- Apr 17, 2015
According to the scriptures, I have to be born of the water and of the Spirit. How do I do this?
Get baptized. That's what the church taught from the beginning. It wasn't until the reformation, some 1500+ years later, that people started teaching that baptism was not necessary.
Jesus said it was. (Mat 28:19)
Justin Martyr (100 – 165 AD) The First Apology, Chapter LXI, “Christian Baptism”
I will also relate the manner in which we dedicated ourselves to God when we had been made new through Christ; lest, if we omit this, we seem to be unfair in the explanation we are making. As many as are persuaded and believe that what we teach and say is true, and undertake to be able to live accordingly, are instructed to pray and to entreat God with fasting, for the remission of their sins that are past, we praying and fasting with them. Then they are brought by us where there is water, and are regenerated in the same manner in which we were ourselves regenerated. For, in the name of God, the Father and Lord of the universe, and of our Savior Jesus Christ, and of the Holy Spirit, they then receive the washing with water. For Christ also said, “Except ye be born again, ye shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven.”Now, that it is impossible for those who have once been born to enter into their mothers’ wombs, is manifest to all. And how those who have sinned and repent shall escape their sins, is declared by Esaias the prophet, as I wrote above; he thus speaks: “Wash you, make you clean;...”
And for this [rite] we have learned from the apostles this reason. Since at our birth we were born without our own knowledge or choice, by our parents coming together, and were brought up in bad habits and wicked training; in order that we may not remain the children of necessity and of ignorance, but may become the children of choice and knowledge, and may obtain in the water the remission of sins formerly committed, there is pronounced over him who chooses to be born again, and has repented of his sins, the name of God the Father and Lord of the universe; ...
St. Basil on Baptism as being born again of water and spirit (4th Century)
Hence it follows that the answer to our question why the water was associated to the Spirit is clear: the reason is because in baptism two ends were proposed; on the one hand, the destroying of the body of sin, that it may never bear fruit unto death; on the other hand, our living unto the Spirit, and having our fruit in holiness; the water receiving the body as in a tomb prefigures death, while the Spirit pours in the quickening power, renewing our souls from the deadness of sin into their original life. This then is what it is to be born again of water and of the Spirit, the being made dead is effected in the water, while our life is wrought in us through the Spirit.
Nicene and Post Nicene Fathers, Vol 8, St. Basil, "On the Spirit", Ch. XV (My underline)
St. John Chrysostom on Baptism, Homily XXV (4th Century)
That the need of water is absolute and indispensable, you may learn in this way. On the occasion, when the Holy Spirit had flown down before the water was applied, the Apostle did not stay at this point, but, as though the water were necessary and not superfluous, observe what he says; “Can any man forbid water, that these should not be baptized, which have received the Holy Ghost as well as we?”
What then is the use of the water? ........ In baptism are fulfilled the pledges of our covenant with God; burial and death, resurrection and life; and these take place all at once. For when we immerse our heads in the water, the old man is buried as in a tomb below, and wholly sunk forever; then as we rise again, the new man rises in its stead. ........ To show that what we say is no conjecture, hear Paul saying, “We are buried with Him by Baptism into death”: and again, “Our old man is crucified with Him”: and again: We have been planted together in the likeness of His death.” (RO vi.4-6) And not only is Baptism called a “cross” but the “cross” is called “Baptism.” “With the Baptism,” saith Christ, “that I am Baptized withal shall ye be baptized” (Mark X.39): and “I have a baptism to be baptized with” (LK xii.50) (which ye know not); for as we easily dip and lift our heads again, so He also easily died and rose again when He willed,...
Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers, Vol. 14, p. 89