Fourth, salvation is by the renewal of the Holy Spirit. “He saved us, not because of works done by us in righteousness, but according to his own mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewal of the Holy Spirit” (Tit. 3:5). The noun “renewal” (anakainosis) refers to “the action by which a person becomes spiritually new and different.” (Friberg) It refers to the work of the Spirit in giving new life and a new nature to every believer at the moment of regeneration. “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come” (2 Cor. 5:17). When you are regenerated, you are renewed. You are made new spiritually, with the new life and new nature of the Spirit. Thus, the experience of regeneration is the same as renewal. Regeneration and renewal of the Spirit are one and the same.
Pentecostals/Charismatics think that regeneration and renewal are separate experiences. Regeneration is conversion, they say, and renewal is empowerment of the Spirit. But the Greek does not support that interpretation. Paul uses only one preposition, “by” (dia), for both nouns—“by regeneration and renewal.” The context is about salvation, regeneration, and justification, and not empowerment.
Most likely, the two words, regeneration and renewal, describe one and the same event—washing. (Knight; Marshall) It is like a coin with two sides. The washing is one coin having two sides—regeneration and renewal. It is like a pair of reading glasses. The cleansing is one pair of glasses having two lens—regeneration and renewal. The washing is described as regeneration and renewal of the Spirit.
The washing of regeneration and renewal is “of the Holy Spirit.” (Tit. 3:5). The Spirit is the divine agent of the washing of regeneration and renewal. Have you been washed of your sin? Have you been born again? Have you been renewed with new life and a new nature? Then you have tasted the work of the Holy Spirit.
God saved us by the washing of regeneration and renewal of the Spirit.