BORN OF WATER
But when he saw many of the Pharisees and Sadducees coming to his baptism, he said to them, “You brood of vipers! Who warned you to flee from the coming wrath? Produce fruit in keeping with repentance.” Matthew 3:7-8
In response to Simon’s request to purchase the gift of the Holy Spirit through the laying on of hands, the apostle Peter understood that the former magician had not truly been born again. Despite being baptized and diligently following Philip (Acts 8:13), Simon had not genuinely believed, and his mystical thoughts and quest for power had not left him. He wanted to be born of the Spirit without being born of Water.
Indeed, these are the two steps that Jesus presents to Nicodemus to be born again and able to see the Kingdom (John 3:3-6). Many people serve in the church, “blind” or with the mystical power they had in the world. Simon the Sorcerer remained in a strange combination of mystico-spiritual ties (Acts 8:23). People like him are not born of Water.
What is the Birth of Water? (John 3:5)
Water symbolizes cleansing from bodily impurities and is also the spiritual symbol of quenching. The Birth of Water, marked by Water Baptism, represents, in the act of immersion, the person who, immersed in water, dies to their old life and emerges from the water as a new person to live a new life. That is the Birth of Water. Baptism is not the Birth of Water but the mark of that birth, much like a birth certificate for a newborn. The Birth of Water is the gateway to the Kingdom.
John the Baptist told the many people who came to receive Baptism that they must bear fruit worthy of their repentance. Indeed, at the time of John the Baptist, Baptism seemed to be a fashionable phenomenon (Matthew 3:5). Many came without truly wanting to change their lives. They just wanted to have the title of “baptized” on their spiritual CV. But John urged them to repent first, that is, to regret their past life and decide to change.
The Birth of Water begins with repentance for one’s past and defiled life. Those who come to Baptism must have a deep regret for their past life. Simon the Sorcerer believed in the Lordship of Jesus without repenting of his former life.
Water Baptism is also called the Baptism of Repentance. I have seen many people who attend church diligently without the slightest regret for their past lives. They believe that Jesus is Lord without wanting to be cleansed from their past. Many even speak of their past with pride. Therefore, even if they have been baptized, they have not been born again because they have not been born of Water. To be born of Water is not just to be baptized (immersed in water) but it is first to repent, to want to change one’s life, to want to stop what one was doing before; it is to be convicted of sin, to feel soiled by one’s past, and to eagerly desire this purifying Water. And you, have you been born of Water or have you only been baptized in water?
As Peter said to Simon, “Repent, therefore, of this wickedness…” (Acts 8:22). The false prophetess I mentioned earlier had been initiated into divination at a very young age and had decided to follow Jesus without genuine repentance. Despite being baptized, her heart remained attached to her former powers, thinking to herself and likely convinced that this gift of divination came from God. Wasn’t this what they thought of Simon the Sorcerer’s power? (Acts 8:10)
Believing in Jesus without repentance is equivalent to not believing in Jesus. This was the case with the Jews in John 8:30, of whom it is said that they believed; yet they ended up stoning Jesus despite their belief. You will end up being an enemy of true Christian life if your faith in Jesus is not preceded by sincere repentance. You must be cleansed from your past because it is dirty.
In Mark 16:16, Jesus does not add the necessity of Baptism for those who have not believed; however, those who believe must be baptized. Baptism makes no sense for those who are unrepentant. Have you been born of Water?
This text is an excerpt from the book”Benignity – Foundation of God’s Faith – In His Image to Dominate, Devo 6, September 2023” written by Mohammed SANOGO.