Baptism in itself does not guarantee our salvation because it doesn’t change the heart of man. It’s only a symbolic ceremony of that change. A man might be baptized but he has no faith, no repentance to sin and no fruits. It is the transforming power of the Holy Spirit that changes the heart in conversion. One must be born of the Spirit as well as born of water “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” (John 3:5).
Nicodemus had listened to John, and may have heard his statements about baptism with water (John 1:26) and with the Holy Ghost (v. 33). Nicodemus anticipated admission into the kingdom of God as a natural-born, devout Jew, but Jesus declared that anything less than a complete transformation of the life by the power of the Holy Spirit was inadequate (Rom. 6:3–6).
To be “born of water and of the Spirit” is equivalent to being “born again,” that is, “from above” (John 3:3). Those who are born from above have God as their Father and resemble Him in character (1 John 3:1–3; John 8:39, 44). Henceforth, they aspire, by the grace of Christ, to live above sin (Rom. 6:12–16) and do not yield their wills to commit sin (1 John 3:9; 5:18).
Baptism does not insure that we are saved but its repentance from sin that does “Repent ye therefore, and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out” (Acts 3:19). Salvation comes only as a free gift from Jesus Christ when one experiences the new birth. Baptism is a symbol of true conversion, and unless conversion precedes baptism, the ceremony is meaningless.
In His service,
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