Bible · Christian Security · Conditional Security · Doctrinal · Interpretation · OSAS

Conditional Security – John 13:8-11

John 13:8

Peter said to him, “You shall never wash my feet.” Jesus answered him, “If I do not wash you, you have no share with me.” 

As I read the Word, and find passages that may lend themselves to the teaching of a conditional security, I shall offer up the verse or set of verses. Some, as our passage for today is an example, I previously did not consider a challenge to the OSAS (once saved always saved) position. But it does pose a bit of a challenge.

You see, the purpose of this series is not to prove any particular teaching but to provide challenges to a conventional thinking, to stir up a possible complacency, to allow for discussion (if only in your own thoughts), and to request an honest consideration of viable perspectives of Biblical teaching.

The passage above, as I understood it during my OSAS days, simply defined the fellowship condition of the believer in the daily washing of the believers sins through confession and repentance. Nothing to be related to security of salvation – a fellowship teaching only. To be quite honest, I still tend to this understanding.

Yet I wonder …..

In this passage, Jesus tries to help Peter understand the reason for His act of humility. Lets walk through John 13:10-11 to consider what is going on.

Jesus said to him, “The one who has bathed does not need to wash, except for his feet, but is completely clean. – John 13:10

OK – So you don’t need to wash if you have bathed. Got it.

Let’s dig a bit, and consider this particular word, bathed.

When the Lord spoke of the one who has bathed, He used the word λούω, Strong’s # G3068. This specific word is used six times in the New Testament in the following passages along with John 13:10.

  • Acts 16:33 – a washing to cleanse from the blood of wounds
  • Acts 9:37 – a washing of a dead person
  • Hebrews 10:22 – referring to “our bodies” being washed with pure water
  • 2 Peter 2:22 – a sow being washed, yet returning to wallowing in mire
  • Revelation 1:5 – washed us from our sins in his own blood,

Each instance speaks of a whole body washing, or bathing, except possibly Acts 16:33. As an aside, this verse may also include the idea of whole body washing, implying the wounds were extensive, and the associated blood effectively covered the body.

With this quick study, I find nothing that contradicts my original understanding that Jesus is comparing our relationship in Him as being compared with a full body cleansing that needs not repeating, unlike a foot washing during the day which may be repeated.

And you are clean, but not every one of you.” For he knew who was to betray him; that was why he said, “Not all of you are clean.” – John 13:11

This is the verse that has given me some pause, primarily due to my struggling to identify each “you” in the passage. Let’s see if we can get some traction on this verse, by identifying each time the word “you” is used.

  • You are clean”
    • Is Jesus referring to an individual (i.e. Peter) or to the group (i.e. the disciples). Seems this “you” is Peter, but it could be argued that the you is the plural, as in y’all, or even all y’all. (See Signs and Mighty Works of Jesus – Jesus Heals and Officials Son, under the heading “What was the message for the original audience?” for a wee explanation my understanding of y’all and all y’all)
  • “Not everyone of you
    • Is Jesus referring to the group at this point? Is this obvious?
  • Who was to betray Him”
    • An individual within the group – the betrayal of Judas is introduced, that the disciples were oblivious to at the time.
  • “Not all of you are clean”
    • Explanation of this last clause in verse 10, where it seems Judas is being referred to as the exception. I don’t see Jesus referring to parts (the feet?) of each of the disciples. This is how I understand Jesus when initially referring to Peter in verse 8.

No Share with Him

A final thought on this passage is that as Jesus taught Peter and the rest of the disciples, He refers to “you” (Peter) as having “no share with Him” in verse 8. This is another area where I somewhat struggle with the passage.

Let me try to explain.

The Greek word used for “share” is μέρος, Strong’s # 3313, and is used over 40 times in the New Testament. I will leave it to my readers to search this out on their own if of interest, as this post is becoming longer than intended. Nevertheless, let me start you off with one verse that may be of assistance.

Blessed and holy is the one who shares in the first resurrection! Over such the second death has no power, but they will be priests of God and of Christ, and they will reign with him for a thousand years. – Rev 20:6

As my readers search this out, it is important to remember that the word “share” is a noun, and does not carry with it any specific association. By that I mean, simply that when the word “share” is used, it does not have to refer to final salvation, but I find it interesting that at times it does.

As always, thanks for considering this difficult series, and for your encouragement as you read each post.


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