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Jesus answered, “Those who have had a bath need only to wash their feet; their whole body is clean. And you are clean, though not every one of you.” For he knew who was going to betray him, and that was why he said not every one was clean. John 13:10, NIV
In two places, the Bible speaks explicitly of being cleansed by the washing of the water of the word. In John 15:3, Jesus said they were clean because of the word [Logos] he had spoken to them. And in Eph. 5:26, Paul said that Christ made the church holy by washing her through the water of the word [Rhema].
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The written word is vital to the Christian, but by itself, it does little good. It can be studied without life, like any work of literature or any ‘holy’ book. It is only when the words of Scripture are breathed upon us by Jesus through the Holy Spirit that they become the Living Word of God. It is then that the cleansing power of Jesus washes all the dirt and filth from our lives.
This happened first at salvation, as our sin nature was flushed down the toilet, and we were given a new nature. We now stand pure and clean before the Father. It is the only way we could ever enter His presence. We picture this by going through the waters of baptism.
But you will notice I said this first happened at salvation. I do not believe a person can lose their salvation - you can’t be unborn again. The sin nature is gone. Period. We are new creations in Christ Jesus. Period.
Judas had all the same experiences as the other disciples, why wasn’t he clean?
Judas was unclean because, although he heard everything the others heard and did everything they did, he had not truly been born again. He was using Jesus for his own purposes. Many ‘Christians’ today are in the Judas boat. They may have said the sinner’s prayer and followed others into great acts or ministries, but at the root of it, they are seeking self-fulfillment, not God’s glory. This desire is pandered to by many churches that mainly offer ‘what God can do for you’ type of teaching. It becomes little more than a spiritual self-improvement program. Please don’t misunderstand me. These types of courses, if they are Biblical-based, ARE essential, but if they are the only or main reason we are seeking after Jesus, then we may want to consider which boat we are in.
When we look at the lives of the eleven clean disciples, we see that they were far from perfect - just like you and me. Yes, they were perfect before the Father - like you and I are - but there was some work on earth that needed to be done. There were some dirty feet that needed to be washed.
As we move through this world, dirt tries to cling to us. Our old habits and thought patterns want us to follow established routes instead of living according to our new nature. It is a learning process. We must constantly renew our minds by studying and meditating on the Word of God to change our beliefs and actions to conform to our new nature.
Another aspect of this is that during an average day, we are constantly bombarded with the world, whether it is a co-worker’s profanity, a dirty magazine cover in the grocery store or a neighbour’s complaining attitude.
All sorts of things - within and without - can give us dirty feet. It doesn’t change the fact that we are clean before God, but we daily need Jesus to wash our feet. If we do not become cleansed from these daily contaminations, we may find ourselves falling into a mud pit. But as we come to Jesus daily, we start clean and fresh as we walk out into a dirty world. We don’t have to fear its contamination because we know what to do about it.
How do we get out feet washed?
Our feet are washed as we spend time with Jesus, studying and meditating on the Word, confessing our sins and failures, worshiping, praying and meeting together with fellow Christians. That is the Christian life, giving us clean feet as we move through this world.