Thursday, March 12, 2015

WASHING OR DRENCHING?


The feelings I experience when I read about or see a picture depicting Jesus, God's Word in flesh, Creator of all, on bent knee, washing and drying His disciples feet is a tear-jerker of an image for me (John 13:1-17). Even knowing that my Lord first came as the suffering servant, this event still wrenches my heart and spirit. It is no real surprise then that I empathize with Peter's sentiments - 

If I have no part with you unless you wash me, then wash my hands and head as well. (Longer Version/Pritchard Paraphrase of Peter's response - John 13:8-9)

Christ's washing dealt with integrity not salvation. The Lord's instruction to Peter included a very important word - "with".
  • "Jesus answered, 'Unless I wash you, you have no part with me.'"
Jesus did not say, "Unless I wash you, you have no part in me." This would have indicated Peter lacked salvation. However, disconnection from communion or fellowship with God is what I believe is meant here.

From the believer's conversion forward he/she is a spiritually new creature in Christ. The body and mind are still carnal and earthbound, therefore they still have the notions toward sin or rebellion against God. However, with the Holy Spirit in the believer and following a Christ-like lifestyle, Christians can be sin-less by the renewing of their minds (Romans 12:2). 

There are many verses with the word "renew" in them. One of the more well-known being Isaiah 40:31 - "...but those that hope in the Lord will renew their strength." However, the kind of renewing I am speaking to here is more than just "strength". Consider 2 Corinthians 4:16 - "Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day." And also contemplate Psalm 51:10 - "Create in me a pure heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me." These two verses touch on the daily, overall, spiritual renewal that needs to happen for a believer to have a healthy relationship with God. I liken it to a spiritual gut check or spring cleaning every day.

The way Christians can attain this daily, spiritual gut check or cleaning is to be washed with His Word. Ephesians 5:25-26 says - "He [Christ] gave up His life for her [the Church] to make her holy and clean, washed by the cleansing of God's word." Notice in this statement that salvation came first with - "He gave up His life for her to make her holy and clean", but the second part indicates another active step - "washed by the cleansing of God's word"

God's Word is "alive and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart." (Hebrews 4:12) In addition, His sanctification of believers or making Christians holy is this washing or cleaning of believers by His Word.

The Key - Being in God's Word. Just as we put ourselves in places where we can get physically wet, believers need to place themselves in a position to get Drenched with God's Word. Then, Christ said, you will have communion, fellowship - a part with Him.