The opening portion of John 13 makes known the provision which Divine love has made for failure in our walk as we journey through this world-wilderness, and the means which are used to maintain us in fellowship with Christ. Its central design is stated by the Lord when He said to Peter, "If I wash thee not, thou hast no part with me." The washing of our feet is imperative if we are to enjoy fellowship with the Holy One of God. "Grace" has given us a place in Christ, now "truth" operates to maintain our place with Christ. The effect of this ministry is stated in verse 10: "He that is bathed needeth not save to wash his feet, but is clean every whit."
There is a double washing for the believer: the one of his entire person, the other of his feet; the former is once for all, the latter needs repeating daily. In both instances the "washing" is by the Word. Of the former we read, "Nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners, shall inherit the kingdom of God. And such were some of you: but ye are washed, but ye are sanctified, but ye are justified in the name of the Lord Jesus, and by the Spirit of our God" (1 Cor. 6:10, 11). And again, "Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the holy Spirit's (Titus 3:5). The "washing of regeneration" is not by blood, though it is inseparable from redemption by blood; and neither the one nor the other is ever repeated. Of the latter we read, "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" (Eph. 5:25-27). This same distinction was plainly marked in the Old Testament. When Aaron and his sons were consecrated, they were bathed all over (Ex. 29:4; Leviticus 8:6): but at the "laver" it was only their hands and feet which were daily cleansed (Ex. 30:19, 21).
In our last chapter we pointed out how that the "blood" is Godward, the "water" saintwards. The one is for legal expiation, the other for moral purification. Now, while both the "bathing" (Titus 3:5) and the "washing" of the saints's feet is by the "water of the word," there is a "cleansing" by blood”"the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin" (1 John 1:7). But this "cleansing" is judicial, not experiential. The precious blood has not been applied to my heart, but it has cancelled my guilt. It has washed out the heavy and black account which was once against me on high. A "book of remembrance's's is written before God (Mal. 3:16), but in it there is not left on record a single sin against any believer. Just as a damp sponge passed over a slate removes every chalk mark upon it, so the blood of Christ has blotted out every transgression which once was marked up against me. How deeply significant, then, to read that when the Roman soldier pierced the side of the dead Savior that "forthwith came there out blood and water" (John 19:34)! The blood for penal expiation, the water for moral purification. But mark the order: first, the "blood" to satisfy the demands of a holy God, then the "water" to meet the needs of His defiled people!
continue reading here...