Some say, "All you have to do is accept Christ."
Many turn to John 3:16 and pull the verse out of its context. When studying the Bible we must ALWAYS keep verses in context. There are three types of contexts.
Immediate Context: Around the verse.
Local Context: Within the chapter.
Remote Context: Within the Bible.
If a verse contradicts the immediate context of the chapter, our understanding is flawed.
If a verse contradicts the local context of the book, our understanding is flawed.
If a verse contradicts other books of the Bible, our understanding is flawed.
God is not the author of confusion and his word is perfect. (I Corinthians 14:33, II Timothy 3:16,17)
If you read John 3 from the beginning you will see a ruler has come to Christ by night. His name is Nicodemus.
"There was a man of the Pharisees, named Nicodemus, a ruler of the Jews: The same came to Jesus by night, and said unto him, Rabbi, we know that thou art a teacher come from God: for no man can do these miracles that thou doest, except God be with him. Jesus answered and said unto him, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.
Nicodemus saith unto him, How can a man be born when he is old? can he enter the second time into his mother's womb, and be born? 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. That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. Marvel not that I said unto thee, Ye must be born again." (John 3:1-7)
Now, continue reading:
The wind bloweth where it listeth, and thou hearest the sound thereof, but canst not tell whence it cometh, and whither it goeth: so is every one that is born of the Spirit. Nicodemus answered and said unto him, How can these things be? Jesus answered and said unto him, Art thou a master of Israel, and knowest not these things? Verily, verily, I say unto thee, We speak that we do know, and testify that we have seen; and ye receive not our witness. If I have told you earthly things, and ye believe not, how shall ye believe, if I tell you of heavenly things? And no man hath ascended up to heaven, but he that came down from heaven, even the Son of man which is in heaven. And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of man be lifted up: That whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have eternal life. For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved. He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.
- Christ told Nicodemus that he would be lifted up. That is he told Nicodemus he would be sacrificed for the sins of the world.
- He also tells Nicodemus that those that believe on him should not perish, but those who do not believe are condemned already.
The immediate context of the chapter states that a person who believes in Christ is born again, of water and the spirit.
The local context of the book of John states, "If ye love me keep my commandments." (John 14:15)
The remote context of the New Testament states that "Therefore we are buried with him by baptism into death: that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life." (Romans 6:4)
There are numerous passages located in the Bible that states baptism is essential for salvation. (And these are just a few)
Acts 2:38, 41
Acts 8:12, 13,36,38
Acts 16:15, 33
I Corinthians 10:2
I Corinthians 12:13
I don't know about in your personal life, but when my mom or dad told me something was important and then told me the same thing repeatedly; I had better listen!
So, what about that faith, that belief Christ told Nicodemus to have?
Belief must be active. I can say all day long that I will lose weight by eating low-carb, but if I don't ever eat low-carb, guess what, I won't lose the weight. An active belief or faith is one that is obedient to the word of God.
What's stopping you? This may be new information that you are just learning, and that's okay. Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org, and I will study with you. Let's learn together!
Steps of Salvation with Scriptures
- Hear the word of God. Romans 10:17
- Believe the word of God. Romans 10:9, John 3:16
- Repent of your sins. Acts 2:38
- Confess that Christ is the Son of the living God. Romans 10:10
- Be baptized for the remission of sins. Mark 16:15,16
- Rise to walk in newness of life and live faithful unto him. Romans 6:4, Revelation 2:10
May God bless you. Please feel free to share this article.