The Only Work that Saves
by Ronald W Robey

John 3:1 There was a man of the Pharisees, named Nicodemus, a ruler of the Jews:

2 The same came to Jesus by night, and said unto him, Rabbi, we know that thou art a teacher come from God: for no man can do these miracles that thou doest, except God be with him.

3 Jesus answered and said unto him, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.

4 Nicodemus saith unto him, How can a man be born when he is old? can he enter the second time into his mother’s womb, and be born?

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.

6 That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit.

7 Marvel not that I said unto thee, Ye must be born again.

Many falsely believe that in John 3:5 Jesus is telling Nicodemus that one cannot enter into Heaven if one is not both water baptized, and born of the Spirit. (is the Spirit that weak that He cannot save without natural water?)

Water Baptism is not even what the Lord Jesus Christ had in mind when He spoke to Nicodemus. He was telling Nicodemus that being born by natural birth was not enough…one must also be born of the Spirit of God.

That birth can only take place when one places one’s faith in the Lord Jesus Christ.

In John 3:5 Jesus was answering the question asked by Nicodemus, “How can a man be born when he is old? can he enter the second time into his mother’s womb, and be born?”

That Jesus was contrasting that which ushers forth the natural birth with that which ushers the spiritual birth is quite evident when one read both John 3:5 & John 3:6 together.

If Jeuss meant water baptism, then it would make no sense whatsoever for Him to again compare the natural with the spiritual in verse six.

John 3:6 That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit.

And then, Jesus said, “Marvel not that I said unto thee, ye must be born again.”

Verses 5 -6 reveal the ONLY way to be born again is by the Spirit of God.

The baptism that Jesus was to

Matthew 3:11 I indeed baptize you with water unto repentance: but he that cometh after me is mightier than I, whose shoes I am not worthy to bear: he shall baptize you with the Holy Ghost, and with fire:

John said that he baptized people with water, but that Jesus Christ would baptize in an entirely different manner…Jesus Christ would baptize with fire (judgment) and Spirit…not water.

Just prior to His ascension, Jesus Christ told His apostles…

Acts 1:5 For John truly baptized with water; but ye shall be baptized with the Holy Ghost not many days hence. (notice that Jesus did not say “Ye shall be baptized with water and the Holy Ghost”)

And in Acts 2, we see the baptism of the Holy Ghost when the Spirit fell upon the apostles in the Upper Room. People from all nations that were in Jerusalem witnessed this baptism of the Holy Ghost…and the apostle took the opportunity to preach Christ to them.

Toward the end of his sermon, the apostle told the crowd “Repent and be baptized for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost.”

So many in the modern Apostolic faith believe Peter to have meant water baptism. He did not.

The crowds had marveled at the tongues that were spoken. Paul states in 1 Corinthians 12 that tongues are a gift given by the Spirit. Tongues were the gift of the Holy Ghost that Peter was speaking of that day in the Upper Room. And the baptism was the baptism of the Holy Ghost itself.

The crowd had witnessed the effects of the baptism of the Holy Ghost and had heard the gift of the Holy Ghost. Peter was telling them they could experience the same thing the apostles were experiencing.

How could they receive what the Apostles received? They needed to repent and receive the baptism of the Holy Ghost for the remission of sins, and they too would be given the gift of tongues that they had heard.

Nothing in the text of John 3, nor in the text of Acts 2 says that water baptism was needed in order to be saved.

And Acts 10 proves people can be saved without being water baptized. The crowd received the Holy Ghost prior to being commanded to be baptized in water.

Did you catch that? They were saved before being water baptized. Water baptism did not save them…their faith in the Christ that was preached saved them. The water baptism was simply an symbol of what had already taken place in their lives. Had Peter not commanded them to be baptized, they would have still been saved because of their faith in Christ Jesus.

John 6:29 Jesus answered and said unto them, This is the work of God, that ye believe on him whom he hath sent.

Ephesians 2:8 For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God:

9 Not of works, lest any man should boast.

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