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Jesus saith to him, He that is washed needeth not save to wash his feet, but is clean every whit: and ye are clean, but not all. For he knew who should betray him; therefore said he, Ye are not all clean. (JOH 13:10-11).

This subject is of utmost importance for every believer to rightly understand, if he desires to live in fellowship with his Saviour.

For the context let us read verses 6 through 10. "Then cometh he to Simon Peter: and Peter saith unto him, Lord, dost thou wash my feet? Jesus answered and said unto him, What I do thou knowest not now; but thou shalt know hereafter. Peter saith unto him, Thou shalt never wash my feet. Jesus answered him, If I wash thee not, thou hast no part with me. Simon Peter saith unto him, Lord, not my feet only, but also my hands and my head. Jesus saith to him, He that is washed needeth not save to wash his feet, but is clean every whit: and ye are clean, but not all."

We need to distinguish between justification and sanctification. Peter was washed in the sight of God in the sense of justification. Peter was not a stranger to the work of grace, but now we are talking about sanctification. In the way of justification we are perfectly clean in the sight of God because we are washed in His blood. However, those who are outside of the blood of Christ, who are not washed in the blood, are not made clean by washing their feet. We are not going to earn salvation by good works.

It is of vital importance to distinguish between being cleansed in Christ's blood and the constant need of having our feet washed by the washing of water by the Word. When we are washed and justified before God in the blood of Christ, that is a one-time act. However, in the process of progressive sanctification, the washing of our feet by the water of the Word is a continual process. Look at what we read in PSA 119:9. "Wherewithal shall a young man cleanse his way? by taking heed thereto according to thy word." That is how we build a relationship of harmony with our Saviour.

We must take notice of the correct meaning of some key words. For many words, how they are used determines what they mean. In JOH 13:8 we read, "Peter saith unto him, Thou shalt never wash my feet. Jesus answered him, If I wash thee not, thou hast no part with me." He is talking to Peter, one who was born of the Spirit. He is not talking to an infidel. He did not say, "You have no part in Me," but "you have no part with me." There is a difference.

For three years Jesus' disciples had taken part in our Saviour's public ministry. They had taken part in Christ and in His work and in His ministry. See what Jesus said in LUK 22:28-29. "Ye are they which have continued with me in my temptations. And I appoint unto you a kingdom, as my Father hath appointed unto me."

What our Saviour told Peter clearly points to fellowship or union and communion with Him. He is telling Peter that if you want My nearness, if you want Me to dwell with you in love and in unity, you need to clean up your walk of life. You need to come into a better relationship with Me. 2CO 6:15 confirms this. "And what concord hath Christ with Belial? or what part hath he that believeth with an infidel?" This word part comes from the same root word merose in the Greek as the word part comes from in JOH 13:8, which means "participation," that is the art of sharing in common with others; as participation of joys or sorrows, coming into unity and harmony.

If we want to have a life of fellowship with Christ, it begins by Him washing our feet with the water of the Word, washing our walk of life. It is not to say that we are not going to saved if our feet are not washed, but we are going to live in leanness, we are going to live in darkness, we are going to live outside of the love and the favor of God.

All believers who have been quickened by the Holy Spirit are washed in the blood, but sad to say, many fail to enjoy their "part with" Him, because their feet are not washed, because they still live in a wrong attitude. They still live with bitterness in their hearts; they still live with an attitude of wanting to exalt themselves. They have not yet been conformed to the image of Christ.

To have "part with" our Lord and Saviour, we must take part in that continual progressive sanctification spoken of in EPH 5:25b-27: "Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it; That he might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word, That he might present it to himself a glorious church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing; but that it should be holy and without blemish."

See the evidence we have in the Word of God that Peter was not a stranger to God's grace. In MAT 16:15-17 we read, "He saith unto them, But whom say ye that I am? And Simon Peter answered and said, Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God. And Jesus answered and said unto him, Blessed art thou, Simon Barjona. For flesh and blood hath not revealed it unto thee, but my Father which is in heaven."

Simon means obedient. Barjona means the son of Jonah. Jonah means dove, symbolic of the Holy Spirit. So his name means "obedience as the fruit of being born of the Spirit." Can you say that Peter was not regenerated? Can we even question that Peter was washed? The Lord Jesus Christ is telling him he was born of the Spirit. This however, did not mean that Peter did not still have need of some washing of water by the Word.

MAT 16:20-23 says, "Then charged he his disciples that they should tell no man that he was Jesus the Christ. From that time forth began Jesus to shew unto his disciples, how that he must go unto Jerusalem, and suffer many things of the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and be raised again the third day. Then Peter took him, and began to rebuke him, saying, Be it far from thee, Lord: this shall not be unto thee. But he turned, and said unto Peter, Get thee behind me, Satan: thou art an offence unto me: for thou savourest not the things that be of God, but those that be of men."

After having commended Peter for his true saving faith, the Saviour rebukes him for his human reasoning. He did not understand the atonement. He did not understand that Jesus must suffer, bleed, die and raise again. Peter needed to grow in grace. Now this is not to question whether he was born of the Spirit. He had a new heart; he had a new desire; he was a child of God, but we are talking about growth in grace. These same weaknesses of overreaction were still apparent in Peter as Jesus came to wash his feet.

The believer does not need to be washed daily from head to foot in the blood. In HEB 10:14 we read, "For by one offering he hath perfected for ever them that are sanctified." To the believer Jesus says, "He that is washed needeth not save to wash his feet." Believers have been purged from the guilt of sin, but they have constant need to have their character reformed into that blessed image of Christ.

Look at COL 1:12. "Giving thanks unto the Father, which hath made us meet [fit in character] to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints in light," and that process, making His bride fit in character, takes place throughout the betrothal. Throughout the entire time from the time of the regeneration work of the Holy Spirit to the time of the great wedding feast, it is one constant working of purification, one constant work of making us fit in character. It is a constant coming to the knowledge of the blessed image of Christ. Things that I used to think and things that I used to do, that I saw absolutely no harm in years ago, today I see as being so vile that I would not dare to come before anyone in the world and tell them what was in my heart.

Look at comments made by David, the man after God's own heart, in PSA 139:23-24. "Search me, O God, and know my heart: try me, and know my thoughts: And see if there be any wicked way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting." This was not an infidel. He was a deeply led father in grace. The more we learn to know of our own hearts, the more we see that we are nothing more than wounds and bruises and putrifying sores in the sight of God. The more we learn to see the sinfulness of sin, the more hateful sin becomes. The man after God's own heart sees the corrupt nature of his own heart, and he beseeches God to search his heart, to reveal his sins, that he might turn from it and repent.

The benefits that Christ confers upon a sinner are never recalled. You do not sin away God's grace, but you can sin away His pleasure. You can sin away His nearness, and He can send leanness in your soul. But you will never sin away salvation. The Lord will not allow His people to sin away salvation. The efficacy of His precious blood is eternal.

In PHI 1:3-6 we read, "I thank my God upon every remembrance of you, Always in every prayer of mine for you all making request with joy, For your fellowship in the gospel from the first day until now; Being confident of this very thing, that he which hath begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ." There is no such thing as the falling away of the saints. If the Lord has loved us from eternity, if the Lord has worked the work of regeneration in our hearts, He may withdraw, He may allow our sins as a cloud to come between us and our God, and we may feel that we are back under His condemnation, and rightly so, because we have sinned away His favor, and we have no part with Him. He has withdrawn Himself because of our sins, but there is no such thing as sinning away salvation.

In 1CO 5:1-5 we see an illustration of this. We see the Apostle Paul speaking of a man who has sinned grievously, a man who had committed fornication, and not only fornication, but "such fornication as is not so much as named among the Gentiles, that one should have his father's wife. And ye are puffed up, and have not rather mourned, that he that hath done this deed might be taken away from among you. For I verily, as absent in body, but present in spirit, have judged already, as though I were present, concerning him that hath so done this deed, In the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, when ye are gathered together, and my spirit, with the power of our Lord Jesus Christ, To deliver such an one unto Satan for the destruction of the flesh, that the spirit may be saved in the day of the Lord Jesus."

He did not sin away his salvation, but he sinned away God's favor, and he would be turned over that Satan that in the flesh he would be tormented of Satan, but he did not sin away his salvation.

However, side by side with this eternal security that God has in store for His people, that they will never sin away their salvation, stands another blessed truth, which we find in JOH 13:8: "If I wash thee not, thou hast no part with me." We will not have fellowship with Christ. We will not walk in His favor. We will not have the sunshine of His love if our footsteps and our attitudes are not washed. That is, unless our walk of life is sanctified and cleansed with the washing of water by the Word, we cannot participate in the joy of our Lord.

Every believer continues to need a daily washing from the defilements of the wilderness journey. When the disciples asked the Lord Jesus, Teach us to pray, see one of the elements of the perfect prayer in MAT 6:13. "And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil: For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever. Amen." There is a constant desire that we are spared from temptation, that we might live to the honor and the glory of God, that we come under His service, that we not serve sin, that we not serve the flesh, that we not serve Satan; that we not serve the world, that we come into His kingdom. We need daily cleansing from the dust of the journey that we may live in good conscience before our God. If we have part with Him then we have a good conscience; if we live outside of His fellowship our conscience is a burning accusation.

Look at 1TI 1:18-19. "This charge I commit unto thee, son Timothy, according to the prophecies which went before on thee, that thou by them mightest war a good warfare; Holding faith, and a good conscience; which some having put away concerning faith have made shipwreck."

Who is there among Christ's true believers who do not have to say with the Apostle Paul in ROM 7:21-25, "I find then a law, that, when I would do good, evil is present with me. For I delight in the law of God after the inward man: But I see another law in my members, warring against the law of my mind, and bringing me into captivity to the law of sin which is in my members. O wretched man that I am! who shall deliver me from the body of this death? I thank God through Jesus Christ our Lord. So then with the mind I myself serve the law of God; but with the flesh the law of sin."

Unless we are deceived by conceit to see our own shortcomings, all we need is to compare our walk with Christ's walk of life. Do you want to have a mirror that will show you who you truly are? Then look in the mirror of the law of the Gospel. Look at Christ and the example that He set and see how far short we come.

The Lord Jesus tells us to follow His steps. We cannot follow in His steps because we are yet sinners, but it is our longing desire as the Apostle Paul said in ROM 7:19, "For the good that I would I do not: but the evil which I would not, that I do." We see how that we cannot walk in His footsteps but we follow them as a pattern. Even these believers, that is, even Jesus' own disciples, were still in need of much washing of water by the Word. They still needed constant sanctification. They still needed constant turning to that fountain of the Word for the washing of their walk of life.

See the spirit of pride and disunity that still prevailed among them even as the Lord's Supper was instituted. See how far they were from perfect. LUK 22:21-24 says, "But, behold, the hand of him that betrayeth me is with me on the table. And truly the Son of man goeth, as it was determined: but woe unto that man by whom he is betrayed! And they began to enquire among themselves, which of them it was that should do this thing. And there was also a strife among them, which of them should be accounted the greatest." Do you see the impurities of the heart? Do you see the fallen condition of man? One is determining how he might betray Him and the others were striving among themselves which of them should be the greatest.

As we each examine our own hearts, how often we see how un-Christlike we are in character. We come to the point where we become more forgiving to our fellow man. We become less judgmental, when the Lord opens our eyes to see the fountain of iniquity that dwells within our own hearts. What did He tell them in MAT 18:3? "Except ye be converted, and become as little children, ye shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven."

The Lord Jesus tells us in JOH 13:12-15, "So after he had washed their feet, and had taken his garments, and was set down again, he said unto them, Know ye what I have done to you? Ye call me Master and Lord: and ye say well; for so I am. If I then, your Lord and Master, have washed your feet; ye also ought to wash one another's feet. For I have given you an example, that ye should do as I have done to you." He is saying, I am the greatest. I am your Lord and Master, and I have condescended to come down so low to wash your feet. That is the attitude that you need among yourselves.

We want to build a more perfect relationship with our heavenly Bridegroom, "that he might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word, That he might present it to himself a glorious church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing; but that it should be holy and without blemish" as we read in EPH 5:26-27.

Even when our evil nature does not break out into evil actions, how often do we not have to blush before our Heavenly Bridegroom because of our attitudes and sinful thoughts? Is it not true that we all have yet to check our evil, lustful attitudes that want to come boiling up? That root of sin is being brought into subjection, but it is still there.

In HEB 4:13 we read, "Neither is there any creature that is not manifest in his sight: but all things are naked and opened unto the eyes of him with whom we have to do." When evil thoughts spring up, our Saviour sees and understands so well. He understands not only the nature, but the power of sin. We have a heavenly High Priest who was also tempted in all things even as we are.

So now think how urgent it is that every believer place his feet into the care of Jesus, that is, into the constant light of the Word for cleansing. If there is a decision to make, if there is anything that you have to come to a conclusion on, the authority of the Word should be the basis of that decision, not your feelings, not your emotions, not what you like or what you would not like.

Look at 1JO 3:20-22. "For if our heart condemn us, God is greater than our heart, and knoweth all things. Beloved, if our heart condemn us not, then have we confidence toward God. And whatsoever we ask, we receive of him, because we keep his commandments, and do those things that are pleasing in his sight." When we have come to where we are living in constant washing of our feet in the washing of the water of the Word, then the Lord looks upon that and it is pleasing unto Him. So a heart that does not condemn is what the Apostle Paul strove for, that he may have "part with" or participation in the joys of His Lord.

In ACT 24:16 Paul said, "And herein do I exercise myself, to have always a conscience void to offence toward God, and toward men."

We can be washed outwardly, but if we do not have the washing of regeneration of the Holy Spirit, if that work of regeneration is missing, in a legalistic sense all the good works that we can do are of absolutely no merit. Our feet, we think, may have been washed, but the heart has never been renewed, and that is what the Lord Jesus told the Pharisees. He said, You make clean the outside of the platter, but inside the heart was still of murder, fornication and lust.

However, to Christ's blessed Bridegroom, who has been washed and sanctified, we can say with the Apostle Paul in HEB 6:9-11. "But, beloved, we are persuaded better things of you, and things that accompany salvation, though we thus speak. For God is not unrighteous to forget your work and labour of love, which ye have shewed toward his name, in that ye have ministered to the saints, and do minister. And we desire that every one of you do shew the same diligence to the full assurance of hope unto the end."

We do not separate these evidences from the basis of our hope because these are evidences of the working of grace. These are the evidences that we have that are undeniable, that there is a new desire, there is a new heart, and that our actions correspond that we have God's grace.

These on-line sermons are a ministry of Gospel Chapel located in Conrad, Montana. We also have a  daily devotion and sermon notes.

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