At one time we too were foolish, disobedient, deceived and enslaved by all kinds of passions and pleasures. We lived in malice and envy, being hated and hating one another. But when the kindness and love of God our Saviour appeared, he saved us, not because of righteous things we had done, but because of his mercy. He saved us through the washing of rebirth and renewal by the Holy Spirit, whom he poured out on us generously through Jesus Christ our Saviour, so that, having been justified by his grace, we might become heirs having the hope of eternal life. Titus 3:3-7 (NIV)
Have you ever thought about the act of washing and how it applies to you if you are a Christian? Paul in the verses above from Titus speaks of ‘… the washing of rebirth …’ When Jesus spoke to Nicodemus he spoke of being ‘born again’ (John 3:5-8). Both terms speak of something happening when you commit your life to Christ.
The term ‘washing of rebirth’ reveals something that happens at conversion. One dictionary definition of washing is ‘to immerse in a liquid for the purpose of cleansing’. This reminds me of a line in an old hymn that says ‘Wash me in the blood of the Lamb and I shall be whiter than snow’. The washing of rebirth is achieved through the death of Jesus on the cross and the shedding of his blood for our sins.
Once washed (cleansed) things don’t stop there. Paul reminds us that this goes on to ‘renewal by the Holy Spirit’. So although we are washed, it isn’t as if we are still the same person, but just a bit cleaner. We are also ‘renewed’. That is why Paul elsewhere can say
Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: the old has gone, the new is here! 2 Corinthians 5:17 (NIV)
Have you realised that you are ‘washed’ and ‘renewed’?
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