Questions about when people get "saved"


OIC. At what point did Cornelius and his household receive prevenient grace?

Sounds very Catholic!

Certiainly, He is able. But He was also able to do that without dying on the cross.

If the natural state of human beings is to be born in separation from fellowship with God, how can we then say that this state does not exist in humans from the time of conception? otherwise what wouldl be the point of baptizing infants and children?

The promise is for you and your children and for all who are far off–for all whom the Lord our God will call." Acts2

The word used here for children/offspring is teknois. This is the same word used in Luke when the arrival of the Magi are described finding the teknon Jesus in the house. It is usually used of a toddler. This is also why Herod slew all those boys in Bethlehem two years of age and younger. I know those who espouse "believers baptism’ will say this verse just refers to the descendants of the hearers (once they reach the age of reason), but the language is very specifically referring to young offspring around the age of 2 and younger.


I didn’t say that. I’ve said exactly the opposite. God is able to regenerate infants who die by his grace apart from anything they do or can do.


At the point that God began calling, convicting, illuminating, and enabling them.

As I’ve said before, Scripture makes it plain that Cornelius’s heart was already prepared to receive the Gospel Peter preached even before Peter arrived. As a righteous Gentile, Cornelius had some knowledge of God. Whatever he knew, it’s clear that he believed in God already and was truly attempting to follow him as best as he knew. Clearly, there was grace at work.

We aren’t given much information on the others except that they were relatives and close friends of his, so maybe they were similar to him or not. Yet, grace was apparently at work even while Peter was preaching.


The fulfillment of circumcision is the circumcision of the heart–the cutting away of the flesh and standing before God in purity and holiness, Romans 2:

Because it speaks of circumcision does not mean that it was the fulfillment.
First look at why God instituted circmcision.
You agree I hope that it was the mark of the covenant between God and the Isralites to not be circumcised would mean to be cut off from the people. It what made a boy part of the community, the body of believers.

The fulfilment would have to do the same thing.
In 1 Corinthians 12:13 We find the fulfillment For by one Spirit we were all baptized into one body, whether Jews or Greeks, whether slaves or free, and we were all made to drink of one Spirit.


“Yes and Baptism is the water portion of Born of water and the Spirit. It doesn’t say born of faith and the Spirit, nor does it say repentance and the Spirit. I’m not saying these aren’t important I’m just pointing out Jesus made it simple for us. Get Baptized receive the Spirit, Amen.” MT1926

not sure that water is that of baptism…you are kind of saying they are the same thing, born of water /born of spirit…why didn’t Jesus just say you must be born of water (be baptized) ?, for according to many when you are water baptized you are born of the spirit, even receiving Him/Spirit …is it possible that water baptism is like OT circumcision, where the rite may be effectual or it might not ? else why would you insist on water AND spirit birth ? Certainly we all agree the inward change is needed most and the outward action may not always be effectual, as many Jews were physically circumcised, but their “hearts”, as Nicodemus, were not born of God, of the spirit, though he did all the rites and ceremonies depicting it…So not so simple. Or simplicity may lay elsewhere (it is Nicodemus who ludicrously brought up the idea of another wombly birth, coming out in “water”. Like yes, we are firstly born of the womb/water , but spiritual birth must take place thereafter by the grace of God., being the not so ludicrous response.


John the Baptist certainly seems to have a rgenerated “spirit” in the womb , even reacting to the Lord’s presence in Mary’s womb


John the Baptist was regenerate from the womb, as stated in Luke 1:15. I cited this scripture in post #689. However, it would be a stretch to say that all infants are regenerated in the womb. It does, however, raise the possibility that others are regenerate from the womb and from infancy.


Of course He is! This is why we baptize infants!

Yes, I think you are right. I think we see prevenient grace at work in him before Peter came.

Circumcision, like many things revealed to Israel, is a type of baptism. When Jesus joined the Holy Spirit to the water, the result was the circumcision made without hands (completed by the HS in baptism). Baptism is what makes believers part of the community, the body of believers.

Yes. This is what happens in baptism. We are joined with Christ in his suffering, death, and resurrection.

3Jesus replied, “Very truly I tell you, no one can see the kingdom of God unless they are born again.a ”

4“How can someone be born when they are old?” Nicodemus asked. “Surely they cannot enter a second time into their mother’s womb to be born!”

"Jesus answered, “Very truly I tell you, no one can enter the kingdom of God unless they are born of water and the Spirit. 6Flesh gives birth to flesh, but the Spiritb gives birth to spirit. 7You should not be surprised at my saying, ‘Youc must be born again.’ 8The wind blows wherever it pleases. You hear its sound, but you cannot tell where it comes from or where it is going. So it is with everyone born of the Spirit.” John 3

“Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved, but whoever does not believe will be condemned.” Mark 16

I am not sure it could be more plain?



"Do not be deceived: Neither the sexually immoral nor idolaters nor adulterers nor men who have sex with men, 10nor thieves nor the greedy nor drlly immoral nor idolaters nor adulterers nor men who have sex with mena 10nor thieves nor the greedy nor drunkards nor slanderers nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God. 11And that is what some of you were. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God. I Cor. 6

The Apostle implies that the recipients of the letter were living in sin, became baptized, and may still fall back into the same sins. He warns that those who do such things will not inherit the Kingdom.


Water Baptism is the fulfillment of OT circumcision.

Colossians 2:11
11 In him also you were circumcised with a circumcision made without hands, by putting off the body of flesh in the circumcision of Christ; 12 and you were buried with him in baptism, in which you were also raised with him through faith in the working of God, who raised him from the dead.

The fulfillment is always greater than the OT type. In the OT a Jew became a Jew when he was circumcised on the eighth day. They didn’t have to first accept Moses as their personal prophet before circumcision. The rite was effectual for what it was, it was entrance into the old covenant family of God. However, this was only a cutting away of the flesh as a sign. It was not “spiritual circumcision” of the heart, which is what Baptism is. Baptism is a NT fulfillment which is always greater than the old. If we excluded babies based on them having to believe first it wouldn’t be greater than the old. If it was just a sign it wouldn’t be greater than the old. That’s is why Peter 3:21 can boldly claim "baptism now saves (us). Because there is no man made physical change, like OT circumcision, Baptism shows no outward change in the Body, mad by man, it performs an inward change of the heart performed by the Holy Spirit. So their is no way I could ever believe the Holy Spirit might or might not be able to make this inward change.

Yes but it is God’s continual free gift of grace that makes this inward change effective and guides us in our outward actions. The difference between us seems to be I believe God can start this inward change in a baby and it seems you are saying it can only occur when a person believes first? Not sure if this is where you are going with this?

Yes agreed Nicodemus has no clue what he is saying. However, Jesus never says yes Nicodemus you are correct firstly you are born of womb /water. You are reading the “thereafter” into the text. He simply says…

5 Jesus answered, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God.

He does not say born of water and then (thereafter) the Spirit. He combines the two into one event Water AND the Spirit. For Jesus to imply, to a living person, that they must first be born from the womb would be a “ludicrous” statement coming from the mouth of Jesus. Why would Jesus teach to a bunch of living people they first need to be born from the womb? Is there some other way they could be born?


None of the Old Testament believers, including John the Baptist, were regenerate until the Holy Spirit was given in John 20. But to experience God’s presence as a natural man of the Old Testament was quite possible for anyone who was a prophet, priest, or king. God’s manifestation even in the womb does not mean Johns spirit was born again.



Certainly OT saints were regenerate, born of God , born of spirit…why else would Jesus tell Nicodemus, and OT rabbi, that he should have known one must be born again ? One’s spirit could be quickened in OT, starting right after the fall, with Adam and Eve, brought to life, to commune with God, who is a spirit…flesh can not do that…perhaps you mean they did not have in indwelling Holy Spirit as we do, and I agree, yet there seem to be times the Spirit was indeed in men from time to time in OT, and certainly “with”.


“He does not say born of water and then (thereafter) the Spirit. He combines the two into one event Water AND the Spirit. For Jesus to imply, to a living person, that they must first be born from the womb would be a “ludicrous” statement coming from the mouth of Jesus. Why would Jesus teach to a bunch of living people they first need to be born from the womb? Is there some other way they could be born?”…mt1926

again, why would Jesus interject ''AND" when they are the same thing/event (born of water and spirit in baptism)…and correct, He did not say “thereafter” but its implication is a valid view.

My point was that Nicodemus made the ludicrous statement…it is not ludicrous to respond by mentioning it back(that yes we are born in the flesh(water), but then we must be born in the spirit(something needed because of original sin)?

Of course it is obvious that all have been born in the flesh already, but perhaps out of grace Jesus rolled with it , looking past the “ludicrousness”…even using it to further his point…all out of love for Nicodemus…who would eventually be drawn to such goodness that is Christ.


I don’t understand your objection here? The word “AND” (Greek kai) is a conjunction.

Just look up some common definitions.

The word AND is defined as a function word used to join sentence elements (water and spirit) .

You are trying to say Jesus used the word AND to separate them. That goes against the basic meaning of the word AND.

As I also pointed out the Greek word Kai here is a conjunction. The definition of a conjunction is a word used to coordinate (correlate) words in the same clause. It is further defined as a word used to denote an action of two events or things, occurring at the same time.

Implying Jesus meant “thereafter” would mean He was speaking of two events occurring at separate times, which is contrary to the basic meaning of the word AND.


However, the thing you are ignoring is the fact that Nicodemus never brought water into the equation. He simply said “can he enter into his mothers womb a second time.” If Jesus was responding by mentioning it back it would have made more sense for Jesus to say “unless one is born and then born-again of Spirit”.

Why would Jesus bring a new term “water” into the equation?

The only way you are able to implicate that water means natural birth is because your church tradition taught you that way. There is nothing in the text that would bring us to that conclusion.

First, like I already said why would Jesus tell Nicodemus, someone who is already alive that he must first be born of amniotic fluid? I don’t buy the out of love Jesus rolled with it argument.

Look at the rest of the verses do this statement sound Loving?

7 Do not marvel that I said to you,

10 Jesus answered him, “Are you a teacher of Israel, and yet you do not understand this?

but you do not receive our testimony.

Do these sound like kind loving statements or does it sound like Jesus is hammering a teaching into Nicodemus’ head? It makes no sense that Jesus would give him a pass in verse 5 and then hammer down on him.

Second, go back to John 1:13

13 who were born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God.

John already told us that our first birth is being “born of blood”. It would make no sense to switch the definition from blood to “water = first birth”, just 2 chapters later.

If Jesus was referring to first birth saying blood and the Spirit would have made more sense in the context od John’s Gospel.


Third read John 1:31-34

John 1:31-34**
31 I myself did not know him; but for this I came baptizing with water, that he might be revealed to Israel.” 32 And John bore witness, “I saw the Spirit descend as a dove from heaven, and it remained on him. 33 I myself did not know him; but he who sent me to baptize with water said to me, ‘He on whom you see the Spirit descend and remain, this is he who baptizes with the Holy Spirit.’ 34 And I have seen and have borne witness that this is the Son of God.”

John is laying it all out right here so we can understand. Twice he hammers down on the fact that we are baptized with water. This is the human part of the equation. Like John the Baptist, Jesus sends us to baptize with water.

Matthew 28:19 Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit,

This is the water part of the equation, when we cooperate with Jesus command and Baptize (in water), Jesus promised to do His part and Baptize us with the Holy Spirit. This is what Jesus means by “water and Spirit”

Forth, when John the Baptist says (John 1:32) “I saw the Spirit descend as a dove from heaven”. He is referencing Jesus’ Baptism in Matthew 3:16.

Matthew 3:16 And when Jesus was baptized, he went up immediately from the water, and behold, the heavens were opened and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove, and alighting on him;

We find that when Jesus was baptized, “the heavens were opened” and the Spirit descended upon him. Which is Jesus giving us a visual sign of the “water and Spirit” coming together. Right here He is showing us exactly how we are “born again”. We perform the Baptism and God sends the Spirit down on us.

Finally, Immediately after Jesus’ “born again” discourse to Nicodemus, what does He do?

John 3:22 After this Jesus and his disciples went into the land of Judea; there he remained with them and baptized.

Unless one was taught to ignore this Biblical evidence there is absolutely no way one could read the first four Chapters of John, on their own, and not come to the conclusion Jesus is speaking of Baptism here.

God Bless


And natural birth in scripture is always referred to by blood, not water. Purification was needed because of the blood involved in childbirth, not “water”.

“but as many as received him, to them gave he [the] right to be children of God, to those that believe on his name; 13who have been born, not of blood, nor of flesh’s will, nor of man’s will, but of God.” Jn.1;13

Honestly, it is mind boggling how much twisting must be done to ignore it.

“After this, Jesus and his disciples went out into the Judean countryside, where he spent some time with them, and baptized. 23Now John also was baptizing at Aenon near Salim, because there was plenty of water, and people were coming and being baptized” Jn. 3

I have read some anti-Catholics who insist that baptism in the bible has nothing to do with water!


Thanks for this I always stopped at verse 22, not realizing the bold statement linking Baptism and water in verse 23. :+1:


Excellent explanation of Baptism from the Biblical perspective.

Baptism in the Catholic Church is with “water and Spirit”, not water baptism or Spirit baptism. They are not separated.

the CCC says it as the following:
1214 This sacrament is called Baptism, after the central rite by which it is carried out: to baptize (Greek baptizein) means to “plunge” or “immerse”; the “plunge” into the water symbolizes the catechumen’s burial into Christ’s death, from which he rises up by resurrection with him, as “a new creature.”

1215 This sacrament is also called “the washing of regeneration and renewal by the Holy Spirit,” for it signifies and actually brings about the birth of water and the Spirit without which no one “can enter the kingdom of God.”

1227 According to the Apostle Paul, the believer enters through Baptism into communion with Christ’s death, is buried with him, and rises with him:

_Do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? We were buried therefore with him by baptism into death, so that as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too might walk in newness of life._**Rom 6:3-4; cf. Col 2:12.**


OK. I partly acquiesce on the water(amniotic) part, partly (still possible)…and thank you. Good rationale you guys present. But was there a difference between John’s baptism and the apostles baptizing ? Was John’s baptism for regeneration ? Was if for receiving the gift of the Holy Spirit? Can you show me in the OT where water baptism made one born of God ? Apparently Nicodemus was to have known this “water” and new birth, second birth/born again…then what is circumcision and bar mitzvah etc. ?

I agree that the water may still be referring to the ministry of john the baptist(which was not for regeneration rebirth, that the pharisees rejected, probably including Nicodemus, but for repentance…something like going to the confessional to cleanse , to prepare to receive communion…NOT like our water baptism which signifies for you reviving the spirit , new birth after removing the original stain)…so they(pharisees) are not even at first base of repentance of john…but the home plate is the new birth that Christ said was to be had, which I do not believe was by water in OT, and therefore do not apply this scripture to NT water baptism (there are other verses that talk of NT baptism and its effectualness, just not this discourse with Nicodemus).

Nicodemus did not believe in Christ because he was not born of God, born of the spirit, born again, despite being a rabbi, circumcised and bar mitzvahed, (super religious). OT saints that were born of God/born again did not do so by water. ( the only explanation one can give otherwise is that somewhere is an OT prophecy about future regeneration by water that Nic should have known about…I don’t think there is one…therefore Jesus chided him for not knowing that one must also be circumcised in the heart…being reborn by faith or regenerated…all the way back to Adam and Eve.

So back to water . jesus could have meant the amniotic fluid or Johns baptism (but only as precursor to spiritual birth, which may or may not involve water by Jesu/apostles , but for sure hearing of the word/water(both by John the B and then Jesus).

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