Regenerated and Renewed
But when the kindness and the love of God our Savior toward man appeared, 5 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, 6 whom He poured out on us abundantly through Jesus Christ our Savior, 7 that having been justified by His grace we should become heirs according to the hope of eternal life. Titus 3:4-7 NKJV
Regardless how unrighteous you are, you’ve probably done a righteous deed; and, conversely, no matter how righteous you think you are, undoubtedly you have committed unrighteousness acts. That being said, you cannot become a Christian by acting like a Christian or doing good works. It isn’t good people who go to heaven: only sinners saved by graced. It is by grace you are saved—through faith. Salvation can never be attributed to good deeds and righteous acts; it is a gift of God given through his mercy and grace— not works, so that no one can ever boast (Eph. 2:8).
In the above foundation scriptures, the Apostle Paul tells his young disciple, Titus, that salvation is according to God’s mercy through the washing of regeneration and renewing of the Holy Spirit. Also, note that in the above scriptures, all three persons of the Godhead participated in the work of salvation: Jesus did a redemptive work when He died on the cross; the Father freely forgave in His mercy and grace; and, He sent the Holy Spirit to wash away sins and to regenerate and continually renew.
What is the washing of regeneration? It is a cleansing bath of baptism that the Holy Spirit gives when one accepts Jesus Christ into his heart. “For by one Spirit we were all baptized into one body, whether Jews or Greeks, whether slaves or free, and we were all made to drink of one Spirit” (1 Cor. 12:13). At the moment the sincere heart confesses Jesus as Lord and Savior, the Holy Spirit baptizes that person into the Body of Christ and gives them the assurance that they are saved.
Further, this is the cleansing bath that washes, sanctifies, and justifies you notwithstanding of what you use to be or how vile you were (1 Cor. 6:9-11). Moreover, the washing of regeneration is the washing by the water of the Word of God. The Word is the detergent that God uses to cleanse you in the bath of regeneration (Eph. 5:25-26; John 15:3).
The renewing of the Holy Spirit is, first and foremost, the renewing of the mind. This renewal has to do with a metamorphosis, i.e., a transformation that leads to a permanent change (Rom. 12:1-2). For example, a caterpillar, through metamorphosis, is transformed from a crawling insect to a flying butterfly. But once it is transformed into a butterfly, it never returns to being a caterpillar. When you allow the Holy Spirit to renew your mind, like the butterfly, you will never want to regress back to who you use to be before accepting Christ into your life. The renewing of the Holy Spirit allows God to write His laws in your heart and put them into your mind (Heb. 10:16).
The renewing of the Holy Spirit is also a spiritual renovation and restoration. It is not putting new clothes on the “old man” but putting the “new man” into new clothes after God’s righteousness and true holiness (Eph. 4:24). Putting on the “new man” necessitates a day by day renewing of the mind in the face of the various light affliction life may bring. Just remember that, although it seems like your outer man is perishing, the inward man is renewed day by day by the Holy Spirit (1 Cor. 416-17).
Colossians 3:10, further instructs you that when you have put on the “new man” (renewed by the Holy Spirit)– through knowledge–you will come to see yourself in the image of Christ—triumphant and victorious!