The Washing of Regeneration and Renewing of the Holy Ghost
By Arthur J Licursi
“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 [Spirit]…” Titus 3:5 (KJV)
This verse raises a couple of obvious questions.
“How are we ‘washed’? and “How and to what state are we ‘renewed’?”
The Washing of Regeneration:
In Tit. 3:5 Paul is talking in terms of a process. We are no longer what we were thanks to God’s work in this two-step process; 1) “the washing of regeneration, and 2) the renewing of the Holy Ghost.”
The washing of regeneration is a description of our being baptized by the ‘One Spirit of God, by an instantaneous action of God the moment we first believed, by in which our sins were “forgiven” and souls were “cleansed” of ALL sin forever.
13 For by one Spirit are we all baptized [immersed] into one body [into Christ’s body], whether we be Jews or Gentiles, whether we be bond or free; and have been all made to drink into one Spirit. 1 Corinthians 12:13 (KJV)
Being baptized or set “into Christ” (not into water) is a dry baptism;
- Yet we are sacitified, spiritually washed, cleansed of all our sins.— That he might sanctify and cleanse it [His body] with the washing of water by the word, (Eph 5:26)
- We also, as a soul-self are thereby transformed from a state of unrighteousness into a state of pure righteousness.
- Our washing of regeneration is our thorough ‘spiritual regeneration by the Holy Spirit’ in which we are brought from a state of unrighteousness into a state of perfect righteousness by receiving Christ’s perfect resurrection life.
- We are regenerated by the Spirit from death to His resurrection life, no longer dead in sins, in Adam, but alive unto God “in Christ.” This is the death of our old selves, that Paul refers to as the “Old Man” (Rom 6:6-7), who was crucified “with Christ,” and this is our deliverance from death into His life (Rom: 6:3-4).
- Our being immersed into Christ is the basis for our;
- liberation from the consequence of sin, never to be judged of God for our sins
- liberation from the dominion of Sin in our lives,
- liberation from the power of Sin, allowing us to live righteous lives.
- then also for receiving the impartation of the divine “Spirit of life in Christ Jesus” (Rom. 8:2) into our “spirit of man,” making us a “new man, created in righteousness and true holiness” (Eph. 4:24).
Regeneration: How do we explain our “regeneration”? Does this mean we are ‘born again’ as so many fundamentalists and evangelicals believe? No, it does not.
Most Christians mistakenly take this idea from Jesus’ reference to being “born again” in His discussion with Nicodemus (John 3:3-7), a Jew. ‘Born again’ refers to ‘the Nation Israel’ one day becoming a “born-again nation” and fulfilling its original calling God gave to them through Abraham. The proper word for us Christians is “regeneration,” not ‘born again.’
(See my article titled; “Can a Gentile be born again” at http://www.artlicursi.com/articles/can-gentile-be-%E2%80%9Cborn-again%E2%80%9D
Webster’s dictionary’s first definition for ‘regeneration’ is as follows: “an act or the process of regenerating: the state of being regenerated.” This speaks of a renewed beginning. We are regenerated by the Spirit from being ‘dead in trespasses and sins’ … to “newness of life” In Christ, We are no longer dead in our sins or “in Adam” but now “alive unto God … “in Christ.” Paul also says it this way;
20 I am Crucified With Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth IN ME: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith [faithfulness] of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me. Galatians 2:20 (KJV)
The moment we first believe, we are ‘washed’ by the Spirit (1 Cor. 6:11). We were cleansed by the Spirit. We are transformed by the Spirit. We are “translated into the Kingdom of His dear Son” (Col. 1:13), whereby we became new creatures.
“If any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new” (2 Cor. 5:17).
We are metamorphosized into a new spiritual reality, into a new state of being by God’s life in Christ who is “IN US.” We are joined “Spirit to spirit” (1Cor 6:17). We are now His “workmanship” (Eph. 2:10). In the Greek, workmanship is ‘poyeema’ from which we get the modern word poem. We are His poem. We are His great work of art. We are His masterpiece. We are His perfect work as a result of the Holy Spirit’s spiritual “washing of regeneration.”
Paul also in Titus 3:5 refers to the “renewing of the Holy Ghost.” Every time Paul mentions “renewing,” “renew,” or “being renewed,” he refers to the mind, which is renewed by the Spirit through the study of His Word. Having Christ’s “Spirit of life” in us we were enlivened by our spirit union with Christ (1Cor. 6:17) when we were “regenerated.”
Note the last part of 1Cor 12:13;
13 For by one Spirit are we all baptized into one body, whether we be Jews or Gentiles, whether we be bond or free; and have been all made to drink into one Spirit. 1 Corinthians 12:13 (KJV)
To “drink into one Spirit” is to partake of the Biblical words of life that are quickened to us by the Holy Spirit. These words water and refresh us while they also us nourish and strengthen us spiritually. We become strengthened when we become intelligized through knowledge of the written “word of truth” for us today as members of His body.
So, we need to become renewed in our soul’s mind. This is a daily process.
16 For which cause we faint not; but though our outward man [of the body] perish [is dying], yet the inward man [of the soul] is renewed day by day. 2 Corinthians 4:16 (KJV)
This renewal is God’s work in us by the Spirit leading us in the knowledge and work of the Lord.
13 For it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of his good pleasure. Philippians 2:13
6 Being confident of this very thing, that he which hath begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ: Philippians 1:6 (KJV)
We as a self-soul are in the process of being renewed in our soul’s mind, emotion, and will by the work of the Lord using our everyday occurrences to teaching us to apply our knowledge of His word, thus renewing us to be a reflection of the “image of Christ.”
28 And we know that all things [encountered in daily life] work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose. 29 For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate To Be Conformed To The Image Of His Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren. Romans 8:28-29 (KJV)
The Holy Spirit is the active agent who enables us to become transformed our ‘minds’ so that we may realize who we are now in Christ, that we may “put off the old man” (Eph. 4:22) and “put ye on the new man” (Eph. 4:24). We no longer look at the Lord through the eyes of the self-seeking ‘old man,’ but we see ourselves through the eyes of the “new man,” seeing ourselves as God sees us “in Christ,” identified with the death of His Son on the cross, and with ‘His righteous life as our new life’.
22 That ye put off concerning the former
conversation [manner of living] the old man, which is corrupt according to the deceitful lusts; 23 And be renewed in the [non-physical] spirit of your mind; 24 And that ye put on the new man, which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness. 25 Wherefore putting away lying, speak every man truth with his neighbour: for we are members one of another. Ephesians 4:22-25 (KJV)
Victory in God’s grace is not the power of positive thinking. Victory in God’s grace is the power of accepting [believing] God’s truth of who we are now in Christ, then to live our lives according to that truth.
By studying His Word, the Spirit renews our minds, helping us to learn who we are as having been baptized into Christ, We thereby come to know the things freely given to us by God (1 Cor. 2:12), to help us “put on the new man,” and to live free from the dominion of sin. All of which enables us to align our earthly walk with our new Heavenly identity.