BATHING AND FOOT-WASHING
Although we Christians are bathed once only, the Bible shows us that foot-washing happens many times. There is only one bathing, but there are many foot-washings. It is like the cleansing: There is only one cleansing by the blood, but there are many cleansings by the water of the ashes. The accomplished redemption of Christ occurred once only. But there are many applications by the Holy Spirit of this accomplished work to us. We are bathed only once, and all our sins are washed. But it takes many foot-washings to wash away all the dirt that we pick up on the wilderness journey. There needs to be only one bathing. But foot-washing is a daily work before the Lord. Foot-washing is a washing that comes about by the Word of God, through the work of the Holy Spirit, and based upon the work of the Lord Jesus. If we have been cleansed once by His blood, we must continue to be washed daily by His blood as well. The Lord Jesus does not have to come and do another work. We are cleansed again and again based on that one work. It is not the ashes that are cleansing us but the water of the ashes. The ashes of the red heifer are the mark of our judgment.
God did not substitute our judgment with the judgment of the Lord Jesus. Rather, He judged us in Christ Jesus. Today man thinks that the Lord Jesus died in place of man; but actually, we died in and with the Lord Jesus. In other words, we are judged in Christ. This alone will cleanse us. My daily cleansing is based on the death of the Lord Jesus.
We know that we have taken a bath, that is, our sins have been cleansed. Once we are saved, we are eternally saved. All the problems are solved. What then should we do when we touch the dirt while living on earth and coming into contact with the world every day? We all cannot be like the thief on the cross, who went straight to Paradise without his feet ever touching the earth after he was cleansed by the blood. Most people are not saved while on their deathbeds. Most still have to take the wilderness journey. Every one of us knows that while we take the wilderness journey, we should not sin. But sinning is a fact with all of us. As a result, our feet get dirty. Many times we are rash and speak words that we should not speak. Many times we have improper thoughts. Thus, we admit that we are defiled. But God has prepared the foot-washing of the Lord Jesus for us. This is not just a sign of His love for us, but a sign of His love to the uttermost. He loved us; hence, He was crucified for us. Now He loves us to the uttermost; hence, He washes our feet. Figuratively speaking, foot-washing is not the love before marriage. Foot-washing is the love after marriage. He causes us to be continually clean before Him. This is why the Lord said that he who has been bathed will be wholly clean once his feet are washed. We thank the Lord that His Son has given us a bath already.
The Lord allowed Peter’s foolishness to be manifested as a lesson for us. When He came to Peter, Peter said, "Are You going to wash my feet?" Peter thought that this was a matter of politeness and courtesy. The Lord said that Peter would not understand what He did then but would understand later. There is much spiritual truth here. When the Holy Spirit comes, we will see. Now we are bewildered. All we see is a basin of water and the Lord’s washing. We do not see what they mean. In the future, however, we will understand. But Peter always had his opinions. He exclaimed that the Lord would never wash his feet. The Lord told him that the foot-washing was very important. If the Lord did not wash Peter’s feet that night, Peter would have no part with Him.
(Gospel of God, The (2 volume set), Chapter 26, by Watchman Nee)