Finis J. Dake. wrote: V. What the New Birth is and How it is Received
The new birth is a new creation from above, the direct operation of the Word of God and the Spirit of God upon your life, changing you completely when you truly repent and turn to God. This is brought about in the following manner: first, recognize that you are a sinner and lost, without God and without hope; second, admit that Jesus Christ died on the cross to save you from sin by His own precious blood; third, come to God repenting of your sins and turning away from all sin, pleading the merits of the blood of Christ in the name of Jesus Christ, and you shall be born again; that is, the Holy Spirit will then definitely make you a new creature, cleansing you from all sin by the authority of the Word of God and by the blood of Christ that was shed to atone for your sins; and fourth, you must believe from the heart when you confess with the mouth that God forgives you of your sins and that He cleanses you from all unrighteousness.
Scriptures for your authority to confess and believe are the following: “As many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name” (Jn. 1:12-13); “Him that cometh to me I will in no wise cast out” (Jn. 6:37); “Whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life” (Jn. 3:14-21, 36; 5:24); “That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved; For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation . . . For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved” (Rom. 1:16 through Rom. 10:9-13); “Repent ye therefore, and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out” (Acts 2:38-39; 3:19; 16:31); “For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God: not of works, lest any man should boast” (Eph. 2:1-10); “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness” (1 Jn. 1:9).
The new birth is not a coming into existence of the body, soul, and spirit; it is simply the cleansing of his body, soul, and spirit from all sin by grace through faith in the precious blood of Jesus Christ (Rom. 3:25), by the Word of God (Jn. 3:5; 15:3; Eph. 5:26; Jas. 1:18; 1 Pet. 1:23), and by the direct power of the Holy Spirit (1 Cor. 6:11; 12:13; Titus 3:5). It is the new creature experience of a person being renewed in righteousness and true holiness (2 Cor. 5:17-18; Gal. 5:24; Eph. 4:24). It is the blotting out of all sins that have separated a man from God (Isa. 59:2; Acts 3:19; 1 Jn. 1:7, 9; 2:29; 3:6-10; 5:1-4, 18). It is genuine conversion from death to life and from the power of Satan to the power of God (Mt. 18:3; Acts 3:19; 26:18; Jas. 5:19-20). It is the adoption of a person of the family of Adam and the family of Satan into the family of God (Rom. 8:14-16; Gal. 4:4-5; Eph. 1:5; 3:14-15; 1 Jn. 3:8-10). To compare the new birth with physical conception, begetting, birth, and human existence leads to too many false ideas, for the two births and two lives are not parallel at all.
- One does not exist as a human being before his natural birth; he truly must be in existence before he can be born again.
- One does not choose his natural birth, his parents, or environment; but he must choose the new birth and all the consecrations of Christian living (Jn. 3:16; Rev. 22:17).
- One does not repent in order to become a human being by natural birth; but he must repent and obey the Gospel daily to be a child of God (Mk. 1:15; 16:16; Lk 13:1-5; Acts 2:38).
- The first experience is the actual coming into existence of a new body, soul, and spirit—a new person; whereas, the other is merely the reconciliation of such a person to God (2 Cor. 5:17-21).
- The former is a literal, actual conception and birth to become a human being; the latter is simply an adoption of a human being into the family of God (Rom. 8:14-16; Gal. 4:4-5; Eph. 1:5; 3:14-15; 1 Jn. 3:8-10).
- The one is coming into existence as an unclean sinner; the other is the cleansing of the sinner from all sin and uncleanness (1 Cor. 6:11; 1 Jn. 1:7-9; Rev. 1:5; 5:10; 7:14).
- A person has no responsibility regarding his natural birth; in the new birth he has personal responsibility in the initial phase as well as in the continued life of daily righteousness and true holiness, which are required (Jn. 6:37; Lk. 9:23; Rom. 6:14-23; 8:12-13; 12:1-2; 2 Cor. 10:4-10; 2 Pet. 1:4-10).
VI. What the Water of the New Birth Means
The Word of God is the “water” referred to in Jn. 3:5, as proven in Eph. 5:26; Jn. 6:63; 15:3; 17:17; 1 Pet. 1:23; Jas. 1:18. When one believes the Word of God that he is a sinner, that Christ died to save him from all sin, that if he confesses his sins to God and turns from sin with a whole heart and believes the Gospel, he is conforming to the Word, then the Holy Spirit will transform his life by the power of the Word of God and the blood of Christ. The moment one does this he is saved and born again. He must believe it and walk accordingly. He must begin reading the Bible and praying to God. He must begin to walk and live in the Spirit and conform to the Word of God as he receives the light (1 Jn. 1:7; Jn. 8:31-32).
— God's Plan for Man. Supplement Two.
Why would a person who has done all of the above refuse to be water baptized, if possible?
It would seem to me that water baptism is one of Christ's commandments and that failure to obey the commandment to be water baptized would be sinful. What could be worse than refusing to publicly identify with Christ in His death and resurrection through water baptism? How long could a so-called Christian claim to be a Christian without being water baptized assuming there were no impediments preventing his water baptism?