Titus 3:5
Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost;
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(5) Not by works of righteousness.—This by no means asserts that such works ever had been done, and then produced, as it were, before the bar of God, and weighed and found insufficient; but it simply maintains that to win salvation such must be done. Sad experience, more forcibly than any theological assertion, has demonstrated to us all the utter impossibility of any of us, even the holiest, ever, even for one day, doing the works of a purely righteous man.

But according to his mercy.—As there was nothing in us which called for such a salvation, as there were no acts of ours which deserved reward, His gift of salvation, which includes (Titus 3:7) eternal life, was owing entirely to His divine love which saw and pitied our misery, our endless suffering. Out of this hopeless state the eternal pity lifted us, and put us into a state of salvation. The next clause specifies the outward and visible sign of the salvation our loving God was pleased to ordain in His Church, namely, “baptism;” but here great care must be taken properly to understand what St. Paul meant by this baptism, to which he attributed so great power. In St. Paul’s mind it was no mere observance, but was a sacrament, in which all that was inward properly and completely accompanied all that was outward. In another place the Apostle has grandly paraphrased his words here. In the Galatian Letter (Galatians 3:27) he writes how “that as many as were baptised into Christ have put on Christ,” that is, have entered into vital union with Him—a blessed state, which most surely leads to life eternal, if the baptised only remain faithful.

By the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost.—Seeing, then, that God has saved us by His own act, independently of any work of ours, we ask, How has He effected this? The words we are here considering give the answer to the question. The Greek should be rendered, “by the laver of regeneration,” &c. Then, by means of the laver of regeneration, &c, has God put us into a state of salvation. In other words, He has effected this by means of “baptism” (for the laver here can only signify the baptismal font, and is called the laver of regeneration because it is the vessel consecrated to the use of that sacrament), whereby, in its completeness as a sacrament, the new life in Christ is conveyed. Baptism, then, is the means through which we receive the saving grace of Christ; in its laver we are born again to a new life, in it we receive strength through the Holy Ghost constantly to renew and to develop this new life, for it is not only the laver of regeneration but also of renovation by the Holy Spirit. But baptism is here understood in all its completion—the outward visible sign accompanied with the inward spiritual grace. In the case of one who is come to years of understanding seeking baptism, repentance and faith in the promises of God are absolutely required. In the case of infants, who have also from the very earliest times been, through this same laver, enrolled in the communion of Christians, the same profession is required, only they make it by their sureties, and directly that they have come to years of discretion they solemnly and publicly assent to what had been already affirmed in their name. Thus, by means of the laver of regeneration, &c, or, in other words, by baptism in all its completion—the outward act being accompanied with the inward faith—He saved us, that is, put us into a state of salvation. Of the difference between “regeneration” and “renovation,” the first, “regeneration,” is well explained in the words of the collect for Christmas Day, which speaks of the “regenerated” as “made God’s children by adoption and grace.” The second, “renovation,” the same collect goes on to speak of, when it prays that “the regenerated” “may daily be renewed by the Holy Spirit.” The first, “regeneration,” is spoken of by St. John in his words, “Ye must be born again” (John 3:7); the second is alluded to by St. Paul when he wrote, “the inward man is renewed day by day” (2Corinthians 4:16).

3:1-7 Spiritual privileges do not make void or weaken, but confirm civil duties. Mere good words and good meanings are not enough without good works. They were not to be quarrelsome, but to show meekness on all occasions, not toward friends only, but to all men, though with wisdom, Jas 3:13. And let this text teach us how wrong it is for a Christian to be churlish to the worst, weakest, and most abject. The servants of sin have many masters, their lusts hurry them different ways; pride commands one thing, covetousness another. Thus they are hateful, deserving to be hated. It is the misery of sinners, that they hate one another; and it is the duty and happiness of saints to love one another. And we are delivered out of our miserable condition, only by the mercy and free grace of God, the merit and sufferings of Christ, and the working of his Spirit. God the Father is God our Saviour. He is the fountain from which the Holy Spirit flows, to teach, regenerate, and save his fallen creatures; and this blessing comes to mankind through Christ. The spring and rise of it, is the kindness and love of God to man. Love and grace have, through the Spirit, great power to change and turn the heart to God. Works must be in the saved, but are not among the causes of their salvation. A new principle of grace and holiness is wrought, which sways, and governs, and makes the man a new creature. Most pretend they would have heaven at last, yet they care not for holiness now; they would have the end without the beginning. Here is the outward sign and seal thereof in baptism, called therefore the washing of regeneration. The work is inward and spiritual; this is outwardly signified and sealed in this ordinance. Slight not this outward sign and seal; yet rest not in the outward washing, but look to the answer of a good conscience, without which the outward washing will avail nothing. The worker therein is the Spirit of God; it is the renewing of the Holy Ghost. Through him we mortify sin, perform duty, walk in God's ways; all the working of the Divine life in us, and the fruits of righteousness without, are through this blessed and holy Spirit. The Spirit and his saving gifts and graces, come through Christ, as a Saviour, whose undertaking and work are to bring to grace and glory. Justification, in the gospel sense, is the free forgiveness of a sinner; accepting him as righteous through the righteousness of Christ received by faith. God, in justifying a sinner in the way of the gospel, is gracious to him, yet just to himself and his law. As forgiveness is through a perfect righteousness, and satisfaction is made to justice by Christ, it cannot be merited by the sinner himself. Eternal life is set before us in the promise; the Spirit works faith in us, and hope of that life; faith and hope bring it near, and fill with joy in expectation of it.Not by works of righteousness which we have done - The plan was not based on our own good works, nor are our own good works now the cause of our salvation. If people could have been saved by their own good works, there would have been no need of salvation by the Redeemer; if our own deeds were now the basis of our title to eternal life, the work of Christ would be equally unnecessary. It is a great and fundamental principle of the gospel that the good works of men come in for no share in the justification of the soul. They are in no sense a consideration on account of which God pardons a man, and receives him to favor. The only basis of justification is the merit of the Lord Jesus Christ, and in the matter of justification before God, all the race is on a level; see the notes at Ephesians 2:8-9.

But according to his mercy -

(1) It had its origin in mercy;

(2) It is by mere mercy or compassion, and not by justice;

(3) It is an expression of great mercy, and,

(4) It is now in fact conferred only by mercy.

Whatever we have done or can do, when we come to receive salvation from the hand of God, there is no other element which enters into it but mercy. It is not because our deeds deserve it; it is not because we have by repentance and faith wrought ourselves into such a state of mind that we can claim it; but, after all our tears, and sighs, and prayers, and good deeds, it is a mere favor. Even then God might justly withhold it if he chose, and no blame would be attached to him if he should suffer us to sink down to ruin.

He saved us - That is, he began that salvation in us which is to be completed in heaven. A man who is already renewed and pardoned may be spoken of as saved - for:

(1) the work of salvation is begun, and,

(2) when begun it will certainly be completed; see the notes at Philippians 1:6.

By the washing of regeneration - In order to a correct understanding of this important passage, it is necessary to ascertain whether the phrase here used refers to baptism, and whether anything different is intended by it from what is meant by the succeeding phrase - "renewing of the Holy Ghost." - The word rendered "washing" (λουτρόυ loutrou) occurs in the New Testament only in this place and in Ephesians 5:26, where also it is rendered "washing" - "That he might sanctify and cleanse it (the church) with the washing of water by the word." The word properly means "a bath;" then water for bathing; then the act of bathing, washing, ablution. Passow and Robinson. It is used by Homer to denote a warm or cold bath; then a washing away, and is thus applied to the drink-offerings in sacrifice, which were supposed to purify or wash away sin. Passow. The word here does not mean "laver," or the vessel for washing in, which would be expressed by λουτὴρ loutēr and this word cannot be properly applied to the baptismal font.

The word in itself would naturally be understood as referring to baptism (compare notes at Acts 22:16), which was regarded as the emblem of washing away sins, or of cleansing from them. I say it was the emblem, not the means of purify ing the soul from sin. If this be the allusion, and it seems probable, then the phrase "washing of regeneration" would mean "that outward washing or baptism which is the emblem of regeneration," and which is appointed as one of the ordinances connected with salvation; see the notes at Mark 16:16, "He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved." It is not affirmed in this phrase that baptism is the means of regeneration; or that grace is necessarily conveyed by it; and still less that baptism is regeneration, for no one of these is a necessary interpretation of the passage, and should not be assumed to be the true one. The full force of the language will be met by the supposition that it means that baptism is the emblem or symbol of regeneration, and, if this is the case, no one has a right to assume that the other is certainly the meaning.

And that this is the meaning is further clear, because it is nowhere taught in the New Testament that baptism is regeneration, or that it is the means of regeneration. The word rendered "regeneration" (παλιγγενεσία palingenesia) - occurs in the New Testament only here and in Matthew 19:28, - "in the regeneration when the Son of man," etc. It means, properly, a new birth, reproduction, or renewal. It would properly be applied to one who should be begotten again in this sense, that a new life was commenced in him in some way corresponding to his being made to live at first. To the proper idea of the word, it is essential that there should be connected the notion of the commencement of life in the man, so that he may be said to live anew; and as religion is in the Scriptures represented as life, it is properly applied to the beginning of that kind of life by which man may be said to live anew. This word, occurring only here and in Matthew 19:28, and there indubitably not referring to baptism, should not be here understood as referring to that, or be applied to that, because:

(1) that is not the proper meaning of the word;

continued...

5. Not by—Greek, "Out of"; "not as a result springing from works," &c.

of righteousness—Greek, "in righteousness," that is, wrought "in a state of righteousness": as "deeds … wrought in God." There was an utter absence in us of the element ("righteousness") in which alone righteous works could be done, and so necessarily an absence of the works. "We neither did works of righteousness, nor were saved in consequence of them; but His goodness did the whole" [Theophylact].

we—emphatically opposed to "His."

mercy—the prompting cause of our salvation individually: "In pursuance of His mercy." His kindness and love to man were manifested in redemption once for all wrought by Him for mankind generally; His mercy is the prompting cause for our individual realization of it. Faith is presupposed as the instrument of our being "saved"; our being so, then, is spoken of as an accomplished fact. Faith is not mentioned, but only God's part. as Paul's object here is not to describe man's new state, but the saving agency of God in bringing about that state, independent of all merit on the man's part (see on [2537]Tit 3:4).

by—Greek, "through"; by means of.

the washing—rather, "the laver," that is, the baptismal font.

of regeneration—designed to be the visible instrument of regeneration. "The apostles are wont to draw an argument from the sacraments to prove the thing therein signified, because it ought to be a recognized principle among the godly, that God does not mark us with empty signs, but by His power inwardly makes good what He demonstrates by the outward sign. Wherefore baptism is congruously and truly called the laver of regeneration. We must connect the sign and thing signified, so as not to make the sign empty and ineffectual; and yet not, for the sake of honoring the sign, to detract from the Holy Spirit what is peculiarly His" [Calvin], (1Pe 3:21). Adult candidates for baptism are presupposed to have had repentance and faith (for Paul often assumes in faith and charity that those addressed are what they profess to be, though in fact some of them were not so, 1Co 6:11), in which case baptism would be the visible "laver or regeneration" to them, "faith being thereby confirmed, and grace increased, by virtue of prayer to God" [Article XXVII, Church of England]. Infants are charitably presumed to have received a grace in connection with their Christian descent, in answer to the believing prayers of their parents or guardians presenting them for baptism, which grace is visibly sealed and increased by baptism, "the laver of regeneration." They are presumed to be then regenerated, until years of developed consciousness prove whether they have been actually so or not. "Born of (from) water and (no 'of' in Greek) the Spirit." The Word is the remote and anterior instrument of the new birth; Baptism, the proximate instrument. The Word, the instrument to the individual; Baptism, in relation to the Society of Christians. The laver of cleansing stood outside the door of the tabernacle, wherein the priest had to wash before entering the Holy Place; so we must wash in the laver of regeneration before we can enter the Church, whose members are "a royal priesthood." "Baptism by the Spirit" (whereof water baptism is the designed accompanying seal) makes the difference between Christian baptism and that of John. As Paul presupposes the outward Church is the visible community of the redeemed, so he speaks of baptism on the supposition that it answers to its idea; that all that is inward belonging to its completeness accompanied the outward. Hence he here asserts of outward baptism whatever is involved in the believing appropriation of the divine facts which it symbolizes, whatever is realized when baptism fully corresponds to its original design. So Ga 3:27; language holding good only of those in whom the inward living communion and outward baptism coalesce. "Saved us" applies fully to those truly regenerate alone; in a general sense it may include many who, though put within reach of salvation, shall not finally be saved. "Regeneration" occurs only once more in New Testament, Mt 19:28, that is, the new birth of the heaven and earth at Christ's second coming to renew all material things, the human body included, when the creature, now travailing in labor-throes to the birth, shall be delivered from the bondage of corruption into the glorious liberty of the children of God. Regeneration, which now begins in the believer's soul, shall then be extended to his body, and thence to all creation.

and renewing—not "the laver ('washing') of renewing," but "and BY the renewing," &c., following "saved us." To make "renewing of the Holy Ghost" follow "the laver" would destroy the balance of the clauses of the sentence, and would make baptism the seal, not only of regeneration, but also of the subsequent process of progressive sanctification ("renewing of the Holy Ghost"). Regeneration is a thing once for all done; renewing is a process daily proceeding. As "the washing," or "laver," is connected with "regeneration," so the "renewing of the Holy Ghost" is connected with "shed on us abundantly" (Tit 3:6).

Not by works of righteousness which we have done; not according to our works, 2 Timothy 1:9, whether ceremonial or moral.

But according to his mercy; but from his own bowels freely yearning upon persons in misery.

He saved us; he hath put us into a state of, and given us a right to, eternal salvation.

By the washing of regeneration; washing us by regeneration, as in a laver, the pledge and sign of which is in baptism.

And renewing of the Holy Ghost; the Holy Spirit changing and renewing our natures. Not by works of righteousness which we have done,.... The great instance of the kindness and love of God our Saviour is salvation; which the apostle denies that it is brought about by any works, even the best works of men; for "works of righteousness" are works done according to a righteous law, and in obedience to it; and in a righteous manner, from right principles of grace, in faith, and with a view to the glory of God; or otherwise they are not righteous actions, or works of righteousness; wherefore not works before, but after conversion, are here meant; for works before conversion are not properly works of righteousness: besides, these are such which we have done, who formerly were as before described, but now are regenerated and renewed by the Holy Ghost, and created in Christ Jesus unto good works. Now salvation, neither in whole, nor in part, is by these, either as causes; conditions, or means; See Gill on 2 Timothy 1:9; , "works of righteousness", is a Jewish phrase used for righteous or good works (z).

but according to his mercy he saved us; the mercy of God is natural and essential to him, but the actings and exercise of it, towards this or the other objects, are sovereign and free, and according to his will; the effects of it are many, he is rich and abundant in it; and they are channelled in, and flow forth through the blood and righteousness of Christ; and this is the moving cause of salvation: this moved God to make a covenant with his Son, the blessings of which are the sure mercies of David, and in which God is merciful to the sins and unrighteousnesses of his people; it is owing to the tender mercy of God, that Christ, the dayspring from on high, has visited the earth; and the glory of it is very conspicuous in the affair of redemption by him; the pardon of sin is according to the multitude of God's tender mercies; and regeneration springs from the abundance of it; and even eternal life is the effect of it. Now according to this, God has "saved" his people; salvation is not only a thing determined, and resolved on in the mind of God, but is actually and completely accomplished by Jesus Christ, and an application of it is made to the saints in effectual calling; and because of the certain enjoyment of the whole of it, even eternal glory, the saints are said to be saved already; as they are also in faith and hope, as well as in Christ, their head and representative; See Gill on Ephesians 2:8. It follows, as the means of salvation,

by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost; by the former is meant, not the ordinance of water baptism; for that is never expressed by washing, nor is it the cause or means of regeneration; the cause being the Spirit of God, and the means the word of God: and besides, persons ought to be regenerated before they are baptized; and they may be baptized, and yet not regenerated, as Simon Magus; nor is it a saving ordinance, or a point of salvation; nor can it be opposed to works of righteousness, as this washing is; for that itself is a work of righteousness; see Matthew 3:15 and if persons were saved by that, they would be saved by a work of righteousness, contrary to the text itself: but regenerating grace is meant, or a being born of water, and of the Spirit; that is, of the grace of the Spirit, comparable to water for its purity and cleansing virtue: hence such who are regenerated and sanctified, are said to be washed and cleansed, having their hearts purified by faith, and their consciences purged from sin by the blood of Christ: by the latter,

the renewing of the Holy Ghost, is meant either the fruit and effect of the former, even newness of life and conversation, under the influence of the Holy Spirit; or else the gradual increase and progress of the work of grace upon the soul, renewed day by day in the spirit of the mind, by the Holy Ghost; or rather it means the same thing with regeneration, and is added partly as explanative of the washing of regeneration, showing that that is no other than the new creature, the new man, the new heart, and new spirit, formed in the soul, in the effectual calling; and partly to observe that the Holy Ghost is the author of it. Now it is in this way God saves his people, namely, by regenerating and renewing them; in this is the first appearance and discovery of the love of God to them; this is their open passage into a state of grace, and without this there is no entrance into glory; this is the foundation of all grace and good works, and by which saints appear to be heirs of the heavenly inheritance.

(z) Seder Tephillot, Ed. Amsterdam, fol. 46. 2.

Not by works of {a} righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the {b} Holy Ghost;

(a) Literally, of works which are done in righteousness: and this passage fully refutes the doctrine of meritorious works.

(b) Which the power of the Holy Spirit works.

EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
Titus 3:5. The ἡμεῖς and ἡμᾶς refer to the same persons as those mentioned in Titus 3:3, i.e., the apostles and those who have had a similar experience. The verse may be paraphrased as a statement of fact thus:—God saved us by Baptism, which involves two complementary processes, (a) the ceremony itself which marks the actual moment in time of the new birth, and (b) the daily, hourly, momently renewing of the Holy Spirit, by which the spiritual life is supported and fostered and increased. And the moving cause of this exceeding kindness of God was not any merits of our own, but His mercy.

οὐκ ἐξ ἔργων: ἐκ here, as in Romans 3:30, expresses the source. See also the emphatic repetition in Galatians 2:16 of οὐκ ἐξ ἔργων νόμου. The δικαιοσύνη here is that which we can call our own, ἡ ἐκ νόμου (Php 3:9). Its existence as δικαιοσύνη must not be denied; but it does not pass as current coin in the kingdom of God. It has indeed no saving value whatever. Accordingly there is no question here as to whether we did, or did not do, works which are ἐν δικαιοσύνῃ. “Not the labours of my hands can fulfil Thy law’s demands.” See note on 2 Timothy 1:9.

Bengel, comparing Deuteronomy 9:5, refers the negative to each term in the clause: we had not been ἐν δικ.; we had not done ἔργα ἐν δικ.; we had no works through which we could be saved. But this exegesis is too much affected by the controversies of the sixteenth century. The A.V., which we have done, confuses the thought by a suggestion that the works referred to are those “after justification”.

τῶν ἐν δικαιοσύνῃ: δικαιοσύνη is the sphere in which the works were done, and to which they are related.

κατὰἔλεος: The phraseology is borrowed from Psalms 108:26 (Psalm 109:26), σῶσόν με κατὰ τὸ μέγα ἔλεός σου. A remarkable parallel is furnished by 1 Peter 1:3, ὁ κατὰ τὸ πολὺ αὐτοῦ ἔλεος ἀναγεννήσας ἡμᾶς; and also by 2Es 8:32, “For if thou hast a desire to have mercy upon us, then shalt thou be called merciful, to us, namely, that have no works of righteousness”.

ἔσωσεν ἡμᾶς: The N.T. seldom diverts attention from the main lesson to be taught from time to time by noting qualifications, even necessary ones. Here St. Paul is speaking only about the efficient and instrumental and formal causes of salvation, without any thought of man’s part in co-operation with God. It is as when teaching the principles of mechanics, we do not confuse the beginner’s mind by making allowances for friction, etc. Here, as in Romans 6 and 1 Peter 3:21, it is assumed that man co-operates with God in the work of his own salvation. On the force of the aorist, ἔσωσεν, see note on 1 Timothy 2:4.

διὰ λουτροῦ: the washing. λουτρόν may mean the water used for washing, or the process itself of washing. The R.V.m. laver would be λουτήρ. See Dean Armitage Robinson’s note on Ephesians 5:26.

παλινγενεσίας: This defines the nature of the λουτρόν which God employs as His instrument in effecting the salvation of man; not any λουτρόν whatever, but that of new birth. It is sufficient to observe here that much of the controversy about regeneration might have been avoided had men kept before them the analogy of natural birth, followed as it is immediately, not by vigorous manhood, but by infancy and childhood and youth.

ἀνακαινώσεως: The genitive ἀνακαινώσεως depends on διὰ (which is actually inserted in the Harclean Syriac; so R.V.m., and through renewing), not on λουτροῦ, as apparently Vulg., per lavacrum regenerationis et renovationis Spiritus Sancti, f. Boh. Arm., followed by R.V. The λουτρόν, the washing, secures a claim on the Holy Spirit for renewing, just as birth gives a child a claim on society for food and shelter; but unless we are compelled to do otherwise, it is best to keep the two notions distinct. Birth, natural or spiritual, must be a definite fact taking place at a particular moment; whereas renewing is necessarily a subsequent process, constantly operating. Without this renewing the life received at birth is at best in a state of suspension. The references to ἀνακαίνωσις and ἀνακαινοῦν, and the similar passage, Ephesians 4:23, show that the terms are always used of those who are actually living the Christian life.5. not by works of righteousness] The exact grammatical form is rendered by not by virtue of works, works in righteousness which we did. We should read the neut. accus. of the relative with the best authorities, rather than the genitive here. Bp Wordsworth well explains the reason of the clause: that when those false teachers were asked what was their ground of hope of salvation, they would reply ‘The works wrought in righteousness which we did’; but St Paul would answer ‘God’s mercy.’

he saved us] Vulg. ‘salvos nos fecit.’ Compare the aorist tenses in Colossians 2:13-15. Bp Lightfoot thus brings out the force (Revision of N.T. p. 85): ‘St Paul regards this change from sin to righteousness, from bondage to freedom, from death to life, as summed up in one definite act of the past; potentially to ail men in our Lord’s Passion and Resurrection, actually to each individual man when he accepts Christ, is baptized into Christ.’ ‘It is the definiteness, the absoluteness of this change, considered as a historical crisis, which forms the central idea of St Paul’s teaching, and which the aorist marks.’ See also note on 1 Timothy 2:4.

by the washing of regeneration] Properly through the washing or through the laver; the preposition expresses the channel or means through which; the ‘washing’ or ‘laver’ ‘of regeneration’ is evidently one phrase for the sacrament of Holy Baptism. The genitive marks the attribute or inseparable accompaniments,’ Winer § 30 2 b, who quotes Mark 1:4, ‘repentance-baptism.’ Cf. Colossians 1:22, ‘his flesh-body,’ i.e. His material, natural body, distinguished from the mystical body before mentioned. Cf. also ‘the fire of testing,’ Teaching of the Twelve Apostles xvi. 5.

Should we render here ‘washing’ or ‘laver’? It has been usual among English commentators as Wordsw., Alf., Conybeare, Ellicott, to render ‘laver,’ and to understand the baptismal font, on the ground that the Greek word ‘means always a vessel or pool in which washing takes place.’ So no doubt the form in tron properly signifies, as e.g. arotron a plough, alabastron, an ointment-bottle. But classical usage is in the plural ‘a bath,’ Hom. Il. xviii. 489, Æsch. Ag. 1080; in the sing, ‘the act of washing,’ Hes. Op. 755, ‘expiatory libations,’ Soph. El. 84, ‘water for washing,’Œd. Col. 1599; Aristoph. Lys. 378. The Septuagint usage is only in the sing., Jeremiah 31:25, ‘A man baptized from the death of sin, and again taking hold of it, what does he gain from his washing?’ Song of Solomon 4:2 ‘Thy teeth are like a flock of ewes that are newly shorn, which are come up from the washing.’ The N.T. usage is only in the sing., Ephesians 5:26, ‘having cleansed it (the Church) by the washing of water with the word,’ R.V., with margin ‘Gr. laver,’ and the present passage where R.V. gives ‘washing,’ with margin ‘Or, laver.’ According to R.V. rules this inconsistency neutralises its verdict. For in Ephesians 5:26 it is implied that ‘laver’ is more exact; in Tit. that ‘washing’ is more, and ‘laver’ less likely, as the meaning of the Greek. On the whole the classical usage, the A.V. and R.V. text, support the rendering ‘washing.’ As to the form of the word, the Greeks may have been at liberty to divert it from its proper meaning, having the kindred form loutêr for ‘a bath,’ which, according to analogy, should be ‘a bathing man.’ Somewhat similarly having astêr for ‘a star’ they used astron for ‘a cluster of stars.’

regeneration] ‘Palingenesia is one of the many words which the Gospel found, and, so to speak, glorified.’ Abp Trench, who admirably draws out the enlargement here, N. T. Syn. § 18. The word had been used by the Pythagoreans, in the doctrine of transmigration of souls, for their reappearance in new bodies; by the Stoics for the periodic renovation of the earth in spring; in Cicero it describes his restoration to his dignities and honours after his return from exile; in Josephus the restoration of the Jewish nation after the captivity. The word does not occur in the Septuagint; and in N.T. only here and Matthew 19:28. ‘In our Lord’s words there is evident reference to the new birth of the whole creation (Acts 3:21), which shall be when the Son of Man hereafter comes in His glory; while St Paul’s “washing of regeneration” has to do with the new birth not of the whole travailing creation, but of the single soul, which is now evermore finding place.… The palingenesia which Scripture proclaims begins with the microcosmus of single souls; but it does not end there; it does not cease its effectual working till it has embraced the whole macrocosmus of the universe.’

But if, as seems most consistent with the whole chapter, and with St Matthew’s grand aim to paint a present ‘kingdom of the heavens,’ the reference of Matthew 19:28 is to the Church, Catholic and Apostolic, then ‘regeneration’ in both passages refers to the same act and epoch, when our Lord having ‘overcome the sharpness of death’ opened the Kingdom of Heaven to all believers, and on the day of Pentecost 3000 souls said to Peter and the rest of the Apostles ‘Brethren, what shall we do?’ and were baptized by them ‘unto the remission of their sins,’ and ‘continued stedfastly in the apostles’ teaching and fellowship.’ In our Lord’s words and in St Paul’s the setting up of this kingdom, the entrance into it, is life from the dead, a second birth; and John 3:3; John 3:5 ‘Except a man be born anew, he cannot see the kingdom of God; Except a man be born of water and of the spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God,’ (summed up in palingenesia Matthew 19:28) explains and is explained by Ephesians 5:25-26, ‘Christ loved the church and gave himself up for it, that he might cleanse it by the washing of water with the word’ (summed up in palingenesia:, Titus 3:5).

and renewing of the Holy Ghost] R.V. keeps this rendering of A.V. which necessarily makes ‘renewing’ depend like ‘regeneration’ on ‘the washing’; giving in the margin as a good, but not so good, construction ‘and through renewing,’ where the government is carried back to the preposition. It is only a question of the naturalness of the order of words, and of the doctrine that ‘renewing’ or ‘renovation’ depends on Baptism being expressly stated or left to be inferred. The doctrine itself cannot but be true, as life must precede growth, and growth must depend upon life. Compare Ephesians 5:26, where the purpose of Christ giving Himself up for the Church is stated to be, first that He might cleanse it by the washing of water through the word (as above), and then that He might sanctify it, till there should be no spot nor blemish; and Romans 12:2, ‘Be ye transformed (present tense) by the renewal of your mind;’ see that the gradual restoration of the Divine image be ever going forward. No nobler commentary on the phrase has been written than the ancient ‘Veni Creator.’Titus 3:5. Οὐκ ἐξ ἔργων, not of [by] works) The negative belongs to the whole sentence: we had not been in a state of righteousness; we had not done works in righteousness; we had no works by which we could be saved. So Moses to Israel, Deuteronomy 9:5—[13] διὰ λουτροῦ παλιγγενεσίας καὶ ἀνακαινώσεως Πνεύματος Ἁγιου, by the washing of regeneration and renewing of the Holy Ghost) The renewing is immediately construed with by; for as washing and regeneration, so renewing and He shed on us, are closely connected. Two things are mentioned: the washing of regeneration, which is a periphrasis for baptism into Christ; and the renewing of the Holy Spirit. Comp. Hebrews 2:4, note. For in both places the benefits are praised, which have come to us by Christ and by the Holy Spirit. So it is called the work of divine grace, not only in respect of individuals, but in respect of the very abundant economy of the New Testament. This regeneration and renewing takes away all the death and the old state, under which we so wretchedly lay, and which is described, Titus 3:3 :2 Corinthians 5:17.

[13] Ἔσωσεν ἡμᾶς, He saved us) Christianity itself, as opposed to former misery (ver. 3), brings a most real and present salvation.—V. g.Verse 5. - Done in for of, A.V.; did ourselves for hare done, A.V.; through for by, A.V. By works (ἐξ ἔργων); i.e. in consequence of. God's kindness and love to man did not spring from man's good work as the preceding and producing conditions (comp. Galatians 2:16, and the notes of Bishops Ellicott and Lightfoot). Done in righteousness(τῶν ἐν δικαιοσύνῃ); the particular description of the works wrought in a sphere or element of righteousness (Alford and Ellicott). Which we did ourselves; emphasizing that they were our good works, done by us in a state of righteousness. All this, as the cause of our salvation, the apostle emphatically denies. -Not, etc., but according to his mercy he saved us. The predisposing cause, the rule and measure of our salvation, was God's mercy and grace, originating and completing that salvation. Through the washing of regeneration (διὰ λουτροῦ παλλιγενεσίας). Here we have the means through or by which God's mercy saves us. The washing or rather laver of regeneration (λουτρόν) - found elsewhere in the New Testament only in Ephesians 5:26, in exactly the same connection - is the laver or bath in which the washing takes place. The nature or quality of this bath is described by the words, "of regeneration" (τῆς παλιγγενεσίας); elsewhere in the New Testament only in Matthew 19:28, where it seems rather to mean the great restoration of humanity at the second advent. The word is used by Cicero of his restoration to political power, by Josephus of the restoration of the Jews under Zerubbabel, and by several Greek authors; and the LXX. of Job 14:14 have the phrase, ἕως πάλιν γένωμαι, but in what sense is not quite clear, Παλιγγενεσία, therefore, very fifty describes the new birth in holy baptism, when the believer is put into possession of a new spiritual life, a new nature, and a new inheritance of glory. And the laver of baptism is called "the laver of regeneration," because it is the ordained means by or through which regeneration is obtained. And renewing of the Holy Ghost. It is doubtful whether the genitive ἀνακαιγώσεως depends upon διὰ or upon λούτρου. Bengel, followed by Alford, takes the former, "per lavacrum et renovationem;" the Vulgate (lavacrum regenerationis et renova-tionis Spiritus Sancti), the latter, followed by Huther, Bishop Ellicott, and others. It is difficult to hit upon any conclusive argument for one side or the other. But it is against the latter construction that it gives such a very long rambling sentence dependent upon λούτρου. "The laver of regeneration and of the renewing of the Holy Ghost, which he shed on us abundantly through Jesus Christ our Savior." And it is in favor of the former that the "laver of regeneration" and "the renewing of the Holy Ghost" seem to describe very clearly the two parts of the sacrament, the outward visible sign and the inward spiritual grace; the birth of water and of the Holy Ghost. So that Bengel's rendering seems on the whole to be preferred. Renewing (ἀνακαινώσεως); only here and Romans 12:2, and not at all in the LXX. or in classical Greek. But the verb ἀνακαινόω is found in 2 Corinthians 4:16; Colossians 3:10. The same idea is in the καινὴ κτίσις, the "new creature" of 2 Corinthians 5:17 and Galatians 6:15, and the καινότης ζωῆς of Romans 6:4, and the καινότης πνεύματος of Romans 7:6, and in the contrast between the "old man" (the παλαιὸς ἄνθρωπος) and "the new man" (the καινὸς ἄνθρωπος) of Ephesians 4:22-24. This renewal is the work of the Holy Ghost in the new birth, when men are "born again" of the Spirit (John 3:5). Alford is wrong in denying its application here to the first gift of the new life. It is evidently parallel with the παλιγγεσία. The connection of baptism with the effusion of the Holy Spirit is fully set forth in Acts 2. (see especially ver. 38; comp. Matthew 3:16, 17). Not by works of righteousness which we have done (οὐκ ἐξ ἔργων τῶν ἐν δικαιοσύνῃ ἃ ἐποιήσαμεν)

Lit. not by works, those namely in righteousness, which we did. The thought is entirely Pauline. Ἑξ ἔργων strictly, out of, in consequence of works. Εν δικαιοσύνῃ in the sphere of righteousness; as legally righteous men. Comp. Ephesians 2:9. We did emphatic. Comp. Romans 10:5; Galatians 3:10, Galatians 3:12; Galatians 5:3.

According to his mercy (κατὰ τὸ αὐτοῦ ἔλεος)

The phrase only 1 Peter 1:3. Comp. Romans 15:9; Ephesians 2:4; Jde 1:21.

By the washing of regeneration (διὰ λουτροῦ παλινγενεσίας)

Λουτρόν only here and Ephesians 5:26. It does not mean the act of bathing, but the bath, the laver. Παλινγενεσία only here and Matthew 19:28, where it is used of the final restoration of all things. The phrase laver of regeneration distinctly refers to baptism, in connection with which and through which as a medium regeneration is conceived as taking place. Comp. Romans 6:3-5. It is true that nothing is said of faith; but baptism implies faith on the part of its recipient. It has no regenerating effect apart from faith; and the renewing of the Holy Spirit is not bestowed if faith be wanting.

Renewing (ἀνακαινώσεως)

Only here and Romans 12:2. Comp. 2 Corinthians 5:7. Paul has ἀνακαινοῦν to renew, 2 Corinthians 4:16; Colossians 3:10 : ἀνακαίνωσις renewing, Romans 12:2. Ἁνακαινίζειν to renew, only Hebrews 6:6. The connection of the genitive is disputed. Some make it dependent on λουτροῦ bath, so that the bath of baptism is conceived as implying regeneration and renewing of the Holy Spirit. Others construe with renewing only, ἀνακαινώσεως being dependent on διὰ; through the laver of regeneration and (through) the renewing, etc. The former seems the more probable. The phrase renewing of the Holy Spirit only here. In N.T. the Spirit or the Holy Spirit is joined in the genitive with the following words: comfort, joy, power, love, demonstration, manifestation, earnest, ministration, fellowship, promise, fruit, unity, sword, sanctification.

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