John 3:3 says that, unless we are born again, we cannot enter the kingdom of God. But how is a person "born again"? Many preachers say that one need not do anything but will be born again if he only believes in Jesus. But what does the Bible say?
Notice 1 Peter 1:22,23: "Since you have purified your souls in obeying the truth..., having been born again, not of corruptible seed but incorruptible, through the word of God which lives and abides forever." So the Bible says we purify our souls and are born again by obeying the truth of God's word. The new birth requires obedience; it does not exclude it.
Again, 2 Corinthians 5:17 says: "Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creature..." One who is a new creature is one who has been born again. And everyone should agree that one must be in Christ to be born again. So how does one come into Christ?
Romans 6:3 says: "Or do you not know that as many of us as were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into His death?" So to be in Christ is to be born again, but we are baptized into Christ. To make sure we do not miss the point, the next verse says that, when we have been buried with Christ in baptism, we "walk in newness of life." We become born again and walk in a new life after we have been baptized, not before.
All of us need to be born again to enter to kingdom of God, just like the Bible says. But the Bible also tells us how to be born again. It says that faith is required, but it also says that baptism is required. No one is truly been born again until he has been Scripturally baptized.
(c) Copyright David E. Pratte, 8/2007
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