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                                                                                SALVATION QUESTION 210

QUESTION 210:   What do you make of the verse, “Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit he cannot see the kingdom of God in John 3. ? ” Is it not inconsistent to make water a symbol  of something, and in the same sentence make the Holy Spirit an actual entity “The Spirit?”

ANSWER: There are too many that believe in baptismal regeneration and  take practically every mention of water in the Bible to say it means water baptism. This is their main verse.
Nicodemus was a  ruler (teacher) of the Jews. He would  be very familiar with Ezek.36:25,,26    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. A new heart also will I give you, and a new spirit will I put within you: and I will take away the stony heart out of your flesh, and I will give you an heart of flesh. Jesus is using language with him that he should  understand.  In these verses the  Nation of Israel is promised a cleaning and spiritual birth.  Jesus is telling this teacher that he  needed that life to get into the kingdom. 
Now to the question, there is no inconsistency with using the figurative and literal language in any verses. It is used above in the quote from Ezekiel. (Underlined) It is also used of the church in Ephesians 5:26,  That he might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word, The water here is figurative and the Word is literal. Water is symbolical of cleansing. However, it is not water baptism,  which is symbolic, but the precious blood of Christ that  cleanses us from all sin (See 1 John 1:7) The figurative cannot be the literal.  It is quite easy to see the difference when you look for other references to being born again.  1 Peter 1:23, makes it clear that we are born again by the Word of God.  Being born again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, by the word of God, which liveth and abideth for ever.  James adds to this, 1:18,   Of his own will begat he us with the word of truth.
In comparing any scripture with other scriptures  you can separate the figurative from the literal.
There is no problem with John 3:16. It is all literal. God is saying here exactly what He means.  If you are not saved then believing this verse is the essence of salvation.   For God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten Son that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. He is saying what  He means and He means what He says. Faith in Him is just believing He means what He says.

Do you believe Him? If not do not believe Him, then you  are an unbeliever and headed toward  hell.  Is that where you want to go?

All comments and questions to: Harold Smith

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Updated March 13th, 2014 by Sandra Felix