WASHED BY THE WATER OF THE WORD
The Christian is saved, redeemed, reconciled and restored in Christ Jesus alone. This lesson focuses on learning how to be washed by the water of the Word. This teaching has great significance for the Church, I believe, because it is described as Christ’s will for the Church with an end to presenting her as a holy and blameless bride.
ON BEHALF OF THE CHURCH
“Who gave Himself for us to redeem us from every lawless deed, and to purify for Himself a people for His own possession, zealous for good deeds.”
We are a people being made into a royal priesthood and a holy temple of God. We are the bride of Christ, His very own body. In this passage we’re told about what Christ did for us; He redeemed us from immorality and purified us so that we would be one for Him with great zeal towards good.
Hebrews 10:10, 14, 29
“10By this will we have been sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all. 14 For by one offering He has perfected for all time those who are sanctified. 29 How much severer punishment do you think he will deserve who has trampled under foot the Son of God, and has regarded as unclean the blood of the covenant by which he was sanctified, and has insulted the Spirit of grace?”
“12 Therefore Jesus also, that He might sanctify the people through His own blood, suffered outside the gate.”
Whenever a church- which is, by definition, the believers- find themselves entangled in immorality and indulging in unclean things, that church has found themselves in a very frightful and dangerous place to be; they are gravely at risk of trampling under foot the blood of our covenant and insulting the Spirit of grace.
The sanctification and purification for our hearts has already been made and offered, but that does not mean that you are clean in your current lifestyle. In most cases, the sanctification of Christ has been rejected- His offer, as it were, has been reviled because those who were meant to receive it never embraced it.
The sacrifice has been made and the power of salvation given; what remains is for you to embrace it. In many parables many different ways, Jesus taught that you couldn’t be both hot and cold, that you couldn’t have one foot in the darkness and one in the light, that you couldn’t serve two masters at once. Eventually, you must embrace one or the other.
“31So Jesus was saying to those Jews who had believed Him, “If you continue in My word, then you are truly disciples of Mine;32and you will know the truth, and the truth will make you free.” 33They answered Him, “We are Abraham’s descendants and have never yet been enslaved to anyone; how is it that You say, ‘You will become free’?” 34Jesus answered them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, everyone who commits sin is the slave of sin. 35The slave does not remain in the house forever; the son does remain forever. 36So if the Son makes you free, you will be free indeed. 37I know that you are Abraham’s descendants; yet you seek to kill Me, because My word has no place in you.”
“3You are already clean because of the word which I have spoken to you.”
Jesus became the light bursting out from the darkness, setting men’s hearts on fire and shinning light upon the path that leads to life in Christ Jesus.
He was speaking to men who were slaves to sin and set them free with the Truth that is now in us and abides in us through Jesus Christ the Son of God.
The Truth set them free because they believed in it and they were cleansed of sin by it; the sin that once ruled over them was removed from them by the Truth that is in Jesus Christ.
This is the work which Christ did, proclaiming repentance and forgiveness of sin in Him, on behalf of the Church so that she would be made pure and sanctified unto Himself; the perfect bride.
THE WASHING OF THE WATER OF THE WORD
We need to understand the nature of the Truth spoken in Christ Jesus and the blood, which is the new covenant, that cleanses us from all sins.
“21But now apart from the Law the righteousness of God has been manifested, being witnessed by the Law and the Prophets, 22even the righteousness of God through faith in Jesus Christ for all those who believe; for there is no distinction; 23for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, 24being justified as a gift by His grace through the redemption which is in Christ Jesus; 25whom God displayed publicly as a propitiation in His blood through faith. This was to demonstrate His righteousness, because in the forbearance of God He passed over the sins previously committed; 26for the demonstration, I say, of His righteousness at the present time, so that He would be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus. 27Where then is boasting? It is excluded. By what kind of law? Of works? No, but by a law of faith. 28For we maintain that a man is justified by faith apart from works of the Law. 29Or is God the God of Jews only? Is He not the God of Gentiles also? Yes, of Gentiles also, 30since indeed God who will justify the circumcised by faith and the uncircumcised through faith is one. 31Do we then nullify the Law through faith? May it never be! On the contrary, we establish the Law.”
Jesus Christ, the Word of God and the blood of the new covenant, was witnessed to by both the Law and the Prophets. The Law became a tutor to lead us towards Christ and the Prophets foretold of Christ to make ready His way.
There is a law of the new covenant; referred to here as the law of faith (by which boasting is excluded), and in other places, as the Law of Life in the Spirit of Christ Jesus.
It is important to remember that immorality and sin is excluded from the life of a Christian because they have been done away with in the body of Christ by the offering of His body and blood on our behalf. If one continues in sin, one begins to trample under foot the body of Christ and insult the Spirit of Grace which is meant to lead us through repentance to God.
“So that He might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word, that He might present to Himself the church in all her glory, having no spot or wrinkle or any such thing; but that she would be holy and blameless.”
“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was God, and the Word was with God”. Jesus is the Word of God and He has made for us a washing done by His blood and the Truth of His word.
Indeed, our washing in the water of the Word is both critical and continual; it is the beginning of our purification, in which we are washed by the blood of Christ, and it is the continuation of our sanctification through the Word as the Work of the Holy Spirit, just as it says “according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, by the sanctifying work of the Spirit, to obey Jesus Christ and be sprinkled with His blood: may Grace and peace be yours in the fullest measure” (1st Peter 1:2).
We were told above in Ephesians that the end-result of this is the presentation of the church, His bride, to Jesus, holy and blameless in every respect.
Great measures have been taken to present the church pure and blameless to Christ- to ensure that she is filled with everlasting life and becomes of One Spirit with Him.
The Apostles said, “16Now why do you delay? Get up and be baptized, and wash away your sins, calling on His name.” (Acts 22:16). There was no reason for delay! This was the message of Christ, repentance and forgiveness of sins by which reconciliation and restoration to God in Christ Jesus was made possible!
“8But what does it say? “THE WORD IS NEAR YOU, IN YOUR MOUTH AND IN YOUR HEART”—that is, the word of faith which we are preaching,”
The Truth, which is Jesus Christ, was brought near to us as He descended upon Earth, and it was put in them, to be spoken and lived in Christ Jesus. The message of repentance and forgiveness was the word of Truth put on their lips to preach in the name of Christ and it is also the message put in us today through the Spirit of Christ.
1st Corinthians 6:11
“11 Such were some of you; but you were washed, but you were sanctified, but you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and in the Spirit of our God.”
Every one of us were once sinners- but now notice that we were washed and sanctified and justified in the name of Jesus and in the Spirit of our God.
This is a full-measure of salvation- one in which the blood of Christ became our atonement that makes ready the way of salvation and the Truth of Christ sets us free from sin.
Even from the beginning there have been many who longed for this salvation but were never willing to embrace it. The Spirit of Grace has been greatly insulted throughout all the ages, as the patience and love of God is testified to by every insult.
A lot of people would like to skip everything that has been witnessed to us above about the work of Christ done on behalf of the church for her sanctification and purification and how these things are made exclusively available through Him alone. It is easier to pursue righteousness in the flesh than it is to crucify the flesh and lay it down for Christ to raise anew.
This message of repentance means everything to us- and seeking the forgiveness of our sins is futile unless it is according to the Truth in Christ that He has promised will set us free. Remember, “if the Son of God set’s you free, you will be free indeed!” The converse of that is that if the Son of God has not set you free, you will not be free!
Laying down our lives means that we have to sacrifice them in the service of God, just as Jesus Christ Himself also sacrificed His life in the service of God; and what? Do we think that we are greater than the Son of God that we would not have to suffer as He Himself also suffered?
For the poor and suffering in this world, we should empty ourselves of our life to help them- to the ends of the Earth we should go to preach Christ.
Vanity should be put away. Pride and all the things that might focus our attentions back onto our flesh are things that prevent us from ever sacrificing ourselves in the service of God.
2 Peter 1:5-9
5 Now for this very reason also, applying all diligence, in your faith supply moral excellence, and in your moral excellence, knowledge, 6 and in your knowledge, self-control, and in your self-control, perseverance, and in your perseverance, godliness, 7 and in your godliness, brotherly kindness, and in your brotherly kindness, love. 8 For if these qualities are yours and are increasing, they render you neither useless nor unfruitful in the true knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. 9 For he who lacks these qualities is blind or short-sighted, having forgotten his purification from his former sins.
I know that the Lord spoke very powerfully to me a few years back saying that there were things here, things contained in His word, that I had not embraced and that were keeping me from growing in Christ and being fruitful in the true knowledge of Jesus Christ.
For me, personally, it was self-control, godliness, brotherly kindness, and love that I was lacking, and especially self-control (which hindered me from possessing the others also).
“5 He saved us, not on the basis of deeds which we have done in righteousness, but according to His mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewing by the Holy Spirit,”
I have made the mistake of pursuing the above qualities through using measures of fleshly disciplines- by that I mean, I used techniques that focused on the flesh, such as “fasting from TV” or “fasting from lunch on Friday” and an assortment of other things by which I tried to teach myself discipline. And these things “have some value”, as Paul said, but have no power to overcome the flesh. Lacking the regeneration and renewing of the Holy Spirit meant that I was perpetually stuck in the bonds of sin and could never get past my sin.
“17 And take THE HELMET OF SALVATION, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.”
“12 For the word of God is living and active and sharper than any two-edged sword, and piercing as far as the division of soul and spirit, of both joints and marrow, and able to judge the thoughts and intentions of the heart.”
We need to seek the revelation of Jesus Christ from the Word of God by the Holy Spirit. It is essential to take up the sword of The Spirit that has the power to divide soul and spirit, joints and marrow, and receive its judgments so that the thoughts and intentions of our hearts are laid bare and the way of repentance and forgiveness in Christ Jesus can be made known.