“Ron! If we are forgiven of our sins when we answer God’s call through devotion to Him (making ‘Jesus Lord’ (Romans 10:8-10)) and obedience to honor and love, why do we have to keep asking for forgiveness??” Great question! Jesus hinted at the answer in John 13:5-10:
“Then He poured water into the basin, and began to wash the disciples’ feet and to wipe them with the towel with which He was girded. So He came to Simon Peter. He said to Him, “Lord, do You wash my feet?” … Peter said to Him, “Never shall You wash my feet!” Jesus answered him, “If I do not wash you, you have no part with Me.” Simon Peter said to Him, “Lord, then wash not only my feet, but also my hands and my head.” Jesus said to him, ‘He who has bathed needs only to wash his feet, but is completely clean; and you are clean, but not all of you.’”
This servant-leader taught that we need regenerative bathing in the New Covenant as we see in 13:10 AND regular washing to have an inheritance in God’s Kingdom. Let me explain. There are two kinds of washings referenced in John 13. The first is washing a part of the body, such as the hand or foot (e.g., verses 5 & 6). It is referenced by the word Peter used in 13:6 when he said, “… Lord, do you wash my feet??” The washing of the part of the body referenced here is the Greek word pronounced ‘nip-toe.’ This ‘washing’ for forgiveness when we mess up is part of our repentance—turning away from sin in our sorrow for rebellion against God and others.
The second washing is bathing the whole body, as in the Old Testament reference to what Bathsheba was doing when David saw her. This Greek word is pronounced ‘loo-oh,’ and we see this in 13:10. There’s a distinct difference between the two types of spiritual washing. First, the atoning work of Christ bathes – “loo-oh’s” – us from the sin and disobedience we practiced BEFORE we knew better, repented, and devoted ourselves to God through Christ. Second, we continue to repent and experience a cleansing when we fall short of God’s desires AFTER devotion to Him. In verse 10, we learn that the one who has been bathed (loo-oh’d) needs only to have regular washings (nip-toes) for forgiveness in repentance. Finally, Jesus explained to Peter that He and the other disciples had been ‘bathed’ (regenerated) except for Judas.
In summary, we are bathed (loo-oh’d) when we devote ourselves to God out of our belief in Him, and we continue to be ‘nip-toed’ in our repentance when we mess up. Next week, we’ll look at Jesus’ instruction for a disciple-maker to ‘wipe the dust off the feet and move on instead of stagnating.
Blessings and peace,
Dr. Ron Braley