Except a man be BORN OF WATER and the Spirit, he CANNOT enter into the kingdom of God.
You must be born again!
John the Baptist:
John first preached the BAPTISM OF REPENTANCE to all the people of Israel, before [Jesus] came.
And were baptized by him in Jordan, CONFESSING THEIR SINS.
John was baptizing in the wilderness, and preaching the BAPTISM OF REPENTANCE FOR THE REMISSION OF SINS. (5) And there went out to him all the land of Judaea, and they of Jerusalem, and were all baptized by him in the river Jordan, CONFESSING THEIR SINS.
And he came...preaching the BAPTISM OF REPENTANCE FOR THE REMISSION OF SINS;
John's baptism was ALWAYS defined as "to repentance" and only in these two verses were the words "for the remission of sins" added to that description. Because of these two verses, Calvin taught that there was NO difference between John's baptism and Christian baptism as practiced by the apostles in Jesus' name. But, see Acts 18:24-26 and 19:1-6.
I indeed baptize you WITH WATER TO REPENTANCE...
He shall baptize you with the Holy Spirit, and with fire:
I indeed have baptized you WITH WATER;
but he shall baptize you with the Holy Spirit.
John answered, I indeed baptize you WITH WATER;...
he shall baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire
...He that sent me to baptize WITH WATER, the same one said to me...
it is he who baptizes with the Holy Spirit.
[Jesus said] For John truly baptized with WATER;
but you shall be baptized with the Holy Spirit not many days from now.
And all the people who heard him, and the tax collectors, JUSTIFIED GOD, being baptized with the baptism of John.
Obedience to the command of God's prophet, justifies God (i.e. proves Him correct).
Jesus answered, Truly, truly, I say to you, Except a man be BORN OF WATER and the Spirit, he CANNOT ENTER into the kingdom of God.
The author of the "Recognitions of Clement", Tertullian, Hippolytus, Augustine, Luther and Wesley all interpreted Jesus' words, "born of water" to mean baptism. Calvin did not.
...[they] had heard that Jesus made and baptized more disciples than John, (2) (Though Jesus himself did not baptize, but his disciples,)
Go therefore, and TEACH all nations, BAPTIZING them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit:
He that believes AND IS BAPTIZED SHALL BE SAVED; but he that believes not shall be damned.
This verse (and the ones before it in Mark 16) are not in the earliest manuscripts and is therefore untrustworthy for forming doctrine. Nevertheless, some Evangelicals have reasoned from it that, since NOT BEING BAPTIZED is NOT mentioned--but NOT BELIEVING is (as a requirement for being damned)--that therefore, baptism is not necessary to be saved!This is like telling someone, "If you come to my house and bring a Bible with you, I will give you $10,000. If you do not come to my house, you will get nothing." It should be clear from this that it is not necessary in the second case to mention NOT BRINGING a Bible, because the first condition, "coming to my house" is not fulfilled, therefore, bringing or not bringing a Bible is of no consequence.
Because this verse does not mention baptism, some people assume that baptism is not part of the gospel message and therefore it is not necessary for salvation. But it also says nothing about faith, either, so...On the other hand, Peter preached exactly this message on the day of Pentecost (Acts 2:38)!
Then Peter said to them, REPENT, and each of you BE BAPTIZED in the name of Jesus Christ FOR THE REMISSION OF SINS, and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. (39) For the PROMISE is to you, and to your children, and to ALL that are afar off, to AS MANY AS the Lord our God shall call. (40) And with many other words did he testify and exhort, saying, "SAVE yourselves from this perverse generation." (41) Then they that GLADLY RECEIVED his word WERE BAPTIZED: and the same day there were added about three thousand souls.
Note that Peter is speaking to people who had clearly already believed, yet they had not yet repented, not yet had their sins removed, nor yet received the gift of the Spirit. The extent of the promise (vs 39), "you...your children...everyone far away...as many as" indicates that Peter's stated requirements of "repent" and "be baptized..." were meant to be normative, not exceptional.
Acts 11:15 [reporting back to Jerusalem about Cornelius and his
And as I began to speak, the Holy Spirit fell on them, AS ON US AT THE BEGINNING. (16) Then I remembered the word of the Lord, how he said, John indeed baptized with water; but you shall be baptized with the Holy Spirit.
Many people use the example of Cornelius to teach that baptism is not necessary to receive the Holy Spirit as Peter said in Acts 2:38-29. But from Peter's own qualification in 11:15, this was an EXCEPTION to what normally happened. Otherwise, why did Peter not just specify, "as on EVERYONE since the beginning"?
How else then by baptism can we obtain this "good conscience" that saves us?
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.
(For as yet [the Holy Spirit] had fallen upon none of them: only they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus.)
And as they went on [their] way, they came to a certain water: and the eunuch said, "See, here is water; what prevents me to be baptized?"
Why did the eunuch ask this question, unless Phillip had taught him about baptism?
Ananias taught (to Paul):
And now, what are you waiting for? Get up and BE BAPTIZED, and WASH AWAY YOUR SINS, calling on the name of the Lord.
Do you not know, that as many of us as were BAPTIZED INTO JESUS CHRIST were BAPTIZED INTO HIS DEATH? (4) Therefore, we are BURIED WITH HIM BY BAPTISM into death:
Some people say that baptism is (especially in this passage) only symbolic. But, if that is true, then our being IN JESUS is also only symbolic, i.e. not actual. Perhaps some people's faith is not great enough to Believe what Paul preached?
Some people say that since Paul said he was "not sent to baptize" it logically follows that baptism is not part of the gospel which he preached either. If that is true, then explain the following four cases (not to mention the passages that come after them):
Acts 16:15 [at Thyatira]
Acts 16:33 [at Thyatira]
1 Corinthians 12:13
For BY ONE SPIRIT were we ALL BAPTIZED INTO ONE BODY, whether Jews or Greeks, whether bond or free; and have been all made to drink into one Spirit.
Whoever has been BAPTIZED INTO CHRIST has PUT ON CHRIST.
Compare these two verses with Rom 6:3. How else can we enter Christ?
BURIED WITH HIM in baptism, IN WHICH also you are RAISED WITH HIM through the faith of the operation of God, who has raised him from the dead.
That he might SANCTIFY AND CLEANSE [the Church] with the WASHING OF WATER by the word,
Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us, by the WASHING OF REGENERATION (rebirth), and renewing of the Holy Spirit;
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This page last updated 4-Mar-1998.