Except I Wash You; you have no part with me.
Exodus 29:1 And this is the thing that you shall do to them to make them holy, to serve me in the priest's office: Take one young bullock, and two rams without blemish, And unleavened bread, and cakes unleavened tempered with oil, and wafers unleavened anointed with oil: of wheat flour you shall make them. And you shall put them into one basket, and bring them in the basket, with the bullock and the two rams. And Aaron and his sons you shall bring to the door of the tent of the congregation, and wash them with water.
And you shall take the garments, and put upon Aaron the coat, and the robe of the ephod, and the ephod, and the breastplate, and gird him with the curious girdle of the ephod: And you shall put the mitre upon his head, and put the holy crown upon the mitre. Then shall you take the anointing oil, and pour it upon his head, and anoint him.
1Peter 2:9 But you are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a special people; that you should show forth the praises of him who has called you out of darkness into his marvellous light: Which in time past were not a people, but now are the people of God: which had not obtained mercy, but now have obtained mercy.
Colossians 1:12 Giving thanks to the Father, who has made us meet to be partakers of the inheritance of the holy ones in light: Who has delivered us from the power of darkness, and has translated us into the kingdom of his dear Son: In whom we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of (remission, release from) sins:
Colossians 1:20 And, having made peace through the blood of his cross, by Him (Jesus) to reconcile all things to himself; by him, whether things in earth, or things in heaven. And you, that were once alienated and enemies in mind by wicked works, yet now has he reconciled in the body of his flesh through death, to present you holy and unblameable and unreproveable in his sight: If you continue in the faith (gospel message) grounded and settled, and not moved away from the hope of the good news, which you have heard, which was preached to every creature which is under heaven; whereof I Paul am made a servant;
All those called out of darkness into the light of the kingdom of the Son of His love besides being brought from death through sin into life by the mercy of God are made, instituted kings and priests to God. Saved to serve. What grace, what love, what a glorious salvation.
An integral part of the good news of the kingdom of God and the name of Jesus Christ is repentance and baptism (immersion) in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins. We see this demonstrated straightaway in Exodus 29 in the instructions for making the sinful ordinary men God has chosen to become priests and holy servants. Before they entered the holy place they must be washed and anointed. Similarly our Great High Priest Jesus was washed and anointed at the commencement of His ministry;
Matthew 3:13 Then came Jesus from Galilee to Jordan to John, to be baptised by him. But John forbade him, saying, I need to be baptised by you, and do you come to me? And Jesus answering said to him, Allow this now: for so it is necessary to fulfil all righteousness. Then he let Him be baptised. And Jesus, when He was baptised, went up straightway out of the water: and, lo, the heavens were opened to Him, and He saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove, and lighting upon Him: And lo a voice from heaven, saying, This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.
While it may not be any part of the message we may have heard from men it is eternally part of the good news that is by the revelation of Jesus Christ as declared by Peter on the day of Pentecost, Philip in Samaria, Paul everywhere. As there is only one true message of repentance and remission of sins in the name of Jesus Christ we can expect nothing else but consistency throughout the scriptures.
John 3:22 After these things came Jesus and his disciples into the land of Judaea; and there he tarried with them, and baptised.
John 4:1 When therefore the Lord knew how the Pharisees had heard that Jesus made and baptised more disciples than John, (Though Jesus himself did not baptise, but his disciples.)
John 13:8 Peter said to Him (Jesus), You shall never wash my feet. Jesus answered him, if I don’t wash you; you have no part with me. Simon Peter said to him, Lord, not my feet only, but also hands and head. Jesus said to him, He that is washed needs not save to wash the feet, but is clean completely: and you (plural) are clean, but not all of you.
John 20:19 Then the same day at evening, being the first of the week, when the doors were shut where the disciples were assembled for fear of the Jews, came Jesus and stood in the midst, and said to them, Peace to you. And when he had so said, he showed them his hands and his side. Then were the disciples glad, when they saw the Lord. Then said Jesus to them again, Peace to you: as the Father has sent me, even so send I you. And when he had said this, he breathed and said to them, Receive the Holy Spirit: Whose sins you remit, they are remitted to them; whose you retain, they are retained.
Here we see that the Lord is commissioning His disciples with His authority, the authority in His name, to remit sins, in His name. On the day of Pentecost 3000 Jews heard the good news of Jesus the Christ and believed that those who called on the name of Jesus would be saved. They repented – completely let go their own religious thoughts and were baptised in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of their sins by the disciples. The 3000 were promised that they too would receive the gift of the Holy Spirit following repentance and baptism in the name of Jesus.
This is equivalent to Aaron and his sons being chosen and washed before being anointed with oil in preparation for priestly service.
The apostle Paul writes to the disciples in Corinth and reminds them of their conversion experience;
1 Corinthians 6:9 Know you not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Be not deceived: neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with mankind, nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners, shall inherit the kingdom of God. And such were some of you: but you are washed, but you are sanctified (made holy – pure), but you are justified (made righteous) in the name of the Lord Jesus (washed – baptised in the name of Jesus Christ), and by the Spirit of our God (baptised in the Holy Spirit).
Paul had declared to these folks the message of repentance and remission of sins through the name of Jesus Christ. While Paul personally may not have baptised them; other disciples with authority in the name of Jesus Christ did as referred to above. It does not matter who does the baptising so long as whoever does baptise has authority from the Lord Jesus Christ to remit sins in His name. Similarly we see Peter commanding the household of Cornelius to be baptised in the name of the Lord after they all have received the gift of the Holy Spirit in;
Acts 10:42 And He commanded us to preach to the people, and to testify that it is He which was ordained of God the Judge of the living and the dead. To Him give all the prophets witness, that through His name whosoever believes in Him shall receive remission of sins. While Peter yet spoke these words, the Holy Spirit fell on all them which heard the word. And they of the circumcision which believed were astonished, as many as came with Peter, because that on the Gentiles also was poured out the gift of the Holy Spirit. For they heard them speak with tongues, and magnify God. Then answered Peter, Can any man forbid water, that these should not be baptised, which have received the Holy Spirit as well as we? And he commanded them to be baptised in the name of the Lord.
Our religious beliefs can be the biggest obstacle to our receiving the message of repentance and remission of sins through the name of Jesus Christ. Saul of Tarsus received the finest religious education available at the feet of Gamaliel in Jerusalem.
Philippians 3:4 Though I might also have confidence in the flesh. If any other man thinks that he has whereof he might trust in the flesh, I more: Circumcised the eighth day, of the stock of Israel, of the tribe of Benjamin, an Hebrew of the Hebrews; as touching the law, a Pharisee; Concerning zeal, persecuting the church; touching the righteousness which is in the law, blameless. But what things were gain to me, those I counted loss for Christ. Yea doubtless, and I count all things loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord: for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and do count them dung, that I may win Christ, And be found in him, not having my own righteousness, which is of the law, but that which is through the faith of Christ, the righteousness which is of God by faith: That I may know him, and the power of his resurrection, and the fellowship of his sufferings, being made conformable unto his death; If by any means I might attain unto the resurrection of the dead.
We may well find it possible to let go of our thoughts and ideas on many things but our religion, our religious convictions, these are perhaps the things we cannot let go of without divine help.
God in His mercy and grace granted the household of Cornelius repentance to life. Saul of Tarsis counting his religious ‘treasure’ as dung is the result of God granting him repentance toward God and faith towards the Lord Jesus Christ, alone, entirely.
Will we pray and ask |God to show us the truth concerning the gift of remission of sin through repentance and baptism in the name of Jesus Christ?
Or will we like Peter say to the Lord Jesus Christ; John 13:8 Peter said to Him (Jesus), You shall never wash my feet. Jesus answered him, if I don’t wash you; you have no part with me.
We have a simple but stark choice. We can do nothing, effectively refusing God’s counsel, and die in our sins. Or we can change our religious minds and be baptised in the name of Jesus Christ, washing away our sins.
If you’d like to discuss please email me in the first instance.
Colin Thompson, Gateshead, England. 28/12/2013