(originally posted 9/9/2015 at littlegirlriseup.blogspot.com)
Question 9: To be saved is it necessary that one, 1) be born of water and of the Spirit, 2) eat Jesus’ flesh and drink His blood and 3) receive the Kingdom of God as a child? (Part of a series entitled “Biblical Contradictions?” )
Answer: I assume the intent of this question is an attempt to show a contradiction in regard to what the exact requirements are for salvation. What the person asking the question doesn’t realize is that the basic requirement of salvation, which is belief in and surrender to Jesus Christ, is encompassed by all three points in the question. Surrender to Jesus Christ consists of repentance for our sins and acknowledgement of Him as Lord of our life. Therefore, ultimately, we are saved by our faith in Jesus Christ as the payment for our sins against God (Eph 2:8, 2 Tim 3:15), however genuine “faith” in Jesus Christ is a multi-faceted thing. Meaning, it is one, single thing that can be described and referenced many ways and made up of many parts to make a whole; each part being encompassed by the basic requirements of belief in Jesus Christ, which is repentance and surrender.
For example, when I say “salvation is through surrender to Jesus Christ,” I am speaking a true statement. When I say “salvation is by our repentance from sin,” I am also speaking a true statement. When I say “salvation is by acknowledging Jesus as Lord of our life,” that is another true statement. When I say “we are saved by God’s grace through our faith in Jesus,” yet another true statement. All these statements are true, all will lead to salvation, but all these statements are meant to be understood as a whole. Salvation and genuine faith are meant to be understood in the context of the entire Gospel message.
My explanation of the three allegedly “contradictory” scriptures the “Biblical Contradictions?” page uses as their argument is as follows:
1) When Jesus said “..unless one is born of water and the Spirit he cannot enter into the kingdom of God” (John 3:5), Jesus was talking about being born again.
The context of this passage (*see here) is when Jesus was speaking to the Pharisee Nicodemus and He tells him at verse 3, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born again he cannot see the kingdom of God.” Nicodemus asks Jesus how could a person possibly be born twice? That is when Jesus tells him at verse 5, “..unless one is born of water and the Spirit he cannot enter into the kingdom of God”.
So what does Jesus mean when He says one must be “born of water and the Spirit”? When Jesus said, “unless one is born of water…”, He was referring not only to the literal, physical birth of a human being, but also to belief in Himself as the Living Water that indwells all genuine Christians. So to be “born again” you must first literally be born into this world as a human being, you must exist here in the flesh. Then you must give yourself over to Christ in surrender and repentance by believing in Him, which effects the “new birth” of a person as a “new creature in Christ” (2 Cor 5:17; Gal 6:15).
Jesus tells us about this Living Water at John 4:14, “but whoever drinks of the water that I will give him shall never thirst; but the water that I will give him will become in him a well of water springing up to eternal life.” Again at John 7:37-39, “If anyone is thirsty, let him come to Me and drink. He who believes in Me, as the Scripture said, ‘From his innermost being will flow rivers of living water.’ But this He spoke of the Spirit, whom those who believed in Him were to receive;” Only the spiritual bodies of those who have been born again can enter the kingdom of God (1 Cor 15:50), and those spiritual bodies must be washed clean by Jesus as the Living Water and born-anew by the blood of Christ.
So, do we have to be born-again to enter the kingdom of God? Yes, that is a true statement.
2) When Jesus said, “unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink His blood, you have no life in yourselves.” (John 6:53), Jesus is making a many-faceted inference.
As food is the source that keeps us physically alive, so is Jesus, Who keeps us spiritually alive, “For the bread of God is that which comes down out of heaven, and gives life to the world… I am the bread of life; he who comes to Me will not hunger, and he who believes in Me will never thirst.” (John 6:33,35)
When Jesus said “eat the flesh”, He is also inferring that we must “consume” Him as the Word of God (John 1:1) and allow Him to “dwell” in us, “It is the Spirit who gives life; the flesh profits nothing; the words that I have spoken to you are spirit and are life.” (John 6:63). Jesus says the words He speaks to us are life. Jesus is also called the Word that was made flesh (John 1:14).
Another reference that Jesus is making, is to our acceptance of the pouring out of His blood on the cross as the atonement of our sins, “And when He had taken a cup and given thanks, He gave it to them, saying, ‘Drink from it, all of you; for this is My blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for forgiveness of sins.'” (Matt 26:28).
So, do we have to, in a literal sense, spiritually “consume” Christ to be born-again? Yes, that is a true statement.
3) When Jesus said, “whoever does not receive the kingdom of God like a child will not enter it at all.” (Mark 10:15), He was referring to child-like faith and obedience.
“Jesus answered and said to them, ‘This is the work of God, that you believe in Him whom He has sent.'” (John 6:29). A child should trust their parent and believe that what they are told by their parent is truth, they should not disrespect their parent, nor should they be disobedient or rebellious.
So, do we have to have faith, trust and obedience toward God to enter His kingdom? Yes, that is a true statement.
All three statements in Question 9 are true, and meant to be understood as a whole and in the context of the entire Gospel message.