QUESTION: Is there a difference between being “born again” and being “baptized?” Can one be sanctified without baptism or without being born again?
ANSWER: No! To become a New Testament Christian, one must believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God (John 8:24); repent (turn away from) of sins (Luke 3:3); confess with the mouth the Lord Jesus (Romans 10:9-10); and be immersed in water (Acts 8:35-39) for the remission of sins (Acts 2:38) into the one body (I Corinthians 12:13) of Christ, which is the church (Ephesians 1:22-23). This church is His church (Matthew 16:18) and is, therefore, to be called by His name, the church of Christ (Romans 16:16). It is to this church that one is added after being obedient to the above scriptures. Then, and only then, can one be said to be “born again.” If one has been “born again” (baptized), he or she is then a true Christian.
When one is baptized into Christ (becomes a Christian), the old man, dead in sin, is buried in water, and a new man is born, being raised to walk in newness of life (Romans 6:1-5). There is a coming forth from the water (as a baby coming forth from the womb). A new birth into Christ has occurred! It is only at this point (baptism) that one can be said to be “born again!” Therefore if any man is “baptized into Christ” (Romans 6:3; Galatians 3:27), he is a new creature, having been born again, “old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new” (II Corinthians 5:17b).
The word “sanctified” simply means to be “set apart.” When one is “born again” in obedience to baptism, he or she has been sanctified, that is, he or she has been set apart from this world! Therefore, the answer to the second part of the question is no! One cannot be sanctified without being scripturally baptized. Neither can one be scripturally baptized (born again) without being sanctified!