitched.”
That pitch represents the blood of Jesus, and it is talking about how the blood of Jesus stops the judgment. Jesus could have died in a secret chamber for our sins, but He died being raised high on the cross at Mt. Calvary. All the people saw this site. Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John clearly saw Jesus being crucified, and each one of them recorded it.
Jesus was hung on a cross on Mt. Calvary to die for our sins. As God sees Jesus being crucified, the curse and destruction that should be received for the judgment of the sin of man came to an end. All punishment for the sins committed by man was complete.
Before Jesus was crucified, God said, The heart is deceitful above all things and desperately wicked: who can know it? (Jeremiah 17:9) and that the thoughts of man’s heart were only evil continually. However, He said that we are righteous after Jesus was crucified. For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God; Being justified freely by his grace, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus: (Romans 3:23-24)
And such were some of you: but ye are washed, but ye are sanctified, but ye are justified in the name of the Lord Jesus, and by the Spirit of our God. (1 Corinthians 6:11)
Who shall lay anything to the charge of God’s elect? It is God that justifieth: (Romans 8:33)
God sees and calls us righteous and holy not because we did not sin, lived as good people, and lived holy lives. God sees and calls us righteous because the sins we have committed, the sins we will commit, and all the sins of this earth were taken care of upon the cross by Jesus. That righteousness was not ours to begin with, but it was the righteousness of Jesus. And Jesus swapped that righteousness He had for the sins we had. All the sins we committed went over onto Jesus, and the righteousness Jesus possessed had come upon us. Just as Jesus, who was without sin, became a sinner, He exchanged His righteousness for our sins. We, who were sinners, became righteous through the righteousness of Jesus.
Our sins have gone over onto Jesus, and His righteousness has come over onto us. Therefore, God sees that the judgment for our sins has ended with the crucifixion of Jesus and calls us righteous. He called us holy. Not one of our sins remains in the eyes of God. But people feel guilty for having committed adultery, they feel fear for having stolen, they are torn by their conscience for having lied, they suffer in their hearts for having committed murder, and they live in such condemnation.
Like God, We, Too, Must Look to the Blood of Jesus
There was a Korean soldier who killed many people while fighting in the Vietnam War. Upon returning home after the war, the images of those he killed came to his mind and almost drove him crazy. He could not bear the pain, so he drank every day, straining to erase those memories. If you were to tell him, “You no longer have sin,” he would say, “How can I not have sins? I’ve killed people!”
The memories of sinning are vivid in our minds because we committed those sins. But it is not important whether you have memories or do not have memories of sinning. In the eyes of God, we are holy even though we are masses of sin because Jesus received all the punishment for the sins we have committed. We are righteous.
I have blotted out, as a thick cloud, thy transgressions, and as a cloud, thy sins: return unto me; for I have redeemed thee. (Isaiah 44:22)
And their sins and iniquities will I remember no more. (Hebrews 10:17)
God does not call us sinners. He said we are righteous, holy, and pure. That is why He calls us saints. A saint means, “A holy party,” that is without sin.
When two people marry, the groom should not only love the bride, but the bride must love the groom as well. Then the two can have one heart. This is true between God and us as well. Jesus was crucified in the eyes of God and man. God saw Jesus being crucified on Mt. Calvary, but people also saw the Lord’s death. God sees the death of Jesus and says that we do not have sin. Then, like God, we, too, should look to the death of Jesus and say, “My sins have ended upon that cross! The judgment for my sins is complete! The curse and destruction that were upon me are no more!”
When a bachelor sees a young woman and says, “Miss, I love you. I want to marry you,” and the woman replies, “Really? I’m so thankful you love me. I love you, too,” the two can have one heart and can marry. God calls us righteous because all of our sins were washed away. But if we say, “How can I have no sin when I have committed so many sins? Jesus was crucified, but He did not wash away these many sins of mine,” it means we are on a path different from God. It means that we believe in our own thoughts. It feels as though you are a sinner because you rely and believe in your own thoughts rather than the Word of God. The hearts of such people are completely different from God’s, and God cannot work in their hearts.
God feels the safety of the ark when He sees the pitch from the outside. Noah and his family feel safe as well when they see the pitch from inside the ark. In the same way, the blood Jesus Christ shed makes God see it and say, “All of man’s sins are washed away. Man’s sins are paid for,” but also makes man see it and say, “Our sins are no more.”
We, like God, must look to the blood of Jesus.
“It is true that I have done evil and committed sins. But the judgment for all those sins was finished on the cross. Jesus received the eternal punishment for all of my sins. Now God cannot find my sins anymore. I do not have sins! I am holy! I am righteous!”
When the heart of God and our hearts become one in this manner, God works inside of us.
It is not that we should try and labor to not sin when we are pricked by our conscience to overcome sin. We can only fall over and over again into sin no matter how hard we try not to sin. But the heart of God enters you and frees you from sin when your heart and the heart of God become one.
When the Heart of God Enters
Within the International Youth Fellowship (IYF), I am leading many young people to be freed from sin. Because I cannot do so, I introduce them to the heart of Jesus. When we hold events with the students who were drug addicts and lived riotously, the teachers would understand their hearts and treat them with love. In the beginning the students would say, “Why do you people show me such kindness? Stop acting so fake! I don’t need it!” But as time passes, the students come to know that the teachers and the pastors were not acting superficially but were, with all sincerity, loving them. And the students open their hearts, little by little. At a certain point, there is fellowship between the hearts of the students and the teachers. Then the Jesus that is in the hearts of the teachers flow into the hearts of the students. It is difficult for the students themselves to have the faith to believe in Jesus, but it is easy if their hearts meld together with the teachers’. When faith enters, Jesus comes and lives in their hearts, and many students become freed from liquor, drugs, and sinfulness, and become youths who live for the gospel. This is absolutely amazing.
Today Also, Look to the Cross
God has erased His memories of us committing evil sins as He looked to the cross. God, who saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that the imaginations of the thoughts of his heart were only evil continually, erased from His heart the memories of the sins of man. Now man appears good, righteous, and holy in the eyes of God. When we unite our heart with God’s and see things the way God sees them, although it is apparent that we are evil and filthy, we are actually righteous and holy. The sins we commit, the sins that torment our conscience, no matter what sin it may be, whether we remember them or not, we can no longer be judged by those sins because all the wages of sin have already been paid for on the cross.
God saw the pitch from outside the ark while Noah’s family saw the pitch from inside the ark. Likewise, God see the cross of Jesus from heaven and says that our sins are no more and we see the cross from the earth and say that our sins are washed away.
“That cross simply isn’t about the death of Jesus, but the judgment for all my sins was completed there. All of my sins are forgiven. I have been justified there.”
We become one-hearted with God when we have this faith.
God is not the only one who should see the crucifixion of Jesus. You, too, must see it. Everyone, today also, come beneath the cross and look to the cross.
“The cross! My sins ended there! The judgment, curse, and destruction that were to be upon me are now over!”
You can be free from sin when you have this faith. You can be at peace. We have the memories of committing sins, but the actual power of sin has completely departed from us.
The path of salvation God gave to Noah was perfect. With our salvation as well, God has made it perfect so that we would need nothing added or have nothing taken away. It is true that we have sinned and are filthy, dirty, and evil. To lack nothing in saving such humans, Jesus did not achieve eternal redemption through the blood of goats or calves, but through His own blood. The power of the cross is alive even now, 2,000 years after the crucifixion of Jesus, to free and liberate us from sin.
Do not be deceived by Satan. The cross of Jesus is alive. The blood Jesus shed on the cross washed all of your sins as white as snow, no matter what sin you may have committed, or whether you remember your sins or not. When you dwell in that faith, the Holy Spirit of God will work powerfully in you.