Must I be baptised in order to be born again?

In order to understand this question we must first answer the question: What is the Second birth or what is being "born again"? The Lord Jesus taught the necessity to be regenerated or being born again in John 3:3 when He said to Nicodemus: "In truth, in very truth I tell you, no one can enter the Kingdom of God unless he has been born over again".

 What does this mean? It means that man in his natural state, under the influence of inherited sin, is lost. On the cross Jesus paid for the guilt of sin. Now, when God wants a person to change and become a Christian, the Holy Spirit comes into the heart and takes away the old love for sin, renews the person inside and he/she is born again. It is solely the activity of the Holy Spirit, just as it happened at the natural birth. The baby is totally passive in the whole process and knows nothing.

 But as soon as the Holy Spirit brought about that change inside man, whether in the childhood days or in a crisis (like Saul in Acts 9), that person adopts a changed attitude. He no longer lives for sin; he lives for God because he wants to. We say he is converted. He lives a new life for God. He is regenerated.

 Some churches teach that regeneration or new birth includes, not only Spiritual renewal, but also justification, which is affected by Baptism, especially in children. But we don't see it that way. A person can be regenerated, become a new creature (2 Corinthians 5:17) without baptism. Baptism is a sacrament. A sacrament is a sign which points to a greater mysterious work. Baptism simply says: Just as you wash your body clean with water, so Christ washes away the filth of your sin by the blood of the cross (not literally). So it is good to be baptized, but baptism is not an essential element in the second birth. If you are born again but not baptized, you are not lost. You are saved by Jesus Christ through the work of the Holy Spirit; you are not saved by baptism. The thief on the cross went to Paradise without being baptized (Luke 23:43), while Judas Iscariot was lost, even though he was probably baptised. The essential thing is faith (trust) in Jesus, not an outward sign (John 3:16, 18, 36).