He Saved Us By . . .
Titus 3:5: Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost;
The bold phrase appears in only one verse in the Bible, this one. Those four words are key to wonderful truth. They inform us about an issue that is supremely important to all mankind. We cannot afford to misunderstand or manipulate this verse.
The first phrase excludes our righteousness as a possible cause our salvation. In spite of the clarity of this verse and others in the Bible billions of people attempt to save themselves by good works. They try to do good things. They try to be good enough. The phrase according to his mercy he establishes who does the saving. It eliminates the possibility that people can save themselves by any means, including works of righteousness. It also eliminates the possibility that anyone else can save them by any means. It establishes a specific attribute of God, mercy, without which salvation would not happen. People simply do not have His mercy. He is the only one with His mercy.
The last part of the verse is specific about how He did save us. by the washing of regeneration and renewing of the Holy Ghost.
In order to grasp the truth of the passage we must understand the meaning of three words and keep them in the proper order. We must understand which words are causes and which words are effects.
Regeneration is a cause. Washing is the effect. The Holy Ghost is a cause. Renewing is the effect.
The Greek word used for washing means a bath or a baptism. The Greek word used for regeneration means a rebirth or spiritual regeneration. This bath or baptism is extraordinary. A rebirth or spiritual regeneration is the cause of it. Only those who have had a rebirth or spiritual regeneration have experienced it. Millions get the cause and effect backwards. They believe that some sort of bath or baptism will cause a rebirth or spiritual regeneration. Nothing physical ever has any control or power over anything spiritual.
The Greek word used for renewing means renovation. The renovation is both instantaneous and ongoing. The washing of regeneration is a unique one-time washing while the renewing of the Holy Ghost goes on for the rest of a believer*s physical life.2 Corinthians 5:17: Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new. 2 Corinthians 4:16: For which cause we faint not; but though our outward man perish, yet the inward man is renewed day by day.
Revelation 1:5-6: And from Jesus Christ, who is the faithful witness, and the first begotten of the dead, and the prince of the kings of the earth. Unto him that loved us, and washed us from our sins in his own blood, And hath made us kings and priests unto God and his Father; to him be glory and dominion for ever and ever. Amen.