Amplified: He saved us, not because of any works of righteousness that we had done, but because of His own pity and mercy, by [the] cleansing [bath] of the new birth (regeneration) and renewing of the Holy Spirit, (Amplified Bible - Lockman)
KJV: 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;
NLT: He saved us, not because of the good things we did, but because of his mercy. He washed away our sins and gave us a new life through the Holy Spirit. (NLT - Tyndale House)
Phillips: he saved us - not by virtue of any moral achievements of ours, but by the cleansing power of a new birth and the moral renewal of the Holy Spirit, (Phillips: Touchstone)
Wuest: not by deeds of uprightness which we performed [in our unsaved state], but according to His mercy He saved us, through the washing of regeneration and the renewing of the Holy Spirit (Eerdmans)
Young's Literal: (not by works that are in righteousness that we did but according to His kindness,) He did save us, through a bathing of regeneration, and a renewing of the Holy Spirit,
HE SAVED US NOT ON THE BASIS OF DEEDS: ouk ek ergon… esosen (3SAAI) hemas ouk ek ergon: (Job 9:20; 15:14; 25:4; Ps 143:2; Isa 57:12; Lk 10:27, 28, 29; Ro 3:20,28; Ro 4:5; 9:11,16,30; 11:6; Gal 2:16; 3:16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21; Ep 2:4,8,9; 2Ti1:9) :
Tears unavailing, no merit had I;
Mercy had saved me, or else I must die;
Sin had alarmed me, fearing God's face--
But now I'm a sinner saved by grace. --Gray
We are saved by God's work,
ot by good works
Not on the basis of deeds - Literally "not out of works" - placed first in the sentence for emphasis.
This is a very practical Epistle. See how closely Paul keeps to the doctrines of grace. He is never like Mr. Legality, he never teaches that we are to be saved by works; but, being saved by the grace of God alone, and being made heirs according to the hope of eternal life, we are then, out of gratitude to God, to abound in everything that is good, and holy, and kind, and after the mind of Christ
Many of the modern translations (including the generally more literal NAS) ignore the important original Greek word order. The first word in Greek is "not" (absolute negation).
The NKJV has an excellent, more literal rendering:
"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"
The original order stresses that salvation's foundation is not based on what we've done but what God has done. This order eliminates any thought of salvation due to personal merit and magnifies God's sovereign grace. This was a frequent theme in Paul's epistles as shown in the following Scriptures…
Romans 4:4 (note) Now to the one who works, his wage is not reckoned as a favor, but as what is due. 5 But to the one who does not work, but believes in Him who justifies the ungodly, his faith is reckoned as righteousness, 6 just as David also speaks of the blessing upon the man to whom God reckons righteousness apart from works
Galatians 2:16 nevertheless knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the Law but through faith in Christ Jesus, even we have believed in Christ Jesus, that we may be justified by faith in Christ, and not by the works of the Law; since by the works of the Law shall no flesh be justified.
Ephesians 2:8 For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; 9 not as a result of works, that no one should boast. 10 For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them. (See notes Ephesians 2:8; 2:9; 2:10)
As sinners, we did no such works, nor were we able to perform them. The gospel emphatically denies the possibility of attaining salvation by human effort or merit.
Horatius Bonar writes that…
Ritualism, or externalism, or traditionalism are all different forms of self-righteousness; man's self-invented ways of pleasing or appeasing God, or paying for admittance into heaven. These forms of self-righteousness are a human apparatus for procuring God's pardon. They are the means by which the performer of them hopes to win God's favor—perhaps, also, man's praise—most certainly, his own esteem.
Every act, or performance, or ceremony, which honors self, exalts self, or gives prominence to self—is an accursed thing. It is an abomination in the sight of God—however religious, or sacred, or solemn, or devout, it may seem to man.
It is to self-righteousness in some form or other, that man is always tending. Man attempts to make up for this badness, or to cover it over, by works, and devotions, and ceremonies. All this is pure self-righteousness.
The religion of self-righteousness in our day consists of works, feelings, fancies, music, rites, festivals, fasts, gestures, postures, garments. It is something which gratifies self; which pleases the natural man; which makes a man think well of himself; which gives a man something to do or to feel in order to earn pardon and merit heaven. Pride, religious pride, is at the root. Ritualism is man's expression of rejection of Christ. It was self-righteous religion which crucified the Son of God. All human rites and ceremonies are man's ways of getting rid of Christ. What can all these things do? Can they save? Can religious postures save? Can religious garments save? Can religious candles save? Can religious music save? Can religious architecture save? Can religious cathedrals save? No! They lead away from Jesus! They make void the cross, and trample on His blood! (Paying for admittance into heaven)
J C Philpot comments on "The miserable dregs of self" present in believers…
To the praise of the glory of His grace, wherein He has made us accepted in the Beloved. Eph 1:6-note
We are ever looking for something in self to make ourselves acceptable to God, and are often sadly cast down and discouraged when we cannot find… that holiness, that obedience, that calm submission to the will of God, that serenity of soul, that spirituality and heavenly-mindedness which we believe to be acceptable in His sight. Our… crooked tempers, fretful, peevish minds, rebellious thoughts, coldness, barrenness, alienation from good, headlong proneness to ill, with the daily feeling that we get no better but rather worse, make us think that God views us just as we view ourselves. And this brings on great darkness of mind and bondage of spirit, and we seem to lose sight of our acceptance in Christ, and get into the miserable dregs of self, almost ready to quarrel with God because we are so vile, and only get worse as we get older.
Now the more we get into these dregs of self, and the more we keep looking at the dreadful scenes of wreck and ruin which our heart presents to daily view, the farther do we get from the grace of the gospel, and the more do we lose sight of the only ground of
our acceptance with God. It is "in the Beloved" that we are accepted, and not for any … good words, good works, good thoughts, good hearts, or good intentions of our own.
If our acceptance with God depended on anything in ourselves, we would have to adopt the Wesleyan creed (Ed: I.e., that salvation can be lost), and believe we might be children of God today and children of the devil tomorrow.
What, then, is to keep us from sinking altogether into despair, without hope or help? Why, a knowledge of our acceptance "in the Beloved," independent of everything in us, good or bad.
"Their righteousness is of Me, says the Lord." "You are complete in Him."
What a universal chorus of harmonious voices do we hear all sounding forth the same melodious strain—that we are accepted in the Beloved.
"Man's religion is to build up the creature. God's religion is to throw the creature down in
the dust of self-abasement, and to glorify Christ." (J. C. Philpot, "Meditations on Matters of Christian Faith & Experience")
A W Pink writes that…
The gospel of Satan teaches salvation by works. It inculcates justification before God, on the ground of human merits. It is a bloodless gospel, and presents a crossless Christ, who is received merely, as the Ideal Man. (Another Gospel)
The Puritan Thomas Watson wrote that…
A person may be adorned with many moral virtues, such as prudence, justice, and temperance; and may keep free from breaking penal statutes; and may not dash upon the rock of visible scandal. But under the fair leaves of morality—the worm of unbelief may be hidden!
A bull may be adorned with ribbons, and wear a garland on his head—and yet go to the slaughter! Just so, many a person who had all his life been decked with morality—is now in hell-fire!
J C Philpot…
"Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us." Titus 3:5
To view mercy in its real character, we must go to Calvary. It is not sufficient to contrast the purity of God with the impurity of man. That indeed affords us some view of what mercy must be to reach the depths of the fall--a side face of that precious attribute. But to see its full face shining upon the redeemed, we must go by faith, under the secret teachings and leadings of the Holy Spirit, to see "Immanuel, God with us," groveling in Gethsemane's garden. We must view him naked upon the cross, groaning, bleeding, agonizing, dying. We must view Godhead and manhood united together in the Person of a suffering Jesus; and the power of the Godhead bearing up the suffering manhood. We must view that wondrous spectacle of love and blood, and feel our eyes flowing down in streams of sorrow, humility, and contrition at the sight, in order to enter a little into the depths of the tender mercy of God. Nothing but this can really break the sinner's heart.
Law and terrors do but harden,
All the while they work alone;
But a sense of blood-bought pardon
Soon dissolves a heart of stone.
Law terrors, death and judgment, infinite purity, and eternal vengeance will not soften or break a sinner's heart. But if he is led to view a suffering Immanuel, and a sweet testimony is raised up in his conscience that those sufferings were for him--this, and this only will break his heart all to pieces. Thus, only by bringing a sweet sense of love and blood into his heart does the blessed Spirit show a sinner some of the depths of the tender mercy of God.
Saved (4982) (sozo) has the basic meaning of rescuing one from great peril. Additional nuances include to protect, keep alive, preserve life, deliver, heal, be made whole.
Sozo -106x in 99 verses in NAS - Mt 1:21; 8:25; 9:21, 22; 10:22; 14:30; 16:25; 19:25; 24:13, 22; 27:40, 42, 49; Mk 3:4; 5:23, 28, 34; 6:56; 8:35; 10:26, 52; 13:13, 20; 15:30, 31; 16:16; Lk 6:9; 7:50; 8:12, 36, 48, 50; 9:24; 13:23; 17:19; 18:26, 42; 19:10; 23:35, 37, 39; Jn 3:17; 5:34; 10:9; 11:12; 12:27, 47; Acts 2:21, 40, 47; 4:9, 12; 11:14; 14:9; 15:1, 11; 16:30, 31; 27:20, 31; Ro 5:9, 10; 8:24; 9:27; 10:9, 13; 11:14, 26; 1Co 1:18, 21; 3:15; 5:5; 7:16; 9:22; 10:33; 15:2; 2Co 2:15; Eph 2:5, 8; 1Th 2:16; 2Th 2:10; 1Ti 1:15; 2:4, 15; 4:16; 2Ti 1:9; 4:18; Titus 3:5; Heb 5:7; 7:25; Jas 1:21; 2:14; 4:12; 5:15, 20; 1Pe 3:21; 4:18; Jude 1:5, 23
Sozo is translated in NAS: bring… safely, 1; cured, 1; ensure salvation, 1; get, 1; get well, 2; made well, 5; made… well, 6; preserved, 1; recover, 1; restore, 1; save, 36; saved, 50; saves, 1; saving, 1.
Sozo is sometimes used of physical deliverance from danger of perishing (see Mt 8:25; Mt 14:30; Lk 23:35; Acts 27:20, 27:31), physical healing from sickness (Mt 9:21, 22; Mk 5:23, Acts 4:9), and deliverance from demonic possession (Lk 8:36).
More often sozo refers to salvation in a spiritual sense as illustrated in the following passages: Matthew recorded the angel's conversation with Joseph declaring
"She (Mary) will bear a Son; and you shall call His name Jesus, for it is He who will save (sozo) His people from their sins." (Mt 1:21)
Here sozo is equated with deliverance from sins (guilt and power of) with Jesus' name being a transliteration of Joshua meaning "Jehovah is salvation".
Jesus warned His disciples "And you will be hated by all on account of My name, but it is the one who has endured to the end who will be saved (sozo)." (Mt 10:22, cf Mt 24:13) Note it is not one's endurance (self effort or works) that save them but that one is able to endure because of the fact that they are saved. Again Jesus was teaching His disciples about salvation and declared
"it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle, than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God." And when the disciples heard this, they were very astonished and said, "Then who can be saved?" (Mt 19:24, 25)
Here He equated entrance into the kingdom of God with being saved. In explaining to His disciples and the multitudes what it meant to come after Him, denying self, taking up one's cross and following Him, Jesus declared that
"whoever wishes to save (referring to one's physical life) his life shall lose it (eternally); but whoever loses his life for My sake and the gospel's shall save (spiritually) it (eternally)." (Mk 8:34)
Jesus speaking to a
"woman in the city who was a sinner" (Lk 7:37) "said to her ""Your sins have been forgiven" (Lk 7:48) and then
"Your faith has saved (sozo) you; go in peace." (Lk 7:50).
In these passages Jesus equates sozo with forgiveness of sins, confession of faith and experiencing peace! In a parable explaining the role of the Word of God and the character of the "soil" in salvation, Jesus taught that
"those (people) beside the road are those who have heard (the seed, the Word, the Gospel); then the devil comes (Mark's gospel adds "immediately", "at once") and takes away (present tense - continually) the word from their heart, so that they may not believe and be saved." (Lk 8:12)
Observe that one cannot be saved unless he believes the word and that merely hearing (and even assenting to the veracity) of the word does not result in salvation.
NET Bible notes add that
"The word of Jesus has the potential to save if it germinates in a person’s heart, something the devil is very much against."
Jesus addressing the repentant Zaccheus declaring for all to hear
"Today salvation has come to this house, because he, too, is a son of Abraham (who by faith was reckoned righteousness - Ge 15:6). For the Son of Man has come to seek and to save that which was lost (this word speaks of eternal ruin, destitution and spiritual death)." (Lk 19:9,10)
Jesus taught that
"God did not send the Son into the world to judge the world, but that the world should be saved through Him." (Jn 3:17) One is saved (only) by entering "through Christ" as He amplified later explaining "I am the door; if anyone enters through Me, he shall be saved, and shall go in and out, and find pasture."
Peter explained to his Jewish audience how one could avoid the terrifying and dreadful Day of the LORD's wrath, quoting Joel 2:32 and declaring
that everyone who calls on the name of the LORD shall be saved. (Acts 2:21)
Peter later made it very clear that
there is salvation in no (absolute negative - no exception clauses) one else; for there is no other name (Jesus) under heaven that has been given among men, by which we must be saved. (Acts 4:12)
The Philippian jailer summed up spiritual salvation asking Paul and Silas
Sirs, what must I do to be saved?" And they said, "Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you shall be saved, you and your household. (Acts 16:31).
He saved us is aorist tense which records the saving act as a past fact. The us here is all who have accepted salvation in Christ. We now possess salvation "past tense" (see table below comparing the "three tenses" of salvation), each of us having been saved at a certain point in time in the when we confessed "with (our) mouth Jesus as Lord, and (believed) in (our) heart that God raised Him from the dead (Ro 10:9 -note)
God rescued us from great, grave danger, John recording that "he who does not believe has been judged already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God." (Jn 3:18) and that "he who does not obey the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God abides on him." (Jn 3:36).
He delivered us that we might be "made complete" in Christ (Col 2:10-note) "for of His fulness we have all received, and grace upon grace." (Jn 1:16).
Christ lives to protect us "by the power of God through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time." (1Pe 1:5-note)
|FREEDOM FROM SIN'S…||SCRIPTURES
IN THE PAST: GOD'S UNCHANGEABLE PURPOSE
At the moment of belief God "delivered us from the domain of darkness, and transferred us to the kingdom of His beloved Son" (Col 1:12, 13-notes) and justified us, declaring us righteous. At that moment we were cleansed of guilt, forgiven of sin and the penalty of eternal death, born again, clothed in Christ's righteousness, freed from condemnation, eternally safe in Christ independent of whether we "feel" like we possess these divine benefits or not!
IN THE PRESENT: GOD'S UNLIMITED POWER
Paul summarizes this process of sanctification charging believers: "(continually) work out (carry out to the goal, fully complete) your salvation with fear and trembling (with self-distrust, tenderness of conscience, taking heed lest you fall, watchful against temptation, timidly shrinking from whatever might offend God & discredit the name of Christ), (but not in your own strength) for it is God who is at work in you (energizing and creating in you the power and desire) both to will and to work for His good pleasure." (Php 2:12-note; Php 2:13-note) We are being saved daily from the power and dominion of sin as we allow the Spirit of Christ to live His life through us (cf Ro 8:13-note)
One time event
IN THE FUTURE: GOD'S UNBREAKABLE PROMISE
"Beloved, now we are children of God, and it has not appeared as yet what we shall be. We know that, when He appears, we shall be like Him, because we shall see Him just as He is. And everyone who has this hope fixed on Him purifies himself, just as He is pure." (1Jn 3:2, 3)
The following chart summarizes many of the truths discussed above (the division of this chart are not meant to imply that the Christian life is a dull, mechanical matter but in fact is a joyful, dynamic relationship with the Living God!)
"I have been saved"
(Ep 2:8; 2:9 - note)
"I am being saved"
"I will be saved"
(1Th 5:9- note)
|Redemption of the
|Redemption of the
|Redemption of the
sees us in Christ
are in conduct
shall be in glory
to the Holy One
|Through faith in Christ's finished work on the Cross and His resurrection
(Jn 19:30, Ro 3:22, 23, 24, 25, 26-note)
|Through Christ's present work of intercession for us and His power in and through us (He 7:25-note, Ep 3:17-note, Php 4:13-note)||Through Christ's future return and our transformation (Php 3:20, 21-note, Jn 3:1, 2)|
|Of and by the Spirit
(John 3:5, Titus 3:5)
|From the Spirit
|Through the Spirit
(Ro 8:11 - note)
Sons of God
Sons of God
Sons of God
|Result of our union
|Result of the Spirit’s work
through the Word
|Result of total transformation
the penalty of sin
the power of sin
the presence of sin
(1Cor 6:19, 20)
(Ro 8:23 - note)
|True of all believers
At moment of salvation
|Begins in all believers
at the point of salvation
|Finished in all believers when we enter the Lord’s presence|
|By the Father's Will
|In the Father's Word
|At the Father's Time
(Mt 24:36, Acts 1:6, 7)
by the death of Christ
the Word, the Spirit, faith, prayer, divine discipline, etc.
by the resurrection of Christ
With the Spirit
In this Life
The Life to Come
|The Same in
|The Same in
The disinfectant of Christ's Presence is ever warding off the germs of deadly temptation. The mighty arm of the Divine Keeper is always holding the door against the attempts of the adversary. The water is always flowing over the eye to remove the tiny grit or mote that may alight.
Note that sanctification is a progressive work of God and man that makes us more and more free from sin and like Christ in our actual lives. It is a work in which God and man cooperate each playing distinct roles. The Christian life involves continual growth in sanctification, and is something that the New Testament encourages us to give effort and attention to.
Hebrews 9:24, 26-28 in a sense pictures all three "tenses" of salvation…
Hebrews 9:24 (note) For Christ did not enter a holy place made with hands, a mere copy of the true one, but into heaven itself, now to appear in the presence of God for us (Ed: This is His present tense work for us as we are in the process of being progressively sanctified);
Hebrews 9:26 (note) Otherwise, He would have needed to suffer often since the foundation of the world; but now once at the consummation of the ages He has been manifested (phaneroo [word study] = to make an an external manifestation to the senses which is visible for all to see) to put away sin by the sacrifice of Himself. (Which makes possible "past tense" salvation or justification by faith)
Hebrews 9:28 (note) so Christ also, having been offered once to bear the sins of many, shall appear a second time for salvation without reference to sin, to those who eagerly await Him (Ed: This is His future tense work at which time we receive our glorified bodies).
Did you notice that the word “appear” is used three times in Hebrews 9:24-28? These three uses give us a summary of our Lord’s work. He has appeared to put away sin by dying on the cross (Heb. 9:26). He is appearing now in heaven for us (Heb. 9:24). One day, He shall appear to take Christians home (Heb. 9:28). These “three tenses of salvation” are all based on His finished work. (Wiersbe, W. W. The Bible Exposition commentary. Wheaton, Ill.: Victor Books)
F B Meyer writes that
Salvation is a great word. It includes the forgiveness that remembers our sin no more; deliverance from the curse and penalty of our evil ways; emancipation from the thrall of evil habit; the growing conformity of the soul to the image of Christ, and the final resurrection of the body in spiritual beauty and energy, to be for ever the companion and vehicle of the redeemed spirit.
Literally and more forcefully ''not out of works'' which is FIRST in the text for emphasis! See [Isa 64:6] for OT passages that state man's condition before a Holy God. Same idea as in [see Ro 3:20-note, Ro 3:28-note; Ro 4:1, 2-note]. Personal salvation is not ACHIEVED but is RECEIVED as a gracious gift from God. Likewise sanctification is not ACHIEVED but is RECEIVED (fleshly efforts to grow in grace are of no value - Col 2:23 [note]). See John Wesley's testimony of his conversion under "deeds"
A W Pink has the following discussion of the "Three Tenses of Salvation"…
How many, for example, would be capable of giving a simple exposition of the following texts, "Who has saved us" (2Ti 1:9-note). "Work out your own salvation with fear and trembling" (Php 2:12-note), "Now is our salvation nearer than when we believed" (Ro 13:11-note). Now those verses do not refer to three different salvations—but to three separate aspects of one and unless we learn to distinguish sharply between them, there can be nothing but confusion and cloudiness in our thinking. Those passages present three distinct phases and stages of salvation—salvation … as an accomplished fact, as a present process, as a future prospect. So many today ignore these distinctions, jumbling them together. Some contend for one and argue against the other two; and vice versa. Some insist they are already saved, and deny that they are now being saved. Some declare that salvation is entirely future, and deny that it is in any sense already accomplished. Both are wrong.
The fact is, that the great majority of professing Christians fail to see that "salvation" is one of the most comprehensive terms in all the Scriptures, including predestination, regeneration, justification, sanctification and glorification. They have far too cramped an idea of the meaning and scope of the word "salvation" (as it is used in the Scriptures), narrowing its range too much, generally confining their thoughts to but a single phase. They suppose "salvation" means no more than the new birth or the forgiveness of sins. Were one to tell them that salvation is a protracted process, they would view him with suspicion; and if he affirmed that salvation is something awaiting us in the future, they would at once dub him a heretic. Yet they would be the ones to err.
(Here are) passages in the New Testament which definitely refer to each distinct tense of salvation.
First, salvation as an accomplished fact, "Your faith has saved you" (Lk 7:50), "by grace you have been saved" (Greek, and so translated in the RV—Ep 2:8-note), "according to His mercy He saved us" (Titus 3:5).
Second, salvation as a present process, in course of accomplishment, not yet completed, "Unto us which are being saved" (1Co 1:18—R.V.); "Those who believe to the saving (not 'salvation') of the soul" (He 10:39-note).
Third, salvation as a future prospect, "Sent forth to minister for them who shall be heirs of salvation" (He 1:14-note), "receive with meekness the engrafted Word, which is able to save your souls" (Jas 1:21-note), "Kept by the power of God through faith unto salvation, ready to be revealed in the last time" (1Pe 1:5-note).
Thus, by putting together these different passages, we are clearly warranted in formulating the following statement—every genuine Christian has been saved, is now being saved, and will yet be saved… (Read Pink's lengthy discussion of this subject in A Fourfold Salvation)
Sozo - Used about 274 times in the non-apocryphal Septuagint (Lxx)- Gen 19:17, 20, 22; 32:8, 30; 47:25; Num 24:19; Deut 33:29; Josh 8:22; 10:33, 40; Jdg 2:16, 18; 3:9, 31; 6:14f, 31, 36f; 7:2, 7; 8:22; 10:1, 12ff; 12:2; 13:5; 1 Sam 4:3; 7:8; 9:16; 10:1, 27; 11:3; 14:6, 23, 39, 47; 17:47; 19:11f; 23:2, 5; 25:26, 31, 33; 27:1; 30:17; 2 Sam 3:18; 8:6, 14; 10:11, 19; 14:4; 22:3f, 28; 1Kgs 13:31; 18:40; 19:17; 20:20; 2Kgs 6:26f; 14:27; 16:7; 19:19, 37; 20:6; 1Chr 11:14; 16:35; 18:6, 13; 19:12; 2Chr 14:11; 16:7; 18:31; 20:9, 24; 32:8, 11, 13ff, 22; Ezra 8:22; Neh 1:2; 9:27; Esther 4:11, 13, 17; 8:6; 10:3; Job 1:15ff, 19; 6:23; 18:19; 20:20, 24; 22:29; 27:8; 33:28; 35:14; 40:14; Ps 3:7; 6:4; 7:1f, 9; 12:1; 17:7; 18:3, 27, 41; 20:6, 9; 22:5, 8, 21; 28:9; 30:3; 31:2, 7, 16; 33:16f; 34:6, 18; 36:6; 37:40; 44:3, 6f; 54:1; 55:8; 56:7; 57:3; 59:2; 60:5; 68:20; 69:1, 14, 35; 70:1; 71:2f; 72:4, 13; 76:9; 80:2f, 7, 19; 86:2, 16; 98:1; 106:8, 10, 21, 47; 107:13, 19; 108:6; 109:26, 31; 116:6; 118:25; 119:94, 117, 146, 173; 138:7; 145:19; Pr 6:3, 5; 10:25; 11:31; 15:24, 27; 19:7; 28:26; 29:25; Isa 1:27; 10:20, 22; 12:2; 14:32; 15:7; 19:20; 20:6; 30:15; 31:5; 33:21; 34:15; 35:4; 37:20, 32, 35; 38:6; 43:3, 11f; 45:17, 20, 22; 46:2, 4, 7; 47:13; 49:24f; 51:14; 59:1; 60:16; 63:9; 66:19; Jer 2:27f; 4:14; 11:12; 14:8f; 15:20; 17:14; 23:6; 30:7; 31:7; 32:4; 34:3; 38:18, 23; 39:17f; 41:15; 42:11, 17; 44:14, 28; 46:27; 48:6, 8, 19; Lam 2:13; 4:17; Ezek 14:14, 16, 18; 17:15, 18; 33:12; 34:22; 36:29; Dan 3:28; 6:20, 22, 27; 12:1; Hos 1:7; 13:4; 14:3; Joel 2:32; Amos 2:14f; Ob 1:21; Mic 6:9; Hab 1:2; 3:13; Zeph 3:17, 19; Zech 9:9, 16; 10:6; 12:7; Mal 3:15
Sozo is used 3 times in the first verse in which the angel told Lot to flee Sodom and Gomorrah..
Genesis 19:17 As soon as they had been brought outside, he was told: "Flee (Lxx = Sozo used twice!) for your life! Don't look back or stop anywhere on the Plain. Get off (Lxx = Sozo) to the hills at once, or you will be swept away."
Comment: Note that God provided the way of escape, the way to be saved from destruction and issued the clear command to be saved. Lot lingered but eventually choose God's way of escape (cp 2Pe 2:7-9-note where rescue is rhuomai), a choice his wife tragically rejected (See Ge 19:26 and Jesus' warning Lk 17:32)
Genesis 32:30 So Jacob named the place Peniel, for he said, "I have seen God face to face, yet my life (soul) has been preserved (Hebrew = natsal = rescue; Lxx = sozo)."
Judges 2:16 Then the LORD raised up judges who delivered (Hebrew = yasha'; Lxx = sozo) them from the hands of those who plundered them.
1 Samuel 17:47 and that all this assembly may know that the LORD does not deliver (Hebrew = yasha'; Lxx = sozo) by sword or by spear; for the battle is the LORD'S and He will give you into our hands.
2 Samuel 22:3 My God, my rock, in whom I take refuge, My Shield and the Horn of my salvation, my Stronghold and my Refuge; My Savior (Lxx = soteria), You save (Hebrew = yasha'; Lxx = sozo) me from violence.
Here is a wonderful use of sozo in the Septuagint (Lxx) in the form of a brief but powerful prayer by David…
Psalm 12:1 Help Lord, for the godly man ceases to be, for the faithful disappear from among the sons of men.
Comment: The Hebrew word for "help" here is yasha' which means to deliver, to save, to help, to preserve, to endow with salvation, to gain the victory or be victorious, to be liberated. The Lxx translates it with the Greek verb sozo, which means to rescue one from peril, danger or suffering, to protect from loss or destruction, to heal, to make whole, to keep alive, to preserve life (physical but especially spiritual - compare Ps 6:4, Ps 86:2).
C H Spurgeon has some wonderful insights on David's two word prayer "HELP LORD" in Psalm 12:1 writing that…
The prayer itself is remarkable, for it is short, but seasonable, sententious (pithy), and suggestive. David mourned the fewness of faithful men, and therefore lifted up his heart in supplication—when the creature failed, he flew to the Creator. He evidently felt his own weakness, or he would not have cried for help; but at the same time he intended honestly to exert himself for the cause of truth, for the word “help” is inapplicable where we ourselves do nothing. There is much of directness, clearness of perception, and distinctness of utterance in this petition of two words; much more, indeed, than in the long rambling outpourings of certain professors. The Psalmist runs straight-forward to his God, with a well-considered prayer; he knows what he is seeking, and where to seek it. Lord, teach us to pray in the same blessed manner.
The occasions for the use
of this prayer are frequent.
In providential afflictions how suitable it is for tried believers who find all helpers failing them.
Students, in doctrinal difficulties, may often obtain aid by lifting up this cry of “Help, Lord,” to the Holy Spirit, the great Teacher.
Spiritual warriors in inward conflicts may send to the throne for reinforcements, and this will be a model for their request.
Workers in heavenly labour may thus obtain grace in time of need.
Seeking sinners, in doubts and alarms, may offer up the same weighty supplication.
In fact, in all these cases, times, and places, this will serve the turn of needy souls. “Help, LORD,” will suit us living and dying, suffering or laboring, rejoicing or sorrowing. In Him our help is found, let us not be slack to cry to Him.
The answer to the prayer is certain, if it be sincerely offered through Jesus. The Lord’s character assures us that he will not leave his people; his relationship as Father and Husband guarantee us his aid; his gift of Jesus is a pledge of every good thing; and his sure promise stands, “Fear not, I will help thee.” (Spurgeon, C. H. Morning and evening : Daily readings: June 17 AM).
Beloved are we not in need of His Help, His salvation every day?! Our mortal enemies the world, the flesh and the devil daily (yea, even moment by moment) seek to being us down, to cause us to stumble, to "wound" our soul. It follows that David's prayer "Help Jehovah" should continually be in our heart and on our lips! Stop and utter this brief but powerful prayer even now. Take a moment to give thanks and praise to our Lord Jesus for His great rescue of each of us from eternal death by offering His life as a substitute for our life… listen to modern worship song based on Fanny Crosby's hymn by the same name…
In his book Illustrations of Bible Truth, H. A. Ironside included the story of a new convert who gave his testimony during a church service. With a smile on his face and joy in his heart, the man related how he had been delivered from a life of sin. He gave the Lord all the glory, saying nothing about any of his own merits or what he had done to deserve the blessings of redemption. The person in charge, who was very legalistic, didn’t fully appreciate the reality of salvation by grace through faith alone, apart from human works. So he responded to the young man’s comments by saying,
“you seem to indicate that God did everything when He saved you. Didn’t you do your part before God did His?”
The new Christian jumped to his feet and said, “Oh yes, I did. For more than 30 years I ran away from God as fast as my sins could carry me. That was my part. But God took out after me and ran me down. That was His part.”
Commenting on this testimony, Ironside wrote,
“It was well put and tells a story that every redeemed sinner understands.”
Illustration of God’s sacrificial love - The story is told of John Griffith, a Missouri man who was the controller of a great railroad drawbridge across the Mississippi during the Great Depression. One fine summer day in 1937, John decided to take his 8 year old son, Greg, to work with him. At noon, John raised the bridge to allow transit to any ships that might pass by and sat on the observation deck with Greg to eat their lunch. The minutes passed lazily as the noon day beat down on them. Suddenly, John was jolted by the sound of shrieking train whistle in the distance. He quickly looked at his watch. It was 1:07 and the Memphis Express, with 400 passengers was roaring toward the raised bridge! He leaped up from the observation deck and ran back to the control tower. Before throwing the master lever, he looked down to see if any ships were passing below. The sight he saw caused his pounding heart to leap into his throat. Greg had slipped from the observation deck and had fallen into the massive gears that operate the bridge. His left leg was caught in the cogs of the two main gears! Desperately, John’s mind raced to devise a rescue plan. The seconds were quickly ticking away and he knew there wasn’t enough time for him to rescue his son before the train reached the bridge. Again, with alarming closeness, the train’s shrill whistle cut through the summer air. He could hear the wheels as they clicked along on the tracks. That was his son trapped below! Yet there were 400 passengers on the train. John knew what he had to do, so he buried his head in his left arm and pushed the lever forward to lower the bridge. Just seconds after the massive bridge settled into place, the Memphis Express, with its 400 passengers barreled across the river. When John lifted his tear-streaked face, he looked into the passing windows of the train. There were businessmen casually reading their newspapers; finely dressed ladies in the dining car sipping coffee; and children eating bowls of ice cream. No one looked at the control tower. No one saw the great gear box. With wrenching agony, John Griffith cried out at the retreating steel monster, “I sacrificed my son for you people! Don’t you care?” The train let out one parting whistle and then sounds that were left were the sobs of the broken man and the clicking wheels fading in the distance recalling the words from Lamentations 1:12: “Is it nothing to you, all who pass by?” God allowed His Son to be a sacrifice and die in our place. We should have been the ones who faced hell as a result of our sins. But God had Jesus die in our place and pay the price to save us from hell. He didn’t do it because we were nice people and deserved to be saved from hell. He did it because we were hopeless without Jesus. He did it because He loved us.
The story is told about a woman in California who was picked up for speeding. She was ticketed and taken before the judge. The judge read off the citation and said, "Guilty or not guilty?" She said, "Guilty," and the judge banged his gavel and fined her $100. But then he did something strange. Standing up, he removed his robe, walked down around to the front, stood beside the woman, and took out his billfold. He removed $100 and paid the fine. The judge was her father. He was a just judge, and yet he loved his daughter and paid her penalty. Sound familiar?
Have done - Recall that the Greek sentence begins with "not out of works" (Literal). Works we have carried out in a vain effort to merit God's favor. Grace is necessary and it is a gift which cannot be earned or deserved! We have the same idea in Romans where Paul reminds his readers that…
by the works of the Law (human effort) no flesh will be justified in His sight; for through the Law comes the knowledge of sin. (Ro 3:20-note)
In righteousness - In righteousness is the element and condition in which they were wrought. The problem is this was not in the sphere of God's perfect righteousness, but in the sphere of man's imperfect righteousness, a righteousness which will always fall short of God's standard of perfection (cp Moses' declaration in Dt 9:5).
Righteousness (1343) (dikaiosune [word study] from dikaios = being in accordance with what God requires, being in accordance with God's compelling standards) when referring to God's righteousness is all that God is, all that He commands, all that He demands, all that He approves, all that He provides in and through Christ (cf 1Cor 1:30, 2Cor 5:21).
The -súne ending makes this an abstraction. Righteousness fulfills the claims of díke, which, in the case of the believer, are God’s claims. Since God Himself is the standard of the believers, the righteousness of God means the righteousness which belongs to God. In the case of the nonbeliever, "righteousness" is conformity to the claims of the higher authority which a person adopts as his own standard, which in Western culture is the "god within", so that my behavior needs only to conform to that standard which I define as right. (cf. Jdg 21:25, Pr 29:18) Anything done in our own righteousness (cp Jn 15:5) is filthy rags and an abomination before the Lord. Dikaiosúne, righteousness, is thus conformity to the claims of higher authority and stands in opposition to anomía, lawlessness. In both the OT and NT, righteousness is the state commanded by God and standing the test of His judgment (2Co 3:9; 6:14; Ep 4:24-note). Thus righteousness in general is God’s standard, to which man is expected to conform. It is a gift (Ro 5:17-note). God’s righteousness is imputed and imparted as a gift to man and not earned. Righteousness is that disposition and method of life which aligns itself with God’s holy will. In short, righteousness is Godlikeness or godliness.
Paul is using the term “righteousness” in its classical sense, for he is speaking of the effort of an unsaved person attempting to merit salvation by the performance of deeds done in the sphere of righteousness as conceived of by the pagan Greeks. He uses the word in a like sense in Ro 5:7 (see note).
Illustration - A headline in The Grand Rapids Press caught my attention: "Conversion to Hindu Faith Is Torturous." The article stated, "A West German businessman has completed his conversion to the Hindu faith by piercing himself through the cheeks with a one-quarter-inch thick, four-foot-long steel rod, and pulling a chariot for two miles by ropes attached to his back and chest by steel hooks… Others walk through twenty-foot-long pits of fire, don shoes with soles made of nails, or hang in the air spread-eagle from hooks embedded in their backs."
What a contrast to the reality of Christianity. The teaching of salvation by grace, through faith, apart from human works, distinguishes Christianity from all other religions of the world. The conversion experience of a believer in the Lord Jesus Christ is not "completed" through acts of self-torture. We may have to suffer for the cause of Christ, and good works should always prove the genuineness of our faith, but neither suffering nor serving save us. Paul wrote, "For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them" (Ep 2:10-note). Self-inflicted torture is completely foreign to everything the Bible teaches about salvation.
We are not saved on the basis of what we can endure; rather, our hope is in what Christ has already endured for us on the cross. The Christian way is not conversion by torture—it's salvation by grace.—R. W. De Haan (Our Daily Bread, Copyright RBC Ministries, Grand Rapids, MI. Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved)
We are saved by God's mercy, not by our merit—
by Christ's dying, not by our doing
BUT ACCORDING TO HIS MERCY: alla kata to autou eleos: [Titus 3:4; Ps 62:12; 86:5,15; 130:7; Mic 7:18; Lk 1:50,54,72,78; Ep 1:6,7; Heb 4:16; 1Pe 1:3; 2:10]
Salvation is a gift of God,
Not something earned or won;
He freely gives eternal life
To all who trust His Son. —Sper
We are saved by God's mercy, not by our merit—
by Christ's dying, not by our doing.
But (alla) - Praise God for this strong, sure contrast (note) and God's great mercy to sinners who deserve hell but by grace through faith are offered heaven! Amazing grace indeed!
Positively, God saved us "because of His mercy." In our wretchedness He graciously withheld deserved punishment and freely saved us. According to ( kata ) points to His boundless, infinite, eternal, inexhaustible mercy as the foundation for His offer of salvation.
The pronouns "we" (we have done… ) and "His" (His mercy… ) stand in intentional and emphatic contrast.
According to (2596) (kata) means not out of, NOT just a portion of, but in proportion to His great mercy. If I am a billionaire and I give you ten dollars, I have given you out of my riches; but if I give you a million dollars, I have given to you according to my riches. The first is a portion; the second is a proportion.
Root idea of kata is “down” and suggests dominance, control. God, in saving sinners, is dominated in His act by the mercy that flows spontaneously from His heart. Pure mercy on the part of God shown to the sinner, does not take into account any so-called good works the latter may do. After indicating the factor that motivated God in saving the sinner, Paul speaks of the process. This is true not only objectively in that we no longer stand before God as enemies but now as beloved children; but this is also true subjectively in that we have been relieved of the hostility in our hearts toward God and the torment of guilt in our consciences.
Mercy (1656) (eleos [word study]) is “the self-moved, spontaneous loving kindness of God which causes Him to deal in compassion and tender affection with the miserable and distressed.” (The riches of God's Mercy - John MacDuff) (Satisfying Mercy - James Smith) (Christian Mercy Explained and Enforced - John Angell James)
Matthew Henry comments on the mercy demonstrated in the parable of the prodigal son.
His father saw him-- there were eyes of mercy;
he ran to meet him-- there were legs of mercy;
he put his arms round his neck-- there were arms of mercy;
he kissed him-- there were kisses of mercy;
he said to him-- there were words of mercy;
Bring here the best robe-- there were deeds of mercy;
Wonders of mercy-- all mercy!
Oh, what a God of mercy He is!
Oh, what a precious reception for one of the chief of sinners!
Mercy is the outward manifestation of pity which assumes need (which is all children of Adam) on the part of him who receives it and resources adequate to meet need on part of him who shows the mercy. Eleos is kindness or concern shown for someone in serious need. Mercy implies compassion that forbears punishing even when justice demands compassion or forbearance shown esp to an offender or to one subject to one’s power.
God’s mercy, His loving and benevolent pity for the misery brought about by our sin, precedes His saving grace and continues to be actively demonstrated after the work of that grace. God’s mercy is extended for the alleviation of the consequences of sin. Grace identifies the free nature of salvation, that which is unmerited and without obligation.
Mercy is welcome news indeed
To those that guilty stand;
Wretches that feel what help they need
Will bless the helping hand.
Mercy is the application of grace and reminds us that redemptive freedom rescued us from the pathetic condition of our sinfulness. In Jn 3:16, God loved in mercy and gave in grace. Peace refers us to the effect of salvation, namely, that we were set free from the condemnation of sin and reconciled to God. It is always grace and mercy that we find in the apostolic salutations, for as we experience guilt for our sin and receive God’s grace, we also need mercy to alleviate the consequences of our sins which may remain unaffected by grace. The guilt and power of sin must be removed through God’s grace before the alleviation of the misery of sin can be experienced.
Guy King has suggested that grace is needed for every service, mercy for every failure, and peace for every circumstance. Someone else has said, “Grace to the worthless, mercy to the helpless, and peace to the restless.”
Mercy is the act of God, peace is the resulting experience in the heart of man. Grace describes God's attitude toward the law-breaker and the rebel; mercy is His attitude toward those who are in distress."
Singing of Mercy
Ps. 89.1; Ro 15.9
Thy mercy, my God, is the theme of my song,
The joy of my heart, and the boast of my tongue;
Thy free grace alone, from the first to the last,
Has won my affections, and bound my soul fast.
Thy mercy, in Jesus, exempts me from hell;
Its glories I’ll sing, and its wonders I’ll tell;
’Twas Jesus, my Friend, when he hung on the tree,
Who opened the channel of mercy for me.
Without thy sweet mercy I could not live here;
Sin soon would reduce me to utter despair;
But, through thy free goodness, my spirits revive,
And he that first made me still keeps me alive.
Thy mercy is more than a match for my heart,
Which wonders to feel its own hardness depart;
Dissolved by thy goodness, I fall to the ground,
And weep to the praise of the mercy I found.
The door of thy mercy stands open all day,
To the poor and the needy, who knock by the way.
No sinner shall ever be empty sent back,
Who comes seeking mercy for Jesus’ sake.
Great Father of mercies, thy goodness I own,
And the covenant love of thy crucified Son;
All praise to the Spirit, whose whisper divine
Seals mercy, and pardon, and righteousness mine.
HE SAVED US: esosen (3SAAI) hemas:
GOD'S GREAT WORK
There aren't many ways into heaven;
The Bible says there's only one:
Confessing Christ Jesus as Savior,
Believing in God's only Son.
Note well that there was a Divine salvation. In consequence of the interposition of Jesus, believers are described as being saved: “not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to His mercy He saved us.” Hearken to this. There are men in the world who are saved: they are spoken of, not as “to be saved,” not as to be saved when they come to die, but saved even now — saved from the dominion of the evils which we described under our first head: saved from folly, disobedience, delusion, and the like. Whosoever believeth in the Lord Jesus Christ, whom God has set forth to be the propitiation for sin, is saved from the guilt and power of sin. He shall no longer be the slave of his lusts and pleasures; he is saved from that dread bondage. He is saved from hate, for he has tasted love, and learned to love. He shall not be condemned for all that he has hitherto done, for his great Substitute and Saviour has borne away the guilt, the curse, the punishment of sin; yea, and sin itself.
There was a motive for this salvation. Positively, “According to His mercy He saved us”; and, negatively, “Not by works of righteousness which we have done.” We could not have been saved at the first by our works of righteousness; for we had not done any. “No,” says the apostle, “we were foolish, disobedient, deceived,” and therefore we had no works of righteousness, and yet the Lord interposed and saved us. Behold and admire the splendour of His love, that “He loved us even when we were dead in sins.” He loved us, and therefore quickened us.
There was a power by which we were saved. The way in which we are delivered from the dominion of sin is by the work of the Holy Ghost. This adorable Person is very God of very God. This Divine Being comes to us and causes us to be born again. By His eternal power and Godhead He gives us a totally new nature, a life which could not grow out of our former life, nor be developed from our nature — a life which is a new creation of God. We are saved, not by evolution, but by creation. The Spirit of God creates us anew in Christ Jesus unto good works. We experience regeneration, which means — being generated over again, or born again.
There is also mentioned a blessed privilege which comes to us by Jesus Christ. The Spirit is shed on us abundantly by Jesus Christ, and we are “justified by His grace.” Both justification and sanctification come to us through the medium of our Lord Jesus Christ.
Once more, there comes out of this a Divine result. We become today joint heirs with Christ Jesus, and so heirs of a heavenly estate; and then out of this heirship there grows a hope which reaches forward to the eternal future with exceeding joy.
Saved (4982) (sozo) means that He delivered us, rescuing us from danger, loss and ultimately from eternal destruction! He daily preserves us, making us whole by the renewing by the Holy Spirit, sanctifying us in the Truth, His Word (Jn 17:17). How did He save us? Read on.
BY THE WASHING REGENERATION: dia loutrou paliggenesias: (Jn 3:3, 4, 5; 1Co 6:11; Ep 5:26; 1Pe 3:21)
- by the cleansing power of a new birth and the moral renewal of the Holy Spirit (Phillips)
- by [the] cleansing [bath] of the new birth (regeneration) and renewing of the Holy Spirit (Amplified)
- through the washing of the new birth and the giving of new life in the Holy Spirit (BBE)
- He saved us through a second birth, Renewed us by the Spirit's work (ISV)
Washing of regeneration - is another way of describing the new birth.
J Vernon McGee explains that "This washing of regeneration is what the Lord was speaking about in the third chapter of John: “… Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God” (John 3:5). The water represents the Word of God—the Bible will wash you. It has a sanctifying power, a cleansing power. We are cleansed by the Word of God. The Holy Spirit uses the Word of God—“born of water and of the Spirit.” That is the way we are born again. (McGee, J V: Thru the Bible Commentary: Thomas Nelson)
Hiebert comments that "Most commentators take the washing as a reference to water baptism. But if water baptism is the means that produces the spiritual rebirth, we then have the questionable teaching of a material agency as the indispensable means for producing a spiritual result (but cf. Mt 15:1-20; Ro 2:25, 26, 27, 28, 29-note; Gal 5:6). We accept the washing as a divine inner act, although the experience is viewed as openly confessed before men in baptism.
Wiersbe - I do not think that washing here refers to baptism because, in New Testament times, people were baptized after they were saved, and not in order to be saved (see Acts 10:43, 44, 45, 46, 47, 48). (Wiersbe, W: Bible Exposition Commentary. 1989. Victor)
Washing (3067) (loutron from louo = bathe whole person as in John 13:10) in the Greek writings refers (from Homer down) to a bath, a bathing place or performance of a complete ablution (act of washing the body).
In John 13 John used the root word louo explaining to Peter that…
He who has bathed (louo in the perfect tense = past completed action with ongoing effect) needs only to wash (nipto) his feet, but is completely clean; and you are clean, but not all of you. 11 For He knew the one who was betraying Him; for this reason He said, "Not all of you are clean. (John 13:10, 11)
Comment: The imagery is oriental, where the Roman citizen would louo his entire body at the public baths and nipto his feet when he arrived home. Jesus used louo to refer to the cleansing of the sinner in "the Fountain filled with Blood drawn from Immanuel’s veins" at the moment of salvation when he is completely and eternally justified or declared righteous by faith in Christ. "Wash his feet" refers to a daily cleansing of the saint in his walk and his feet become "dirty" from sin and thus has to do with progressive or practical sanctification or daily being set aside more and more to God and from this world which is passing away. The partial washing indicated by the verb nipto is a picture of the daily need for confession and cleansing as in 1John 1:7,9. But see comment on this verse in the Net Bible regarding this interpretation.
A T Robertson notes that loutron is a "Late and common word with the Stoics (Dibelius) and in the Mystery-religions (Angus), also in the papyri and Philo… The usual meaning from Homer to the papyri is the bath or bathing-place, though some examples seem to mean bathing or washing… here (Titus 3:5 [note]) as there (Ep 5:26 [note]) (loutron refers to) the laver or the bath. Probably in both cases there is a reference to baptism, but, as in Romans 6:3, 4, 5, 6 (see notes Ro 6:3; 6:4; 6:5; 6:6), the immersion is the picture or the symbol of the new birth, not the means of securing it.
Metaphorically in the NT loutron is used of the Word of God as the instrument of spiritual cleansing (Ep 5:26-note). Here in Titus 3:5 loutron brings to mind the close connection between cleansing from sin and regeneration. "Mikveh" the Jewish ritual bath, renders the Greek word loutron.
Vincent adds that loutron "does not mean the act of bathing, but the bath, the laver. "
Milligan writes loutron denotes “the water for washing,” or “the washing” itself, as in the Mysteries’ inscriptions from Andania."
There are two uses of this word in Scripture…
Jesus used the root verb louo in John 13:10 declaring that
"He who has bathed (louo - perfect tense) needs only to wash his feet, but is completely clean; and you are clean, but not all of you."
In Jesus' first use (louo) refers to the cleansing of the sinner in the Fountain filled with Blood drawn from Immanuel’s veins. The second word (nipto) refers to the need for the daily cleansing of the saint in his walk. The first has to do with justification, the second with sanctification. In regeneration there is also a cleansing, in that a new life is introduced into the believing sinner.
In Romans 6:3-6 (see notes Ro 6:3; 6:4; 6:5; 6:6), the immersion is the picture or the symbol of the new birth, not the means of securing it. The washing mentioned can easily be understood metaphorically and contextually there is no WATER anywhere near this verse! Regeneration itself is an operation portrayed in Scripture as effecting a spiritual cleansing (Ezekiel 36:25, 26; John 3:5; 1Cor 6:11). In addition, since the expression “washing of regeneration” stands parallel to “renewing by the Holy Spirit”, it is more natural to assume the force of the gen. is also parallel. The gen. of latter phrase is certainly subjective. Hence, the words “washing of regeneration” refer to the washing produced by regeneration.
Thomas Watson writes that…
Grace has a soul-CLEANSING excellency. By nature we are defiled; sin makes things filthy (2Cor 7:1-note). A sinner's heart is so black that nothing but hell can equal it; but grace is a spiritual laver—and therefore it is called "the washing of regeneration" in Titus 3:5. The grace of repentance cleanses. Mary's tears, as they washed Christ's feet—so they washed her heart. Faith has a cleansing virtue. Acts 15:9: "Having purified their hearts by faith." Grace whitens the soul; it takes out the leopard spots—and turns it into an azure beauty. Grace is of a celestial nature; though it does not wholly remove sin—it does subdue it. Though it does not keep sin out, it does keep it under control. Though sin in a gracious soul does not totally die—yet it dies daily. Grace makes the heart into a spiritual temple which has this inscription on it: "Holiness to the Lord!" (The Beauty of Grace)
When a man is converted to God, it is done in a moment. Regeneration is an instantaneous work. Conversion to God, the fruit of regeneration, occupies all our life, but regeneration itself is effected in an instant.
A man hates God-- the Holy Spirit makes him love God. A man is opposed to Christ, he hates his gospel, does not understand it and will not receive it-- the Holy Spirit comes, puts light into his darkened understanding, takes the chain from his bondaged will, gives liberty to his conscience, gives life to his dead soul, so that the voice of conscience is heard, and the man becomes a new creature in Christ Jesus.
And all this is done, mark you, by the instantaneous supernatural influence of God the Holy Spirit working as he wills among the sons of men.
James Smith (1858)…
The excellent — but eccentric John Ryland, whenever he was called upon by any young minister of the Gospel, always urged upon him one thing, to make the three great Rs prominent in his preaching. On one occasion when a young minister called, he said, "And so you are going to preach at ___. Now, if I were in your place, when I got into the pulpit, I would look at them very earnestly, and tell them that they were all lost and Ruined. Then I would inform them that there was no Redemption — but by our Lord Jesus Christ. Then I would insist upon it, that they must be Regenerated by the Holy Spirit — or be lost forever. And then, if I saw they did not like it, I would preach Hell and damnation to them — and solemnly tell them there was no other way to escape it."
Here are his three great R's:
Ruin by sin,
Redemption by Christ, and
Regeneration by the Holy Spirit…
REGENERATION by the Holy Spirit. Yes, we must be born again. As dead in trespasses and sins — he must quicken us. As corrupt, depraved, and polluted — he must new create us. As blind, dark, and afar off from God — he must give sight, enlighten, and bring us near. We did not more need the mercy of the Father, in providing a Savior, nor the grace of the Savior in coming into the world to save us — than we need the power of the Holy Spirit to make us new creatures in Christ! For though the work of the Holy Spirit totally differs from the work of the Son — it is none the less necessary for us. In vain had Jesus died for us, in vain had He paid the price of our redemption — if the Holy Spirit did not come to emancipate us by His power. It is His work … to open the prison doors, to knock off the iron fetters, to pour light on the blind eyes, to impart vigor to the paralyzed faculties, and to infuse life into the dead soul!
The Holy Spirit … teaches us our need of Christ, unveils before us the beauty, glory, and adaptation of Christ, applies to us His precious blood, and introduces us into liberty, peace, and joy.
Blessed Spirit, author of our regeneration, giver of spiritual life and light — but for you, we would have never sighed for salvation, sought the Savior, or enjoyed the blessing of redemption!
These, then, are the three great R's. Reader, are you acquainted with them? Do you know what it is to be totally ruined by sin, and unable to do anything toward your own deliverance? Have you found redemption in the blood of Jesus, even a deliverance from the law in its condemnation, from sin in its guilt and power, and from the present evil world in its terrors and fascinations? Have you experienced the regenerating power of the Holy Spirit? Are you a new creature? Are you born of the Spirit, taught of the Spirit, and led by the Spirit? If so, blessed are you. To know the three great R's experimentally is to be truly wise, really holy, and eternally safe.
But they must all be known. To know our ruin and not our redemption, will only make us wretched and miserable; and to know that there is redemption in Christ Jesus, and not enjoy it, will leave us exposed to all the terrors of the law of God; and this redemption can only be enjoyed as the result of the regenerating power and work of the Holy Spirit. The Father's love in providing a Redeemer for us when ruined; the Son's love in becoming the Redeemer of lost and ruined sinners; and the Spirit's love in revealing the Redeemer and applying the blessings of his redemption constitute our salvation! (The Three Great R's)
Regeneration (3824) (paliggenesia or palingenesia from the adverb palin = back, again, back again + noun genesis = origin, race and birth in turn derived from ginomai = cause to be ["gen"-erate], to become, to begin to be or to come into existence) means literally a birth again and so to be born again. In every day speech paliggenesia denoted various kinds of renewal -- the return or restoration of something, return to former circumstances, termination of captivity, restoration to health following a birth or illness.
- Regeneration - part 1 by J C Ryle, part 2, part 3;
- Regeneration by William Plummer;
- New Birth by Carl B. Hoch, Jr
As emphasized by the TDNT "the original notion was not that of human birth" (F. Büchsel, TDNT). It has two basic meanings as used in the NT, one speaking of the future as the restoration and renewal of the world or the new age and secondly referring to a spiritual and moral renewal of an individual which equates with a new birth, or regeneration. Paliggenesia refers to the experience of a complete change of life as one sees in the rebirth of a redeemed person.
The only other use of paliggenesia is by Jesus in answer to Peter's query that in view of the fact that the disciples had left every to follow Him what would there be for them, to which Jesus answered…
Truly I say to you, that you who have followed Me, in the regeneration (paliggenesia) when the Son of Man will sit on His glorious throne (at His second coming to establish His 1000 year Messianic Kingdom, the Millennium = Mt 25:31), you also shall sit upon twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel. (Matthew 19:28)
So here in Matthew 19:28 paliggenesia refers to a "new world" or "new age" fulfilling Jewish hopes that were awaiting a renewal both of land and of the entire world. The Jews thus used paliggenesia in as eschatological sense of the renewing of the world in the time of the Messiah.
As discussed in NIDNTT, paliggenesia was used in Stoicism to describe periodic restorations of the natural world. They believed that
the cosmos would periodically perish through a world-conflagration (ekpurosis) and then arise anew in a rebirth (palingenesia). But the cosmos did not attain to a new mode of being or quality through the rebirth; the world that has passed away was there once again… Plutarch used the word in describing the myths of Dionysus and Osiris and also in an individual sense in describing the rebirth of souls (used as a synonym for anabiosis, reanimation)… palingenesia was also used to express the rebirth of individuals in a new cosmic age. It thus denotes a human occurrence as well as a cosmic event. In the mystery religions of the Hellenistic period the idea of rebirth occupied a large place. All the mystery religions know of a deity who died and awoke to new life. In the cultic rites this was not taught as a doctrine, but represented in a dramatic way in which the initiate (mystes) took part thus sharing in the life-giving and renewing power of their deity… it cannot be denied that NT language at this point presents certain parallels to the mystery religions. Palingenesia does not occur in the Septuagint (LXX)… There is, however, the thought of eschatological renewal in Ezek. 11:19:
And I will give them one heart, and put a new spirit within them; I will take the stony heart out of their flesh and give them a heart of flesh” (RSV)
God will put his law within them and write it on their hearts (Jer 31:33; cf. Isa 60:21; Jer. 24:7; 31:18; Ezek 36:26, 27). This change and renewal is proclaimed as a future blessing of salvation which the Lord himself will bring about. The people are not themselves capable of such a change (Ge 6:5; 8:21; Jer 13:23). In Hellenistic Judaism palingenesia occurs frequently. Philo used it to denote the renewal of the world after the flood and also of individuals… Josephus describes the revival of Israelite national life after the exile as the palingenesia of the land (Ant. 11, 66). Jewish thought, influenced by the OT, gave the word a different meaning from that of the Stoics. The world’s new existence is not simply a return of the old. Regeneration is unique, and does not occur in cycles. (Brown, Colin, Editor. New International Dictionary of NT Theology. 1986. Zondervan)
Wuest commenting on the use of paliggenesia in Titus 3:5 writes that…
Regeneration is described as a washing here. The word is lutron, which word means “a bath.” We have the same word used in Eph. 5:26 where the bath of water (genitive of description), the water-bath cleanses the life of the believer. The Word of God is conceived of as a water-bath cleansing the life by putting out of it things that are sinful, and introducing into it, things that are right. In our present text, regeneration is spoken of as a bath in that the impartation of the divine nature results in the cleansing of the life by the fact that the new life from God provides the believer with both the desire and power to do the will of God and to refuse to fulfill the behests of the evil nature whose power has been broken by the identification of the believer with the Lord Jesus in His death on the Cross." (Wuest, K. S. Wuest's Word Studies from the Greek New Testament: Eerdmans)
The Exegetical Dictionary of the New Testament writes that paliggenesia .
designates various forms of rebirth or renewal, e.g., restoration of health, the beginning of the new life of an individual or a people, the anticipated restoration of the world, or the reincarnation of souls, among many others" (Balz, H. R., & Schneider, G. Exegetical Dictionary of the New Testament. Vol. 3, Page 8. Grand Rapids, Mich.: Eerdmans)
John MacArthur explains that in Titus 3:5, palingenesia
carries the idea of receiving a new life, of being born again, or born from above. Jesus told the inquiring Nicodemus, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God” (John 3:5; cf. Eph. 5:26). (MacArthur. Titus: Moody Press)
He goes on to add that in Titus 3:5 paliggenesia "or regeneration is characterized by or accompanied by the action of washing. The regenerative activity of the Holy Spirit is characterized elsewhere in Scripture as cleansing and purifying (see Ezekiel 36:25, 26, 27; John 3:5). The Greek term for regeneration literally means “being born again”—indicating the new birth effected by the Holy Spirit (see John 3:6; Ro 8:16 [note]; Galatians 4:6). Thus God saved us through one process with two aspects: the washing of regeneration and the renewing of the Holy Spirit." (MacArthur, J. The MacArthur Quick Reference Guide to the Bible. Page 284. Nashville, Tenn.: Word)
Regarding the second use of paliggenesia in Matthew 19:28 John MacArthur writes that this term was
used by Josephus for the new birth of the Jewish nation after the Babylonian Captivity and by Philo of the new birth of the earth after the Flood and after its destruction by fire… In (Matthew 19:28) Jesus uses (paliggenesia) to represent the rebirth of the earth under His sovereign dominion at the time of His second coming. It will be paradise regained and a global parallel to the individual rebirth of Christians. The earth and the world of men will be given a new nature, described in great detail by the Old Testament prophets and by John in Revelation 20:1–15. Just as they have been given spiritual life and a new nature in Jesus Christ but are not yet perfected, so there will be a rebirth of the earth that is divinely recreated. Although it will not yet be a totally new earth (Rev 21:1-note), it will nevertheless be wonderfully superior to the present fallen and unredeemed earth. It was the belief of the Jews that Messiah would renew the earth and heavens, based on the prophecy of Isaiah 65:17 and Isa 66:22. Peter called it “the period of restoration of all things about which God spoke by the mouth of His holy prophets from ancient times” (Acts 3:21). All believers will sit on the throne of Christ (Re 3:21-note), exercising authority over the people of the earth (Re 2:26-note), while the apostles are uniquely ruling restored Israel. This cannot be the eternal state described in Revelation 21:12, 13, 14, where twelve gates in the New Jerusalem are inscribed with the names of the twelve tribes and twelve foundations are inscribed with the names of the twelve apostles. At the time of the restoration of the earth, righteousness will flourish, peace will abound, Jerusalem will again be exalted, health and healing will prevail, the earth will produce food as never before, the lion will lay down in peace with the lamb, the deserts will blossom, and life will be long. The age-old curse that began with the Fall will then be limited, in anticipation of its being eliminated completely in the eternal state to follow (Rev 22:3)." (MacArthur, J: Matthew 1-7 Chicago: Moody Press) (Bolding added)
Although there are some (such as Kenneth Wuest) who interpret Jesus' reference to "the regeneration" as occurring after the Millennium, as MacArthur reasons in the preceding comment, this time period is more compatible with the 1000 year reign of Christ. Furthermore numerous able expositors agree with MacArthur (King James Version Study Bible, Morris' Defender's Study Bible, Ryrie's Study Bible, Believer's Study Bible, Wycliffe Bible Commentary, Constable's Expository Notes on the Bible, et al) writing that the regeneration in Matthew 19:28 is not a reference to heaven, William MacDonald explaining that…
"The Lord assured Peter that everything done for Him would be rewarded handsomely. As to the twelve specifically, they would have places of authority in the Millennium. The regeneration refers to Christ’s future reign on earth." (MacDonald, W & Farstad, A. Believer's Bible Commentary: Thomas Nelson)
W E Vine writes that in Titus 3:5…
the word paliggenesia signifies new birth (“birth again”), i.e., spiritual regeneration. This involves the impartation of a new life, and the operating powers which effect this are “the word of truth,” James 1:18 (note); 1Pe 1:23 (note), and the Holy Spirit, John 3:5, 6. The “washing” does not refer to baptism… The new birth and regeneration do not represent successive stages in spiritual experience; they refer to the same event but view it in different ways. The new birth stresses the communication of the spiritual life in contrast to antecedent spiritual death; regeneration stresses the inception of a new stage of things in contrast with the old. Hence the connection of the word in its application to Israel in Matthew 19:28. With the new birth, or regeneration, comes the washing away of sin. (Vine, W. Collected writings of W. E. Vine. Nashville: Thomas Nelson)
Easton's Bible Dictionary gives a nice summary definition of "regeneration" noting that palingenesia
literally means a “new birth.” The Greek word so rendered (palingenesia) is used by classical writers with reference to the changes produced by the return of spring. In Matthew 19:28 the word is equivalent to the "restitution of all things" (Acts 3:21). In Titus 3:5 it denotes that change of heart elsewhere spoken of as a passing from death to life (1John 3:14); becoming a new creature in Christ Jesus (2Corinthians 5:17); being born again (John 3:5); a renewal of the mind (Ro 12:2-note); a resurrection from the dead (Ep 2:6-note); a being quickened (Eph 2:1, 5-see notes Ep 2:1; 2:5). This change is ascribed to the Holy Spirit. It originates not with man but with God (John 1:12,13; 1 John 2:29; 5:1,4). As to the nature of the change, it consists in the implanting of a new principle or disposition in the soul; the impartation of spiritual life to those who are by nature "dead in trespasses and sins." The necessity of such a change is emphatically affirmed in Scripture (John 3:3; Ro 7:18 [note]; Ro 8:7, 8, 9- see notes Ro 8:7; 8:8; 8:9; 1Corinthians 2:14; Ep 2:1 [note]; Ep 4:21, 22, 23, 24-notes Ep 4:21;22; 23; 24). (Easton, M. Easton's Bible Dictionary. 1897)
Bishop Trench has a lengthy explanation of paliggenesia writing…
is one among the many words which the Gospel found, and, so to speak, glorified; enlarged the borders of its meaning; lifted it up into a higher sphere; made it the expression of far deeper thoughts, of far mightier truths, than any of which it had been the vehicle before. It was, indeed, already in use; but as the Christian new-birth was not till after Christ’s birth; as men were not new-born, till Christ was born (John 1:12); as their regeneration did not go before, but only followed his generation; so the word could not be used in this its highest, most mysterious sense, till that great mystery of the birth of the Son of God into our world had actually found place. And yet it is exceedingly interesting to trace these its subordinate, and, as they proved, preparatory uses. There are passages (as, for instance, in Lucian, (Muscœ Encore. 7) in which it means revivification, and nothing more. In the Pythagorean doctrine of the transmigration of souls, their reappearance in new bodies was called their paliggenesia … For the Stoics the word set forth the periodic renovation of the earth, when, budding and blossoming in the spring-time, it woke up from its winter sleep, and, so to speak, revived from its winter death: which revival… Philo also constantly sets forth by aid of paliggenesia phoenix-like resurrection of the material world out of fire, which the Stoics taught; while in another place, of Noah and those in the Ark with him… Paliggenesia which has thus in heathen and Jewish Greek the meaning of a recovery, a restoration, a revival, yet never reaches, or even approaches, there the depth of meaning which it has acquired in Christian language.
The word does not once occur in the O. T. (but see Job 14.14), and only twice in the New (Mt 19:28; Titus 3:5); but on these two occasions (as is most remarkable), with meanings apparently different. In our Lord’s own words there is evident reference to the new-birth of the whole creation ("period of restoration" Acts 3:21), which shall be when the Son of Man hereafter comes in his glory; while “the washing of regeneration” whereof St. Paul speaks, has to do with that new-birth, not of the whole travailing creation, but of the single soul, which is now evermore finding place. Is then paliggenesia used in two different senses, with no common bond binding the diverse uses of it together? By no means: all laws of language are violated by any such supposition. The fact is, rather, that the word by our Lord is used in a wider, by his Apostle in a narrower, meaning. They are two circles of meaning, one comprehending more than the other, but their centre is the same. The paliggenesia which Scripture proclaims begins with the micro cosmos single souls; but it does not end with this; it does not cease its effectual working till it has embraced the whole macro cosmos of the universe. The primary seat of the paliggenesia is the soul of man; it is of this that St. Paul speaks; but, having established its centre there, it extends in ever-widening circles; and, first, to his body; the day of resurrection being the day of paliggenesia for it. It follows that those Fathers had a certain, though only a partial, right, who at Matt. 19:28 made paliggenesia equivalent to anastasis (resurrection) and themselves continually used the words as synonymous (Eusebius, Hist. Eccl. v. 1. 58; iii. 23). Doubtless our Lord there implies, or presupposes, the resurrection, but he also includes much more. Beyond the day of resurrection, or, it may be, contemporaneous with it, a day will come when all nature shall put off its soiled workday garments, and clothe itself in its holy-day attire, “the times of restitution of all things” (Acts 3:21);… of ‘the new heaven and the new earth’ (Rev 21:1; Isa 65:17; 66:22; 2Pet. 3:13); a day by St. Paul regarded as one in the labour-pangs of which all creation is groaning and travailing until now (Ro 8:21, 22, 23). Man is the present subject of the paliggenesia, and of the wondrous change which it implies; but in that day it will have included within its limits that whole world of which man is the central figure: and here is the reconciliation of the two passages, in one of which it is contemplated as pertaining to the single soul, in the other to the whole redeemed creation. These refer both to the same event, but at different epochs and stages of its development. (Trench, R. C. Synonyms of the New Testament. Hendrickson Publishers. 2000)
Liddell defines paliggenesia as "a being born again, new birth; used by Cicero of his restoration after exile:—hence, in N.T., 1. the resurrection. 2. regeneration by baptism. (Ed note: I strongly disagree with this latter definition but mention it because you will encounter it in some Lexicons) (Liddell, H. A lexicon : Abridged from Liddell and Scott's Greek-English lexicon. Page 587)
Holman's Bible Dictionary gives a nice summary of the relationship between baptism and regeneration writing that
Some churches hold that the experience of regeneration is brought about by the act of baptism. The view which advocates this teaching is known as baptismal regeneration. The Scriptures do not present baptism as the means of regeneration but as the sign of regeneration. Peter's discussion of baptism in 1 Peter 3:21 pictures the experience of baptism as the symbol of a conscientious response to God. In other texts (Acts 2:38; Colossians 2:12; Titus 3:5) we can understand the meaning of the biblical writer by distinguishing between regeneration as an inward change and baptism as the outward sign of that change. The actual change of regeneration is an instantaneous experience brought about by the Holy Spirit. Baptism becomes a means of demonstrating publicly and outwardly the nature of this change." (Bolding added0
TDNT writes that paliggenesia means (1) "new genesis" or "return to existence" or (2) "renewal to a higher existence". TDNT goes on to add that…
"this word takes its distinctive impress from Stoicism with a cosmic and then an individual sense. It then spreads to educated circles with a more general reference, and occurs later in the mysteries… Philo has it for restoration of life and the reconstitution of the world after the flood, and Josephus for the reestablishment of the people after the exile, but the only LXX instance is in Job 14:14 (Ed note: the actual word "paliggenesia" is not used but the two component words are used "palin ginomai" literally "I exist again" translating the NAS "until my change comes") . In Judaism existence in the new aeon is not just a repetition of this life but an existence in righteousness following the definitive crisis of the last judgment." (Kittel, G., Friedrich, G., & Bromiley, G. W. Theological Dictionary of the New Testament. Eerdmans) (Bolding added)
Arndt, et al write that paliggenesia was "technical term of the Pythagoreans and Stoics as well as the mysteries of Dionysus and of Osiris" and generally had one of two meanings…
(1) State of being renewed, with focus on a cosmic experience, renewal. (a) after the Deluge (so Philo… ) (b) of the renewing of the world in the time of the Messiah, an eschatological sense… "in the new (Messianic) age or world Mt 19:28" (2) Experience of a complete change of life, rebirth of a redeemed person (Arndt, W., Danker, F. W., & Bauer, W. A Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament and Other Early Christian Literature)
Barclay writes that paliggenesia
"… had many associations. When a proselyte was received into the Jewish faith, after he had been baptized he was treated as if he were a little child. It was as if he had been reborn and life had begun all over again. The Pythagorean used the word frequently. They believed in reincarnation and that men return to life in many forms until they were fit to be released from it. Each return was a rebirth. The Stoics used the word. They believed that every three thousand years the world went up in a great conflagration, and that then there was a rebirth of a new world. When people entered the Mystery Religions they were said to be “reborn for eternity.” The point is that when a man accepts Christ as Saviour and Lord, life begins all over again. There is a newness about life which can be likened only to a new birth." (Barclay, W: The Daily Study Bible Series, Rev. ed. Philadelphia: The Westminster Press)
Louw and Nida define paliggenesia as…
to experience a complete change in one’s way of life to what it should be, with the implication of return to a former state or relation—‘to be born again, to experience new birth, rebirth.’ and (2) as an era involving the renewal of the world (with special reference to the time of the Messiah)—‘new age, Messianic age.’" (Louw, J. P., & Nida, E. A. Semantic Domains Vol. 1, Page 509. New York: United Bible societies)
The Wycliffe Bible Encyclopedia notes that…
Regeneration is to be distinguished from justification. Justification changes the believer’s relationship to God, regeneration affects his moral and spiritual nature and changes his nature. Justification removes his guilt; regeneration, his spiritual atrophy, so that he passes from spiritual death to spiritual life. Justification brings forgiveness of his sins; regeneration, the renewal of spiritual life so that he can function as a child of God. Regeneration is also to be distinguished from sanctification (q.v.). Sanctification, or the life of progressive growth in grace, begins only after regeneration and continues on till a believer goes to be with Christ. Yet sanctification is spoken of in similar terms to regeneration. The Christian is exhorted to be transformed by the renewing of his mind (Ro 12:2), to put on the new man (Eph 4:22, 23, 24; Col 3:9, 10), and to count himself dead to sin and alive unto God (Rom 6:3-11). These passages show that he begins the period of sanctification with this regeneration. (The Wycliffe Bible Encyclopedia. Chicago: Moody Press)
Wayne Grudem writes that one may define …
Regeneration as a secret act of God in which He imparts new spiritual life to us. This is sometimes called “being born again” (using language from John 3:3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8)… Salvation involves the redemption of the whole man, and is offered freely to all who accept Jesus Christ as Lord and Saviour, who by His own blood obtained eternal redemption for the believer. In its broadest sense salvation includes regeneration, justification, sanctification, and glorification. There is no salvation apart from personal faith in Jesus Christ as Lord.
Regeneration, or the new birth, is a work of God’s grace whereby believers become new creatures in Christ Jesus. It is a change of heart wrought by the Holy Spirit through conviction of sin, to which the sinner responds in repentance toward God and faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. Repentance and faith are inseparable experiences of grace. Repentance is a genuine turning from sin toward God. Faith is the acceptance of Jesus Christ and commitment of the entire personality to Him as Lord and Saviour. Justification is God’s gracious and full acquittal upon principles of His righteousness of all sinners who repent and believe in Christ. Justification brings the believer unto a relationship of peace and favor with God. Sanctification is the experience, beginning in regeneration, by which the believer is set apart to God’s purposes, and is enabled to progress toward moral and spiritual maturity through the presence and power of the Holy Spirit dwelling in him. Growth in grace should continue throughout the regenerate person’s life. Glorification is the culmination of salvation and is the final blessed and abiding state of the redeemed. (Grudem, W: Systematic Theology: An Introduction to Biblical Doctrine. IVP; Zondervan, 1994)
The Nelson's New Illustrated Bible Dictionary explains that
"Regeneration is the spiritual change brought about in a person’s life by an act of God. In regeneration a person’s sinful nature is changed, and that person is enabled to respond to God in faith. The word “regeneration” occurs only in the New Testament (Mt 19:28; Titus 3:5), but the concept or idea is common throughout the Bible. The literal meaning of regeneration is “being born again.” There is a first birth and a second birth. The first, as Jesus said to Nicodemus (John 3:1-12) is “of the flesh”; the second birth is “of the Spirit.” Being born of the Spirit is essential before a person can enter the kingdom of God. Every biblical command to people to undergo a radical change of character from self-centeredness to God-centeredness is, in effect, an appeal to be “born again” (Ps. 51:5-11; Jer. 31:33; Zech. 13:1)… Thus, regeneration involves an enlightening of the mind, a change of the will, and a renewed nature. It extends to the total nature of people, changing their desires and restoring them to a right relationship with God in Christ. The need for regeneration grows out of humanity’s sinfulness. It is brought about through God’s initiative. God works in the human heart, and the person responds to God through faith. Thus, regeneration is an act of God through the Holy Spirit, resulting in resurrection from sin to a new life in Jesus Christ (2Cor. 5:17). (Youngblood, R. F., Bruce, F. F., Harrison, R. K., & Thomas Nelson Publishers. Nelson's New Illustrated Bible Dictionary)
Gerald Cowen writing on the general topic of regeneration notes that .
palingenesia literally means a "new genesis" or "birth again." Kittell says that it may have reference either to a "return to existence," a "coming back from death to life," or a "renewal to a higher existence." In the Greek world, it was used primarily by the Stoics to describe the restoration of the earth after its destruction by fire, which they believed would come. However, it was not a new earth, but the old one restored to its former existence. In the latter part of the first century B.C., palingenesia was used to describe Cicero's return from exile and his restoration to rank and fortune. It is thus used in a more individual sense. In the New Testament palingenesia is used with both the cosmic and the individual senses. Matthew 19:28 speaks of cosmic regeneration… The passage seems to refer to the times of restoration during the millennial period that follows the coming of Christ. The Criswell Study Bible says, "The key to that identification is the position accorded to the disciples of 'judging the twelve tribes of Israel.' Therefore, the prophecy must be millennial" (note on Matt. 19:28)
In Titus 3:5 palingenesia refers to personal regeneration. When people put their faith in Christ, they are born again. This new birth is the result of the mercy of God and the activity of the Holy Spirit. Works of righteousness play no part in it. The Holy Spirit "renews" them and makes them new creations.
Thayer defines palingenesia as a "moral renovation," "the production of a new life consecrated to God, a radical change of mind for the better." It is a passing from spiritual death unto eternal life (1John 3:14). Without it one "cannot see the kingdom of God" (John 3:3).
Reformation of the old person is inadequate to save. The old person must be destroyed and a new one created. Human beings may make things, but only God can create. It is He who reforms the believers and makes them anew in the image of Christ (Col. 3:10). Faith, repentance, conversion, and regeneration would not be possible without the work of the Holy Spirit in the heart of persons. On the other hand, when individuals have received Christ and the Spirit of God has re-created them, it is just as impossible that the effects of that change never issue forth in good works. (Cowen, G: Salvation: Word Studies From the Greek New Testament)
Spurgeon wrote that…
Coming to Christ is the very first effect of regeneration. No sooner is the soul quickened than it at once discovers its lost estate, looks out for a refuge, and, believing Christ to be the only one, flies to Him and reposes in Him. Where there is not this coming to Christ, it is certain that there is as yet no quickening. Where there is no quickening, the soul is dead in trespasses and sins; being dead, it cannot enter into the kingdom of heaven."
Sinner, unconverted sinner, you have often tried to save yourself, but you have often failed. You have, by your own power and might, sought to curb your evil passions and sins. With you, I lament that all your efforts have been unsuccessful. And I warn you, it will be unsuccessful, for you can never by your own might save yourself. With all the strength you have, you can never regenerate your own soul; you can never cause yourself to be born again. And though the new birth is absolutely necessary, it is absolutely impossible to you unless God the Spirit will do it.
Christ appears as a shepherd to His own sheep, not to others. As soon as He appears, His own sheep perceive Him. They trust Him, and they are prepared to follow Him. He knows them, and they know Him. There is a mutual knowledge and a constant connection between them. Thus the one mark, the sure mark, the infallible mark of regeneration and adoption is a hearty faith in the appointed Redeemer. Reader, are you in doubt, are you uncertain whether you bear the secret mark of God’s children? Then let not an hour pass over your head until you have said, “Search me, O God, and know my heart” (Ps. 139:23). (Daily Help)
John C Ryland (1723-1792) wrote that
No sermon is of any value, or likely to be useful, which has not the three Rs in it: ruin by the fall, redemption by Christ, and regeneration by the Holy Spirit.
General William Booth, the founder of the Salvation Army, defined it when he said:
“I consider that the chief dangers which will confront the twentieth century will be:
Religion without the Holy Spirit
Christianity without Christ,
Forgiveness without regeneration
Morality without God and
Heaven without hell.”
Augustine's miraculous regeneration is emphasized by the following story…
Some time after the conversion of Augustine, he came face to face with the woman who had been his evil genius for many months, having dragged him deeper and deeper into the slavishness of sin until he had been freed from its bonds by the regenerating power of the cross. When he would have passed her with only a formal nod, she stopped him and said, “Augustine, do you not know me any more? See, it is I.” Looking at her a moment, and knowing that she no longer held him in her evil spell, Augustine replied, “But it is not I.”
Spurgeon has some quotable quotes relating to true regeneration…
In all true conversions there are points of essential agreement. There must be in all a penitent confession of sin and a looking to Jesus for the forgiveness of it. And there must also be a real change of heart such as shall affect the entire life. And where these essential points are not to be found, there is no genuine conversion
Mr. Rowland Hill was met one evening by a drunken man, who staggered up to him and said, "Hello, Mr. Hill, I am one of your converts!" "Ah," said Mr. Rowland Hill, "very likely, but you are none of God's converts, or else you would not be drunk." Now, our converts, if they be our converts, will be very poor productions. If one man can convert you, another man can unconvert you.
We are not what we ought to be, we are not what we want to be, we are not what we shall be. But we are something very different from what we used to be.
Every regeneration is really instantaneous. Its evidences, its outward manifestations may be gradual, but there must be a time when the man begins to live. There must be a period when thefirst ray of light darts on the opened eye. There must be a time when the man is condemned, and a period when he is not condemned. And there must be an instant when the change takes place
Adoption gives us the rights of children, but regeneration alone gives us the nature of children
Ray Pritchard writes…
We believe the Scriptures teach that regeneration, or the new birth, is that act of God by which the Holy Spirit imparts a new nature and a new spiritual life, not before possessed, and the person becomes a new creation in Christ Jesus. The mind is given a holy disposition and a new desire to serve God, the dominion of sin broken, and the heart transformed from a love of sin and self to a love of holiness and God.
Ray Stedman has several quotes on regeneration…
"Regeneration" means to be born again, to have your heart cleansed, washed, regenerated by the work of the Holy Spirit. Not only is regeneration a change in our moral and spiritual character, but it brings a whole new life because of the "renewing of the Holy Spirit." The Spirit was first given at Pentecost to all the new believers, and now he is given to each one of us in each generation so that we can cope with reality, to constantly renew our minds so that we will be able to make righteous choices. (The Need For Reminding Elders )
I recently read the story of a boy who loved to get into fights and scraps to show how tough he was. When he went to a church meeting at 16, however, the Spirit of God touched him and he came to Christ. Almost immediately he knew he was forever changed. He no longer wanted to fight, but to help people. That fundamental change in his disposition was a sign of his regeneration, by means of the invasion of the Holy Spirit. (Stand Firm)
First, this teaches the absolute necessity for regeneration by the Spirit of God. “You must be born again.” Education is good but it has its limits. You can’t educate a fish into an ostrich. You can educate a pig but you can’t educate him into a horse. You can improve yourself in many ways—and make your life better in the process—but that’s like cleaning a pig. Take a pig from the slop, clean him up, put a pink ribbon around his neck and let him go. He’ll run right back to the slop. Why? He’s still a pig! Don’t insult him for going back to the slop. What else would you expect a pig to do? The same is true in the spiritual realm. Only a radical transformation of the heart by the Holy Spirit can change a man from the inside out. (The Great Divide)
The godly British pastor Charles Simeon, when asked about the principal mark of regeneration replied…
The very first and indispensable sign is self-loathing and abhorrence.
Vance Havner once quipped that…
Some years ago it was prophesied that there would come a day when we would hear the preaching of "religion without the Holy Spirit, Christianity without Christ, forgiveness without repentance, salvation without regeneration and heaven without hell." We have arrived!
An unknown author wrote…
WARNING: Do not attend a church which prefers science to Scripture, reason to revelation, theories to Truth, culture to conversion, benevolence to Blood, goodness to grace, sociability to spirituality, play to praise, programs to power, reformation to regeneration, speculation to salvation, jubilation to justification, feelings to faith, politics to precepts.
An anonymous writer summarized the truth concerning this new birth or regeneration writing that…
"To be highborn is nice, but to be newborn is necessary!"
The Encyclopedia of 7700 Illustrations has the following example of regeneration…
At the age of sixteen George Muller of Bristol, England, was imprisoned for theft; and later at the university he lived a drinking, profligate life, acting dishonestly even toward his friends. At twenty years of age he came under the influence of the Bible, and the miracle of regeneration was wrought. He who had been a thief was now so utterly a new creature that in the course of the years he gave away, of the money sent to him for his personal use, no less a sum than $135,000, and when he died his personal possessions were valued at less than $1,000. —Christian Digest
Spurgeon in his devotional Morning and Evening (March 6 AM) wrote that…
Regeneration is a subject which lies at the very basis of salvation, and we should be very diligent to take heed that we really are “born again,” for there are many who fancy they are, who are not. Be assured that the name of a Christian is not the nature of a Christian; and that being born in a Christian land, and being recognized as professing the Christian religion is of no avail whatever, unless there be something more added to it—the being “born again,” is a matter so mysterious, that human words cannot describe it.
“The wind bloweth where it listeth, and thou hearest the sound thereof, but canst not tell whence it cometh, and whither it goeth: so is every one that is born of the Spirit.”
Nevertheless, it is a change which is known and felt: known by works of holiness, and felt by a gracious experience. This great work is supernatural. It is not an operation which a man performs for himself: a new principle is infused, which works in the heart, renews the soul, and affects the entire man. It is not a change of my name, but a renewal of my nature, so that I am not the man I used to be, but a new man in Christ Jesus. To wash and dress a corpse is a far different thing from making it alive: man can do the one, God alone can do the other. If you have then, been “born again,” your acknowledgment will be,
“O Lord Jesus, the everlasting Father, thou art my spiritual Parent; unless thy Spirit had breathed into me the breath of a new, holy, and spiritual life, I had been to this day ‘dead in trespasses and sins.’ My heavenly life is wholly derived from thee, to thee I ascribe it. ‘My life is hid with Christ in God.’ It is no longer I who live, but Christ who liveth in me.”
May the Lord enable us to be well assured on this vital point, for to be unregenerate is to be unsaved, unpardoned, without God, and without hope.
The Puritans had a great deal to say about regeneration…
Repentance is a change of the mind, and regeneration is a change of the man. The Creation of the world is a shadow of the regeneration of a Christian… Adam was created after the image of God, and placed in Paradise; so the new man is confirmed to the image of Christ, and shall be reposed in the paradise of everlasting glory.. (Thomas Adams)
Adoption gives us the privilege of sons, regeneration the nature of sons. (Stephen Charnock)
In regeneration nature is not ruined, but rectified.. The convert is the same man, but new made. The faculties of his soul are not destroyed, but they are refined, the same viol, but new tuned. Christ gave not the blind man new eyes, but a new sight to the old ones. Christ did not give Lazarus a new body, but enlivened his old body, So God in conversion does not bestow a new understanding, but a new light to the old; not a new soul, but a new life to the old one. (George Swinnock)
The church hath more professing than regenerate members, and will have to the end of the world, and none must expect that they be commensurate. (Richard Baxter)
The respected Puritan author John Bunyan once wrote
The happy man was born in the city of Regeneration, in the parish of Repentance unto Life. He was educated in the School of Obedience; he works at the trade of Diligence and does many jobs of self-denial. He owns a large estate in the country of Christian Contentment and wears the plain garments of humility. He breakfasts every morning on spiritual prayer and sups every evening on the same. He also has “meat to eat that the world knows not of.” He has gospel submission in his conduct, due order in his affection, sound peace in his conscience, sanctifying love in his soul, real divinity in his breast, true humility in his heart, the Redeemer’s yoke on his neck, the world under his feet, and a crown of glory over his head. In order to obtain this, he prays fervently, works abundantly, redeems his time, guards his sense, loves Christ, and longs for glory.
Andrew Murray wrote that…
“Regeneration is a birth: the center and root of the personality, the spirit, has been renewed and taken possession of by the Spirit of God. But time is needed for its power from that center to extend through all the circumference of his being. The kingdom of God is like unto a seed; the life in Christ is a growth, and it would be against the laws of nature and grace alike if we expected from the babe in Christ the strength that can only be found in the young men, or the rich experience of the fathers.”
M R De Haan gives the following illustration explaining that it is impossible to get regeneration from reformation…
The message of salvation is regeneration—not reformation. Paul says, “If any man be in Christ, he is a new creation” (2Cor. 5:17). The new birth is not an overhaul of the “old wreck,” or a new paint job. The old Adamic nature is so incorrigibly corrupt that even God will not attempt to fix it up. He insists on completely rejecting the old hulk and making a new man. Jesus said to Nicodemus,
That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. Marvel not that I said unto thee, Ye must be born again (John 3:6, 7).
The old nature received at birth is hopeless, and dressing it up with education and culture only makes it more dangerous than before. The more we work on the “old man,” the more deceptive it becomes. Do you know why the sinner must be born anew? Because he was born all wrong the first time. He doesn't have to be taught to go his own way—it comes naturally to him. But by the new birth he is turned around and headed in the right direction!
Spurgeon told of a missionary who visited a primitive hut and became nauseated by the filthy floor on which he had to sit. He suggested to his host that they scrub the dirty surface with soap and water, but the man replied,
the floor is just clay—packed down and dry. Add water and it turns to mud. The more you try to wash it, the worse the mess becomes!
Yes, the hut needed something besides an earthen floor. So it is with the human heart: it is hard and dirty, and nothing will help it. Man needs a new heart. He must be born again from above! (M. R. De Haan, Our Daily Bread) (Bolding added) (Our Daily Bread, Copyright RBC Ministries, Grand Rapids, MI. Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved)
AND RENEWING BY THE HOLY SPIRIT: kai anakainoseos Pneumatos Hagiou : (Ps 51:10; Ro 12:2; Ep 4:23; Col 3:10; Heb 6:6)
Renewing (342) (anakainosis from anakainóo [word study] = renew qualitatively in turn from aná = again + kainóo = make new in turn from kainos [study] = qualitatively new) means to cause something to become new and different with the implication of becoming superior - a renewal, a complete change for the better, a renovation. In the two NT uses it refers to a renewal which makes a person different than they were in past - new heart, new Lord, new home, new purpose and goal, etc.
Note that there are two words for "new", neos which means new in point of time and kainos means new in point of character and nature. A newly manufactured pencil is neos; but a man who was once a sinner and is now on the way to being a saint is kainos and this miracle is effected by the Spirit.
Trench writes that anakainosis refers to
the gradual conforming of the man more and more to that new spiritual world into which he has been introduced, and in which he now lives and moves; the restoration of the divine image
Ryrie writes that anakainosis refers…
either the initial act of conversion or, possibly, continual renewing by the Spirit throughout the life of the believer. In any case, salvation is God's gracious work, not a reward for man's worthwhile acts. (The Ryrie Study Bible: New American Standard Translation: 1995. Moody Publishers)
John Stott agrees writing that anakainosis…
may be synonymous with ‘rebirth’, the repetition being used for rhetorical effect. Or it may refer to the process of moral renovation or transformation which follows the new birth. ( Stott, J. R. W. Guard the Truth: The message of 1 Timothy & Titus. Downers Grove, Ill.: InterVarsity Press)
And do not be conformed (stop this - present imperative) to this world, but be transformed (continually - present imperative) by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect. (see discussion)
Here anakainosis describes
"the adjustment of the moral and spiritual vision and thinking to the mind of God, which is designed to have a transforming effect upon the life" [Vine];
"… refers to the renewal of thought and will which Christians constantly need if they are to show by their moral conduct that they belong to the new aeon and are members of the new humanity. [Ro 8:9, 10, 11, 12, 13, cf. 1Co 12:13] Who dwells and works in the Christian." [TDNT]
Wuest comments on anakainosis in Romans 12:2…
Thayer defines the word, “a renewal, renovation, complete change for the better.” That is (in Romans 12:2) the change of outward expression is dependent upon the renovation, the complete change for the better of the believer’s mental process. This is accomplished through the ministry of the indwelling Holy Spirit, Who when definitely, and intelligently, and habitually yielded to puts sin out of the believer’s life and produces His own fruit. He does that by controlling the mental processes of the believer. It is the prescription of the apostle. “Habitually be ordering your behavior within the sphere and by means of the Spirit, and you will positively not fulfil the desire of the flesh (evil nature) “ (Gal 5:16-note)
A W Pink notes in his discussion of Regeneration or The New Birth that…
There are seven new things, which all believers now possess:
- Repentance—A new mind about God. Acts 20:21
- Justification—A new state before God. Ro 4:25-note
- Regeneration—A new life from God. Titus 3:5
- Conversion—A new attitude toward God. Mt. 18:3
- Sonship—A new relationship with God. 1Jn. 3:1
- Sanctification—A new position before God. Jude 1
- Glorification—A new place with God. Romans 8:30-note
By the Holy Spirit - The renewing agent is the Holy Spirit. We cannot make ourselves new. It is a supernatural divine work of God’s Spirit. The main work of the Holy Spirit is to change us into new, holy people who know and love the will of God. We are radically dependent on the Spirit and our efforts follow His initiatives and enabling.
Vincent has an interesting note that…
In N. T. the Spirit or the Holy Spirit is joined in the genitive (shows possession) with the following words: comfort (Spirit of comfort), joy, power, love, demonstration, manifestation, earnest, ministration, fellowship, promise, fruit, unity, sword, sanctification.
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June 9, 1999 Changed READ: Titus 3:1-8
He saved us through the washing of regeneration and the renewing of the Holy Spirit. --Titus 3:5
When we put our trust in Jesus as our Savior, we are not only forgiven but also transformed from the inside through the renewing activity of the Holy Spirit (Titus 3:5).
Author Michael Green tells about a man who said that before God dramatically changed his life he was "an embryo gangster, already with a list of crimes which society could level against me, and sins which accuse me of their own accord." Today that man is a military chaplain.
Here is his testimony: "The living Christ has given me what no court, no psychiatrist, no probation officer could give me--the consciousness of sins forgiven… The joy of a loving wife, two children, and a happy and secure home have shown me that through the living Christ even one who, like myself, was once described by a magistrate as a 'social menace' can be more than just tolerable. That is something of the difference that Jesus Christ has made and continues to make in me."
When we see our need of God's forgiveness and believe in Jesus, our sins are washed away and the Holy Spirit makes us new people (Titus 3:5). Then, as we walk by the Spirit (Gal 5:25-note), He continues to work in us to make us more like Christ.
Have you been changed? Are you still changing? —Herbert Vander Lugt (Our Daily Bread, Copyright RBC Ministries, Grand Rapids, MI. Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved)
Father, thank You for Your Spirit,
Fill us with His love and power;
Change us into Christ's own image
Day by day and hour by hour. --Anon.
When Jesus comes into a life, He changes everything.
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Watershed Line - As we crested a gradual rise we saw a sign that read: Watershed line. All waters falling south of here flow to the Atlantic Ocean. All waters falling north of here flow to the Arctic Ocean. We were right at the dividing line. The point at which a drop of rain fell made all the difference as to its final destination.
Accepting or rejecting Christ can be a kind of "watershed line." The moment we receive Him, we begin to enjoy a new life (Jn 3:7-16). As new creations of Christ, we are on the path that leads to heaven. If we continue to reject Him, however, we are bound for hell.
If you've asked Jesus to forgive your sins, you can look back to the most important watershed line of all. You are a permanent part of God's family, indwelt by the Spirit, and guided by His Word. Praise God for the difference His Son Jesus Christ makes! --D C Egner (Our Daily Bread, Copyright RBC Ministries, Grand Rapids, MI. Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved)
The great dividing line in life
Is what we do with Christ, God's Son;
Rejecting Him will lead to hell--
Receiving Him is heaven begun. --Hess
What you decide about Christ
determines your destiny.
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"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 Spirit; which he shed on us abundantly through Jesus Christ our Savior." Titus 3:5, 6
The conversion of a sinner to God is a convincing and precious evidence that Jesus is alive. In the regeneration wrought in the soul by the Holy Spirit, the life of Jesus is imparted. He breathes into the soul morally dead the breath of life, and it becomes a living soul. Until, in the exercise of His distinct office, this Divine Person of the adorable Trinity convinces of sin, quickens and brings the soul to Christ for acceptance, risen with Christ though that soul mystically is, it yet remains totally dead to, and insensible of, its great privilege—an utter stranger to that new life which springs from oneness with the "second Adam." The new nature which the Eternal Spirit now imparts is nothing less than the creation of the life of Christ in the soul; yes, even more than this, it is the bringing of Christ Himself into the soul to dwell there the "hope of glory" through time, and glory itself, through eternity.
Here, then, is an evidence that Jesus is alive, to a renewed mind the most convincing and precious. Thus quickened by the Eternal Spirit, believers become temples of Christ. Jesus lives in them. "I in them." "Know you not that Christ is in you?" "Christ lives in me." "Christ in you the hope of glory." Thus every believer is a living witness that Jesus is alive, because he bears about with him the very life of Jesus. By the indwelling of the Spirit, and realized by faith, Christ abides in the believer, and the believer abides in Christ. "I in them, and you in me, that they may be made perfect in one; that they also may be one in us."
We have already stated that this glorious entrance of Christ within the soul transpires at the period of the new birth. What, then, is every new conversion, every fresh trophy of redeeming grace, but a new manifestation to the universe of the life of Jesus? I see the sinner pursuing his mad career of folly, rebellion, and guilt. Suddenly he is arrested, I see him bowed to the earth, his heart broken with sorrow, his spirit crushed beneath the burden of sin. He smites upon his breast; acknowledges his transgression, confesses his iniquity, deplores it in the dust. Presently I see him lift his eye, and rest it upon a bleeding Savior; he gazes, wonders, believes, adores—is saved! By whom is this miracle of grace wrought?—The Spirit has descended to testify that Jesus is alive. That newly-converted soul, so lately dead in sins, but now quickened with Christ—that sinner but recently dwelling among the tombs, whom no human power could tame, now sitting at the feet of Jesus, clothed and in his right mind—demonstrates that Christ is in heaven, and is alive, for evermore. Oh, it is the heaven-descending life of Jesus. Show me, then, a soul just passed from death unto life, and I will show you an evidence that Jesus is alive at the right hand of God.