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10 Jesus said to him, “He who is bathed needs only to wash his feet, but is completely clean; and you are clean, but not all of you.”


needs only to wash his feet,

The Greek word for “wash” conveys a washing at some point (aorist tense). There is a need to “wash” believers from time to time or from point to point because of their subsequent sins. After initial salvation (“having been bathed”), one needs only to confess his or her sins (to “wash”).

Jesus directly confronted Peter’s insubordination. Peter completely misunderstood the point of what his Lord was doing. Jesus’ play on words confused him. It was a message about far more than footwashing; it was a message about obtaining an entirely new perspective on life.

The person who has had a physical bath does not need to be cleaned except for his feet. Evidently the bath was taken in one place (public bath facilities), but the individual had to walk to a place of residence. It is one thing to be completely regenerated at initial salvation, but it is another to “walk” with the Lord as a course of life.

People who have been cleansed by the blood of Christ have no need of washing from their sins. They only need cleansing from their subsequent sins (symbolically the feet). The blood completely and finally washed away sins, but the believer needs day-by-day rebound and renewal in humility.

but is completely clean [redeemed];

After walking back home from taking a bath in the public facilities, this person only needs to wash his feet upon arrival home. The symbolic argument is that the person who had taken a bath is clean forever; however, his walk on dusty roads to dinner will require cleansing, but only of his feet. Another complete bath is unnecessary.

The clean here means completely clean. Jesus referred here to His own cleansing of the soul by paying for sins on the cross. Initial salvation is a comprehensive cleaning of the soul. Jesus was not calling into question a person’s salvation in making His point. Salvation is once for all and never repeated. The initial complete cleansing was finished and cannot be repeated. It was a once-for-all event.

and you are clean,

The cleansing here is eternal forgiveness of sin. The person who has had a bath before coming to dinner does not need to wash again except for his feet. There are therefore two cleansings—one at the point of becoming a Christian and the other along the way in the Christian life. The point of being clean here means eternal redemption. Jesus said in effect, “Peter, I will fully pay the price for your sins on the cross.”


Jesus provides a double cleansing.


Jesus offered a double cleansing, one for the entire person and another for the feet: He gives believers (1) an entire bath of regeneration (1 Co 6:10, 11; Ti 3:5) and (2) a daily cleansing to deal with the sins of the person already a believer. The first cleansing happens one time, and its effects stand forever. The other is conditional based on whether the believer confesses or acknowledges that Jesus paid for his particular sin (1 Jn 1:7, 9).

A person who has been bathed needs only daily washing from walking in this world. Dust gathers on our feet after walking about, after our bath of regeneration. Yielding to daily temptations needs a correction. If we allow sin to pile on our souls, then we become dull to fellowship with our Lord. Our spiritual sensitivities will be dimmed.

After salvation one needs to maintain fellowship with the Lord by dealing with sin issues. This is done by acknowledging that Jesus paid for our daily sins (1 Jn 1:9). There is no truth to the idea that if a person sins, he needs to be saved again. Salvation is a one-time event. Christians who sin after making a decision for Christ need continual washing after being born again.