Tim, I was not able to read B. G. Ellis's post re: born of water (couldn't find it), but I did read your post today regarding this subject. I realize their are differing views on water baptism being required for salvation, therefore I would like to respond with some scriptures and my thoughts on this topic.You said "born of water" was the first birth of the flesh. I don't know what B. G. said, but I hope he was referring to a water baptism. I believe that this verse (John 3:5) which states you must be born of the water and the Spirit to enter into the kingdom of God is referring to a water baptism and a Holy Ghost (Spirit) baptism. This was preached by Peter in his first sermon on the day of Pentecost, the beginning of the new testament church, in Acts 2:38. John 3:5 was preceded by John 3:3 which are in the same conversation between Jesus and Nicodemus in which Jesus said you must be born again. Nicodemus asked Jesus how can a man be born again and Jesus answered with you must be born of the water and Spirit. So, I believe we are looking at requirements for mankind to do as part of salvation after they are born in the flesh. After all, we are all born in the flesh and that does not require any action on our part.Paul the apostle did say in I Corinthians 1:17 he came not to baptize, in other words he wasn't doing the actual baptisms, but he came to preach the gospel, specifically to the Gentiles. He did believe that baptism was an essential part of salvation. Paul himself was baptized in Acts 22:16 and he also commanded some of John the Baptist's disciples in Ephesus to be rebaptized in the name of the Lord Jesus in Acts 19:2 - 6. Look at the following verses penned by Paul:Romans 6:3 Know ye not, that so many of us as were baptized into Jesus Christ were baptized into his death? 4 Therefore we are buried with him by baptism into death: ..........................................I Corinthians 6:11 And such were some of you: but ye are washed (baptized), ...............................Ephesians 4:5 One Lord, one faith, one baptism,.
Colossians 2:12 Buried with him in baptism, wherein also ye are risen with him through the faith of the operation of God, who hath raised him from the dead.Jesus said we must be baptized in Matthew 28:19, Mark 16:16, Luke 24:47 and John 3:5 and Peter said it saves us in I Peter 3:21.The thief on the cross was still under the old testament or law of salvation; Jesus granted him salvation before he himself died on the cross. The new testament did not take effect until the day of Pentecost, over a month later. Therefore the thief did not have to be born again of the water and of the Spirit. Only those alive on the day of Pentecost and beyond have to obey Acts 2:38 for salvation. As far as death bed situations, I can not comment on that. When asked that question, I simply reply with I do not know who is and is not saved, that is up to Jesus; I myself am going to obey the word of God, the bible, to the best of my ability. That's one of the main reasons why he gave us a bible; so we would know how to be saved.Tim, you are correct in that works do not save us, but by faith we have aceess into his grace. Works prior to faith, belief, salvation does not save us, however, James warns us that faith without works is dead and you believe in one God, you do well: the devils also believe and tremble. Faith must be accompanied by works according to James (James 2:17 - 26). I believe what this says is that after you believe and have faith you must be obedient to God and his plan of salvation.In conclusion, the water baptism (immersion) in Jesus Christ name is a critical step in receiving salvation. There are plenty of scriptures above to support this. It is the second step of a three step process. Repentance is the first, water baptism is the second and infilling of the Holy Ghost is the third. See Acts 2:38.Here is one final way to look at water baptism and the entire salvation plan. Paul said we are saved by the gospel of Christ in I Corinthians 15:2 and he said we must obey it in II Thessalonians 1:8. Peter said you must obey the gospel in I Peter 4:17. How do we obey the gospel? First, the gospel of Christ is the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus according to I Corinthians 15:3 & 4. Notice here that the gospel consisted of three steps. We obey the gospel in a parallel fashion symbolically. We must die to sin through repentance; we must be buried with Christ in a water baptism (burial) and must resurrect into a new creature with the infilling of the Holy Ghost. This is why Jesus said we have to be born again of the water (baptism) and the Spirit (Holy Ghost) since we die to sin and the old man through repentance.Tim, I write this to you and all doves because I care. This is a topic I have discussed with many and unfortunately there are not just 2 or so beliefs on this, there are many. Paul says in Ephesians 4:5, only one baptism. That is why I go with the bible and the words of Jesus, Peter and Paul. They all said it was required and/or discussed the importance of it.I hope this blesses you and many others with what the bible says about this important topic.In Christ,Kent