Let Us Not Divorce Them!

Gayle Oler

“What God hath joined together let not man put asunder.” This is said many times in weddings. It should apply not only to man and wife but also to the divine plan of salvation.

For wise and good reasons our Lord has joined together water and the Spirit in the new birth. “Verily, verily, I say unto thee, except a man be born of the water and the spirit he cannot enter into the kingdom of God” (John 3:5).

Theologians have been very industrious to divorce water and the Spirit in the new birth, but Jesus said except a person be born of the two he cannot enter into the kingdom. A person cannot be born of water without the Spirit, and he cannot be born of the Spirit without the water. One cannot be born of his mother without his father, nor is one born of his father without his mother. Both are essential in either case to a birth.

That being born of water refers to baptism in John 3:5 is of -firmed by all unprejudiced commentators. We name as declaring such some of the most widely recognized leaders : John Wesley, Dean Alford, Lyman Abbot, 0lshausen, Meyer, Tholuck, Canon Wescott, The Doctrinal Tracts of the Methodist Episcopal Church, Westminster Confession of the Presbyterians, The Book of Com­mon Prayer, Dr. Philip Schaff, Dr. Daniel Whitby, and scores of

others who have gone on record as conceding that “born of water” means water baptism.

This joining of the water ,and Spirit is recognized also in Titus 3 :5 “Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us, by the washing of regeneration and the renewing of the Holy Spirit.”

A similar divorce would be affected by many preachers be­tween faith and baptism. Though Jesus says: “He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved,” some preachers preach that one is saved at the point of faith without baptism or anything else. Imagine their trying to separate “believeth and is baptized” when God has joined them together with an essential co-ordinate con-junction “and.”

Churches of Christ believe in preaching and practicing it just as the Father has it in the book. Let us have no divorce nor sepa­ration, no estrangement of these essentials in the salvation of the soul. God knew best.

Via Just a Moment

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