This is a continuation of my previous post
The new birth is a mystery that no man can explain away. Since one can’t see the wind, but know of its presence – will one try to explain that away? Not if good sense is in existence with one who makes an observation concerning it. The same with the new birth; no one can see the Holy Spirit, but to deny his presence is to illustrate that one does not have good sense. These thoughts are not exactly parallel with one another, but his sentiment is true just the same.
The new birth is the work of God; since one can’t “join” the family of God (a work of man, presumably), it is a work of God when one is “born” into the family of God. In the course of his discussion he made no reference to a word Jesus himself used. Jesus said one must be born again of “the water and the spirit.” Earlier in the tract Pastor Levin denied that baptism has any connection to the new birth. Having an idea that he would say such a thing I thought he would say a word or two on Jesus use of the word “water,” but he did not. When discussing how one must be born again he tells us that it is not the result of parental descent, of one’s own willpower, or by “any of man’s religious creeds, systems, or ceremonies.” The new birth is of God; it is a miracle and only God can perform it.
It is true the new birth is a work of God that man obeys, and it is true that only God can declare one righteous, thus giving them that new birth, but it is not true that it is a miracle. This can be demonstrated with just the meaning of the word “miracle.” The new birth is, on the other hand, a spiritual birth, not a miraculous one. Nothing in nature has been suspended for one to be “born again.”
Pastor Levin took a little bit of his writing space to give us an idea about how we should understand the word “spirit.” It is unfortunate that he did not take the same amount of writing space to tell us what is meant by the use of the word “water”. He dismisses baptism, which is how one normally understands the meaning of the word “water,” but he offers us no alternative idea.
There is a reason for this.
Since the word “water” is normally understood to mean baptism, it would then be clear that Jesus would teach the new birth consists of two components: spirit and baptism. This is contrary to the theology of Pastor Levin and most Baptists. Why such an aversion to “water baptism”? Because some people have the mistaken view that obeying God’s command is a “work of man.” This idea is not taught in Scripture, not even alluded to. In fact, baptism has God’s command can be better and properly understood in relation to faith (John 6:29).