Examining the Greek: Emphatic Negations in Matthew 13 (part 4)

This is the fourth  post in a blog series on Emphatic Negations.

In the first post, Justin introduced the text of Matthew 13:1-17 and passive verbs; he pointed out that God foreordained that Jesus’ disciples would have the ability to know the mysteries of the kingdom. In the second post, Justin continued expounding on the text, explaining that one must be born again in order to accept the things of God.

Then, in last week’s post, Justin showed us that Jesus confirmed all of this in John 3. He then proved that the doctrine of the “new birth” is not a NT concept; rather, it was taught in the OT as well.

In today’s post, Justin offers us two more important things to see in John 3 with regard to the spiritual re-birth.

 

There Is No Relationship With God Apart from the New Birth

2) When Jesus tells Nicodemus that “unless one is born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God,” the word “see” in the Greek is ὁράω (horaō), and in addition to it meaning “visually seeing”, it also means “to perceive, understand, comprehend, and experience.” It is the same verb used in Matthew 13:14 that is translated “perceived.” Thus, once again Jesus is presenting the consistent truth that is expressed throughout Scripture, and that is, apart from the “spiritual rebirth,” NO ONE WILL EVER HAVE A TRUE AND ETERNAL RELATIONSHIP WITH GOD!

What Jesus Meant By “Born of Water”

3) The last element to deal with in the passage of John 3:1-8 has to do with Jesus’ reference to being “born of water.” When Nicodemus responded initially to Jesus’ statement that one must “be born again” in order “to see the kingdom of God,” he asked in a very snide manner, “How can a man be born when he is old? He cannot enter a second time into his mother’s womb and be born, can he?” Jesus then responds with the statement, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God.”

This one verse has been greatly misunderstood and traditionally misapplied as though it was referring to water baptism. Or in other words, some have wrongly interpreted this verse to mean that water baptism is a requirement to enter the kingdom of God. However, the reference to “water” in this verse and passage has nothing to do with water baptism as a means by which we are born again. Now, water baptism is certainly important with reference to our testimony to the world that we have believed in Jesus Christ as our Lord and Savior, but it is not a means of salvation. Furthermore, through the outward act of water baptism, we are confessing that through Jesus alone – i.e., through His birth, life, death, and resurrection. It is by faith in this Jesus that we have the assured certainty of the forgiveness of our sins and eternal life with Him in heaven.

However, what we do find in this passage regarding the rebirth is what is called a literary parallelism – that is, Jesus is using what is called a chiastic structure to explain His point. I can illustrate this truth in the following manner, with the ‘a’ and ‘b’ parts being the two different aspects of this chiasmus. However, it must be stated that the springboard for this chiastic approach is the very question posed by Nicodemus: “How can a man be born when he is old? He cannot enter a second time into his mother’s womb and be born, can he?” Jesus, therefore, is responding to this question of the physical birth raised by Nicodemus, and He does so by directly addressing the physical birth out of a woman’s womb, which is the physical birth of the “flesh,” and it occurs out of an amniotic water sac that has been protecting the baby in the womb:

Because the uterus, or womb, is a muscular sac containing a bag of waters (the sac containing the amniotic fluid) that more or less surrounds the child, contraction of the musculature of its walls should diminish its cavity and compress its contents. Because its contents are quite incompressible, however, they are forced in the direction of least resistance, which is in the direction of the isthmus, or upper opening of the neck of the uterus, and are driven, like a wedge, farther and farther into this opening. In addition to forcing the uterine contents in the direction of the cervix, shortening of the muscle fibres that are attached to the neck of the uterus tends to pull these tissues upward and away from the opening and thus adds to its enlargement. By this combined action each contraction of the uterus not only forces the bag of waters and fetus downward against the dilating neck of the womb but also pulls the resisting walls of the latter upward over the advancing bag of waters, presenting (farthest advanced) part of the child. . . . About the time that the cervix becomes fully dilated, the bag of waters breaks, and the force of the involuntary uterine contractions may be augmented by voluntary bearing-down efforts of the mother. With each labour pain, she can take a deep breath and then contract her abdominal muscles. The increased intra-abdominal pressure thus produced may equal or exceed the force of the uterine contractions. When properly used, accordingly, these bearing-down efforts may double the effectiveness of the labor pains. 13

Thus, Jesus responds with His chiastic, parallellistic answer: “unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God” – that is, yes, Nicodemus, (a) one must first be born of/out of water (the physical birth out of the amniotic water sac) and (b) secondly of/out of the Spirit in order to enter the kingdom of God.

And again, Jesus restates His chiasmus – (a) that which is born of/out of the flesh (i.e., out of “water” from the amniotic water sac in the mother’s womb) is flesh, and (b) that which is born of/out of the Spirit is spirit.

I stress the use of “out of” in both instances because the Greek preposition that governs the two words, “water” and “Spirit,” is ἐξ (ex), and it means “of, out of, from, and out from.” Therefore, that which Jesus is stating is that there is a physical birth that we all must come “out of” in order to enter this physical world, but in order to “enter into the kingdom of God,” one must come “out of” a spiritual rebirth that is generated by the Holy Spirit within a person’s heart and mind, which has been presented from the very beginning in the Old Testament.

(Stay tuned for more next Wednesday!…)


13 Encyclopaedia Britannica, 15th ed., vol. 26, s.v. “Reproduction and Reproductive System,” 726.

  • Jim

    That would mean (the physical birth) everybody would see the Kingdom of heaven. Once someone is born of the (physical birth) they are a fallen breed and born in a fallen world (they are born sinners and into a world of sin) So, (I believe) that Jesus was talking about( when speaking of being born of water) that He was talking of water baptism because, it is a washing away of the sins,therefore, being reborn. When Jesus says “that which is born of flesh is flesh but that which is born of spirit is spirit.” is because, He is talking spiritually. When John says that there is coming someone mightier than I that will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and Fire. Spiritually you are reborn by the water baptism and of the Holy spirit. That I believe is what Jesus is talking about in that passage. Not being born of a physical birth, again, first your a sinner when your born and you can’t be “reborn” by being born the first time.

    • http://blogs.blueletterbible.org/blb Chris at BLB

      You said

      That would mean (the physical birth) everybody would see the Kingdom of heaven

      However, it would not necessarily mean that since He said one must be born of water AND of Spirit, not one or the other.

      • Michael

        That is true, though I do not agree with your original premise.

    • http://jameswr51@yahoo.com James

      Jim, if you are open to a deeper search and understanding of that verse this is just a tid bit but I can give you a much better rendering also from the book by W.E.Best called Conversion & Regeneration an astounding book that opened my eyes. small sample – Christ answered, “…Except a man be born again…born of water and the spirit…” (John 3:3, 5), he can neither see nor
      enter the kingdom of God. The new birth is wrought by the Holy Spirit, and this is accomplished like water cleansing from filth (Ezek. 36:25, 26). My brother Justin is right this is not refering to water baptism. I can send you that book I know you’ll enjoy it and learn from it also. I’ve been stuborn in my ways to. I’ve found myself saying WOW that’s really good stuff. let me know I’ll send it to you.

  • Jerry S.

    “Chiasmus”, I had to look that one up in the dictionary. They’re fun though – Mat. 23:12.

    If I were to make an attempt to translate (eidō) in Jhn. 3:3 I would have to consider that the primary meaning is “visually seeing” and the secondary meaning is “perceiving” and coupled with (eiserchomai) meaning “enter in” in Jhn. 3:5 within the same context of the conversation I would lean towards visually seeing the Kingdom. As in the thousand year Kingdom of Israel ruled by the Messiah from Jerusalem, Rev. 20:4 and the New Jerusalem with in the New Earth within the New Heaven, Rev. 21:1-2. We may be able to perceive what eternal life will be like with the Spirit of God’s help, but only when we “see” (blepō) face to face, 1Cr 13:9-12 will we know.

    I think of OT souls like “Chanowk” Gen 5:24. This is well before any Law was given. How do they commune with the LORD?

    J.

  • http://jameswr51@yahoo.com James

    In refuting the heresy of baptismal regeneration, there must
    be a distinction between birth and burial. Regeneration is a
    birth, but baptism is a burial: “…buried with him by baptism
    into death: that like as Christ was raised up from the dead…so
    we also should walk in newness of life” (Rom. 6:4). Now, the
    question is, was our Lord talking about regeneration (new
    birth) or burial (baptism)? The context proves to every enlightened mind and heart that the new birth is the subject of
    John 3:1-10.It is commonly questioned, by those who believe in baptismal regeneration, “If Jesus did not mean water, why did He
    say water?” The reply is, “If our Lord meant baptism, why
    did He not say baptism?” Christ did not say, “Except you be
    baptized of ( ek ) water” in this verse. A repentant person is said to be baptized in ( en ) water (Matt. 3:11). Baptism is never expressed by water only, without some additional words to
    show that the ordinance of baptism is intended (John 4:2; Acts
    2:38-41; 8:36, 37; 9:18; 10:44-48).Water, in a baptistry or font, is as impotent to regenerate man as the water in Jacob’s well. “Jesus answered and said unto her, Whosoever drinketh of this water shall thirst again: But whosoever drinketh of the water that I shall give him shall never thirst; but the water that I shall give him shall be in him a well of water springing up into everlasting life” (John 4:13,14). Life-giving water, according to John 4:14, is the gift of God. There are four things we must observe about this gift of life-giving water: (1) The Giver—“I shall give him.” (2) The habitation—“The water that I shall give him shall be in him.” Hence, it is internal, not external. (3) The function—“a well of water springing up.” Conversion experiences arise from the indwelling principle of life. (4) The purpose—“into everlasting life.” The difference between grace and glory may not be as great as one might imagine. The nature of both is the same. Grace is glory in the bud; glory is grace in the flower. The Christian, therefore, has something of heaven now. God purifies the streams by, regenerating the fountain. W.E.Best

    • Eric

      I see a parallel created by Jesus in John 3:3 and John 3:5. In verse 3, he says, “Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.” In verse 5, ye says, “Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God.” Thus, the birth by water and of the Spirit must explain what He means by “born again” in verse 3.

      And, even if Jesus is not referring to water baptism being necessary to be born again, how do you explain Jesus’ saying in Mark 16:16 that “he that believeth and is baptized shall be saved” and Peter’s saying in Acts 2:38 to “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”?

      • DonDon

        I notice in Mark 16:16 not believing is addressed, but not being water baptized is not…

      • Barbara LeFevre

        There is an article that explains Acts 2:38. Google ‘Acts 2:38 Satan’s Favorite Bible Verse.’

  • http://chiliasm.org Ben

    Hey Justin,
    I have to disagree with you on John 3:5 as far as “Born of water” referring to physical birth and not water Baptism, although I’m totally open to correction.
    Some have supposed that Jesus meant physical birth when He spoke of being “born of water” but to say that one must be born physically in order to inherit the Kingdom would be a rather redundant statement. No one exists who has not been born physically, that is with the exception of the Angels.

    The Geek grammar which I’m sure you are aware of also cast serious doubt on the physical birth interpretation. In the clause, “born of water and spirit” both nouns in the prepositional phrase are connected by “and” to a single verb. Thus the kind of action described by the verb must be the same for both objects. It cannot be physical birth regarding “water” and spiritual birth regarding “spirit.” The single verb has one meaning only.

    As you know also the verb is in the subjunctive mood, which indicates possibility but not certainty. It literally says “if a man might be born…” It is hard to imagine Jesus’ referring to someone’s physical birth with uncertainty, because everyone who exists was born. His language implies that some people who already exist had not been “born of water.” Therefore, “born of water” cannot refer to physical birth. The statement in verse 5, “unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God,” is juxtaposed with the statement in verse 3, “unless one is born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.” So then being “born of water and Spirit” is equivalent to being “born again.” It is not equivalent to physical birth plus spiritual birth.

    Everyone who expects an inheritance in the Kingdom must have a second birth consisting of being “born of water and Spirit.” Thus Paul’s statement in Gal 3:27 “For as many of you as were baptized into Christ have put on Christ”. Also the preposition here is ἐξ which as you stated in your article means emerging from something. Combined with the concept of “birth” it is apparent that baptism is in part a rebirth. Being immersed in the water we die to sin and leave behind the old life. (Romans 6) Coming up out of the water we are born again. Likewise, Jesus immerses us in the Spirit, and we come forth from this experience with a changed heart, a “new creature.” The “second birth” is accomplished through both “water” and “Spirit.” Hence, Jesus told Nicodemus that one must be born anew with “water and Spirit” in order to inherit the Kingdom. This is why Paul says in Ephesians 4:5 “One baptism”. We know that the Apostles water baptized throughout all of Acts as the proper response to obeying the Gospel, so therefore Paul viewed equated baptism in the Spirit with water baptism.

    Also if Jesus had meant physical birth as a requirement for Salvation in “born of water” He would be contradicting the whole point of His teaching to Nicodemus. The whole point of Jesus teaching to Nicodemus was to clear up some misunderstandings that Nicodemus had concerning the Kingdom of God and how one receives an inheritance in it. Nicodemus as well as many other Jews at that time were under the assumption that their physical lineage as an Israelite automatically secured them as a recipient of the Abrahamic Covenant and the land inheritance. Instead Jesus told Nicodemus that even though he was part of Israel who was Gods “firstborn” (Exodus 4:22) he must be readopted into Gods family because of his sin. This was obviously done through the cross. This is why Peter tells his Jewish Christian readers in 1 Peter 1:3 that their hope is renewed because their birth is renewed.

    You said
    “Now, water baptism is certainly important with reference to our testimony to the world that we have believed in Jesus Christ as our Lord and Savior, but it is not a means of salvation.”

    Now if water baptism is not connected to salvation then why did Jesus include it the Great commission?

    Matt 28:19-20
    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, 20 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.

    Matthew’s account includes baptism of Gentiles as a necessary requirement of making them “disciples.” Therefore one cannot be considered a disciple apart from being water baptized, which is part of obeying the Gospel. Now Matthew’s account does not mention salvation so some might suggest that the language permits that people be “saved” and “baptized” in order to be a “disciple,” but that being “saved” does not necessarily require one to be a “disciple” of Jesus. In other words, not all “saved” people are disciples. The problem with that reasoning is that the only goal of the Great Commission according to Matthew is to make “disciples.” The New Testament knows nothing of people who are saved but not disciples of Jesus. This is why we have to look at the parallel passages in the Gospels concerning our understanding of the Great Commission.

    In Marks account we have-
    And He said to them, Go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature. 16 He who believes and is BAPTIZED WILL be saved; but he who does not believe will be condemned.

    According to Mark, Jesus made baptism and faith requirements for salvation in His command to the Apostles. As you will also notice from the Greek in Mark 16 that “shall be saved” is a future indicative verb. “Believe” and “is baptized” are aorist participles. The time of aorist participles must be prior to the time indicated in the indicative verb.27 Therefore, this passage undeniably places both believing and being baptized prior to salvation.

    Here is Luke

    Luke 24:46-48 Then He said to them, Thus it is written, and thus it was necessary for the Christ to suffer and to rise from the dead the third day, 47 and that REPENTANCE AND REMISSION of sins should be preached in His name to all nations, beginning at Jerusalem. 48 And you are witnesses of these things. 49 Behold, I send the Promise of My Father upon you; but tarry in the city of Jerusalem until you are endued with power from on high.

    Now Luke does not mention water baptism specifically but the disciples had just been baptizing hundreds of people “for the remission of sins”. The question is how would His disciples understand His statement “repentance and remission of sins should be preached in His name to all nations?” The “Gospel of the Kingdom” that was preached by both Jesus and John involved “the baptism of repentance for the remission of sins.” Therefore the disciples would have understood baptism to be a part of this message they were to deliver to the rest of the nations. But in order for us to understand exactly how the Apostles understood this command from Jesus all we have to do is look to Peter’s first sermon in Acts 2: 37-39

    Now when they heard this, they were cut to the heart, and said to Peter and the rest of the apostles, Men and brethren, what shall we do? 38 Then Peter said to them, Repent, and let every one 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 who are afar off, as many as the Lord our God will call.

    Something important to note from the Greek is Peters use of the preposition [eis] translated as “for” the preposition [eis] connects both repentance and baptism with the result “the remission of sins”. Also as you are aware of the preposition [eis] implies progress to a point reached. The progress is always forward. Also notice that “you shall receive” is a future indicative verb. Peter gives the promise of receiving the Holy Spirit to all the Jews gathered at Pentecost who respond in the manner in which he outlined (repentance/baptism)

    Unlike many evangelicals today Peter did not say “repent and say this little prayer” and you will receive the Holy Spirit. Instead Peter gave the proper instructions for obeying the Gospel as he formerly had been taught by Christ. Most evangelicals would agree that some sort of response to the Gospel is necessary for salvation. The question that stands is what is the Biblical response that is outlined throughout the Scriptures?

    • steve morrow

      In additon:

      Acts 5:32
      And we are HIS witnesses of these things
      And so is also the holy spirit
      Whom GOD hath given to them that OBEY HIM

      Romans 13:11
      And that knowing the time
      That now it is high time to awake out of sleep
      For now is our salvation nearer THAN WHEN WE BELIEVED

    • Barbara LeFevre

      Ben~

      There are several verses that tell us exactly what a person’s response to God’s call upon their lives needs to be:

      “REPENT therefore and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out, so that times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord” (Acts 3:19, caps mine).

      ~ “that if you CONFESS with your mouth the Lord Jesus and BELIEVE in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved” (Rom. 10:9, caps mine).

      ~ “For ‘whoever CALLS on the name of the LORD shall be saved’” (Rom. 10:13, caps mine).

      ~ “But as many as RECEIVED him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, [even] to them that BELIEVE on his name” (Jn. 1:12, caps mine).

      Have a blessed day~
      Barbara

  • Eric

    “Now, water baptism is certainly important with reference to our testimony to the world that we have believed in Jesus Christ as our Lord and Savior, but it is not a means of salvation.”

    The idea that water baptism is a testimony to the world is a church tradition. I see no scriptural support for it.

    Can anyone on here provide scripture to support Justin’s statement?

    • http://jameswr51@yahoo.com James

      Eric, No to the last question, Never even heard a view like that before and Rightly said, to the former as I have stated above. Heresy of baptismal regeneration. If Many Christians would read the book “How to Read The Bible For All It’s Worth” by Gordon D.Fee & Douglas Stuart (Hermeneutics) would be a life changing experience understanding the Bible in a whole new way – The right way. Unfortunetly and sad as it is true, many Christians have know idea how to truly interpret the word of the inspired authors or many just simply say “Let the Preacher do it! That’s why there’s sooooo much controvercy.

  • steve morrow

    Acts 10:34&35
    Then Peter opened his mouth and said of a truth I perceive that GOD is no respecter of persons
    (35)But in every nation he that feareth HIM and worketh righteousness is accepted with HIM

    Proverbs 8:8
    All the words of MY mouth are in righteousness there is nothing froward or perverse in them

    Proverbs 8:20
    I lead in the —-WAY—- of righteousness in the midst of the paths judgement

    Acts 10:48
    And he commanded them to be baptized in the name of the LORD
    Then prayed they him to tarry certain days

    1 Peter3:20&21
    Which sometime were disobedient when once the long suffering of GOD waited in the days of Noah while the ark was a preparing
    Wherein few that is eight souls were saved by water
    (21) The like figure where unto 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

    Mark 16:16
    He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved but he that believeth not shall be damned

    Mark 8:35
    For whosoever will save his life shall lose it but whosoever shall lose his life for MY sake and the gospels shall save it

    1 Peter 4:17
    For the time is come that judgement must begin at the house of GOD and if it first begin at us what shall the outcome be of them that obey not the gospel of GOD

    1 Peter 4:18
    AND IF THE RIGHTEOUS SCARCELEY BE SAVED WHERE SHALL THE UNGODLY AND THE SINNER APPEAR

    1 Peter 4:19
    Wherefore let them that suffer according to—THE WILL OF GOD—
    COMMITT THE KEEPING OF THEIR SOULS TO HIM IN WELL DOING AS UNTO A FAITHFUL CREATOR

    Psalm 119:155
    Salvation is far from the wicked for they seek not thy statutes

    Hebrews 5:9
    And being made perfect HE became the AUTHOR OF ETERNAL SALVATION
    unto all them that —OBEY HIM—

    2 Timothy 3:15
    And that from a child thou hast known the holy scriptures which are able to make thee wise unto salvation through faith which is in CHRIST JESUS

    Psalm 119:138
    Thy testimonies that thou hast commanded are righteous and very faithful

    Psalm 119:172
    My tongue shall speak of thy word
    for all thy commandments are righteousness

    2 John 1:4
    I rejoiced greatly that I found of thy children walking in truth
    as we have received a commandment from the FATHER

    2 John 1:6
    And this is love that we walk after HIS commandments
    This is the commandment that as you have heard from the beginning you should walk in it

    2 Thessalonians 2:10
    And with all deceiveableness of unrighteousness in them that perish because they received not the LOVE OF THE TRUTH THAT THEY MIGHT BE SAVED

    Proverbs 30:6
    ADD THOU NOT UNTO HIS WORDS LEST HE REPROVE THEE AND THOU BE FOUND A LIAR

    Acts 5:20
    GO STAND AND SPEAK IN THE TEMPLE TO THE PEOPLE ALL THE WORDS OF THIS LIFE

    John 6:63
    IT IS THE SPIRIT THAT QUICKENETH THE FLESH PROFITETH NOTHING
    THE WORDS THAT —I— SPEAK UNTO YOU THEY ARE SPIRIT THEY ARE LIFE

    LOVING THE LORD

  • Sherwood

    A riveting discussion, thank you to all who have posted so far, and thank you Justin for posting the blog. I am interested to see each view point and their reasonings, and without tipping my hand to which side I personally lean as to the question: “Most evangelicals would agree that some sort of response to the Gospel is necessary for salvation. The question that stands is what is the Biblical response that is outlined throughout the Scriptures?” … I would like to simply say that whatever we decide as to the meaning of the scriptures, that we do so with, faith, honesty, humility and respect. I know that with deep convictions can come, unintentionally, arrogance and/or lack of love. I know that this particular topic of water baptism, and all of it’s nuanced meanings and implications, has been discussed by some of the foremost minds in the Christian faith for centuries, many times without agreement…
    I am reminded of the Bereans noted for their ‘nobility’ as they examined the scriptures to see if what someone was saying was true … may God lead us all as we do just that! :)

  • http://JewishRoots Trent

    I would like to share some thoughts from a Jewish roots class that I took. These statemnets are from the notes:

    The phrase “born again” is a common tern in Pharisaic writings (contrary to most Christian teaching). What Nicodemus does not understand is how one can be born again after reaching a certain age and status in Jewish society.

    There are 6 different ways one was “born again” in the Pharisaic sense. All of these ways were related to the physical sense (not spiritual which Jesus was obviously talking about):

    Six ways to be born again:

    1. When a gentile converted to Judaism, but Nicodemus was already a Jew.
    2. Be crowned a king, which Nicodemus was not of the Davidic line.
    3. Actual bar mitzvah. A Jewish confirmation of the age of 13 when a boy took responsibility for his sins (prior to this the parents were held responsible).
    4. Take a wife. Nicohdemus was married since he was a memeber of the Sanhedrin. This was a requirement of the Sanhedrin.
    5. Ordained a Rabbi, this was also a requirement for the Sanhedrin. One became a Rabbi at the age of 30.
    6. Become a rosh yeshiva (the head of a rabbinical Academy or Seminary). Jesus’ reference to Nicohodemus in verse 10 “Israel’s teacher” implies that Nichodemus attained this. This usually occurred at around the age of 50.

    Jesus explains to Nichodemus that religious knowledge and ethnicity are not a sufficient basis for a relationship with God; one must be born into His family by the Holy Spirit. He uses the term “born again” for this. This is a common Jewish way of teaching, using the know as a starting point to teach about things unknown.

    Remember we are saved through faith Eph 2:8-9 and not of works. If baptism is required for salvation that is a work. Gen 15:6 states that Abram believed in the Lord and He reckoned it to him as righteousness (right standing with God). Read Hebrews Chapter 11 you will see that it is by faith we are declared righteous. Our righteous deeds are like a filthy garment (Is 64:6).

    If what I have written is true about the Jewish culture at the time of Jesus. They also believe that because they were Jewish they had automatic rights into God’s Kingdom (born of water). Jesus says no is it more that being born a Jew, you must be born again spiritually (and the Spirit).

    Looking at this with Jewish eyes helped to make more sense of this passage that I have struggled to understand. I hope this causes you to think and challenge you as it did me.

    • Jerry S.

      I really like this line of thought, it has helped me as a gentile to see my faith through God’s chosen people Israel.

      As I was reading what you wrote this thought came to mind. Yeshuah was continually at odds with Israel’s leaders of His day. As He would converse with them in the Gospel accounts He always took exception to their teachings and brought them always to what was written in Tanakh and never mentions Talmudic teaching on His own initiative. Yeshuah may have been being polite with Nichodemus because he was searching. So, as you say, if what you wrote is in fact true, why would Yeshuah now use Talmudic teaching as a springboard to teach from? Thank you for the thought challenging comments.
      J.

    • Barbara LeFevre

      Thanks, Trent! This was very interesting. I wish teachers and pastors in the body of Christ would include more of this type of information in their lessons to increase both interest and understanding. There is such richness in the Word that needs to be mined.

      Bless you!

  • steve morrow

    Help us O LORD GOD that we would be faithful to your ways your truth and your way of life and that we would not hearken to the words of man For you teach us to cease from man whose breath is in his nostrils for wherein is he to be accounted of help us LORD that your ways would be yes yes to us and that mans would be no no

    2 Thessalonians 2:8
    And then shall that wicked be revealed whom the LORD shall consume with the spirit of his mouth and shall destroy with the brightness of HIS coming

    1 Timothy 2:5
    For there is ONE GOD and ONE MEDIATOR between GOD and men
    THE MAN JESUS CHRIST

    1 Corinthians 15:27&28
    For HE hath put all things under HIS feet
    But when HE saith all things are put under HIM it is MANIFEST
    that HE is excepted which did put all things under HIM
    (28) And when all things shall be subdued unto HIM then shall the SON also also HIMSELF be subject unto HIM that GOD may be all in all

    1 Corinthians 11:3
    But I would have you know that the head of every man is CHRIST
    —and the head the head of the woman is the man— and the head of CHRIST is GOD—

    1 Corinthians 11:2
    Now I praise you brethren that you remember me in all things
    —-AND KEEP THE ORDINANCES—-as I delivered them to you

    Mark 7:7
    HOW BE IT IN VEIN DO THEY WORSHIP ME TEACHING FOR DOCTRINES THE COMMANDMENTS OF MEN

    Mark 7:9
    And he said unto them Full well you reject the commandments of GOD that you may keep your own tradition

    Acts 10:35
    But in every nation he that feareth HIM AND WORKETH RIGHTEOUSNESS IS ACCEPTED WITH HIM

    1 Peter 1:23
    Being born again not of corruptible seed but of uncorruptible
    BY THE WORD OF GOD WHICH—LIVETH AND ABIDETH FOREVER—

    James 2:24
    You see then how that by works a man is justified
    AND NOT BY FAITH ONLY

    LOVING THE LORD

  • http://chiliasm.org Ben

    Hey Barbara,
    Most assume that Scriptures you posted above prove that baptism is not part of the salvation process under the New Covenant and one must only “believe” in order to be saved. Thus for someone to obey the Gospel all that is necessary is a mental assent of belief, even though Romans 10 mentions confession with the mouth as a prerequisite yet most would even label that as a work.

    The problem I see with this reasoning is that an assumption is being made that when the NT Scriptures use the term “believe” it is not including baptism. 1 Cor 1:14, 17, 21 is often used as on objection to baptism and that one must only “believe”. The argument in this objection rests on the assumption that all of the Corinthians who “believed” were saved, even though most of them were not baptized and that baptism is really quite incidental to the story of their conversion. But we need to go back to the original story in Acts where Paul first preached the Gospel in Corinth .

    This is in Acts 18:1-8
    After these things Paul departed from Athens and went to Corinth. 2 And he found a certain Jew named Aquila, born in Pontus, who had recently come from Italy with his wife Priscilla (because Claudius had commanded all the Jews to depart from Rome); and he came to them. 3 So, because he was of the same trade, he stayed with them and worked; for by occupation they were tentmakers. 4 And he reasoned in the synagogue every Sabbath, and persuaded both Jews and Greeks. 5 When SILAS AND TIMOTHY had come from Macedonia, Paul was compelled by the Spirit, and testified to the Jews that Jesus is the Christ. 6 But when they opposed him and blasphemed, he shook his garments and said to them, Your blood be upon your own heads; I am clean. From now on I will go to the Gentiles. 7 And he departed from there and entered the house of a certain man named Justus, one who worshiped God, whose house was next door to the synagogue. 8 THEN CRISPUS, THE RULER OF THE SYNOGOGUE, BELIEVED ON THE LORD WITH ALL HIS HOUSEHOLD. AND MANY OF THE CORINTHINANS, HEARING, BELIEVED AND WERE BAPTIZED.

    Notice in Verse 8 that the first of the Jews who is said to have believed was Crispus, the ruler of the synagogue. It does not say he was baptized, It just says he “believed on the Lord with all his household.” But when we read 1 Corinthians 1, we find that he was one of the few who were baptized by Paul. So when it says he, “believed on the Lord with all his household,” baptism is implicitly included. Then we read in the second part of Verse 8 that “many of the Corinthians, hearing, believed and were baptized.” This tells us that in addition to Crispus, many more Corinthians were converted. They believed, and all those who believed were baptized. How can this be since Paul wrote in 1 Corinthians 1 that he only baptized Crispus and a few others? Verse 5 tells us that Paul was not alone. Silas and Timothy were with him.

    So the way it went down was that Paul preached the Gospel and those who believed were baptized. A few were baptized by Paul, but most were baptized by either Silas or Timothy. The reason for this was that The Corinthians were prone to sectarianism which 1 Cor 1:12-17 explains. Paul is not thanking God that the Corinthians were not baptized because they were baptized by Silas and Timothy. He thanks God that he did not perform the baptisms himself, because the Corinthians would use that in their sectarianism.

    Also on a side note, in 1 Cor 1:17 Paul is not stating that baptism is not a part of the Gospel. The word for “to baptize” and “to preach the Gospel” are in the Infinitive Mood in the Greek. (Verbal nouns) The Greek word for “to preach the Gospel” is “euangelizesthai” and it means “to proclaim or announce glad tidings. The first part of Verse 17 could be translated as follows: “For Christ did not send me to baptize, but to proclaim glad tidings.” The words “the Gospel” in English are added, and there is no hint that Paul was separating baptism from the Gospel message. In fact, the opposite is true. What Paul is saying is that his role, at least in Corinth , was to do the preaching while others (Silas and Timothy) did the baptizing. This was a wise tactic on Paul’s end because of the Corinthians predisposition to Sectarianism.

    In my opinion we must try and harmonize all the many passages that deal with salvation in the Scriptures. If our understanding of ANY particular doctrine is correct, then it MUST be able to account for every single passage that touches on that doctrine. This is true of prophecy, salvation, angels, Jesus Christ, the Holy Spirit, and any other doctrine you can think of. And it is certainly true of baptism.
    In Christ
    Ben

    • Barbara LeFevre

      Hi Ben~

      Thank you for responding. The first thing I want to say is that I totally agree with your last paragraph, that we must, according to II Timothy 3:16, reconcile ALL relevant Scripture.

      I’d like to respond to your post, but there are a couple things I would like to clarify. The first, of course, is just to confirm that you will be reading this post and that you will come back and read my response. Secondly, you said a lot of things, and I am just a little confused. I read through your post twice, and I am having a little trouble deciding the purpose of your answering my post. Was it to agree with me, disagree, or just to offer additional information to my earlier post in which I cited those verses? It’s early, and I might still be a little foggy! :)

      I’ll await your response before I write.

      Barbara

  • http://chiliasm.org Ben

    Hey Trent

    You said
    “Remember we are saved through faith Eph 2:8-9 and not of works. If baptism is required for salvation that is a work.”

    Paul states that baptism is not a work.

    5 NOT BY WORKS of righteousness which we have done, but according to His mercy He saved us, through the WASHING of regeneration and renewing of the Holy Spirit, Titus 3
    The Greek word for “washing” in Titus 3:5 is [loutron] It is a noun and not a participle which the word “washing” would annotate. It does not refer to the act of dipping, but to the actual place of baptizing. We would use the word “baptistery.”

    This verse literally says He saved us “through the BATH of second birth and renewing of the Holy Spirit”.

    Therefore baptism cannot be considered one of the “works of righteousness” which Paul elsewhere disqualifies from salvation because it is here contrasted with such “works.” Baptism is not a “work,” according to Paul, it is obedience to the Gospel.

    Consider the following passages which all clearly connect baptism with water to the supernatural, unseen, act of God on the human spirit. This is also called regeneration, the new birth, circumcision of the heart, and baptism with the Holy Spirit.

    Then Peter said to them, “Repent, and let every one 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. Acts 2:38
    11 In Him you were also circumcised with the circumcision made without hands, by putting off the body of the sins of the flesh, by the circumcision of Christ, 12 having been buried with Him in baptism, in which you also were raised with Him through faith in the working of God, who raised Him from the dead. Colossians 2

    And now why are you waiting? Arise and be baptized, and wash away your sins, calling on the name of the Lord.’ Acts 22:16

    For you are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus. 27 For as many of you as were baptized into Christ have put on Christ. Galatians 3:26

    1 What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin that grace may abound? 2 Certainly not! How shall we who died to sin live any longer in it? 3 Or do you not know that as many of us as were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into His death? 4 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. 5 For if we have been united together in the likeness of His death, certainly we also shall be in the likeness of His resurrection, 6 knowing this, that our old man was crucified with Him, that the body of sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves of sin. 7 For he who has died has been freed from sin. 8 Now if we died with Christ, we believe that we shall also live with Him… Romans 6

    Let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water. Hebrews 10:22

    You said
    “If what I have written is true about the Jewish culture at the time of Jesus. They also believe that because they were Jewish they had automatic rights into God’s Kingdom (born of water). Jesus says no is it more that being born a Jew, you must be born again spiritually (and the Spirit).”

    There is nothing in Scripture or Jewish tradition to suggest that “born of water” refers to physical birth. Even Alfred Edersheim, the Jewish Christian scholar, equates “born of water” here to baptism. I don’t understand your reasoning here when you state that “born of water” refers to Jews thinking they had automatic rights into God’s Kingdom because of their physical lineage. This thinking is what Jesus is trying to negate in John 3. If Jesus is trying to tell Nicodemus that physical birth has nothing to do with salvation (which He is) and there must be a spiritual birth then why would Jesus use “born of water” as a synonym for physical birth?
    In Christ,
    Ben

    In Christ
    Ben

  • http://jameswr51@yahoo.com James

    Interpretation is to understand as clearly as possible what the biblical authors were saying to their day, what the original hearers would have understood, and how these truths are applicable to our culture and our personal lives. Apart from these criteria there is no meaningful interpretation!
    At this point let me spell out several context and content questions that one should ask every biblical text.

    1. What did the original author say? (textual criticism)
    2. What did the original author mean? (exegesis)
    3. What did the original author say elsewhere on the same subject? (parallel passages)
    4. What did the other biblical authors say on the same subject? (parallel passages)
    5. How did the original hearers understand the message and respond to it? (original
    application)
    6. How does the original message apply to my day? (modern application)
    7. How does the original message apply to my life? (personal application)

    • Barbara LeFevre

      James~

      Thank you very much! Your list is very informative and should be used by all of us in determining God’s truth. Even now, the time has come in which we are beginning to see the witness of II Timothy 4:3-4: “For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears; And they shall turn away [their] ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables.” We need to realize that the warning in these verses is addressed to believers, so we need to wake up and personally find out the truth being put forth in God’s Word (II Tim. 2:15) so that we act accordingly. I think that for far too long Christians have been allowing their teachers, pastors, and denominational heads to be their guides in the Word when we are told that this position should be filled by the Holy Spirit (Jn. 16:13).

      I pray that each one of us will press in to God, through prayer and through His revealed Word, that we may find God’s eternal truth.

      Have a blessed day!
      Barbara

      • http://jameswr51@yahoo.com James

        Thankyou Barbara,
        Oh how right you are. Share those truths with others who knows what door may open for you. Do you have Kindle for Pc from Amazon? (It’s Free)without most of the bells and whistles though of the tangible Kindle but you can download books of any sort in an instant and begin reading. There’s many good Christian books amazon lets you download for free too. And most E books that you download are less then the hard or soft cover they show you that anyway. If your interested in this book “How to understand the bible for all it’s worth by Gordon D. Fee you can purchase it for 12.99 once you download the free kindle for pc. I would send it to you but that’s not an option kindle for pc allows… Your friend and mine in Jesus James

        • Barbara LeFevre

          James~

          I didn’t know about the Kindle. It sounds like a great resource. Thanks for letting me know.

          Have a blessed day!
          Barbara

          • http://jameswr51@yahoo.com James

            Barbara, your very welcome, it is a great resource for those who are less fortunate. Tobe able to have Kindle for pc for free and then be able to download bibles and other christian books for free is actually a free gift from God (it’s possible they just don’t know it) It’s not new to us that God has used people in the bible (whom we thought God would never use) to accomplish His will for His purpose and so isn’t God the same yesterday, today and forever. We thank you Lord for all your wondrous deeds.

  • http://jameswr51@yahoo.com James

    The Bible’s Purpose -
    A. Not a Rule Book. Much of our misunderstanding concerning Scripture begins in our mistaken notions concerning its purposes. One way to establish what a thing is is to state what it is not. The fallen human tendency toward legalism, so evident among the Pharisees, is alive and well and lives in your home church. This tendency turns the Bible into an extensive set of rules. Modern believers have almost turned the Scriptures into a legalistic rule book, a kind of “Christian
    Talmud.” It must be stated forcibly that the Scriptures’primary focus is redemptive. It is meant to confront, convince, and turn wayward mankind back to God (McQuilkin 183, 49). The
    primary focus is salvation (II Tim. 3:15), which issues in Christlikeness (II Tim. 3:17). This Christlikeness is also a major goal (Romans 8:28-29; II Cor. 3:18; Gal. 4:19; Eph. 1:4;
    I Thess. 3:13; 4:3; I Pet. 1:15), but it is a result of the first goal. At least one possibility for the structure and nature of the Bible is its redemptive purpose and not a systematized rule book or doctrine book (i.e., not a Christian Talmud). The Bible does not address all of our intellectual
    questions. Many issues are addressed in ambiguous or incomplete ways. The Bible was not designed primarily as a systematic theology book, but as a selective history of God’s dealing
    with His rebellious creation. Its purpose is not merely rules, but relationship. It leaves areas uncovered so that we are forced to walk in love (I Corinthians 13), not rules (Col. 2:16-23). We must see the priority of people made in His image (cf. Gen. 1:26-27), not rules. It is not a set of rules, but a new character, a new focus, a new life that is presented.This is not to imply that the Bible does not contain rules, because it does, but they do not cover every area. Often rules become barriers instead of bridges in mankind’s search for God.
    The Bible provides us with enough information to live a God-pleasing life; it also provides us some guidelines or boundaries. Its primary gift, however, is the “Guide,” not the guidelines. Knowing and following the Guide until you become like Him is the second goal of Scripture.

    • Jerry S.

      I agree and some! I have a pet name for it – “churchianity”.
      J.

  • http://chiliasm.org Ben

    Hey Barbara,
    I will try my best to respond to your thoughts before Monday because I am leaving the country for a month and will not be able to respond to them then. I apologize if my post was confusing to you.

    The point of my post was to illustrate that baptism should not be considered separate from “belief” in how one responds to the Gospel. That is why I went into Acts 8 and 1 Cor 1 because it demonstrates that part of “believing” is submitting to water baptism.

    I.e… “Then Crispus, the ruler of the synagogue, believed on the Lord with all his household.”

    As I mentioned above it does not say that Crispus was baptized it only says he “believed” yet we know that Paul baptized Crispus so therefore we can be assured that “belief” is accompanied with baptism. I am assuming that you posted those verses in your previous post in disagreement with my position on baptism and how it relates in responding to the Gospel. Do you believe that water baptism is not included in how one responds in obedience to the Gospel?
    In Christ
    Ben

    • Barbara LeFevre

      Ben~

      Thank you for responding. With your upcoming trip, I don’t know if you’ll even be able to read this, but in case you do, I’ll keep it short because I’m sure you’ll be busy today. If there is a need for any further discussion, perhaps we can pick it up when you get back if you want.

      ~I do believe that water baptism is “included in how one responds in obedience to the Gospel,” because there are many verses in which belief and baptism were done together, and there are verses that say that believers should be baptized; however, I absolutely do not believe that water baptism is necessary for salvation, and the account of the thief on the cross, who was not baptized but would still be with Jesus in Paradise is, to me, the greatest proof of that.

      ~The only reason I posted those verses was in response to your last two sentences in which you wrote, “Most evangelicals would agree that some sort of response to the Gospel is necessary for salvation. The question that stands is what is the Biblical response that is outlined throughout the Scriptures?” There are some Christians who even view these actions as “works,” so they have to dismiss them because they would contradict Ephesians 2:8-9, but that reasoning is flawed because of the very reason that these verses are actually in God’s Word, and they explicitly state that people must do these things in order to be saved. They are not ‘works’ in the sense that they are human actions offered to a holy God as a covering for one’s sins. They are solely actions that denote consent to God’s plan of salvation, that one acknowledges his or her sinful state and need for a Savior and that we receive Him into our lives, leaving our old lives in Adam for a new life in Christ.

      ~The one verse I struggled with was Acts 2:38 because it does seems to say that water baptism is a requirement for salvation. However, I prayed about it, and the Lord led me to an article that is very informative. Google ‘Acts 2:38 Satan’s Favorite Bible Verse.’

      ~I posted something on another day about the idea that I believe that there are three baptisms, one for each member of the Trinity. We know about water baptism of Jesus and about being baptized in the Holy Spirit, so it stands to reason that the Father would also have a baptism. I haven’t done a thorough study on this, but I believe that this is what Mark 1:4 is saying. If this is the case, then I’m thinking that perhaps some of the verses that discuss baptism are referring to the Father’s.

      Well, I hope you read this before you leave. Again, if you want to go into more detail when you get back, I would enjoy that.

      Whether for business or pleasure, I pray that your trip will be richly blessed in God’s provision and protection!

      Your sister in Christ~
      Barbara

  • steve morrow

    2 Timothy 2:19 NIV
    Nevertheless GODS solid foundation stands firm sealed with this inscription THE LORD knows those who are HIS and everyone who confesses the name of the LORD must turn away from wickedness

    Hebrews 5:9
    And being made perfect—HE— became the author of eternal salvation unto —ALL THEM THAT OBEY—HIM

    Acts 10:34&35
    Then Peter opened his mouth and said
    Of a truth I perceive that GOD is —NO RESPECTER OF PERSONS—
    (35)But in—-EVERY NATION—-he that feareth him and worketh righteousness is accepted with HIM

    Titus 3:8
    This is a —FAITHFUL—saying and these things I will that thou affirm —CONSTANTLY—that they which have believed in GOD
    might be careful to maintain good works
    These things are good and profitable unto men

    Matthew 12:33&34
    Either make the tree good and his fruit good
    Or else make the tree corrupt and his fruit corrupt
    For the tree is known by his fruit
    (34) O generation of vipers how can you being evil speak good things for out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaketh

    1 Peter 1:23
    Being born again not of corruptible seed but of incorruptible
    by the word of GOD

    1 Peter 1:25
    BUT THE WORD OF THE LORD ENDURETH FOREVER
    And this is the word which by the gospel is preached unto you

    Proverbs 1:23
    Turn you at MY reproof
    Behold I will pour out MY spirit unto you
    I will make My words known to you

    LOVING YOU LORD HELP US TO BE FAITHFUL UNTO YOU AND YOUR WAYS
    THAT WE WOULD LOSE OURSELVES FOR YOU AND THE GOSPEL THAT WE WOULD BE SAVED WE PRAY JESUS IN YOUR NAME

    • Michael

      I believe E. W. Bullinger nailed the meaning in his book, Figures of Speech in the Bible, on the figure of speech known as the Henadiadys, pp. 657-672, especially p. 664 where he examines John 3:5.

      This book is available on http://www.archive.org if you want to read it for yourself. Do a search for the name of the book, perhaps “Figures of Speech Bible Bullinger.”

      If indeed a Hendiadys, it would be understood as:

      Jesus answered, “Amen, amen, I say to you — if someone is not born of spiritual water, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God.”

      Spiritual water… (John 3:5)
      Living water… (John 4:10)
      Living water… (John 7:38-39)

      If anything stands out in the Gospel according to John, it’s these two things: the deity of the Messiah, and the Holy Spirit.

      I believe γεννηθῇ ἄνωθεν does indeed mean “born again,” but Nikodemos misunderstood it in the sense of a physical re-birth (or you could say, “re-generation”). However, Jesus was speaking of a “spiritual re-generation.”

      Hence, this curious expression in Titus 3:5:

      Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us, by the washing of regeneration [παλιγγενεσία], and renewing of the Holy Spirit.

      παλιγγενεσία is simply another means of expressing γεννηθῇ ἄνωθεν; both mean “born/ begotten again.”

      Note what Paulos writes, “…washing of regeneration…of the Holy Spirit.” Water baptism is a “work of righteousness,” thus the “washing of regeneration” could not be referring to water baptism, otherwise it contradicts the text. Rather, the “washing of regeneration” is baptism in the Holy Spirit.

      • http://marturiamine.blogspot.com Jim Kerr

        Michael,

        If i may add, γεννηθῇ ἄνωθεν literally (& primarily) means “born from above”, and only figuratively as “one more time” or “again”. Our rebirth is spiritual, “from Heaven”, clearly.

        However, the baptism that counts is the spiritual blood-baptism–the daily death on the cross that we are to undergo that conforms disciples more and more to the image of Christ (see Mark 10:38 & Rom 8:29).

        • Michael

          Hi Jim,

          I think γεννηθῇ ἄνωθεν can be *literally* understood as either “born from above” or “born again” — the reason being that ἄνωθεν is elsewhere translated as *both* “from above” (e.g., John 19:11) and “again” (e.g., Gal. 4:9).

          With that being said, there’s nothing wrong with the thought that Jesus intentionally used that specific word as a double entendre, whereby it means both “born again” and “born from above” (note: I say “double entendre” but without the unseemly sense typically attached). After all, we are born *again* (“regenerated”) and this is accomplished “from anbove.”

          Do you disagree that both of these occur?

          We are literally born again; it just so happens that when we are born again the second time, it is spiritual. That was Nikodemos’ misunderstanding. He understood it as being physically born twice, but Jesus never said that man must be *physically* born twice. That’s *earthly*. Jesus spoke of heavenly things. What Nikodemos failed to understand was that Jesus meant that, although the first time is physical, the second time is spiritual, from above.

          As I said, what’s wrong with the double entendre? These men, especially Jesus, knew the word could be understood in two ways (as “again” and “from above”).

          • Michael

            Jim. See also Josephus’ Antiquities of the Jews, 1.18.3.

            http://www.perseus.tufts.edu/hopper/text?doc=Perseus:abo:tlg,0526,001:1:18:3&lang=original

          • Michael

            Sorry, I don’t mean so spam.

            There’s also 1 Peter 1:3 that has ἀναγεννήσας translated as “begotten again.”

            Like I said, ἀναγεννάω (1 Pet. 1:3), γεννάω ἄνωθεν (John 3:3, 3:5) and παλιγγενεσία (Tit. 3:5) are all equivalent in meaning. Right, two verbs, one noun, but you get the point. But, γεννάω ἄνωθεν may be used as a double entendre. The others mean exactly what they say. ἄνωθεν, however, is unique among the group in that it has two quite different senses, yet both senses apply in John 3:3 and 3:5.

            Being “begotten” again does indeed occur “from above.”

          • http://jameswr51@yahoo.com James

            Michael,
            well said yes, “Born from above” certainly can be used also. Thank you for that.

      • steve morrow

        Romans 12:2
        And be not conformed to this world
        But be ye —TRANSFORMED— by the—RENEWING— of your mind
        That you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of GOD

        Matthew 7:21
        Not everyone that saith unto ME LORD LORD shall enter into the kingdom of heaven but he that doeth the will of MY FATHER which is in heaven

        Hebrews 10:36
        For you have need of patience that after you have done the will of GOD you might receive
        the promise

        Titus 1:1&2
        Paul a servant of GOD and an apostle of JESUS CHRIST according to the faith of GODS elect and the acknowledging of the truth which is after
        godliness
        (2)In hope of eternal life which —GOD WHO CANNOT LIE—promised before the world began

        Psalm 119:139
        Thy testimonies that thou hast commanded are righteous and —VERY FAITHFUL—

        Psalm 119:172
        My tongue shall speak of thy word
        For all thy commandments are righteousness

        Psalm 119:86
        All thy commandments are faithful they persecute me wrongfully help thou me

        Proverbs 8:8
        All the words of My mouth are in righteousness
        There is nothing froward or perverse in them

        Proverbs 8:9
        They are all plain to him that understandeth
        and right to them that find knowledge

        Psalm 15:1&2
        LORD who shall abide in thy tabernacle
        who shall dwell in thy holy hill
        (2)He that walketh uprightly and worketh righteousness and speaketh truth in his heart

        Acts 10:35
        But in every nation he that feareth HIM
        and —WORKETH RIGHTEOUSNESS—IS ACCEPTED WITH HIM

        Psalm 19:9
        The fear of THE LORD IS CLEAN enduring forever the judgements of the LORD are true and righteous altogether

        1 John 2:29
        —IF— you know that HE is righteous you know that everyone that doeth righteousness is born of —HIM—

        1 John 3:10
        In this the children of GOD are manifest and the children of the devil whosoever doeth —NOT—
        righteousness is—NOT—of GOD neither he that loveth not his brother

        Romans 6:18
        Being then made free from sin you became the servants of righteousness

        Romans 6:20
        For when you you—WERE— the servants of sin you —WERE— free from righteousness

        Romans 10:2
        For I bear them record that they have a zeal of GOD but not according to knowledge

        Romans 10:3
        For they being ignorant of GODS righteousness and going about to —ESTABLISH THEIR OWN RIGHTEOUSNESS—have not submitted themselves unto the righteousness of GOD

        James 4:7
        Submit yourselves therefore to GOD resist the devil and he will flee from you

        LOVING THE LORD

  • Ben

    Hey Michael ,

    You said

    “Note what Paulos writes, “…washing of regeneration…of the Holy Spirit.” Water baptism is a “work of righteousness,” thus the “washing of regeneration” could not be referring to water baptism, otherwise it contradicts the text. Rather, the “washing of regeneration” is baptism in the Holy Spirit.”

    As I mentioned in a previous post “washing” is not a good translation of the Greek word “loutron”

    “loutron” is a noun and not a verbal participle like the English word “washing”. “loutron” literally means “bath” It does not refer to the act of dipping, but to the actual place of baptizing. We would use the word “baptistery.” Therefore Paul did not see water baptism As a work. Paul viewed water baptism the same way Peter did (acts 2:38). As the mechanism by which someone obeys the Gospel. The Greek word in Titus 3:5 translated as “through” is the preposition “dia” and means the channel by which something occurs. Thus God has chosen to use water baptism as the channel whereby one responds to the Gospel. ( not through the sinners prayer, mourners bench, or alter calls) but we should not be surprised by this since Jesus Himself connected water baptism to obeying the Gospel in the great commission.

    The Greek word (λουτρον) “bath” is only found twice in the NT. In Titus 3:5 and in Eph. 5:26.

    Ephesians 5:26
    26 that He might sanctify and cleanse her with the WASHING of water by the word,

    Here in Ephesians Paul is teaching the same thing as in Titus about how water baptism relates to salvation and Gods redemptive plan. In Ephesians he is discussing how water baptism relates to the church. Here is the literal Greek translation of Ephesians 5:26

    “Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it; that he might sanctify and cleanse it by the bath of water in the message”

    Some might be tempted to allegorize this passage, taking “bath” in a figurative sense. However, Paul identified what kind of “bath” he meant with the words, “of water.” Not only must one interpret “bath” figuratively to escape the literal sense of the text, but also take the additional step of claiming that “water” is figurative too.

    The prepositional phrase, “by the word” (KJV), is thought by some to identify “water” with the Scriptures. But, the sense of the prepositional phrase is not to identify the object with the word it modifies, but to explain the relationship between the two. Unfortunately, many English translations mistranslate this prepositional phrase, “by the word.” The Greek phrase is “εν ρηµα.” Literally, “in [the] message.”

    The word “ρηµα” always means something spoken, such as a command, or “saying.” It is frequently used of the “sayings” of Jesus. Also, it is used of the Gospel message. Here, it refers either to the message of the Gospel, or to the Great Commission, Jesus’ command to make disciples by baptizing
    them (Matt. 28:19-20).

    If this passage was referring to the written word Paul would have used the Greek word “graphe” The preposition “εν” is equivalent to our English “in.” So, the whole statement should be understood as follows:

    “…that he might sanctify and cleanse it [the church] by the bath of water [contained] in the message.”

    Paul is not teaching that the church is cleansed by some mystical water that comes from the Scriptures, he is speaking of water baptism again as the mechanism for how God’s redemptive plan is carried out. ( ie. Response to the Gospel)

    Now the word “washing/washed” unlike Titus and Ephesians is used in a few passages that carries it’s verbal sense. “Wash” (verb – απολουω) is found only in Acts 22:16 & 1 Cor. 6:11. This word is also used as a synonym for baptism.

    Acts 22:16
    “Arise and be baptized, and WASH away your sins.” It appears in the middle voice, meaning the subject participates in doing the action and receives the action. Literally, Ananias told Paul to wash away his sins by being baptized.

    The same word is also used in the middle voice in 1 Cor. 6:11.

    “And such were some of you. But you were WASHED, but you were sanctified, but you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus and by the Spirit of our God.”

    It is significant that of the three verbs listed which distinguish a believer from his former lost condition, two are in the passive voice (sanctified and justified), and “washed” is in the middle voice. The passive voice indicates that the subject received the action of the verb, but did not participate in doing the action himself. Being “justified” and “sanctified” were performed by someone else upon the subject. Obviously, that someone else is God. Yet Paul used the middle voice for “washed” Therefore, “washing” cannot be something performed by God, but by the individual himself. It cannot be a “spiritual” or metaphorical washing implying some spiritual benefit, because the person cannot do that himself. The only thing he can do himself is obey the command to be baptized.

    It literally says ” but you washed yourself, but you were sanctified, but you were justified”

    Also, notice “washed” is listed first, and “sanctified” and “justified” follow. This is exactly what we would expect if God’s part (sanctification and justification) were done for the believer in response to his washing himself. Also notice the two prepositional phrases,

    “in the name of the Lord Jesus” and “by the Spirit of our God.”

    The first prepositional phrase, “in the name of the Lord Jesus,” refers to the middle voice verb “washing.” (Baptism was done in the name of Jesus Christ). And the second prepositional phrase “by the Spirit of our God” refers to the two passive voice verbs, “sanctified” and “justified.” Both of these are done for us by the Spirit.

    It is obvious from this passage that all three verbs were instrumental in bringing about the change in the Corinthians from their former life of sin. Therefore water baptism is a vital part of the salvation process and how we as disciples of Christ should present the Gospel.
    In Christ
    Ben

  • Ben

    Barbara,
    Unfortunately I do not have the time right now to continue the chat because I have to get some things in order before my flight in the morning. I would like to continue our discussion when I get back. I will just briefly comment on James Melton’s article you referenced concerning Acts 2:38. James’ article is packed full of many text book logical fallacies where he deceives his readers by appealing to emotions instead of support. He appeals to Force ( the reader is persuaded to agree by force) in other words if you disagree with his view you must be an “occultist”

    He appeals to prejudicial language- value or moral goodness is attached to believing the author.

    Quote from James Melton
    “In spite of this obvious truth, the cultists remain steadfast in their heresy”

    He appeals to consequences – the reader is warned of unacceptable consequences

    James quote

    “Those who fail to make this distinction are guilty of violating II Timothy 2:15 where we are told to RIGHTLY DIVIDE the word of truth.”

    As far as James’ analysis of the Greek text in Acts, Luke, and Matthew concerning the preposition “eis” he is in gross grammatical error. I will explain this later when I have time.

    His whole paragraph where he argues that The promise attached to Peters statement in Acts 2:38 is for the nation of Israel is preposterous.

    Acts 2:38-39
    38 Then Peter said to them,”Repent, and let every one 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, (Jews gathered at Pentecost) and to ALL WHO ARE AFAR OFF ( all the nations) as many as the Lord our God will call.”

    The gift of the Holy Spirit is promised to all people who will obey the Gospel( repentance/ baptism)

    Furthermore he starts his arguments from Acts and proceeds from there without addressing Jesus statements throughout the Gospels. In order for someone to convince me otherwise of the issues I have brought up they are going to have to deal with the passages that first touch on water baptism throughout the Gospels, predominately in the great commission. Peter in Acts 2:38 is not winging his own point of view when he makes his statement. He is being obedient to the teachings and precedent that Christ perviously set forth.

    Anyways these are just a few points that I would strongly encourage you to consider before you buy into James’ teaching.

    In Christ,
    Ben

    • Barbara LeFevre

      Ben~

      I do want to respond to your post regarding Acts 2:38 and the James Melton article. I will try to have it posted by Thursday night or Friday morning. I came across a scholarly article which you might find less offensive than the first one. Google ‘Jesus Christ, Our Great God and Savior.’ Click on ‘Our Articles’ and do a search for ‘The Translation of “Eis” in Acts 2:38.’

      I’m sure you’re busy with whatever you are doing on your trip and also with exchanging opinions with James, so don’t feel like you have to hurry.

      I’m glad you had a safe trip!

      In Christ~
      Barbara

  • Ben

    Barbara
    oh and thank you for your prayers, they are Much needed.

  • Jerry S.

    I’ll admit I do not read the long comments, so forgive me if I ask, has anyone mentioned the “pool of Siloam” Jhn. 9:11, Neh. 3:15, Jhn. 5:4 or the Laver Exd. 30:18, Exd. 40:7 and 2Ki. 5:14. Immersion and cleansing by water is an old Hebrew concept. Baptism is an English transliteration of the Greek word “baptisma”. To a Greek prior to Christianity this word would not have the meaning it holds today. Most likely baptisma was chosen by the writers of the Septuagint in an attempt to describe the Hebrew concept mentioned above thru a culture that did not have a direct and similar concept.

    It is thru Israel our salvation comes, so it is thru understanding these Hebrew concepts in thier original context will we understand these so called Christian doctrines. Remember Romans 11.
    J.

  • http://jameswr51@yahoo.com James

    Ben,
    I have to disagree with you. you have here the heresy of baptismal regeneration plain and clear. your obvious claims to – “Thus God has chosen to use water baptism as the channel whereby one responds to the Gospel” I have to bite my lip on that one. I guess you may have missed my comment on this above or chose not to reply for obvious reasons. Jesus Christ, in answering the question of Nicodemus as to how the new birth takes place, repeats the necessity of regeneration. “Jesus answered, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God” (John 3:5). Baptismal regeneration is as far removed from this text as hell is from heaven. There is as much similarity between regeneration (the immediate work of the Spirit in the soul) and baptismal regeneration (the mediate work of man by the use of water)as there is between light and darkness. If it were not for the heresy applied to this verse and others, there would be no need for such discussion. But when willful and persistent distortion of verses continues, it behooves the man of God to expose the evil doctrine. Regeneration is an inward work of grace; baptism is an outward work of man. Regeneration is the inward and immediate work of the Spirit; baptism is the mediate symbol of inward cleansing, applied externally. Christ said, “…the water that I shall give him shall be in him a well of water springing up into everlasting life”(John 4:14). The water of baptism is not water that shall be “in” man; neither is it water that brings everlasting life or salvation. How can the heart of man be cleansed by the outward sign of baptism? “born of water and Spirit” no more means baptismal regeneration than the eating of Christ’s flesh and drinking His blood in John 6:33-58 means transubstantiation in the Lord’s Supper.The Holy Spirit in performing regeneration works like
    water. As the “Holy Ghost [Spirit] and fire” (Matt. 3:11)
    signify one thing—the purging of dross—in sanctification, so
    “water and Spirit” (John 3:5) indicate one thing—the Spirit
    cleansing like water—in regeneration. This expression,concerning
    the work of the Spirit under the name of water, was not unusual in the Old Testament. “For I will pour water upon him that is thirsty, and floods upon the dry ground: I will pour my spirit upon thy seed, and my blessing upon thine offspring” (Is. 44:3). “Then will I sprinkle clean water upon you, and ye shall be clean: from all your filthiness, and from all your idols, will I cleanse you” (Ezek. 36:25). Hence, it is that Christ repeats only the Spirit in verse six, so He includes all that is signified by water and Spirit in verse five. “That which
    is born of the Spirit is spirit” (John 3:6).The indwelling Spirit of the regenerate is necessary to apply the external word,or the subjective Spirit is required to apply the objective
    word (John 16:8-11). David said, “For with thee is the
    fountain of life: in thy light shall we see light” (Ps. 36:9).
    Only in the light of the Divine Spirit in regeneration can
    a person be brought under the power of the light of the
    gospel (II Tim. 1:10). There’s a whole lot of water baptisms (by immersion)going on here according to Ben that I don’t agree with. It is foolishness to an unregenerate man to receive the Gospel nor can he without the implantation of the Holy Spirit which only God can do (To whom he wills and to do…)before he is receptive and only then after God softens the heart can he received and believe, – Thus God has chosen to use water baptism as the channel whereby one responds to the Gospel is in my opinion (if claiming water baptism by immersion) is inaccurate

  • Ben

    James
    I appreciate the willingness to discuss this subject, however I’m about to get on a flight so I cannot go in to detail concerning your arguments. Just so you know I reject the idea of baptismal regeneration. The water nor the person facilitating have any mystical qualities. The water is simply the place in which God has promised to meet the repentant sinner and do the work of regeneration as acts 2:38 clearly teaches. the problem with modern evangelical preaching is that its decided to userp this process that Jesus also clearly commands in the great comission and invent man made ways of how the sinner responds to the Gospel. Your Calvinistic bias concerning the process of salvation is clearly shown by your response. I’m sure you also buy into the idea that regeneration occurs prior to belief (monergism)which has no biblical support. If you notice in Acts 2:38 the Jews ay Pentecost say ” men and brethren what shall we do” it is clear that they are positively responding to Peters message yet we know for a fact that thet were not yet regenerated because Peter tells them what to do in order to become regenerated. this response that these Jews give is pretty good for these so called reprobate unbelievers. Gotta board hopefully can get on here overseas but doubtful.

    • http://jameswr51@yahoo.com James

      Ben, more nuggets for thought.
      God’s act of giving life to those who are spiritually dead is distinct from the gospel, just as the faculty of sight is different from light. Quickening is an immediate and creative act: “And you hath he quickened, who were dead in trespasses and sins”(Eph. 2:1). No instrumental means are used with God’s creative act. The word does not produce life, but it is effective in those who possess life. Life is responsive to living things.Nicodemus was told that he had to be born again before he could see. Once the faculty of sight is given, the recipient is guided by the word to repentance and faith. Regeneration precedes the sanctifying influence of the gospel. This is necessary to render the light of gospel truth
      effective. What is the good news to a dead man? As light cannot restore sight to a blind man, so the light of the gospel cannot give spiritual light to one who is spiritually blind. The word of God is very clear in its manner of presenting the truth of the gospel to sinners. “For whosoever shall call
      upon the name of the Lord shall be saved. How then shall they call on him in whom they have not believed? and how shall they believe in him of whom they have not heard? and how shall they hear without a preacher?” (Rom. 10:13, 14). Four words stand out in these verses: call, believe, heard, and
      preacher. (1) They cannot call on Christ in whom they have not believed. (2) They are unable to believe in him of whom they have never heard. Who unstops deaf ears? “The hearing ear, and the seeing eye, the Lord hath made even both of them”(Prov. 20:12). Ability to hear does not originate with either the spoken word or the preacher; it is the sovereign work of God. (3) The preacher is God’s ordained means of conversion, not regeneration. “For Christ sent me not to baptize, but to preach the gospel: not with wisdom of words, lest the cross of Christ should be made of none effect. For the preaching of the cross is to them that perish foolishness; but unto us which
      are saved it is the power of God…For after that in the wisdom of God the world by wisdom knew not God, it pleased God by the foolishness of preaching to save them that believe” (I cor. 1:17, 18, 21). The power of preaching comes from neither the spoken word nor the preacher, but from the Spirit
      of God, whose instrument it is. “And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God” (Eph. 6:17). The word taken abstractly, separated from the soil of the human heart, is called “foolishness of preaching”
      (I Cor. 1:21). The excellency of God’s power is of God,not of His ministers. “But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellency of the power may be of God, and not of us” (II Cor. 4:7). Ministers are nothing, in a comparative
      sense, when it comes to effecting the increase of God. “I have planted, Apollos watered; but God gave the increase. So then neither is he that planteth anything, neither he that watereth; but God that giveth the increase” (I Cor. 3:6, 7). What are trumpets if no breath is breathed into them, and what are preachers if they are not indwelt and empowered to preach the gospel of truth?

  • http://chiliasm.org Ben

    Hey James,
    I guess I do have internet access now for a day or so where I’m at so I can address some of your questions and elaborate on some things that you have posted. In one of your previous posts you said

    You
    “I guess you may have missed my comment on this above or chose not to reply for obvious reasons”

    I’m not sure what comment you are referring to by this statement but I’d be happy to address it.

    You
    “Baptismal regeneration is as far removed from this text as hell is from heaven. There is as much similarity between regeneration (the immediate work of the Spirit in the soul) and baptismal regeneration (the mediate work of man by the use of water)as there is between light and darkness. If it were not for the heresy applied to this verse and others, there would be no need for such discussion. But when willful and persistent distortion of verses continues, it behooves the man of God to expose the evil doctrine. Regeneration is an inward work of grace; baptism is an outward work of man. Regeneration is the inward and immediate work of the Spirit; baptism is the mediate symbol of inward cleansing, applied externally”

    Here you give a whole bunch of dogmatic comments yet with no exegesis of the text. I’m assuming also that you are considering yourself the man of God who is exposing my evil doctrine. You need to address the previous passages I have commented on (Matt 28:19, Mark 16:16, Acts 2:38, 22:16, Rom 6, 1Cor 6:11, Eph 5:26, etc…) including the grammar and give us your exegesis of those same texts explaining how they work with your belief.

    You say that regeneration is “an inward work of grace”. What do you mean by this? Grace is not some spiritual force that performs anything; Grace is a concept that means unmerited favor or kindness. You claim that some of my views are heresy, so I was wondering if you could define the term heresy for me.

    You
    “the water that I shall give him shall be in him a well of water springing up into everlasting life”(John 4:14). The water of baptism is not water that shall be “in” man; neither is it water that brings everlasting life or salvation.”

    I never stated that baptism produces some sort of mystical water that goes in a man. Jesus is specific about what kind of water He is talking about in John 4 it is “living water” which He used as a metaphor for The Holy Spirit. Therefore if you spiritualize water in John 3:5 and say it’s the Holy Spirit as the metaphor is used in John 4 then its rather redundant for Jesus to state the same thing twice, since He makes a distinction between “water” and “ The Spirit”.

    You
    “This expression,concerning the work of the Spirit under the name of water, was not unusual in the Old Testament. “For I will pour water upon him that is thirsty, and floods upon the dry ground: I will pour my spirit upon thy seed, and my blessing upon thine offspring” (Is. 44:3). “Then will I sprinkle clean water upon you, and ye shall be clean: from all your filthiness, and from all your idols, will I cleanse you” (Ezek. 36:25).”

    Jesus indeed references Isa 44:3 in John 7:38, 39 and again uses “living water” as a Metaphor for the Holy Spirit. So again it would not make sense in John 3:5 for Jesus to state the same thing twice. With your application of “born of water” in John 3:5 it has Jesus saying “unless one is born of The Spirit (water), and The Spirit, he cannot see the Kingdom of God”

    Ezekiel 36 has nothing to do with John 3:5. It is a prophecy of something that will be fulfilled amongst the nation of Israel at the second coming and the inauguration of The Kingdom. (In the Millennium) Ezekiel 36:16-38 is a rebuke to the people of Israel who are scattered among all the nations of the world because of their wickedness, yet is says that God will restore them spiritually and cleanse them from their wickedness to inherit the land. Verse 23 states

    “And I will sanctify My great name, which has been profaned among the nations, which you have profaned in their midst; and the nations shall know that I am the LORD,” says the Lord GOD, “when I am hallowed in you before their eyes.”

    This occurs at the battle of Armageddon. The last time I checked Israel as a nation has not been cleansed from all her idols and delivered from all uncleannesses.

    You
    “God’s act of giving life to those who are spiritually dead is distinct from THE GOSPEL,”
    “THE WORD does not produce life, but it is effective in those who possess life.”

    This is not what the New Testament teaches about the Gospel. Here is what Paul said about the Gospel in Romans 1:16

    “For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ, FOR IT (Gospel) is the power of God to salvation for everyone who believes, for the Jew first and also for the Greek.”

    Here Paul says the opposite of what you have stated above. He says that the Gospel IS the power of God into (Greek preposition “eis”) salvation.

    You
    “What is the good news to a dead man? As light cannot restore sight to a blind man, so the light of the gospel cannot give spiritual light to one who is spiritually blind.”

    You still have not commented on my previous post about the Jews response at Pentecost. (Acts 2:37)Remember also that most of these Jews gathered at Pentecost were the same ones who previously were shouting “crucify Him” during Jesus’ trial before Pilate. It is Peter’s preaching of the Gospel that causes them to be “cut to the heart” This response that they give is pretty impressive for these “dead men”.

    When the Gospel is presented to someone they can have one of two responses. They can have the repentant attitude that the Jews showed at Peter’s preaching of the Gospel or they can have the response that the Jewish leaders gave to the hearing of Stephen’s preaching.

    Acts 7:51-54
    “You stiff-necked and uncircumcised in heart and ears! You always RESIST the Holy Spirit; as your fathers did, so do you. 52 Which of the prophets did your fathers not persecute? And they killed those who foretold the coming of the Just One, of whom you now have become the betrayers and murderers, 53 who have received the law by the direction of angels and have not kept it.” 54 When they heard these things they were CUT TO THE HEART, and they gnashed at him with their teeth.

    How one responds to the Gospel is simply of matter of resisting the Holy Spirits efforts to turn them to repentance or submitting to it.

    You
    “The hearing ear, and the seeing eye, the Lord hath made even both of them”(Prov. 20:12).

    So we know that God has fashioned both the ears and eyes of a man, what does that have to do with one’s ability to respond to the Gospel?

    You
    “Ability to hear does not originate with either the spoken word or the preacher; it is the sovereign work of God.”

    Isa 55:1-7
    “Ho! Everyone who thirsts, COME to the waters; And you who have no money, COME, buy and eat. Yes, come, buy wine and milk Without money and without price. 2 Why do you spend money for what is not bread, And your wages for what does not satisfy? LISTEN carefully to Me, and eat what is good, And let your soul delight itself in abundance. 3 INCLINE YOUR EAR, and COME to Me. HEAR, and your soul shall live; And I will make an everlasting covenant with you— The sure mercies of David. 4 Indeed I have given him as a witness to the people, A leader and commander for the people. 5 Surely you shall call a nation you do not know, And nations who do not know you shall run to you, Because of the LORD your God, And the Holy One of Israel; For He has glorified you.” 6 SEEK the LORD while He may be found, CALL UPON Him while He is near. 7 Let the wicked FORSAKE HIS WAY, And the unrighteous man his thoughts; LET HIM RETURN to the LORD, And He will have mercy on him; And to our God, For He will abundantly pardon”.

    If the ability to hear is some sovereign work of God that only He can perform then why is He exhorting men to listen to Him? When God is exhorting men to “hear’ is He actually lying to them and taunting them since they cannot possibly do this unless He does it for them? I choose to believe God’s character and requests are always genuine and He does not act as though He is a Schizophrenic.

    You
    “The excellency of God’s power is of God,not of His ministers.”

    The Excellency of God’s power (unto salvation) is contained in the Gospel message as Romans 1:16 clearly states and God has given us as His disciples the responsibility of proclaiming it.

  • http://jameswr51@yahoo.com James

    Hi Ben,
    I suppose agreeing or disagreeing to one’s interpretation to this or that will always be a never ending cycle, if not there would never be anything to dispute.(ha) Forgive me Ben if I sounded brash or demanding. some of my inserts were from books and teachers that I have learned from over time. I guess I should of put there names there where it was appropriate. I could of saved myself the embarrassment. I try to decipher and discern what to be credible under the guidance of the Holy Spirit. We know God is not a God of confusion. I was prompted by a Baptist Minister as I was doing some research to read the book “How to understand the Bible for All it’s Worth…) incredible wealth, maybe I need to work on it more… I guess I could go about systematically and methodically answering your request only to lead us back to the round about. I’ve read other peoples blogs only to say “truce”(ha) yea. One book I’m reading now also is “Regeneration and Conversion” by W.E.Best.(maybe you’ve heard of him?) I was informed of him through another site “The Gospel Coalition” specifically Tullian Tchividjian’s blog page,Pastor of Coral Ridge here in Ft. Lauderdale, a very gifted teacher for such a young Shepard though I prefer to lean towards a more seasoned teacher like John MacArthur and some others. Well, anyway Ben I hope you accomplish your mission in your journey, I pray for your safety and your task at hand we’ll talk again later. Your friend and mine in Christ James

  • Ben

    No worries James if you want to end the discussion thus far.
    From our conversation this far I can tell that you have been heavily influenced by these teachers in regards to the teachings of Calvinism. Calvinsm is an extremely Heretical system of Theology that had absolutely no existence in the post-apostolic chuch of the first few centuries. Calvinistic ideas did exist in the early church period only they were not to be found among any of the pristine faith local churches but in the teaching of the Gnostic cults. When I first discovered this from reading the early Christian writers who were trained by the Apostles it made the hair stand up on the back of my head. When you read men like Irenaeus and you look at the statements that him and other early writers make about what the Gnostics were teaching it is clearly where the birth of Calvinistic thought came from. It took until the 4 century for Augustine who was a former Gnostic to fully merge Greek Platonic thought into the Scriptures and develop the system of theology that today we call Calvinism. It really should be called Augustinism because if you read John Calvin’s institutes for the Christian faith you can hardly get through a page before he refers back to Augustine. The fact that the doctrines of Calvinsm were not taught in early historical Christianity does give me confidence that the system is heretical, but proving this does not come from just History but from what the Scriptures say about Gods revealed will. (not his secret will) Now if you are confident that what I’m telling you is a bunch of hog wash then you will have no problem measuring the things you believe with some teachings that I am going to recommend to you. It behooves you to take a look at these teachings and if anything if these arguments set forth against Calvinism are weak then it will only strengthen what you believe. But I think you will be presently surprised. Please see a website called “pristine faith restoration society” it’s PFRS.org
    And go to the teachings and read through the calvinism section and the once saved always saved section.
    Take care,
    Ben

    • http://jameswr51@yahoo.com James

      Ben,
      I will do that.

  • Acts2:38

    G907 Baptizo— Greek word for Baptize
    Meaning….. To immerse, to submerge to make clean with water

    G908 Baptisma—- Greek word for Baptisim
    Meaning….Immersion, submersion, in water as commanded by Christ

    G859 Aphesis—Greek word for Remission
    Meaning…..Release from bondage or imprisonment, forgiveness of sins as if they had never been committed, remission of the penalty.

    Acts 16:16. He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved, but he that believeth not shall be damned.

    Luke 24:47 And that repentance and remission of sins should be preached in his name among all nations begginning at Jerusalem.

    Acts 2:38 Then said Peter 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.

    Acts 19:3-5 And he said unto them Unto what then were ye baptized and they said Unto Johns baptism
    Then said Paul John verily baptized with the baptism of repentance saying unto the people that they should believe on him which should come after him that is on Christ Jesus. When they heard this they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus.

    Romans 6:4 Therefore we are buried with him by baptisim into death…..

    1 Peter 3:21 The like figure where unto even baptism doth also now save us….

  • FreelyGiven39

    We must allow the Holy Spirit to reveal the Truth of what has been revealed to our brothers and sisters in the body of Christ. The Holy Spirit has poured the truth of the Gospel into my spirit, which is this: Whosever BELIEVES on the Lord Jesus Christ (and His Finished Work) HAVE (present tense) Eternal Life. Receiving this Truth posed a problem for me, however. I asked the Lord: But what about Water Baptism? I prayed to have this portion of scripture in John 3 as well as Mark 16:16 revealed to me. Every now and again, I thanked the Lord in advance for revealing it to me – whether directly to me or by means of one of my brethen in the body of Christ.

    I have read Justin Alfred’s exposition above. I must say I understand with my mind what has been written about the water referring to the physical birth of Adam’s progeny. I am careful not to rely on my mind to receive spiritual truths. However as I reread the blog the third time, the Holy Spirit
    highlighted a distinction between 2 words: SEE and ENTER.

    I will by the Holy Spirit write what I have received: Having been spiritually born (a Rebirth that CAN ONLY HAPPEN TO THOSE WHO WERE PREVIOUSLY PHYSICALLY BORN) enables us to SEE OR PERCEIVE the Kingdom of God…Remember the Lord said in Luke 17:21 – Neither shall they say, Lo here! or, lo there! for, behold, the kingdom of God is within you.

    So we believers see or perceive the Kingdom when we BELIEVE on the Lord Jesus and His substitionary work on the Cross or when we are BORN AGAIN as the Spirit of God makes alive our spirits. However, not only do believers, upon being born again, see or perceive the Kingdom that is within us,we also ENTER INTO The Kingdom of God. Hence Jesus’ words in John 3:5. Jesus answered, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born of water AND [of] the Spirit, he cannot ENTER INTO the kingdom of God. (CAPS mine)

    ONLY THOSE WHO HAVE BEEN BORN OF FLESH(an earthly birth: whether of blood, of the Will of man, or of the Will of the flesh – as opposed to the Will of God – John 1:13) ARE IN NEED OF and CAN OBTAIN A SPIRITUAL BIRTH OR NEWBIRTH EXPERIENCE! THIS CONSTITUTES ALL MANKIND!!

    More simply, Earthly Birth is a prerequesite for Spiritual Birth.

    In summary, ONE IS A CANDIDATE TO SEE OR PERCEIVE AND TO ENTER THE KINGDOM OF GOD BY SIMPLY HAVING BEEN BORN BY MEANS OF AN EARTHLY BIRTH – UNDER ADAM.