Born of Water and Spirit are two different things
John 3:3-8 “Jesus answered and said to him, "Most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God."4 Nicodemus said to Him, "How can a man be born when he is old? Can he enter a second time into his mother's womb and be born?"5 Jesus answered, "Most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God.6 "That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit.7 "Do not marvel that I said to you, 'You must be born again.'8 "The wind blows where it wishes, and you hear the sound of it, but cannot tell where it comes from and where it goes. So is everyone who is born of the Spirit."
Why can’t this mean born of baptism? Because there would be two SPIRITUAL births not one. He is distinguishing two births, one born into the world – represented by water and a new birth of the Spirit, born of God. This why he states in v.6 That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. And in v.8 after giving an example to the wind that cannot be seen, but only its effects “So is everyone who is born of the Spirit.
Baptism is creation, we are born of God. water is creation. Also, in the Greek it means to be born from above – from the spirit.
Water is from beneath. Spirit is uncreated. We are not born of anything created inn the world, anything fallen then it would bring the same resul
John 8:23 And He said to them, "You are from beneath; I am from above. You are of this world; I am not of this world.” Just as Jesus was sent from above so was the spirit.
The word was made flesh, the Son was sent by the Father into the world as was the Spirit to give us regeneration. It is the gospel.
Other scriptures of John that uphold this view:
I Jn. 2:29 “If you know that He is righteous, you know that everyone who practices righteousness is born of Him.
I Jn. 3:9 “Whoever has been born of God does not sin, for His seed remains in him; and he cannot sin, because he has been born of God.
I Jn. 4:7 “and everyone who loves is born of God and knows God. (1 Jn.5:1,4,18)
Jesus also distinguished the Spirit birth from baptism in water.
Acts 1:5 "for John truly baptized with water, but you shall be baptized with the Holy Spirit not many days from now." Acts 1:8 "But you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you”
Acts 10:45 “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.”
The idea is explaining a transferring from one thing to another, from God to man, from above to us. That is by grace.
Acts 10:47 "Can anyone forbid water, that these should not be baptized who have received the Holy Spirit just as we have?"
Here Peter says the Spirit that came from above as a rushing wind at Pentecost came to them from above. Then they were baptized, after they were spiritually reborn. He gives another example in Acts 11:15 "And as I began to speak, the Holy Spirit fell upon them, as upon us at the beginning.”
Titus 3:5-6 not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to His mercy He saved us, through the washing of regeneration and renewing of the Holy Spirit, whom He poured out on us abundantly through Jesus Christ our Savior”
Paul is clearly making the point: of the source and what it does, washing of regeneration and renewing of the Holy Spirit.
Eph. 2:8-9 ‘For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God,
not of works, lest anyone should boast.”(works meaning any physical activity)
Paul explains and reaffirms eph.2; Gal 3:26-27 “For you are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus. For as many of you as were baptized into Christ have put on Christ.”
Baptized into Christ means to have a spirit baptism (not water) and are put into his body, the church ( as spiritual body that is throughout the world)
1 Cor.12:13 “For by one Spirit we were all baptized into one body-- whether Jews or Greeks, whether slaves or free-- and have all been made to drink into one Spirit.”
This why Jesus said in John 3:7 'You must be born again.'