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We can learn a great deal of Bible truth by comparing scriptures. Jesus used this method of determining Bible authority in Matthew 4. When Satan confronted Him, He also quoted scripture.  In verse 6 Satan referenced the Father’s promise not to allow His Son to stumble--“He shall bear thee up, lest thou dash thy foot against a stone” (Psalm 91:11-12).  In response, Jesus quoted another scripture, “Thou shalt not tempt the Lord your God” (Deuteronomy 6:16).  Man is not to put God to the “test” to see if He will keep His promises.

In a similar way we may learn Bible truth from comparing scriptures today.  Take for example “The New Birth.” What is it?  How are we born again?

In John 3:5 Jesus told Nicodemus, “Most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God” (NKJV).

There are those who deny the water of the new birth.  However, the conjunction “and” joins two items of equal rank and importance. Both water and the Spirit are involved.

But what about the “Spirit?”  We know that the Holy Spirit revealed God’s Word to the New Testament writers. Jesus plainly indicated that “when the Spirit of truth is come, He will guide you (apostles) into all truth” (John 16:13).  This guidance by the Holy Spirit resulted in inspiration  (II Peter 1:21; II Timothy 3:16).

Now let us notice several other scriptures which speak of the “new birth” and the resulting salvation.

In I Corinthians 12:13 we are told, “for by one Spirit we were all baptized into one body.”  Both  “baptism” and “Spirit” are found here and the result places us into the “one body” (“church” – Acts 2:38-41 and I Corinthians 12:27).  Such individuals are “saved” according to Ephesians 5:23.

In Ephesians 5:26 Paul writes that Christ died for the church “that He might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water and the Word.”  Here the “washing of water” is baptism (See Acts 22:16).  The “Word” obviously has reference to the Spirit-revealed Word of God. The result this time is sanctification and cleansing of sin.

Again with Titus 3:5 we find the apostle affirming that salvation is “not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to His mercy He saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Spirit.” The word “regeneration” means literally “new birth.” Christians are born “by the Word of God” (I Peter 1:23).  It is through that Word that the Holy Spirit gives us “newness of life” (Romans 6:4).  When does Paul say that this takes place?  When we were “baptized into Jesus Christ…buried with Him by baptism…and raised up from the dead to the glory of the Father…that we should walk in newness of life...” (Romans 6:4).

James summarizes the whole thing in chapter 1 and verse 18 when he writes, “of His own will begat He us with the word of truth.” Remember that Jesus said,  “Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God” (John 3:5).

Notice the comparison below of these four scriptures.  They all paint one portrait of salvation. Our salvation (i.e. entrance into the church “body”) depends upon our obedience (submission) to the Word of God and our baptism into Christ.

Larry Albritton

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