Author: Fred Pruitt
I do not know of any words that Jesus spoke which we have on record in the Bible that are of more importance, or that should be considered more seriously by the sinner or unsaved person than these words: “Ye must be born again.” (John 3:7). Many men and women have read the Bible over and over, and yet have never been born again. Many young men and women take courses in the many Bible schools in the land and come out with diplomas and take up pastoral work or evangelistic work and pass themselves off on the people as Doctors of Divinity who have never been born again. In this way Satan is deceiving the multitudes. Some of these D.D.’s who need to be born again teach the people that Jesus meant literal water when He said, “Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God.” John 3:5. Water is often used in the Bible as a symbol of Christ, and if we put the right meaning on this Scripture it would keep us clear from many other errors in our conclusions and understanding of the Sacred Word.
In the fourth chapter of John, Jesus made it plain to the woman at the well that He is the water of life that will quench the thirst of the soul. Read verses 10 and 14. Christ in us is symbolized as “living water.” We read in John 7:37-39, “. . . If any man thirst, let him come unto me, and drink. He that believeth on me, as the scripture hath said, out of his belly [innermost being] shall flow rivers of living water. (But this spake he of the Spirit, which they that believe on Him should receive: for the Holy Ghost was not yet given; because that Jesus was not yet glorified).” In Colossians 1:27 we read what Paul said of the Holy-Spirit-baptized Colossians: “To whom God would make known what is the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles; which is Christ in you, the hope of glory.” In Revelation 22:17 we read again, “And the Spirit and the bride say, Come. And let him that heareth say, Come. And let him that is athirst come. And whosoever will, let him take the water of life freely.” Christ is the water of life to every thirsty soul He is the Lord “our righteousness.” (Jer. 23:6.) In Matthew 5:6 we read, “Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness: for they shall be filled.” “And the Word [Christ] was made flesh, and dwelt among us,..” John 1:14.
Peter, referring to the eight souls that were saved by water, said in I Peter 3:20-21, “The like figure [You notice he puts literal water as a figure and not the real thing that saved them.] whereunto baptism [water] doth also now save us (not the putting away of the filth of the flesh, but the answer of a good conscience toward God).” The water merely answers to our good conscience of Christ being resurrected in our souls because we have been born of the Spirit, as Peter further says, “by the resurrection of Jesus Christ.” The water did not save the eight souls in Noah’s time, but it was the ark that saved them. So it is today that when we are in Christ, we are in the Ark of safety and He saves us from all the surrounding sin and evil in the world. The literal water was a figure of the salvation of the eight souls in the ark of safety, and the literal water of baptism (immersion) is a figure of the death, burial, and resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ. (Rom. 6:4-6.) In other words, in water baptism we go down into the watery grave as Jesus went into an earthly grave. We are buried with Christ, dead to the world of sin, and resurrected to new life in Christ. We symbolize this change that has taken place by water baptism as we come forth from the watery grave to walk in newness of life, even in His life. Speaking of this new life, Paul said in Galatians 2:20, “I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me.”
There is a vast difference between having the faith of the Son of God and only having faith that God exists. One could have a head faith in God, and yet be lost and headed for destruction; but if he has the faith of the Son of God, he will be saved and ready for heaven. Faith of the Son of God is a part of God in the soul, or an earnest of the Spirit, (Eph. 1:14), which preserves us unto His coming and causes us to put on an immortal body to live with God the Father, and Jesus Christ His Son, forever. (1 Cor. 15:51-52.) It is not an uncommon thing for us to hear people say, “I trust in God,” or “I have faith in God,” or “I believe in God.” It is one thing to talk of trust, faith, and belief in God, but it is another thing to have trust, faith, and the belief of God in the soul. Many people will say, “I believe God will save me and that He has power to save me,” but they do not have the faith of God in the soul that He saves now.
Some people seem to think that obtaining salvation is like buying groceries where they can hunt for bargains. You can buy the truth and salvation-not with money-but you cannot find any bargains, for all must pay the same full price to obtain genuine salvation. The Devil has plenty of substitutes and bargains on display, but the genuine can only be purchased by the willing, obedient, self-denying route. Jesus makes it plain to us in Matthew 13:45-46. He tells us about a merchant man seeking for goodly pearls. When he had found one pearl of great price (which is Christ) he went and sold all that he had and bought the Pearl of great price. To really be “born again,” means a selling out of self and giving up to God. It means that the majority of people will not do this, but they look for bargains in the many man-made religions and pay a small price to be deceived and lost, having only a profession of faith in God. Just to say we believe God is not sufficient, for James says, “The devils believe and tremble.” (James 2:19.)
God wants people to get the faith of God in their heart. We read in Romans 10:9-10, “That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.” Literal water salvation is certainly a cheap substitute for the genuine salvation of God, which comes to man through His blood sacrifice on the cross of Calvary. We must have something from heaven in our souls by faith from the Son of God in order to have the genuine Pearl of great price. Jesus is the author and finisher of our faith. (Heb. 12:2.) Brother, sister, if you have been deceived into receiving one of Satan’s many substitutes, please throw it all away and seek God for the genuine. If you have made no profession, do not look among the many man-made churches and be fooled with a substitute, but seek God and pay a full price and get genuine salvation that saves from all sin in this life and brings peace, quietness, and assurance in your soul forever.
Jesus said, “Ye must be born again.”
You do not need to know very much about the Bible nor its teachings to get genuine salvation. You need to know that you are a sinner and lost on the road to destruction and that Jesus is the Saviour of all who believe on Him. You need to know that you should repent of sinning against God. You should ask God to have mercy upon you and to forgive you of all your trespasses and sins, and should keep seeking, giving up, surrendering, and humbling yourself before Him until you know that your soul has been born again, born from above, and that you really have the faith of God in your soul that He saves you now from all sin, and that peace, quietness, and assurance is in your soul. (Isa. 32:17.) When you have the Spirit of truth in your soul, He will lead and guide you into all truth. (John 16:13.) And as you are obedient, you will be eating His flesh and drinking His blood, for Jesus said, “Except ye eat the flesh of the Son of man, and drink his blood, ye have no life in you.” (John 6:53.) Yes, dear sinner friend, “Ye must be born again.” Dear professor, you must have the faith of God in your soul or you will be grievously disappointed in the great judgment day.