Text: Titus 3:1-8, Ephesians 2:1-10, Romans 8:18-25
When my kids play outside, they get super dirty. We have a wooded area behind our house with a creek and mud and lots of critters. By the time they finally tromp back to the house from one of their adventures, a good bit of that mud and a disconcerting number of critters come right home with them (last weekend my 7-year-old mentioned casually to me that his pocket was full of worms). They’re filthy.
Straight to the bath or shower they go, and if there’s one thing I’ve learned about parenting my *ahem* muddy children, it’s this: no matter how hard they try to do it on their own, they just can’t get themselves clean like I can.
When they’ve finally been washed clean, all wrapped up in a fluffy towel with wet eyelashes and sweet-smelling skin, I can forget about the worms and the bugs and the mud—they are like new. We all feel better.
So think of being born again as our Heavenly Father bringing us in from the woods, rinsing away our filth like only He can. He washes us clean. Our eyelashes are wet and our skin smells sweet. We are like new.
I think what Paul wants us to see in this passage is a contrast between our dirty, wandering, worms-in-our-pockets human hearts, and—because of the “loving kindness of God”—our washed and renewed selves through the Holy Spirit and Jesus Christ.
The word he uses is “regeneration.” In Latin it means to “create again” and in Greek it’s “paliggenesía” or “birth, beginning.“ The washing of regeneration Paul describes is a complete cleaning in which our filth becomes a distant memory and we as believers are literally a New Creation.
This newness—this born-again freshness that we as believers often forget (but, oh, if we could remember and claim as our identity every new day!) is a foreshadowing, just a glimpse, of what is to come. Like Paul says in Romans 8, we “have the firstfruits of the Spirit.”
That image of my kids all squeaky clean after their baths? And the one of you, wrapped in the fresh towel of God’s mercy? Sisters, close your eyes and now imagine the promised regeneration of the whole world! A new heaven and a new earth!
Only God can do this.
He washed away our filth at our salvation.
He restores us with each new day.
And He will make everything new for His glory.
Lord, if we are in Christ, we are a new creation. Help us find our identities here. Make us clean and new and Yours. And Lord, let that make all the difference.