You Must be Born of Water and Spirit; John 3:4-6

Text: John 3:4-6                                                                3/1/09 a.m.

Thesis: Eternal life depends on God’s cleansing and begetting.

 

Intro: As we begin I want to clear up some confusion regarding the conclusion of last week’s sermon.

I asked you to imagine you are Nicodemus, you go to Jesus with your questions, in response Jesus pushes all of them aside, and instead tells you that you must be born again.

Now Jesus did not push our questions aside because he is cold, uncaring, and thinks we are fools for our questions.

No, Jesus is full of love and Jesus knows our hearts. Jesus knows that if we are not born again then we will never be able to ask the right questions, hear his right answers, and live according to his joy.

Without the new birth we are incapable of experiencing the riches of Christ. It is one thing to understand concepts such as incarnation, righteousness, atonement, and glorification.

But it is a glorious thing when the Holy Spirit awakens your soul and by faith you are joined to Christ.

It is when we are joined to Christ that questions can be answered and life can be lived with joy.

So this morning I do not want to sweep away your questions. Instead I want to show you another aspect of what it means to be born again.

I want you to hear God’s word and according to 2 Corinthians 13:5 I want you to examine yourself to see if you are in the faith.

Here is our two fold examination- have I been born of water and have I been born of spirit?

 

Read John 3:1-8

 

I) Confusion or shock is the normal response when a person hears that he must be born again.

a)      Nicodemus is confused about this new life (v.4a)

i)        So he asked in verse 4, “How can a man be born when he is old?”

ii)      Nicodemus thinks of himself as yerwv (geron); he is an adult male relatively advanced in age (GELNT).

iii)    We get our word geriatrics, the medical science dealing with the difficulties and diseases specific to old people from this root word geron.

iv)    You don’t beget, bring forth, or birth old men. Old men are old men; stuck in their ways.

v)      Nicodemus is obviously following the thoughts of a natural man. To him being born again is about physical birth because he doesn’t think he has a spiritual problem.

vi)    Confusion in relation to what it means to be born again can express itself in strictly natural terms.

b)      And sometimes there is shock or disbelief involved

i)        Nicodemus then follows up his first question with this question in verse 4:

ii)      “Can he enter a second time into his mother’s womb and be born?”

iii)    Now one thing Nicodemus has going for him is that he at least grasps the fact that being born again is something that is done to the individual.

iv)    Being born again is not something the individual does.

v)      Both times when Nicodemus refers to being born he uses the passive tense; it is an action done to the individual not an action done by the individual.

vi)    But the problem is that Nicodemus is equating being born again with physically starting over.

vii)  His question could be put this way, “In order to see the kingdom of God am I supposed to somehow get back into my mother’s womb and be born a second time?”

viii)            This is truly unbelievable for many obvious reasons.

ix)    The physical problem of how men who are on average bigger than women is clear.

x)      But there is also the theological problem. Nicodemus is a Pharisee, a member of the Sanhedrin, and a teacher of Israel (v.10).

xi)    For the Jews, entering the kingdom of God at the end of time was a natural thing for every child of Abraham.

xii)  Jesus confronts this error in John 8 where the Jews simply assume that because they are offspring of Abraham they need nothing else.

xiii)            They are not enslaved to anyone! (8:33).

xiv)            They do not need to be set free by the truth of Jesus Christ. They do not need to be born again.

xv)  The problem is not with being Jewish. The problem is that Nicodemus, like all the Jews, like all humans is a natural man.

xvi)            Verse 10 tells us that Nicodemus does not understand.

xvii)          Verse 11 tells us that Nicodemus does not receive Jesus’ testimony.

xviii)        Verse 12 tells us that Nicodemus does not believe.

xix)            But they are Jews and they have it all together. Would Jesus have them become more Jewish?

xx)  Would Jesus have them enter again into their mother’s womb and be born?

xxi)            Confusion and shock.

xxii)          Possibly you are confused. I hope the Spirit uses the next verse to remove that confusion.

xxiii)        Possibly you are shocked by your need for new life to be radically imparted into your dead, sinful, guilty self.

xxiv)        I hope the Spirit uses the next verse to show you the great mercy and love of God the Father.

xxv)          Read verse 5

II) One thing must occur: you must be born again

a)      Jesus again, wants it to be clear that regeneration is a necessity for inheriting eternal life

i)        Truly, truly, I say to you

ii)      Don’t miss this. Don’t deceive yourself. Test yourself. Are you in the faith? Have you been born again?

iii)    Have you been born of water and spirit? The answer to that question defines you who are right now and it defines your eternal location at the end of time.

b)      Jesus’ statement, “unless one is born of water and spirit” can be a perplexing statement.

i)        I know this is true due to the enormous amount of material out their attempting to explain what it means to be born of water and spirit.

ii)      But I also know that the meaning of this statement is very important because if you are not born of water and spirit you will not enter the kingdom of God.

c)      If you remember from last week, the kingdom of God is anywhere that the sovereign reign of God is experienced through Jesus Christ by the power of the Spirit.

i)        The complete experience of the kingdom of God is still a future event that will come at the end of time.

ii)      What Jesus has to say about the kingdom of God in Matthew 19:28 really helps us understand what it means to actually enter or take part in the kingdom.

iii)    Read Matthew 19:28-30

iv)    What happens today, what you do today, effects how you will experience the kingdom of God in eternity.

v)      One thing that is certain is that all those who are born again will enter the kingdom of God. They will inherit eternal life (Mt 19:29).

vi)    But to what extent will you follow Christ and sacrifice for the advance of the gospel and the good of others?

vii)  Will you put others first? Will you humble yourself?

viii)            Our understanding and appreciation of what it means to be born of water and spirit has a direct effect on eternity and how we live today.

d)     If you are not born of water and spirit you go to hell.

i)        Let me try and string together the different aspects of this passage so you can see the whole.

ii)      If you are not born again (3:3), if you are not born of water and spirit (3:5), if you do not believe in Jesus (3:15,16,18), and if you do not obey the Son (3:36)

iii)    Then you will not see the kingdom of God (3:3), you will not enter the kingdom of God (3:5), you will be condemned (3:18), you will not see life (3:36), and the wrath of God will remain on you (3:36) throughout eternity.

iv)    This is how important it is that we understand and actually are born of water and spirit

e)      Now, being born of water and spirit is the equivalent of being born again.

i)        Being born of water and spirit is the equivalent of being born of the Spirit but with the emphasis on water and spirit Jesus is bringing out specific important elements.

ii)      I say being born of water and spirit is the same as being born again and being born of the Spirit because Jesus goes back and forth between these phrases in verse 3-7 without any additional explanation.

iii)    Read 3-7.

iv)    To enter the kingdom, to experience eternal life, you must be born of water and spirit.

v)      Grammatically water and spirit refer to the single event of being born again because they are governed by one preposition.

vi)    You are not born at two separate times or two separate ways. You are not born of water and then born of spirit.

vii)  You are born of water and spirit; a single event with two specific aspects.

viii)            A coin has two sides. Being born again has two aspects. There is heads and tails. There is born of water and spirit. It’s still one coin.

ix)    So we rule out the idea of being born physically and being born spiritually; that would be two separate coins.

x)      In addition, Jesus said in John 6:63, “It is the Spirit who gives life; the flesh is no help at all.”

xi)    When it comes to spiritual life the flesh is no help at all. So when it comes to being born again the flesh is no help at all.

xii)  Though Nicodemus may have ideas of coming out of the womb or even coming out of the womb again this is not what Jesus is talking about.

xiii)            So, what is Jesus talking about?

xiv)            Let’s talk heads first and then tails

f)       To be born of water refers to the work of God as he cleanses those he adopts

i)        In John 3:10 we see Jesus pointing out the fact that this idea of being born again, born of water and spirit, and being born of Spirit is something Nicodemus should have understood from the Old Testament.

ii)      A teacher of Israel should understand these things.

iii)    So, what in the Old Testament has Nicodemus missed, forgotten, or overlooked?

iv)    There are two places specifically that I want to take us and both of them are in Ezekiel.

v)      First, Ezekiel 16 which finds its first fulfillment in the return of the Israelites after the Babylonian captivity but finds its ultimate fulfillment in the establishment of the everlasting covenant with through Jesus Christ.

vi)    I want to read Ezekiel 16:1-9

vii)  Ezekiel 16:4 says no one washed you with water to cleanse you.

viii)            Ezekiel 16:6 tells us that it is God who comes and gives life.

ix)    Ezekiel 16:9 tells us that God bathed them with water and washed off their blood.

x)      Is God here giving his people a bath? No, he is forgiving his people, cleansing them, so that their relationship with him can be restored.

xi)    Let’s look now at Ezekiel 36 and make some more connections.

xii)  Again a passage that finds its first fulfillment in the return of the people from the Babylonian exile but finds its ultimate fulfillment in the New Covenant.

xiii)            Lets read Ezekiel 36:24-27

xiv)            God promises to restore his people. He will sprinkle clean water on them and they will be clean.

xv)  Again, this isn’t a bath this is forgiveness.

xvi)            And God will give them new hearts and put a new spirit within them.

xvii)          Clearly, God imparts new spiritual life into his people by cleansing them and putting his Spirit within them.

xviii)        Nicodemus should have brought Ezekiel 16 and 36 to mind when Jesus talked about being born again, being born of water, and being born of Spirit.

xix)            When God adopts you as his child, when you are born not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God then two wonderfully miraculous things occur:

xx)  One, you are cleansed from all your uncleannesses; you are born of water. God washes you.

xxi)            God says in Isaiah 1:18, “Though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they are red like crimson, they shall become like wool.”

xxii)          If God doesn’t clean you from all your uncleannesses, if you are not born of water, then you will not enter the kingdom of God.

xxiii)        Two, when God adopts you your deadness is reversed. You are born of spirit. You are born again by the power of the Spirit.

xxiv)        John 6:63, “It is the Spirit who gives life; the flesh is no help at all.”

xxv)          If God calls you from the grave through the work of Jesus Christ just like God called Lazarus from the grave through the work of Jesus Christ then you will enter the kingdom of God.

xxvi)        You must be born of the Spirit.

III) I want to close by showing you specifically how this cleansing occurs and what we do in response to being born again.

a)      Cleanliness is purchased by the blood of Christ—Hebrews  9:13&14

For if the blood of goats and bulls, and the sprinkling of defiled persons with the ashes of a heifer, sanctify for the purification of the flesh, 14 how much more will the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself without blemish to God, purify our conscience from dead works to serve the living God.

i)        The waters of baptism do not purify us. The perfect sin atoning blood of Christ is the only thing by which God purifies us.

ii)      To be born of water is to have the atoning power of the blood of Christ applied to your life. The blood of Christ washes away your sin just like bath water washes away dirt.

iii)    Cleanliness is purchased by the blood of Christ.

b)      Cleanliness is delivered by the gospel—1 Peter 1:23

i)        We are not born of water or cleansed by the blood of Christ until we hear the gospel

ii)      We are born again, not of perishable seed but of imperishable, through the living and abiding word of God…and this word is the good news that was preached to you.

iii)    Jesus prayed in John 17:17, “Sanctify them in truth; your word is truth.”

iv)    Ephesians 5:25&26 say, “Husbands, love your wives, as 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.”

v)      We are born again when the Holy Spirit awakens us to the truth of the gospel.

vi)    People get saved when the gospel is preached and the Holy Spirit brings new life.

vii)  Being born of water and spirit does not happen in a vacuum. Christ secures our forgivness and new life through his righteousness and atoning death.

viii)            The Spirit awakens us to the truth of what Christ has done through the powerful preaching of the gospel.

ix)    And a new creation is formed.

c)      And this cleanliness is displayed in baptism—Hebrews 10:22 and 1 Peter 3:21

i)        Hebrews 10:22, “Let us draw near [to God] 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.”

ii)      1 Peter 3:21, “Baptism, which corresponds to this, now saves you, not as removal of dirt from the body but as an appeal to God for a good conscience, through the resurrection of Jesus Christ.”

iii)    Because a person has been born of water and the Spirit, because that person has been born again, she enters into the baptismal waters.

iv)    Those waters don’t save you.  Those waters demonstrate the fact that God has cleansed you by the blood of Jesus Christ through the power of his word.

v)      The outward washing, the visible purity, is an illustration of the inward washed, the invisible purity that is true of everyone who is born again.

IV) So I ask you, have you been born again?

a)      Have you felt your need of forgiveness? Have you seen that your only hope is in the gospel of Jesus Christ?

b)      Have you trusted him to remove all your uncleannesses?

c)      Have you believed in him for the salvation of your soul?

d)     Do you know what it is to be cleansed and made new?

e)      If right now you hear God confirming the truth of his word and calling you to place your faith in Christ for the forgiveness of sins then believe on him and you will be saved.

f)       If right now according to God’s great mercy he is causing you to be born again into a living hope through the resurrection of Christ from the dead then call out to your father through faith in Jesus Christ and you will be saved.

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33 thoughts on “You Must be Born of Water and Spirit; John 3:4-6

  1. I would like to ask Bruce ,then what happens to a person that goes to the alter, confesses their sins, askes Jesus to come into their heart and dies 1 min. later. Are you saying they won’t make it into the kingdom of heaven because they didn’t make it to the water in time.(God forbid)?

    • James, sorry I was so slow in approving this comment. I overlooked it in the dashboard. My apologies.

      • THIS IS RESPONCE TO JAMES MYREE, THERE ARE A MILLION QUESTION YOU COULD ASK OF THE WHAT IF. THE REAL QUESTION SHOULD BE , DO I HAVE TO BELIEVE AND FOLLOW THE WORD OF GOD!!! AS FOR YOUR QUESTION( GOD WILL HAVE MERCY ON WHO HE WILL HAVE MERCY) BUT AS FOR YOU AND ME , THAT READ THE WORD , GOD WILL HOLD US TO A HIGHER STANDARD.THE GOSPEL IS ABOUT THE DEATH BURIAL AND RESURRECTION OF JESUS CHRIST. AND WE, IF WE ARE FOLLOWERS OF CHRIST WILL OBEY THE GOSPEL… WE WILL DIE TO THAT SIN IN OUR LIVES, WE WILL BE BURIED WITH HIM IN BAPTISM, AND WE WILL RISE UP TO WALK THAT NESSNESS OF LIFE. THAT IS OBEYING THE GOSPEL..(REGARDLESS IF YOU BELIEVE IT OR NOT)
        2 THES. 1 5 Which is a manifest token of the righteous judgment of God, that ye may be counted worthy of the kingdom of God, for which ye also suffer: 6 Seeing it is a righteous thing with God to recompense tribulation to them that trouble you; 7 And to you who are troubled rest with us, when the Lord Jesus shall be revealed from heaven with his mighty angels,
        8 In flaming fire taking vengeance on them that know not God, and that obey not the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ:
        9 Who shall be punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord, and from the glory of his power; 10 When he shall come to be glorified in his saints, and to be admired in all them that believe (because our testimony among you was believed) in that day.
        SO DO YOU TELL OTHERS THEY DONT HAVE TO OBEY THE GOSPEL, GOD WILL JUDGE YOU FOR THAT, AND UNFORTUNTLY THE ONES THAT LISTEN TO YOUR FALSE TEACHING WILL BE JUDGED FOR NOT READING GODS WORD FOR WHAT IT TRUELY SAYS.

        TRUELY SAD YOU WONT LISTEN TO THE TRUTH
        BRUCE

  2. im not going to say much, 1 peter 3:2121 The like figure whereunto even baptism doth also now save us (not the putting away of the filth of the flesh, but the answer of a good conscience toward God,) by the resurrection of Jesus Christ: 22 Who is gone into heaven, and is on the right hand of God; angels and authorities and powers being made subject unto him.
    we get in the water not to wash our bodies, to wash our soul. this is obeying the gospel.death/ burial/resurection…..we repent and die to our sin/ we are buried by baptism/ and we rise up to walk that newness of life. that how we receive Gods grace.
    not by some prayer/or just believing/ its all or nothing/ all i can say if you dont get in the water you cant be saved/ yet just getting in the water does not save you.
    acts 22:16 And now why tarriest thou? arise, and be baptized, and wash away thy sins, calling on the name of the Lord.
    if you dont think that baptism washes away your sins, you were never baptized for the right reason, and you really need to think about being baptized for 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. other wise you will die in your sins, as in the story of the wedding, and the man without the wedding coat.
    thanks for your time bruce

    • Bruce there has been a new discussion thread opened up for this. If you copy and paste it to the article’ concerning baptism ‘ which can be found on the home page i believe the discussion will continue there.

  3. (Got home and found my phone divivded this post into three seperate posts across a few messages so I combined them and made them one post so it read clearly)

    To answer your question:

    There is no such thing as partial grace. What is happening is the divorce of the two commandments of belief and baptism. People are being told to come forward (or stay put) and accept Jesus into their heart. Then there is a follow up meeting to make sure they know what they are getting into or if their are any objections before pastors will follow through with baptism. The flow of events is not coherent with the teaching. It doesn’t make sense to tell someone to accept Jesus into their heart only to have them come back later and ask them if they were sure and only do the baptism if there aren’t any objections. In this model, baptism is actually more important because it is only being done after the pastor is sure the person really meant it when they accepted Jesus in part one of the model.

    The conversation was notin depth as you would make it out to be with the eunuch. They passed a body of water and the eunuch said baptize me here and now. He was asked if he believed and said yes. The importance of being baptized that very minute in that very pool of water should be An indication of it’s pressing importance. Mark is credited as the oldest surviving complete gospel. It begins with Jesus baptism. Jesus commanded the disciples to go forth and make disciples of all nations baptizing them in the name of the Father the Son and the Holy Spirit. The first command given to paul was to go and be baptized. The eunuchs desperation to be baptized that very minute shows it’s importance in the early church. The theme is very clear. And if God commanded i should believe and be baptized who am i to say “well no that’s not really what he meant. What he really meant was this.” That would be saying the all powerful God made a mistake in his Holy Word the Bible and it is right in line with Adam and Eve’s sin. All the devil did was question the word “Is that really what he said”

    I have no doubt your heart is in the right place, i would challenge you to read the Word exactly as it is written and not interpret it differently and a clear truth will reveal itself.

    • Shawn, thanks for your time. You’ve helped me think through my position from a new angle and to hold it even tighter. Baptism is so much greater than two verses and the gospel is so much sweeter than we can fully know. I appreciate the challenge to grow and listen to the word.

  4. My phone is the worst…..

    Anyway to make a concession and say what is written isnt what is meant is to not only make God possible of fault but it is right in line with Adam and Eve’s sin. All the devil did was question the word “Is that really what he said”

    I have no doubt your heart is in the right place, i would challenge you to read the Word exactly as it is written and not interpret it differently and a clear truth will reveal itself.

  5. I just saw your response. Let me answer your question with a question. When do an invitation to accept Jesus into your heart and someone comes forward, do you baptize them then or at a later time?

    • I’ll answer the question then you need to tell me how it answers my question about how repentance gains partial grace and baptism adds the final installment.

      I don’t ask people to invite Jesus in their hearts. I invite people to repent of their sins and place their faith in Jesus Christ. I’m realizing that I need to be more consistent with the invitation to baptism. I tell people they can walk the aisle but I also tell them they don’t have to.

      The timing of baptism has more to do with a person grasping what is going on than anything else. Acts 8 for this one. Philip and the Ethiopian Eunich had a thorough conversation about the work of God through Jesus. The Ethiopian asks Philip if there was any thing that would prevent his baptism and Philip seeing his faith and no objections baptized him (Acts 8:36). I try to follow this biblical pattern of thoroughly explaining the gospel (no sinners prayers or asking Jesus into your heart here). This explanation must include baptism which Philip’s certainly did. Upon this conversation, the lack of objections, and the Eunuch’s confession of faith he was baptized.
      I baptize someone according to this pattern of explanation, understanding, lack of objections, and a confession of faith.

      • To answer your question:

        There is no such thing as partial grace. What is happening is the divorce of the two commandments of belief and baptism. People are being told to come forward (or stay put) and accept Jesus into their heart. Then there is a follow up meeting to make sure they know what they are getting into or if their are any objections before pastors will follow through with baptism. The flow of events is not coherent with the teaching. It doesn’t make sense to tell someone to accept Jesus into their heart only to have them come back later and ask them if they were sure and only do the baptism if there aren’t any objections. In this model, baptism is actually more important because it is only being done after the pastor is sure the person really meant it when they accepted Jesus in part one of the model.

        The conversation was notin depth as you would make it out to be with the eunuch. They passed a body of water and the eunuch said baptize me here and now. He was asked if he believed and said yes. The importance of being baptized that very minute in that very pool of water should be

  6. Oh , and i apologize again these messages are coming in sporadic fashion as im at work but i had one other question

    Please quote the scripture where it says Baptism is merely a confession of sin

    • Merely is your word not mine. 1 Peter 3:21 is a good place to start. The water doesn’t save you its all about your appeal to God for a good conscience through the resurrrection of Jesus Christ. Baptism is an act of faith in the finished work of Jesus Christ. I am joined to him by faith. He’s at the right hand of God. So I am saved.

      • An indication of it’s pressing importance. Mark is credited as the oldest surviving complete gospel. It begins with Jesus baptism. Jesus commanded the disciples to go forth and make disciples of all nations baptizing them in the name of the Father the Son and the Holy Spirit. The first command given to paul was to go and be baptized. The eunuchs desperation to be baptized that very minute shows it’s importance in the early church. The theme is very clear. And if God commanded i should believe and be baptized who am i to AAAS say “well no that’s not really what he meant. What he really meant was this.” That would be saying an all powerful God

  7. And in reference to what John3 is saying , i can just read it how it is written. Born again by water and spirit. Which when read in context reads water (baptism) and spirit (belief). Just as Jesus said in Mark 16:16.

    which takes us back to my first question of can you read the Bible how it is written or do you have to interpret it

    • This is not an explanation or a defense of your interpretation. You are only stating that you think what you are saying is right.

      John 3 read in its context is something that should be understood by a teacher Israel (3:9 without reference to a pharisee baptized by John). It is on you to defend your position from the Old Testament law that born of water is a reference to water baptism. And be careful here because you might end up sprinkling if you don’t already.

    • Shawn,
      If I may say respectfully, you are being a bit naïve here. All language has to be interpreted, and the words of the Bible are no exception–the Bible means what it means. This is especially true when a document has been translated from another language! It is our job, as responsible Bible believing Christians, to take into consideration the context, genre, and grammar in order to arrive at the Scripture’s originally intended meaning.

  8. Shawn and Bruce,
    Thank you for your comments. It is clear that you want to hear God’s word, understand it, believe it, and follow it. I love that. I need to do that more. By way of response to your questions here goes:

    What you have read here is an expository sermon of John 3:1-8; an attempt to do biblical theology. You appear to be responding from the perspective of systematic theology. Since I am arguing from the small to the large and you are arguing from the large to the small we will have disagreements simply because we’re trying to emphasize different things. It appears that you are defending water baptism while I am attempting to understand what it means in John 3:5 to be born of water and the Spirit. Now, John 3 should be systematized but we have to understand it for what it says before we systematize it.

    This, I would argue, is precisely what you have not done. You are reading Mark 16:16 and Acts 2:38 into John 3:1-8 too quickly. They do go together and compliment one another in wonderful ways. However, they emphasize different things.

    Next, you are also assuming things of me that are simply not true. Your first question claims that I believe baptism is of no importance for salvation. I do not believe or teach that baptism is of no importance for salvation. What I believe and strive to teach is what God says about baptism and salvation. My desire is to let each passage speak. Let each passage stand on its own and then when I understand that passage I try to systematize it.

    Let me make 5 affirmations that may help the discussion. Please scan through those 5 headings before reading the explanations.

    1. Water baptism and salvation are not the same things.

    Ephesians 2 helps here. We’re saved by grace not by water baptism. We are not saved by grace plus water baptism. 1 Peter 3:21 is a great passage that argues against any power in the water. I don’t think you are arguing for baptismal regeneration but what you have written so far could easily go there. So, how do you keep away from baptismal regeneration? Or do you?

    2. Being saved and being born again are not the same things.

    Being born again is something that happens at a point in time while salvation can be described as a past, present, or future event. Being born again is a one-time event much like physical birth.

    What it means to be born again or born from above is what Jesus is talking about in John 3. Jesus is not talking about water baptism in John 3 but the spiritual cleansing promised in Ezekiel 16 and 36. Don’t hear me say that Jesus is denying water baptism in John 3 either. John 3 needs to be systematized concerning baptism like John 6 needs to be systematized concerning the Lord’s Supper. However, John 3 is not about water baptism and John 6 is not about the Lord’s Supper.
    The burden is on you to prove that Jesus is talking about water baptism in the reference to “born of water” in John 3. To do this you must prove that Nicodemus as a teacher of the law should have understood water baptism and not spiritual cleansing. Titus 3:5 helps us here by making spiritual cleansing the main thing. Titus 3:5 says with my comments added in parentheses, “he saved us, not because of works done by us in righteousness (which would include water baptism), but according to his own mercy, by the washing of regeneration (born of water) and renewal of the Spirit (born of the Spirit)”. Physical water is there but it plays a supporting role to spiritual cleansing. John 3, Titus 3, and Ezekiel 16 and 36 are saying the same thing: You need to be washed by the Father. This is a spiritual baptism that is later imaged in a physical baptism.

    3. Being baptized into Christ and being baptized into water are not the same things.

    I would argue that water baptism is allegorical. It appears you would disagree. Is that true? Water baptism is a confession of faith. Water baptism is not faith. The person being baptized is proclaiming that he has been crucified with Christ by faith, he has died with Christ by faith, he has been buried with Christ by faith, and he has been empowered by the Spirit to follow the pattern of Christ by faith. Therefore, he is being baptized. The richness of Romans 6:1-11, Colossians 2:8-15, and 1 Corinthians 12:13 connect baptism into Christ, baptism in one Spirit, baptism into one body, and water baptism. These are inseparable but they are not identical.

    4. A person cannot stubbornly refuse water baptism and claim to belong to Christ.

    Mark 16:16 and Acts 2:38. Remember, however that water baptism is not the gospel. Think indicative and imperative. The gospel is the indicative. Water baptism is the imperative. First comes gospel then comes baptism. They do not come at the same time.

    5. The baptism of John and baptism in water in the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, and being baptized in one Spirit are not the same things. In God’s economy they are inseparable but they are not identical.

    Acts 19:1-7

    Also, John the baptizer did not preach baptism. Jesus did not preach baptism. The apostles did not preach baptism. John preached repentance and belief in the One to come and then commanded baptized. John himself admitted that it was just water and Jesus’ baptism would be different (Luke 3:16). Jesus and the apostles and us preach the gospel then command baptism. The order is essential and has always been there. One must believe then be baptized. Baptism is a work of righteousness that does not save. Instead, baptism is a work of righteousness that comes out of the fact of salvation. Again let me beat the drum. Salvation and baptism are inseparable but they are not identical.

    • Thank you for your response,I am at work until 9 this evening but will post a continuation when i get home. The twn thoughts i will leave you with until then are this.
      1. It clearly says we are saved by grace. However we differ in the manner in which grace( which is forgiveness and salvation in and of itself) is received. Jesus said you must believe And be baptized . Not just one or the other. When you say we are saved by grace not baptism you are essentially saying grace is the prayer. As i said earlier we are saved by grace . God’s grace is not just forgiveness it is washing the sin away.

      2) you have reduced God’s work through baptism to a confession

      • Sorry my phone cut me short in #2.

        2) you have reduced God’s work through baptism to a confessional act of man. In essence is that not what the sinners prayer is? Baptism is not merely ‘getting wet’ as many Calvinists posit. God’s grace is at work through baptism in the washing away of sin is to lesson the grace of God. Anything that man does is an act of man (ie sinners prayer) , when the Grace of God is present it is more.

        Baptism by water for remission of sin is commanded by christ

      • Okay, I think I might finally be tracking with you Shawn. Are you saying that we receive an installment of grace when we repent then the rest of grace when we are baptized? So combine repentance and baptism and a person gets all of God’s grace and is saved. Therefore, if a person only repents/believes he only gets half of the grace needed. Baptism is therefore necessary because in baptism God gives us the rest of the grace we need. Is that what you are saying?

    • And many thanks to my phone again….

      Baptism by water for the remission of sin is commanded by Cacceptead hrist. Just like in romans when we have accepted Christ as our savior and been baptized into his death and risen to walk a newness in life we have been abundantly given God’s grace.

      John 3 is clearly referencing this and John the baptist was well known to the Pharisees. It is more of a challenge to prove this isn’t what he is talking about then proving it is.

      • You’ll have to forgive my typing errors . A fat thumb and small buttons makes posting on my phone interesting. For clarity in #2 it should have read “God’s grace is at work through baptism in the washing away of sin. To call it simply an act of man is to lesson God’s grace.
        For clarity in my final post it should have read “baptism for remission of sin is commanded by Jesus himself.”

  9. Continued from previous post.)

    Acts 2:38 Peter said to them, “Repent, and each of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins; and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.

    Follow up Question 1: Was there any allegorical indication before the order is given?
    Follow up question 2: The word represented the Old Latin Vulgate means only one thing , to be immersed in water. If the act of God through Baptism is not important then again why is it being stressed for achieving salvation?

    Romans 6:3-6 Or do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus have been baptized into His death? Therefore we have been buried with Him through baptism into death, so that as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, so we too might walk in newness of life. For if we have become united with Him in the likeness of His death, certainly we shall also be in the likeness of His resurrection, knowing this, that our old self was crucified with Him, in order that our body of sin might be done away with, so that we would no longer be slaves to sin.

    Follow up Thought – This pretty much sums it all up. No indication of being allegorical is given and it reads only one way. Straightforward , just as every other passage in the Bible does unless it is stated ahead of time that it is a parable.

    Jesus said you must be Baptized by water and spirit. You are correct in that it is a single act with two different aspects. I do have some very telling questions for you and this will shed light on what I believe to be a very calvinistic idealogy.

    1) can you read the Bible without interpreting it a different way then exactly as it is written? Or everywhere the word Baptism is written , do you have interpret a Different way then how it is written to fit a specific denominational doctrine of salvation?

    2) If Jesus is God , and God is all knowing and all powerful do you believe that he said anything that he didn’t mean , or that he needed someone 1500 years later (John Calvin) to reinterpret it because what he said he should have said in a different way?

    3) Do you believe that the book of James is not necessary in the Bible?

    4) Please show me the scripture that says that Baptism is an outward sign of inward grace…

    5) Please show me the scripture that contains the “Sinners Prayer” as used by most calvinistic denominations for salvation.

    6) Is the Bible not Very clear about those who would add to or take away from the word of God?

    7) If God said you must Believe , Repent and be Baptized then who has the authority to challenge , reinterpret or flat out divorce what God has required for salvation?

    8) Please show me the scripture that says that Baptism is an act of man. Then please quote the actual scripture that says it is an act of God cleansing the garments.

    We are in agreement that we are saved through grace. However I think thats about where it ends. It was not for a once saved always saved lukewarm part time faith. The grace that Yeshua came to Earth and Died on the cross for the sins of all who would deny themselves pick up there cross and follow him is Grace that is bestowed freely on any who would do the following , Deny themselves and PICK UP their cross and FOLLOW. this means it is a walk , some will try to reinterpret it into an act , but there we go again with someone interpreting the Bible instead of just reading it.

    In closing I would like to bring everyone who had the conviction to read my long winded response to a scripture that is telling about the world in which we live today. I would like you to Please take out your Bible and read the parable of the wedding feast in Matthew 22 :1-14. Most people really only take notice of the initial parable where those who were called first so callously declined the Kings invite. But what I want you to notice begins in verse 11. ” But when the king came in to see the guests, he noticed a man there who was not wearing wedding clothes. 12 ‘Friend,’ he asked, ‘how did you get in here without wedding clothes?’ The man was speechless. 13 Then the king told the attendants, ‘Tie him hand and foot, and throw him outside, into the darkness, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.For many are invited, but few are chosen.”

    This man actually made it in to face the King but was found that his garmets were not clean and he was cast out. This sounds very much like the False gospel that is being preached that Baptism and washing of garments is not necessary.

  10. This is a very sensitive subject for many believers so I will try to remain as scripturally accurate as possible with a follow up question and maybe a few interjections of personal opinion but I will try to obstain until the end so that the Truth that is The Word of God may speak on it’s own behalf. If you choose to answer the questions provided please do so with scripture and not with personal opinion. Before I begin to quote scripture there has to be some common ground established.

    1) We can safely say that the majority of people reading this (myself included) are people who believe in Jesus Christ (and if you are not I would encourage you study the Life and Teachings of Jesus Christ and test them yourself , no journey in your life will ever be as fulfilling or rewarding)

    2) Jesus did not claim to be an ideaology , a set of precepts , a moral code or anything that left outside interpretation of who he was. He claimed to be the Son of God , One with the Father , and either he was , or he was not. It’s either True or it isn’t.

    3) God – The Father , The Son and The Holy spirit , 3 distinct persons in one being. For many this is difficult to comprehend , 3 different pieces of the same whole. For simple reference think of an Egg. Three seperate parts yet all still part of the same whole. The shell , the yolk , and the white. 3 very different parts , yet it is still one egg.

    4) God (F/S/HS) are all knowing and all powerful.

    5) In the Bible , whenever it is being allegorical or using metaphores or parables it is clearly stated before hand. IE: Jesus typically begins any parables or allegorical statements with “There was a man ,” or “The Kingdom of Heaven is like..”

    6) You must Repent and be Born again to see the Kingdom of Heaven.

    From here I believe we can move forward with actual scripture and questioning.

    Mark 1:9-11 “In those days Jesus came from Nazareth in Galilee and was baptized by John in the Jordan. 10.Immediately coming up out of the water, He saw the heavens opening, and the Spirit like a dove descending upon Him; 11and a voice came out of the heavens: “You are My beloved Son, in You I am well-pleased.”

    Follow up Question 1: if Baptism is of no importance for salvation then the baptism of Jesus was of no importance. If this is the case then why is it then and only then that the spirit descended upon him?

    Follow up Question 2: Furthermore , if Baptism by water is not required for salvation then John the Baptists entire ministry really had no significance because it revolved completely around Baptism by Water to cleanse the body of sin. (Refer to Mark 1:4,5 for reference to John’s ministry.)

    Mark 16:16 “He who has believed and has been baptized shall be saved; but he who has disbelieved shall be condemned”

    Follow up thought- Grammatically Believed and Baptized refer to the single event of being saved (born again) because they are governed by one preposition. You are not saved at two separate times or two separate ways.You are saved by Belief and Baptism a single event with two specific aspects. The common error by most who would diminish the role of Baptism is that Jesus says that he who has disbelieved shall be condemned and does not reiterate Baptism. However , Since they are a single event with two aspects was the reiteration necessary?

    Matt 28:19-20 “Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.”

    Follow up Question 1: Was there any indication this was an allegorical statement?
    Follow up Question 2: There is only One single event in the Entire Bible that has the Holiness of being done in the name of The Father , The Son , and The Holy spirit. If this was not necessary for salvation why would it have been so esteemed from the very mouth of Christ himself?

    • thanks shawn…. if we could just get pastor paul to listen, you stated the facts very well.
      hopefully the others that are followers of pastor paul will take a real look at what you said.
      we must worship in spirit and truth…..thanks again. bruce ps i posted on march 27,2010

  11. Amen!!! A lot of people take Scripture out of context to make it fit their own beliefs and try to mold you into “their image” of holiness so I’m so glad to see such a blessed answer no doubt led by the Holy Spirit and may the Lord continue to bless the work you do in Him, for Him and others. Let us all keep in mind 2 Tim. 2:15 Study to show thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the Word of truth. Anyone who studies the Inspired Word of God should approach it prayerfully and seek to find out who’s talking, who are they talking to and why and you need to know the customs of that time. God Bless U.

  12. thanks so much for this post. I just used it for something else.

  13. thank you! this was great i have the understanding i needed today. may the Our Lord bless you .

  14. rom 6 I DONT UNDERSTAND HOW YOU JUST THROW WATER ASIDE?
    IN ROM 6 IT SAYES BAPTIZED INTO ,BURIED WITH,TO WALK NEWNESS OF LIFE(BORN AGAIN) IF YOU WANT TO DENY THE WATER OF BAPTISM YOU CAN ,BUT WITHOUT IT YOU CANNOT ENTER INTO THE KINGDOM. PLEASE STOP LEADING PEOPLE ASTRAY.
    ACTS 2:38 REPENT AND BE BAPTISED FOR REMISSION OF SINS
    ACT 22:16 …ARISE AND BE BAPTIZED,AND WASH AWAY THY SINS
    WHY CAN YOU NOT HAVE FAITH IN WHAT THE BIBLE SAYS ,NOT TRY TO EXPLAIN IT AWAY ??? IT SAYS TO BE BAPTIZED (WATER BAPTISM)
    PLEASE PLEASE DONT DENY WHAT JESUS SAID (WATER AND SPIRIT)

    • Bruce, forgive my brevity but the words of JC Ryle must suffice.

      “The plain truth is, there is a morbid anxiety in fallen man to put a carnal sense on Scripture expressions, wherever he possibly can. He struggles hard to make religion a matter of forms and ceremonies,–of doing and performing,–of sacraments and ordinances,–of sense and of sight. He secretly dislikes that system of Christianity which makes the state of the heart the principal thing, and labours to keep sacraments and ordinances in the second place. Happy is the Christian who remembers these things and stands on his guard! Baptism and the Lord’s Supper, no doubt, are holy sacraments, and mighty blessings, when rightly used. But it is worse than useless to drag them in everywhere, and to see them everywhere in God’s Word” (Expository Thoughts, Vol 3, 394).

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