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March 18th, 2011

Water and the Spirit

As I was reading the weekly email from The Temple Institute this morning, I found these words to be very helpful: "Water, the source of all life, is always understood by our sages to be a metaphor for Torah." This helps to clarify what Jesus said in John 3:5 - "Jesus answered, 'Most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born of water [the word of God - Rom 10:17, 1 Peter 1:23] and the Spirit [John 6:44], he cannot enter the kingdom of God.'"

Acts 10:44-45 - While Peter was still speaking these words, the Holy Spirit fell upon all those who heard the word. And those of the circumcision who believed were astonished, as many as came with Peter, because the gift of the Holy Spirit had been poured out on the Gentiles also.

Receiving Christ as Priest and King

I tend to think of salvation in very legal and technical terms. That can be quite helpful when I bend down and try to find the edges of spiritual concepts. On the other hand, over-emphasizing these can be a bit unhelpful at times. I like how Sibbes thinks about what it means to "obey the gospel" in the passage below. In the end, I am not saved by forces of science but by a Savior who must be both my High Priest and my King in a very real and true way. Do I submit myself to the representation of the Priest? Do I submit myself to the authority of the King? Do I receive Christ? Do I realize that in order to receive Him, I must be willing to receive and live by his word, his mercy, his rule?

Source for the quote below: Richard Sibbes, Collected Works. Volume 1 (text of this book, audio of this message)

Question. But, what is it to obey the gospel?
Answer. To obey the gospel is to entertain the offers of it; ...to believe in Christ, being in effect a command to receive him ...He that receives whole Christ to justify him, and sanctify him too; that receives Christ as a king to rule him as well as a priest to save him, such a one receives the gospel. But...[some] suffer him not to bear sway in their hearts, as if Christ came by blood alone, and not by water; whereas indeed he came as well by water to sanctify us, as by blood to die for us...

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