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The Born-Again People
Recently we have been hearing the joyful news from our members in Zion all around the world that they are realizing the importance of repentance and achieving a beautiful unity. According to Heavenly Mother’s example and teachings, many of our brothers and sisters renew their determination to live a life of repentance, apologizing first and being reconciled with each other in tears. They say to each other, “I’m sorry,” “Forgive me.” These words have a deep resonance in our hearts.
God has promised that as the kingdom of heaven is approaching, He will remove from us our heart of stone and give us a heart of flesh so that we can become united in mind and heart (Eze 36:24–27). Now we see this promise of God coming true. It truly seems that the kingdom of heaven is close at hand. I’m sure God must be pleased to see the unity of His children in Zion.
The kingdom of heaven is for those who repent
If our hearts have been far from some members though we share the same space as them, let us approach them first and ask them for forgiveness while holding their hands. God has taught us to humble ourselves rather than exalt ourselves. We must follow this holy teaching of God, realizing fully that we are originally sinners.
We rebelled against God in heaven by unknowingly becoming involved in the treachery of the evil one, and as a result we were cast down to this earth. We originally had no sinful nature, but it has been continuously growing stronger and stronger since we were tempted by Satan. Only when we turn away from our sinful ways can we restore our original sinless nature and go back to heaven.
Mt 4:15–17 “Land of Zebulun and land of Naphtali, the way to the sea, along the Jordan, Galilee of the Gentiles—the people living in darkness have seen a great light; on those living in the land of the shadow of death a light has dawned.” From that time on Jesus began to preach, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is near.”
To repent means to turn from sin and change one’s mind. Since we have been cast down to the earth as a result of committing sin in heaven, it is not too much to say that the reason we live on this earth is to repent. If all our members in Zion, not just a couple of members, repent fully and sincerely here on earth, the eternal kingdom of heaven will be that much closer.
What was the reason the Israelites’ journey through the desert lasted as long as it did? It was not because the distance from Egypt to Canaan was far. The physical distance between them was short, but it took them forty years to travel from Egypt to Canaan because they did not have a repentant heart and enough faith.
We need to engrave the teachings of Mother deep in our hearts and achieve true repentance, restoring the love and respect that we had for God before. God has opened the way for us to return to Him through the laws of truth such as the Passover (2 Ch 30:1–8; Mal 3:7–12). As we steadily follow the way God guides us, God takes away the sinful, arrogant nature that we had before, and makes us beautiful enough to humble ourselves first and ask each other for forgiveness while holding each other’s hands.
Repentance and salvation
The way to return to God is not too far. The kingdom of heaven is close to us. It’s all because of us that we’ve been far away from heaven. We must repent and change ourselves quickly to be beautiful enough to please God.
Ps 7:9–12 O righteous God, who searches minds and hearts, bring to an end the violence of the wicked and make the righteous secure. My shield is God Most High, who saves the upright in heart. God is a righteous judge, a God who expresses his wrath every day. If he does not relent (“If a man does not repent,” NASB), he will sharpen his sword; he will bend and string his bow.
The Bible says that if a man does not repent, God will sharpen His sword. This means that God will oppose and judge the sinners who do not repent. Keeping this in mind, we must humble ourselves all the more and live a life of repentance and penance every day.
Lk 18: 9–14 To some who were confident of their own righteousness and looked down on everybody else, Jesus told this parable: “Two men went up to the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector. The Pharisee stood up and prayed about himself: ‘God, I thank you that I am not like other men—robbers, evildoers, adulterers—or even like this tax collector. I fast twice a week and give a tenth of all I get.’ But the tax collector stood at a distance. He would not even look up to heaven, but beat his breast and said, ‘God, have mercy on me, a sinner.’ I tell you that this man, rather than the other, went home justified before God. For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted.”
In the above parable of Jesus, the tax collectors realized he was a sinner and humbled himself before God when he prayed. God acknowledged him to be righteous.
Keeping this teaching of Christ in mind, let us remove all our unrepentant, arrogant and wicked hearts and humble ourselves, so we can become united with one another as the people of Zion. Let us all examine ourselves again to see if we are committing the wrong act of trying to exalt ourselves and please ourselves even by hurting the people around us.
We must make Zion a place filled with the sound of joy all the time. Where there are repentance and unity, there are always the fruits of God’s blessings. If we repent, God allows us to bear fruit accordingly. That’s why the Bible refers to it as “fruit in keeping with repentance” (Mt 3:8). Through the fragrances of Zion, we are vividly hearing the joyful news from our members that God’s grace has been overflowing to them since they repented, so they can bear fruits and lead many people to Zion.
The nature of love that we must restore
Repentance comes when we love God and when we feel God’s love for us as well. God urges us to repent because we can restore our original nature of love when we repent fully.
1 Jn 4:7–21 Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God. Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love. This is how God showed his love among us: He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him. This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins. Dear friends, since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. No one has ever seen God; but if we love one another, God lives in us and his love is made complete in us . . . Whoever lives in love lives in God, and God in him. In this way, love is made complete among us so that we will have confidence on the day of judgment, because in this world we are like him. There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love. We love because he first loved us. If anyone says, “I love God,” yet hates his brother, he is a liar. For anyone who does not love his brother, whom he has seen, cannot love God, whom he has not seen. And he has given us this command: Whoever loves God must also love his brother.
Through the words in 1 John 4, we can also understand God’s love. Let us all resemble God who is love. All our members in Zion are putting in much effort to preach the truth of the new covenant. I think that repentance is a virtue Father and Mother want us to fulfill in the new covenant until the very end.
When we achieve repentance, we can restore our original nature. So, we can say that those who have repented are the ones who have restored the nature of love. If we restore the nature of love, we cannot hate our brothers and sisters. God has clearly said that anyone who does not love his brother, whom he has seen, cannot love God, whom he has not seen. To restore us to our original nature of love, God has given us the virtue of repentance which we must fulfill in the new covenant.
We are nothing without love
Love contains all things—repentance, patience, and everything else. To restore our angelic nature that we once lost, we must go through the repentance process thoroughly, which God has given us.
1 Co 13:1–3 If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. If I give all I possess to the poor and surrender my body to the flames, but have not love, I gain nothing.
If we speak in the tongues of angels, but have not love, we are only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. If we have a faith that can move mountains, but have not love, we are nothing. God is love. So we, God’s children, are also born with the nature of love. However, Satan has changed our original nature into the evil one to fill our hearts with jealousy, hate, conceit, and arrogance. That’s why God is restoring us to our angelic nature.
According to the precious teaching of Heavenly Mother, the repentance movement is now being carried out by our members in Zion all around the world. 2,000 years ago, the apostles led 3,000 people to repentance in one day after receiving the former rain of the Holy Spirit on the day of Pentecost (Ac 2:1–41). They were able to lead 3,000 people to salvation by preaching the truth to them, and this was also a result of their repentance. When we achieve beautiful repentance in Zion, God allows us to bear fruit worthy of repentance. Today, we should repent first in order to lead 3,000 people and even more people to salvation in one day, shouldn’t we?
The Bible says that if we give all we possess to the poor, but have not love, we gain nothing. Of course, God has embodied all this true love in the New Covenant Passover. However, if we just ceremonially eat bread and drink wine at the Passover, it will be totally meaningless to us. The truth of the new covenant that enables us to become one body through God’s flesh and blood has such an important meaning.
1 Co 13:4–7 Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.
Love is patient and kind. It does not envy, and it does not boast. Boasting about ourselves results in exalting ourselves. The desire to be exalted comes from the arrogant thought that we are better than others. Love does not boast, it is not proud, and it is not rude. It is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, and it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, and always perseveres.
The fruits of the Holy Spirit through complete repentance
We were originally good by nature in the angelic world. However, we were tempted by Satan, lost our original nature, and were cast down to this earth. While living in a fiercely competitive society; we wanted to hear that we’re better than others and ignored other people’s pain to obtain better living conditions than theirs. However, since we met Heavenly Father and Mother in the new covenant, we have started to throw off our old evil nature. Throwing off our old nature means repenting of our sins, and our repentance implies that we change our minds and return to God. This also means that we regain our lost angelic nature. So, the Bible strictly warns that those who refuse to repent cannot enter the kingdom of heaven, and that God will sharpen His sword if they do not repent.
1 Co 13:8–13 Love never fails. But where there are prophecies, they will cease; where there are tongues, they will be stilled; where there is knowledge, it will pass away. For we know in part and we prophesy in part, but when perfection comes, the imperfect disappears. When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put childish ways behind me. Now we see but a poor reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known. And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.
We need faith, hope, and love, but the Bible says that the greatest of these is love. Only when we restore our nature of love can we enter the kingdom of heaven. As people of Zion, let us achieve complete repentance and ask God even more for fruit in keeping with repentance, so that we can receive the Holy Spirit in abundance and bear many good fruits of the gospel.
If you want fruit from a tree, you need to provide an adequate supply of fertilizer and water to its invisible roots. Then fruit is naturally borne on its branches. Until fruit is produced at the tips of the branches, there must be some action in the roots. That’s why you should not just look at the branches. In order to bear fruit, we must remain in God and supply ourselves with the fertilizer of repentance. I would like to ask all of you to repent completely and bear abundant good fruits through the Holy Spirit from God.