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«Is Baptism Necessary for Salvation? Is Baptism Necessary for Salvation? Even though baptism is one of the fundamental building blocks of ...»

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To further show how the Holy Spirit works in our conversion

with water baptism, take a look at the following parallel passages:

Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself for her, that He might sanctify and cleanse her with the washing of water by the word (Ephesians 5:25-26) Notice the three elements: the word, washing of water, and cleanse. The word is a reference to the Word of God. Washing of water refers to water baptism. Sanctify and cleanse refers to being saved with our sins being removed.

…He saved us, through the washing of regeneration and renewing of the Holy Spirit (Titus 3:5).

Notice the three elements: Holy Spirit, washing of regeneration, and saved. Renewing of the Holy Spirit refers to how the Holy Spirit works through the Word to save us (James 1:21).

Washing is defined as “Washing, cleansing; water” (UBS Lexicon). Regeneration is defined as “a new birth or renewal or restoration of life after death” (Thayer). So, washing of regeneration is referring to water baptism, and saved means salvation.

For by one Spirit we were all baptized into one body (1Cor. 12:13).

Notice the three elements: Spirit, baptized, one body. Notice that Paul said, “By one Spirit” and not “With one Spirit.” This is important because it proves the baptism being spoken of is not Holy Spirit baptism because it is by the Holy Spirit.

The Holy Spirit instructs us through the Word that we must be baptized in water into the name of Jesus for the remission of our sins (Acts 2:38). So, baptism refers to water baptism.

One body is the same as saying the kingdom because the body is the church (Col. 1:18, 24), and the church is the same as the

kingdom (Mt. 16:18-19). Now, examine the chart below:

–  –  –

All these verses prove that the Holy Spirit works through the Word of God to teach us what we must do to be born again, which includes: believing Jesus is the Son of God (Jn. 8:24), repenting (Lk. 13:3), confessing Jesus as Lord (Rom. 10:9-10), and being baptized (Acts 2:38; 1 Pet. 3:21; Acts 22:16). When we obey the Holy Spirit’s instructions, we are added to the kingdom by God (Acts 2:47), which is Jesus’ church or body (Col. 1:18, 24) that He will save (Eph. 5:23).

Whenever we are born again, we receive the gift of the Holy Spirit (Acts 2:38; 5:32), which means we have been sealed by Him (Eph. 1:13; 4:30; 2 Cor. 1:22). The word seal means: “To mark with a seal as a means of identification, mark, seal so that the mark denoting ownership also carries with it the protection of the owner” (BDAG). This definition fits perfectly with The Great Commission (Mt. 28:19), which teaches that we are baptized into the name of, or into the possession of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. This seal is our guarantee of a home in heaven if we remain faithful (Rev. 2:10).

Just as the Holy Spirit was a witness for Jesus (1 Jn. 5:6), He bears witness that we are children of God (Rom. 8:16). Once we are born again, we are considered to be the temple of God, and all three members of the Godhead will dwell in us (Holy Spirit: 1 Cor. 3:16; 6:19; Rom. 8:9, 11; Father: 2 Cor.

6:16; Jn. 14:23; Jesus: Rom. 8:10; 2 Cor. 13:5; Jn. 6:56). How do they dwell in us? It is by our faith (Eph. 3:17). We can know they dwell in us just like we can know our sins are being removed and we are being united with Christ at the point of baptism (Col. 2:12). It is by our faith in the working of God.

Jesus taught Nicodemus and us a valuable lesson. If we want to be saved and able to enter the kingdom of God, we must be born again by obeying the instructions of the Holy Spirit, which includes being water baptized in the name of Jesus for the remission of our sins.

Now I want to deal with the objections that some have with these verses.

1. Some teach that Jesus is talking about Holy Spirit baptism.

I have already proven the baptism that saves is water baptism, but let’s take a look as some more reasons this cannot be talking about Holy Spirit baptism. Holy Spirit baptism only occurs two times in Scripture, and it was followed with the miraculous ability to speak in another language. First, at the day of Pentecost (Acts 2) and second, at Cornelius’s house (Acts 10). Holy Spirit baptism was a promise that Jesus would administer, and He only promised it to His apostles (Lk. 24:49;

Acts 1:4; 2:33). If Jesus was talking about Holy Spirit baptism, then it would be necessary for every single person to receive it to enter the kingdom of God. Again, we only have two cases of it in Scripture.

If Holy Spirit baptism is essential for salvation and water baptism is not, then we will have a difficult time explaining why Philip only baptized the people of Samaria in water, and then left them in an unsaved condition (Acts 8:14-16). The only other way a person could receive the miraculous gifts of the Holy Spirit was by the laying on of hands by an apostle, which is the why Peter and John had to go to Samaria. This ability died out with the last apostle, and it is not available today. If Holy Spirit baptism was necessary, then why did Ananias tell Paul to get up and get himself baptized (Acts 22:16)? If Holy Spirit baptism is what saves, the Holy Spirit could have baptized Paul right then and there even if he was standing on his head. It should be obvious that water baptism is what Jesus is talking about in this verse because it was commanded, which means we are to obey it and administer it (Mt. 28:18). Water baptism was done throughout the book of Acts because it is the one baptism that saves (Eph. 4:4-5).

2. Some teach the word water is talking about the amniotic fluid that surrounds a baby in the womb, and the spirit is referring to being born of the Spirit, which brings us back to Holy Spirit baptism. First, it would not make sense for Jesus to say that you must be born from the water of your mother because who isn’t born from their mother? If Jesus wanted us to know that Holy Spirit baptism was necessary, He would have said you must be born of the Spirit. Second, Jesus had the chance to explain to Nicodemus that He had already accomplished the first element in verse 5. Instead, He said he must be born of water and Spirit. Obviously, Jesus was letting him know that he had not experienced this new birth of water and Spirit. Third, the word water in this text is never used in the Bible to refer to childbirth, which proves the word water in this verse does not refer to childbirth.

3. Some have even taught the word water represents the semen of a man, which is ridiculous. However, everything stated in point two proves the word water in our text cannot be referring to such a thing.

4. Finally, some teach the word water refers to the Word of God. However, several passages have already been citied that prove the Holy Spirit works through the Word of God (Jn.

6:63; Eph. 6:17; 2 Tim. 3:16-17; 1 Cor. 2:12-13; 2 Cor. 3:6; 2 Pet. 1:20-21). Besides, there is nothing in verses 3-5 that

would cause us to view the water as symbolic of somethingelse.

In conclusion, we have examined the first reference to water baptism that Jesus would command under the new covenant, which is necessary to enter the kingdom of God. The only way we can be born again and set free from our sins is by obeying the instructions of the Holy Spirit, which includes believing Jesus is the Son of God, repenting, confessing Jesus as Lord, and being water baptized in the name of Jesus for the remission of sins. Jesus’ instructions to Nicodemus prove that water baptism is necessary for salvation.


1. What two elements are necessary to be born again?

2. How do we know Jesus was talking about water baptism in John 3:5?

3. How is the Holy Spirit involved in being born again?

4. Can we enter the kingdom of God without being born again?

5. What other views do people have about being born again?

–  –  –

After Jesus’ glorious resurrection from the dead, He appeared to His disciples to show them He had risen from the dead.

While some of them had trouble believing their own eyes, Jesus was alive and He had a message for them that would change their lives forever.

And Jesus came and spoke to them, saying, "All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth.

"Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, "teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age." Amen (Mt.


His disciples may have thought their work was finished when Christ was crucified on the cruel cross, but they found out their work has just begun. Jesus had prepared His disciples earlier for this momentous occasion as He sent them out on a limited commission to the Jews only (Mt. 10:5ff). Now the command was to go out to all nations, which would include both Jews and Gentiles.

Let’s take a closer look at Jesus’ words. First, He said: “All authority has been given to me in heaven and earth.” In this statement, Jesus is showing His Divine nature and that He is the Son of God. The word authority comes from the Greek word exousia, which means: “The power of him whose will and commands must be submitted to by others and obeyed” (Thayer). Only Jesus could make such a statement because He gave up the riches of His heavenly home to become human (2 Cor. 8:9; Phil. 2:5ff; John 1:1ff) and to be tempted, yet He did not sin (Heb. 4:15). He remained faithful to God the Father all the days of His life, including the intense suffering and shame He endured surrounding His crucifixion (Phil.

2:8ff). As proof of His faithfulness, God raised Him from the dead, which is reason He could say He has all authority over heaven and earth. So, every person is subject to Jesus’ authority except for the Father (1 Cor. 15:27). When Jesus ascended to the Father, He sat down at His right side, and He poured out the Holy Spirit onto His apostles, which proved His reign as King had begun (Acts 2:1-36). The church/kingdom began on the day of Pentecost, and Jesus is its head on the earth and in heaven (Eph. 1:22-23). This is the reason we should not have earthly headquarters, as some in the religious world have, because Christ is our head and authority. Also, some claim that Jesus’ kingdom is still yet to come. However, that is not logical because Jesus has all authority over heaven and earth, and He is called “King of kings and Lord of lords” (1 Tim. 6:15). If His kingdom is still in the future, then what does He have authority over? What is He King of? The Scriptures clearly state that He is reigning over His kingdom right now with all authority, and He will hand over His kingdom to the Father when He comes again (1 Cor. 15:24ff).

After Jesus proclaimed His authority, He commanded His disciples: “Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations.” While Jesus directed this command to His disciples of that day, this same command is to be followed by all Christians. All Christians should be doing what they can to reach the lost and lead people to Christ. Notice, the command is to “make disciples.” The word disciple comes from the Greek word matheteuo, which means: “To be the disciple of one; to follow his precepts and instruction; to teach” (Thayer). Simply put, a disciple is one who is taught and follows the teaching of another. So, one must be taught before he can become a disciple of Christ, which is exactly what Jeremiah prophesied.

“Behold, the days are coming, says the LORD, when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah -- "not according to the covenant that I made with their fathers in the day that I took them by the hand to lead them out of the land of Egypt, My covenant which they broke, though I was a husband to them, says the LORD. "But this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, says the LORD: I will put My law in their minds, and write it on their hearts; and I will be their God, and they shall be My people. "No more shall every man teach his neighbor, and every man his brother, saying, 'Know the LORD,' for they all shall know Me, from the least of them to the greatest of them, says the LORD. For I will forgive their iniquity, and their sin I will remember no more” (Jer. 31:31-34).

Under the Law of Moses a Jew was born a child of God, and a male child was circumcised on the 8th day (Gen. 17:12-13).

As he grew up, he was taught about God and how he needs to obey His commands. However, Jeremiah is teaching that this process would change under the new covenant that we are under now. Under the new covenant, no one is born a child of God. Instead, he must learn about God first and then choose to accept God’s grace by obeying His commands.

Therefore, a person must be taught before he can become a disciple of Christ.

To prove this principle further, consider the following points:

• A person must have faith to be pleasing to God (Heb.


• A person can only have faith in God if he hears the Word of God (Rom. 10:17).

• Jesus said: “And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free” (Jn. 8:32, emph. mine).

• Jesus said: “No one can come to Me unless the Father who sent Me draws him; and I will raise him up at the last day. "It is written in the prophets, 'And they shall all be taught by God.' Therefore everyone who has heard and learned from the Father comes to Me” (Jn.

6:44-45, emph. mine).

Many other passages could be given, but these are enough to prove that a person must be taught before he can become a disciple of Christ. This truth proves that infant baptism is invalid and unscriptural. Neither an infant nor a young child has the cognitive ability to be taught in such a way for them to understand what it means to be a disciple of Christ.

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