ESV - 5 Jesus answered, "Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God.
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As with any single verse or passage, we discern what it teaches by first filtering it through what we know the Bible teaches on the subject at hand. In the case of baptism and salvation, the Bible ...
I shudder to see people spend such great energies trying to wrest Scripture. Yes, without obeying Scripture, there's no salvation. The bible clearly and directly teaches that without baptism, and the general obedience that follows hearing the Word, there is no salvation. Mark 16:16, "He that believeth AND is baptized shall be saved;" Acts 2:38, "Then Peter said unto them, Repent, AND be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost" Eph 4:4-6, "There is one body, and one Spirit, even as ye are called in one hope of your calling; 5 One Lord, one faith, one baptism, 6 One God and Father of all, who is above all, and through all, and in you all." Mat 3:15, "And Jesus answering said unto him, Suffer it to be so now: for thus it becometh us to fulfil all righteousness. Then he suffered him." If Jesus could travel about 40km to get to John for baptism, so that He could leave us an example, I dread to see people dice with death like this. People fight just about every directive in the bible, yet they still want to claim its promises. There is the case of the thief on the cross - he was saved because of two principles at work. One, he had no time to be baptised, but you and I have. Two, God is Sovereign, He's not answerable to man or to any being, animate or inanimate. And He exercised that Sovereignty in the case of the thief. He has also commanded that we baptise all who believe - that's the bible's teaching. Matt 28:18-19 There's no single case in the bible where anyone accepted the teaching of the apostles, then went without being baptised as a saved person. None whatsoever. EVERYONE who believed was baptised - by full immersion in water. A. Acts 8:38, "And he commanded the chariot to stand still: and they went down both into the water, both Philip and the eunuch; and he baptized him." B. Acts 10:46-48, "For they heard them speak with tongues, and magnify God. Then answered Peter, 47 Can any man forbid water, that these should not be baptized, which have received the Holy Ghost as well as we? 48 And he commanded them to be baptized in the name of the Lord." C. Acts 2:41, "Then they that gladly received his word were baptized:" D. Acts 8:12, "But when they believed Philip preaching the things concerning the kingdom of God, and the name of Jesus Christ, they were baptized, both men and women." E. Acts 9:18, "And immediately there fell from his eyes as it had been scales: and he received sight forthwith, and arose, and was baptized." (Paul himself was baptised, after Jesus was resurrected). I could go on and on. Yet there's no single incident where anyone was accepted into the faith any other way other than through baptism. In the final analysis, we have the power to choose God's way or ours. And the consequences follow our choices. For those who will enter unto the Kingdom, please follow the example of Jesus. It costs you nothing. And obey the Word. Bless.
The early church does not appear to have been as confused as many are today following the reformation movement of the 16th century. William Wall, a renowned scholar of the Church of England in his monumental work, “ The History of Infant Baptism” asserts that not a single writer of the early Church did not understand the water of John 3: 5 to be a reference to baptism. He stated that John Calvin was the first to disassociate the two and suggested Calvin even admitted his interpretation was new. The distinguished scholar, author, and Church historian Dr. Everett Ferguson agrees. Dr. Ferguson has stated that John 3:5 is the most often quoted proof text for the essentiality of water baptism and only a handful of Gnostics in the 1st century taught that the water of John 3:5 was anything but baptism. He suggests that those today who would “dehydrate the rebirth” should seriously consider their theological ancestors. The “A Dictionary of Early Christian Beliefs”, authored by David W. Bercot, confirms the statements of both of these renowned Church scholars with quote after quote by the likes of Irenaeus, Tertullian, Justin Martyr, Cyprian, etc., associating the water of John 3:5 with baptism The Biblical evidence is even more convincing. Nowhere in Scripture is the rebirth process more beautifully and eloquently described than by Paul in Romans 6:3-5. “Do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? We were buried therefore with him by baptism into death, in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too might walk in newness of life.” Peter in Acts 2:38 and 1 Pet. 3:21, Ananias in Acts 22:16, Jesus in Mk. 16:16, Saul in Acts 9:1-19, Cornelius in Acts 10, Lydia in Acts 16:11-15, Philippian Jailor in Acts 16:25-36, Simon in Acts 8:4-13, the Ethiopian in Acts 8:34-39, time and time again throughout the New Testament baptism is either directly commanded or is clearly associated with salvation. Far-fetched, indeed, to suggest that Jesus and his inspired writers referenced baptism in connection with forgiveness of sins and salvation over and over again but it has no connection to either? Concerning the thief and his baptism, Matt. 3:1 states that “In those days John the Baptist came preaching in the wilderness of Judea” Then in v5 “Then Jerusalem and all Judea and all the region about the Jordan were going out to him, and they were baptized by him in the river Jordan, confessing their sins.” The thief was a man in Jerusalem who evidently knew something of the Christ and demonstrated a respect for him. It is likely he may have been a part of them in ”Jerusalem and all Judea and all the region about the Jordan were going out to him, and they were baptized”. So those who argue the thief had not been baptized are making an unwarranted and unsubstantiated assumption. More importantly is the fact of Heb. 9:16-17, “For where there is a testament, there must also of necessity be the death of the testator. For a testament is in force after men are dead, since it has no power at all while the testator lives.” While alive, Jesus had all authority. Matt. 28:18. We understand this concept from our own dealings today. While living, he is free to dispense his gifts as he chooses. After he is gone, those remaining are bound by his last will and testament. Jesus while alive dealt with various people is various way. He told one thing to the thief, another to Nicodemus. To the rich young ruler who asked what he had to do to inherit eternal life he said to sell all he possessed and follow him. Funny, no one is teaching that as a method of salvation today. He told all of us what we must do to inherit eternal life, “For as many of you as were baptized into Christ have put on Christ…And if you are Christ’s, then you are Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise.” Gal. 3:26,27,29.
No you do not need to be baptised in order to be saved. Being 'born of water' is not the same as being baptised in water. And all those who say baptism is essential to salvation have made the mistake of assuming these two are the same thing. But we should never base our understanding on assumptions. We base them on what the bible says. One thing the bible clearly says is that salvation is by faith alone (Eph. 2:8). It is not faith plus baptism, or faith plus bible reading, or faith plus praying, or faith plus communion... Or faith plus any other work. There is no thing that we do in order to be saved, says Paul, even the faith you have is not something you can take any credit for, it was given to you by God. It's ALL done by God. So let's not reduce salvation to some list of things we have to do... Get baptised as a sign of your faith in Christ by all means, but don't think for one moment it's going to save you... And neither should you think that without it you'll be lost.
After studying the scriptures that refer to baptism in the articles above, this writer suggests that: if one can be saved without being baptized, then he/she can be saved: 1. without following Jesus' example to fulfill all righteousness. Matthew 3:14-16: & 28:18-20 2. without being saved. 1 Peter 3:21 & Mark 16:15-16; 3. without being in Christ or clothed with Christ or united with Christ in his death and resurrection or putting on Christ. Galatians 3:26-28 4. without enjoying all spiritual blessings "in Christ." Ephesians 1:3 5. without obeying Christ's command to be baptized, i.e. without making him Lord. Mark 16:15-16; Luke 6:46 & Matthew 7:21 6. without having his/her sins remitted/forgiven/washed away. Acts 2:37-38; 22:16 & Colossians 2:13 7. without receiving the gift of the Holy Spirit who indwells and marks God's people and is the deposit for eternal life. Acts 2:38; 5:32; 19:1-5; Romans 8:9; 2 Corinthians 1:21 & Ephesians 1:13 8. without being a temple of the Holy Spirit, i.e. without receiving the gift of the Holy Spirit. Acts 2:38 & 1 Corinthians 3:16 & 6:19 9. without being added to the church by the Lord, i.e. not joining the church of ones choice, but added by the Lord to his universal spiritual body, the church. Acts 2:41 & 47 10. without becoming a new creation/creature, raised with Christ to live a new life. Romans 6:3-4 This writer considers it spiritually dangerous eternally to teach that baptism is not essential to God's plan of salvation. FOR CAREFUL CONSIDERATION: If Jesus, God has commanded baptism for one to have sins forgiven, washed away to be saved and we teach that it is not necessary, then many souls are being placed in jeopardy, regarding eternal judgment and salvation if they are not baptized. Do we want to go before God in judgment with that on our record? Revelation 20:11-15
The rich verse on how to be saved is found in Romans 10:9-10, and that passage does NOT mention water baptism. We need to be careful here with the Scripture. There are 3 types of baptism: (1) BAPTISM OF FIRE and the HOLY SPIRIT administered by Jesus - (2) BAPTISM BY IMMERSION administered by man (ie Pastor) and the (3) BAPTISM BY THE HOLY SPIRIT into the body of Christ. Among these baptisms, the only one that gives salvation is the one that ushers you into the Body of Christ (1Cor.12:13), by faith. (Ehp.2:8) Water baptism is in itself part of WORKS, and if salvation is not a gain through good works but only by faith then water baptism is not necessary for salvation. We do baptize because we are saved (by faith) and not because we want to be saved. Water baptism publicly exposes the reality that took place in your heart. Rom.10:9-10 If there is no water and you put your trust in Jesus you are still going Heaven. IT IS ABOUT FAITH.
One does not need to be dunked in water, in order to be saved. One must be overwhelmed by the washing of the water of the Word. That is the true baptism.
unless you are born of water and of the Spirit , he cannot enter the kingdom of God. Water is metaphor of the Word of God and in this scripture unless you are born of the Word as also 1 peter 1:23 we are born of the incorruptible word of God but water baptism is also vital.
In my world as my Shophet, EL Shim Sim (Of Blessed Memory) told me...We do this mikvah to drop any old teaching and we take on in newness the teaching of your Rabbi in newness...Persons are "baptized" Do Mikvah unto the TEACHING to become "Talmidim" disciples of that Rabbi's teaching. Else why the question Acts 19:3 Unto τίς "WHO" then were ye baptized? No! look at the robber on the cross which died ...he was saved! And did not Mikvah.
Not only can "born of water" refer to spiritual cleansing and renewal but it could also be linked to the idea of "born from above." In Greek, the word for spirit can also mean "wind." It is not impossible that Jesus could have employed literal wind and water as elements spiritual heavenly meanings: "from above." Words with double meaning are frequent in the New Testament. Such an interpretation takes nothing away from the inference of spiritual cleansing and renewal. The idea of baptism is unlikely because water is never a substitute baptism. That baptism is accomplished through water is completely beside the point. Water is never a substitute word anywhere else for baptism.
The key to unlock what Christ and Nicodemus are having, a discussion on “qualifying to enter into God’s kingdom”, is by reading and listening to Christ's full explanation to Nicodemus' questions. Nicodemus asked Christ 2 questions after His statement in John 3:3 “Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God": John 3:4 Nicodemus saith unto him, "How can a man be born when he is old? Can he enter the second time into his mother's womb, and be born?" Nicodemus, obviously confused, shows by his question that he compares the “born again” statement of Christ to his earthly birth. Christ again adding to His statement answers Nicodemus in John 3:6 “That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit.” How clear does Christ have to be? Nicodemus compares the born again statement to being born from his mother's womb. Christ very clearly tells him that there is a separation of the two. Being born as Nicodemus describe it is of the flesh; Christ is speaking of a different birth, one from above. Reading on to John 3:16 again, clearly shows the separate distinction. If we will listen to Christ and step away from trying to make scripture always point in the way we want it to go, to the agenda we desire and traditionally have embraced, we can see the truth of this beautiful, wonderful experience that is only made possible by Gods love, His giving of His Son for us and our belief, our faith in Him that brings eternal life. Christ is as clear as the sound of a bell: "Nicodemus you must be born of water (the earthly birth, a birth of flesh which is still this day identified with the breaking of water), to qualify for the second, the greatest birth, which results in eternal life in Gods kingdom through believing in Gods Son, Jesus Christ!" Read John 3: 3-7 again, and again, and again.
The water that Jesus was referring to was baptism through immersion in water. Baptism is not a condition for one to be saved but rather a person is baptized because he has been saved. In John 3:5, Jesus was very definitive about the process of salvation. He says that in order for a person to enter heaven, he must be baptized in water and the Spirit. Without these two he cannot enter heaven. We ought to be grateful to Mr. Nicodemus that he decided to pay Jesus a visit that night like he did! Mat 3:15-17 But Jesus answered and said to him, “Permit it to be so now, for thus it is fitting for us to fullfil all righteousness.” Then he allowed Him. When He had been baptized, Jesus came up immediately from the water; and behold, the heavens were opened to Him, and He saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and alighting upon Him. And suddenly a voice came from heaven, saying, “This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.” We notice that Jesus says it is necessary for all righteousness to be fulfilled. Further Jesus Himself found it an important part of righteousness to undergo baptism. Soon after He is baptized, we notice a public proclamation of the Divinity of Jesus and the coming of the Holy Spirit upon Him. To me this is as clear as daylight and fits in very well with the Jesus’ statement to Nicodemus that night. Every Christian once he has accepted the saving Grace of God must undergo baptism and then receive the Holy Spirit in that order. I am referring to genuine conversion and repentance here. It is quite possible that a person can be baptized even without genuine conversion, this is still as futile as not being baptized. Mark 16:16 “He who believes and is baptized will be saved; but he who does not believe will be condemned”. In other words baptism is proof that you indeed believe. Refusing to be baptized is also a sure sign that you do not believe. Baptism according to the Bible is the outward public proclamation of what has taken place inside the heart. It is not enough to agree that Jesus died for our sins on the cross, but that must be proclaimed to all as a witness that Rom 4: 3 “as many of us as were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into His death. Therefore we were buried with Him through baptism into death, that just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life”. Notice that this baptism involves a person bringing himself and surrendering himself to Christ publicly, the next step is God taking over and baptizing with the Spirit. Therefore to him that refuses baptism, how can he survive the Christian walk without the Spirit? This way it becomes easy to understand why Jesus was so definitive about baptism of the water and Spirit. It is therefore absolutely necessary for all Christians to undergo baptism (immersion in water) for it is only then that the Spirit can do His work in us. However, it must be mentioned that there those that fail to get the opportunity of baptism like those that are converted on their death beds. We can take comfort from the words of Jesus to the ex-thief on the cross “Assuredly, I say to you today, you will be with Me in Paradise.” If a person is not baptized for reasons beyond his control he cannot be held responsible. Those that are able to be baptized they ought to be baptized otherwise the bible is very clear that they will not enter the Kingdom of God.
Jesus' commission is clear in Matthew 28:19" "Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost" In Acts 2:38, Peter said, "Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost." Romans 6:3-4 states, "Know ye not, that so many of us as were baptized into Jesus Christ were baptized into his death? Therefore we are buried with him by baptism into death: that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life." Galatians 3:27 says that "For as many of you as have been baptized into Christ have put on Christ." Colossians 2:12 shows that we are "buried with him in baptism, wherein also ye are risen with him through the faith of the operation of God, who hath raised him from the dead." And lastly, 1 John 5:8 states "And there are three that bear witness in earth, the Spirit, and the water, and the blood: and these three agree in one." So then, if water baptism is not necessary, how are we buried with him by baptism? Secondly; How can the Spirit, water and the blood bear witness without one being baptized? Thirdly, what of Paul''s question to the Corinth in 1 Corinthians 1:13, "Is Christ divided? Was Paul crucified for you? Or were ye baptized in the name of Paul?" My conclusion then is that baptism is necessary for the process of salvation as it confirms your faith in The finished work of Christ Jesus. We reconcile scripture with scripture!
Ephesians 2:8-9 8 For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, 9 not a result of works, so that no one may boast. Question: Is baptism a “work?” No. ”Work” is something that we do. Baptism is not a “work” we do. It is something we submit to—it is done to us. In Acts 2:38, Peter told his audience to: “repent and be baptized” The command: “be baptized” is in the passive mood. In Acts 8, Philip told the Ethiopian Treasurer: “the good news about Jesus” (v.35). Then the Ethiopian requested to be baptized and Philip baptized him. Acts 8:34-38. These examples illustrate that we are submitting to the command of God when we are baptized. Matt 28:18-19 18 And Jesus came and said to them, "All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. 19 Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit,” Mark 16:15-16 15 And he said to them, "Go into all the world and proclaim the gospel to the whole creation. 16 Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved, but whoever does not believe will be condemned.” This is not a “salvation based on works.” Instead, this is why we can have a “good conscience” toward God: “21 Baptism, which corresponds to this, now saves you, not as a removal of dirt from the body but as an appeal to God for a good conscience, through the resurrection of Jesus Christ,” 1 Peter 3:21 ESV Another scripture that makes this clear is Titus 3:4-7: “4 But when the goodness and loving kindness of God our Savior appeared, 5 he saved us, not because of works done by us in righteousness, but according to his own mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewal of the Holy Spirit, 6 whom he poured out on us richly through Jesus Christ our Savior, 7 so that being justified by his grace we might become heirs according to the hope of eternal life.” ESV This passage says salvation is not “because of works done by us in righteousness…” Salvation is granted to us by the mercy of God through “the washing of regeneration and renewal of the Holy Spirit.” Being saved by “the washing of regeneration and renewal of the Holy Spirit” is also in agreement with these scriptures: • John 3:3, 5 - “…being “born again...of water and the Spirit.” • 1 Corinthians 6:9-11 - “9 Do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: neither the sexually immoral, … nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God. 11 And such were some of you. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God.” • Galatians 3:26-27 –“ 26 for in Christ Jesus you are all sons of God, through faith. 27 For as many of you as were baptized into Christ have put on Christ.” • Ephesians 5:25-26 - “…Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her, that he might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word.” • Hebrews 10:22 - “22 let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, with our hearts sprinkled clean from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water.” Therefore, since baptism is not a “work,” but rather represents our submission to the will of God, (James 4:7 – “Submit yourselves therefore to God”) Ephesians 2:8-9 does not contradict the passages that clearly state that baptism is necessary for salvation.
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