Titus 3:5-6 "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 Saviour;"

The phrase or antecedent of "which he shed on us abundantly" is not the Holy Spirit but has reference to "his mercy." That is what has been "shed on us abundantly." His grace, his mercy, his salvation was not "shed on us" because we had done enough good works to merit it but his grace supplied the instructions on how to obtain this great gift. (Titus 2:9-11)

The "washing of regeneration" was the new birth that Jesus spoke of in John 3:5: "Except a man be born of water and the Spirit he cannot enter the kingdom of heaven." Evidently baptism is the water referred to in both verses. "Baptism doth also now save us." Peter says in 1 Peter 3:21. It is understood that in neither place was the writer advocating baptism only/ It was a baptism for which one had been prepared by proper teaching. (Ephesians 5:26) "That he might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word." The washing would be accompanied with the word, the teaching.

Baptism puts one into Christ, into the merits of his atoning blood, but we do not stop with baptism. The Holy Spirit acts in the life of this new creation but the Holy Spirit accomplishes his work through the medium of the word. His words are the words of inspiration hence the reception of the message of the Spirit is equivalent to receiving the Spirit himself. I prefer the rendering of several later translations of the passage."renewing of the Holy Spirit" as "renewing BY the Holy Spirit." The Holy Spirit is the means by which we are renewed. This has to do with the putting off of the Old Man and the putting on of the New Man as is taught by Paul in Colossians 3:1-10. We read the conclusion of the whole matter in verse 10: "And have put on the new man, which is RENEWED in knowledge after the image of him that created him:"

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