Adult Sunday School at GLBBC began with the question, “How is a person saved?” Pastor Vince Giardino solicited answers to the question from his students, who came up with somewhat varying responses. He indicated that there are people who say that individual effort is required to be saved. It was mentioned that a newborn babe in Christ, born of the Spirit, is not going to understand everything. So to clarify the issue, Pastor read from these verses from John 3, where Jesus spoke of being born again:
- John 3:3 “Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.”, which is the first time in the Bible that being “born again” is mentioned.
- John 3:7 “Marvel not that I said unto thee, Ye must be born again.”
- John 3:5 “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.”
Paul makes the issue clear in Acts 16:31 while speaking to the keeper of the prison “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved”. Thus, being born again, which is to “be saved”, is that simple – trusting in Jesus Christ with all your heart and mind as your Lord and Savior. Period.
The question of whether a new born believer must fully understand the divinity of Christ to be saved came up. Pastor pointed out that the Jesus’ disciples first understood that Jesus was God in John 16:28-31, “I came forth from the Father, and am come into the world: again, I leave the world, and go to the Father. His disciples said unto him, Lo, now speakest thou plainly, and speakest no proverb. Now are we sure that thou knowest all things, and needest not that any man should ask thee: by this we believe that thou camest forth from God.”
In John 3:5, Jesus mentions man being “born of water”. “What is the water?”, Pastor G. asked us. Pastor explained that this cleansing water refers to the Word of God, but not before he explained what it does not mean. With most religions, he said, “once they see ‘water’, they equate it with baptism.” He had with him a Catholic Bible, the New American Bible, and read its version of John 3:5. The footnote for this verse was from the 16th-century Council of Trent and stated “that water here is not a metaphor but it is real water”. Thus Catholicism and many other religions are teaching the heresy that, in order for a person to be born again, they have to be baptized with water. Jesus Christ’s words prove otherwise:
- John 3:6 “That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit.”
- John 3:15 “Whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have eternal life.”
- John 3:16 “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.”
- John 3:17 “For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved.”
Baptism is just a testimony and witness that a person is trusting in Christ and is not necessary for salvation. Further, the Book of Acts teaches that believing in Jesus is necessary before you should be baptized: Acts 8:35-37 “Then Philip opened his mouth, and began at the same scripture, and preached unto him Jesus. And as they went on their way, they came unto a certain water: and the eunuch said, See, here is water; what doth hinder me to be baptized? And Philip said, If thou believest with all thine heart, thou mayest. And he answered and said, I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God.” The Catholic Bible, however, removes verse 37, allowing a heresy to be taught – that people need not believe in Christ before they are baptized, e.g. infant baptism.Sunday school closed with Linden O. Sr. finishing the New Testament walk through he began last week. He highlighted the four watches in the bible, saying that we are at the end of the fourth watch and very close to the rapture of the church.