Not by works of righteousness which we have done ( οὐκ ἐξ ἔργων τῶν ἐν δικαιοσύνῃ ἃ ἐποιήσαμεν )
Lit. not by works, those namely in righteousness, which we did. The thought is entirely Pauline. Ἑξ ἔργων strictly, out of, in consequence of works. Εν δικαιοσύνῃ inthe sphere of righteousness; as legally righteous men. Comp. Ephesians 2:9. We did emphatic. Comp. Romans 10:5; Galatians 3:10, Galatians 3:12; Galatians 5:3.
According to his mercy ( κατὰ τὸ αὐτοῦ ἔλεος )
The phrase only 1 Peter 1:3. Comp. Romans 15:9; Ephesians 2:4; Judges 1:21.
By the washing of regeneration ( διὰ λουτροῦ παλινγενεσίας )
Λουτρόν only here and Ephesians 5:26. It does not mean the act of bathing, but the bath, the laver. Παλινγενεσία only here and Matthew 19:28, where it is used of the final restoration of all things. The phrase laver of regeneration distinctly refers to baptism, in connection with which and through which as a medium regeneration is conceived as taking place. Comp. Romans 6:3-5. It is true that nothing is said of faith; but baptism implies faith on the part of its recipient. It has no regenerating effect apart from faith; and the renewing of the Holy Spirit is not bestowed if faith be wanting.
Renewing ( ἀνακαινώσεως )
Only here and Romans 12:2. Comp. 2 Corinthians 5:7. Paul has ἀνακαινοῦν torenew, 2 Corinthians 4:16; Colossians 3:10: ἀνακαίνωσις renewing Romans 12:2. Ἁνακαινίζειν torenew, only Hebrews 6:6. The connection of the genitive is disputed. Some make it dependent on λουτροῦ bathso that the bath of baptism is conceived as implying regeneration and renewing of the Holy Spirit. Others construe with renewing only, ἀνακαινώσεως being dependent on διὰ ; through the laver of regeneration and (through) the renewing, etc. The former seems the more probable. The phrase renewing of the Holy Spirit only here. In N.T. the Spirit or the Holy Spirit is joined in the genitive with the following words: comfort, joy, power, love, demonstration, manifestation, earnest, ministration, fellowship, promise, fruit, unity, sword, sanctification.