HOME

Table of Contents

jesus_nic

“Truly, Truly, I Say to You, Unless One Is Born From ABOVE of Water and the
Spirit, He Cannot Enter into the Kingdom of God” John 3:3, 5

The next six pages are devoted to God’s teaching of Baptism. A burning issue of today is addressed: Through His miracle of Baptism, does God have the power to forgive your sins, to sanctify you, and to save you for eternity?
In noting God’s definition of Baptism, one point must be made loudly and clearly: Baptism is not a human ritual. Baptism was not invented by some church denomination. BAPTISM HAS BEEN INSTITUTED BY GOD HIMSELF.

JESUS DEFINES BAPTISM

Jesus gives His entire church His command: “Make disciples of all the nations, BAPTIZING them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I commanded you” (Matthew 28:19–20).
God unfolds His extensive definition of His miracle of Baptism in the Spirit’s record of Jesus’ visit with Nicodemus (as shown on the opposite page) in John 3:1–21. Read the two preceding verses, John 2:24–25. These two verses will give you key background information for understanding the visit between Jesus and Nicodemus. The key is this: Even before Nicodemus uttered one word, Jesus “knew what was in man.” Jesus knew Nicodemus intended to filter the entire discussion through human reason. This point may also be critical for you. Why? Because most people try to figure out or understand Baptism using human reason. However, when God speaks to you about His divine mysteries, He asks you to set aside your human reason and to listen only to His Word. “The thoughts of God no one knows except the Spirit of God. Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, that we might know the things freely given to us by God” (1 Corinthians 2:11–12).


In his entire 21-verse discussion with Jesus, Nicodemus speaks only twice. On the basis of reason, he raises one objection in verse 4 and a second in verse 9. After that, Nicodemus is silent. God’s clear lesson—not only to Nicodemus—but also to all who want to know the mysteries of God—is this: “Be still, and know that I am God” (Psalm 46:10 KJV). “Let all the earth be silent before Him” (Habakkuk 2:20). “Be silent, all flesh, before the LORD” (Zechariah 2:13). To put it bluntly, when God speaks, shut your mouth and listen! Nicodemus learned his lesson. This story shows why this lesson is also so important for you.

LISTEN CAREFULLY TO JESUS’ GOOD NEWS FOR YOU!

Jesus’ initial statement to Nicodemus was: “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born again [born from above], he cannot see the kingdom of God.” Nicodemus replied: “How can a man be born when he is old?” Jesus repeated exactly what He initially stated and added one key phrase, shown in bold: “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God” (John 3:3–5). By repeating that God causes people to be born again from above, and by adding that God performs this miracle through the water and the Spirit, Jesus stated—for Nicodemus AND THE MILLIONS BORN SINCE THEN, INCLUDING YOU—His specific definition of the power of God’s miracle of Baptism. You may decide to doubt or even disbelieve this teaching from Jesus. However, Jesus’ Word “stands forever!” (Isaiah 40:8). You must be reborn from above, as the picture shows.


GOOD NEWS is unashamedly published by Lutheran Christians. We neither follow nor adore Luther as a person. However, with Luther, we insist on “Scripture alone!” Of Jesus’ discussion with Nicodemus, Luther stated unequivocally: “Here Christ is speaking of Baptism” (Luther’s Works, vol. 22, p. 283).

SCRIPTURE ALONE!

We therefore invite you to open your Bible. Using the Bible study that begins on page 38 as an initial guide, nourish your soul on the teachings of Jesus and the Spirit. Do this as if you are at a banquet prepared and served by the King of Kings and the Lord of Lords, Jesus the Christ!

For even more Scripture-based study, go to the Bible study beginning on page 38 and to Good News online at GN4U.info. There you will learn, in addition to Christ’s teaching of Nicodemus, other definitions the Spirit gives for God’s miracle of Baptism for you, including: “You were washed [Baptized], . . . you were sanctified, . . . you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ, and in the Spirit of our God” (1 Corinthians 6:11).


Dear Lord Jesus, focus my mind regularly on Your record of Jesus’ discussion with Nicodemus. In spiritual matters, cause me to turn away from trusting my reason, to be “silent before you,” and to trust only in Your living Word. Cause me daily to cling to the Spirit’s teaching: “Trust in the LORD with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding” (Proverbs 3:5). Amen.… 

To continue reading, click here.