Questions From Readers
● What is “the bath that brought us to life” as spoken of at Titus 3:5?—U.S.A.
The apostle Paul was referring to those who became spirit-anointed Christians, when he wrote: “The kindness and the love for man on the part of our Savior, God, was manifested, owing to no works in righteousness that we had performed, but according to his mercy he saved us through the bath that brought us to life and through the making of us new by holy spirit.”—Titus 3:4, 5.
The expression “the bath that brought us to life” may also be rendered “the bath of a rebirth” or “the bath of regeneration.” Accordingly, this bath must be a cleansing that leads to a rebirth or a regeneration. The agency by which this cleansing comes about is identified at 1 John 1:7: “The blood of Jesus his Son cleanses us from all sin.” And, with reference to Jesus Christ, Revelation 1:5 states: “To him that loves us and that loosed us from our sins by means of his own blood.” That this cleansing from sin brings about a new life is confirmed by the words of Ephesians 2:1: “It is you God made alive though you were dead in your trespasses and sins.”—See also Ephesians 2:4, 5 and Colossians 2:13, 14.
Of course, the cleansing brought about through the blood of Jesus is not limited to spirit-anointed Christians. They are not the only ones who benefit from the expression of God’s kindness and love for man in giving his Son. The anointed apostle John wrote regarding Jesus Christ: “He is a propitiatory sacrifice for our sins, yet not for ours only but also for the whole world’s.” (1 John 2:1, 2) In harmony therewith Revelation 7:9, 14 depicts a “great crowd” who “have washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb.” Thus on the basis of Jesus’ blood this “great crowd” gain a clean standing before Jehovah God. But, as evident from the context of Titus chapter 3, they are not the ones there referred to as experiencing ‘the bath that brings to life.’
The fact that ‘the bath that brings to life’ is mentioned before the ‘making new by holy spirit’ indicates that this bath precedes spirit-begettal. For an individual to be adopted as a spiritual son of God, he must first be justified or declared righteous, that is, he must have perfect human sonship imputed to him. This is because Jehovah God, being perfect and holy, cannot accept as his son anyone who is unclean. On the basis of Jesus’ shed blood, however, he can justify sinful humans. As the apostle Paul states: “Those in union with Christ Jesus have no condemnation. For the law of that spirit which gives life in union with Christ Jesus has set you free from the law of sin and of death.”—Rom. 8:1, 2, 33.
Thus it can be seen that Jehovah God cleanses or ‘bathes’ those whom he brings into a relationship of sonship. He ‘bathes’ them in the blood of his Son, applying in their behalf the merit of Jesus’ ransom sacrifice. Through this “bath” resulting in their justification, they gain the status of perfect human sons. This puts them in position to be ‘made new through holy spirit,’ that is, to become spirit-begotten sons of God. They become a “new creation.”—2 Cor. 5:17.