3 You are already clean because of the word which I have spoken to you.
The apostles needed to understand that they were genuine believers. Jesus’ statements in verse 2 were about production of divine fruit, not loss of salvation. Verse 3 assured them that they were within the family of God.
3 You [the branches] are already [emphatic] clean
There is no qualification of the word “you” here. The context shows that Jesus addressed believers in this chapter. The “you” are apostles. There is no distinction here between those who profess to believe and those who do not.
The word “already” indicates that Jesus had previously brought salvation to the souls of the apostles. He paused here to assure them of their salvation. God washes the believer at the point of salvation (1 Co 6:11). Genuine disciples have been cleansed by Jesus. He was not attempting to make them clean. Judas was not clean. He had already left by the time Jesus gave the analogy of vine and branches (Jn 13:10-11).
The phrase “you are already clean” is not a contrast to those who profess to believe but do not genuinely belong to Christ and those who do. The contrast is between believers who do not produce fruit and those who do. Those who do not produce fruit need to be “lifted up” by the Vinedresser so that they may bear fruit.
because of the word
The “word” refers to Jesus’ entire message. The apostles became believers through the message of Christ.
which I have spoken to you.
The Greek tense for “have spoken” indicates that what Jesus said by His “word” was said in the past and would remain with them permanently. They could rest assured that they were saved.
We can know that we are saved because of Jesus’ promise.
There are two kinds of cleansings in the Bible, one absolute and the other progressive. God cleanses our soul once for all when we become believers, but He develops us into maturity progressively (1 Jn 3:3). One is our standing and the other is our state. We know that we have salvation by Jesus’ word or promise.
The Word of God cleanses the believer and makes him or her spiritually strong. We overcome sin by the appropriation of biblical principles to our souls (Ps 119:9).