If we believe, we are already clean, already there

by | Apr 1, 2024 | Faith | 0 comments |

“Enough already with this aging stuff!” I muttered. It was late Friday night, and I was standing in our walk-in closet, taking off my socks before going to bed. But I lost my balance, catching myself from falling at the expense of my right wrist. “I’m no longer quick in my feet,” I sighed to Keith.

“From now on, sit down when you’re putting on or taking off your socks,” he advised. 

I wiggled the fingers of both hands as if playing my flute. Nothing broken. Okay to play for Resurrection Sunday, the capstone of Holy Week. 

Maundy Thursday: We are already clean

You are already clean because of the word I have spoken to you. John 15:3 NIV

Jesus’ “clean” comment to His disciples, meaning those who have faith in Christ are clean, comes in the middle of His analogy of the vine and the branches. Earlier in the upper room, He had washed their feet. So, this comment ties the two together. The clean are branches that will become abundantly productive. Faith is the prerequisite, not works; good works are the fruit.

As we washed one another’s hands during the Maundy Thursday service at Bethany Lutheran Church, I thought, what a reassuring message, that bearing spiritual fruit shows our life-giving connection to Christ. After hand-washing and Communion, I returned to play flute with the worship team, as in the picture on the left taken yesterday—I’m on the far right.

But there is also a warning: the dead branches, those who do not bear fruit or are lifeless imposters, will be cut off and burned, discarded and destroyed.

Good Friday: Those who do not believe are already condemned

Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because they have not believed in the name of God’s one and only SonJohn 3:18 NIV

God demonstrated His love for us by sending Jesus, who came to save anyone who would believe in Him. There are only two options: life through Christ or death. What a harrowing truth, as I am a sinner, deserving not of grace but of eternal punishment. Grace is getting what I don’t deserve.

On Good Friday, the choir sang about the Lamb of God, the sacrifice of Christ on the cross to pay sin’s price. And we sang of the glory of the risen Lord yesterday—middle picture.

“What’s true of Christ is true of us,” our Tuesday morning Bible study teacher said in March during her lesson on Ephesians Chapter 2. “Christ has been installed in the heavenly realms, and so are we; we are already there.” 

Easter optimism—that’s what I thought about yesterday, as I played during Communion (right picture).

Our teacher continued: “We’re not like everyone else; we’re on a different road. N.T. Wright calls this ‘the secret truth of all that belong to Jesus.’” Then again, the warning. “In verses 4-7 Paul describes God, rich in mercy, love, urgently calling us to leave the dead-end road and follow the road that leads to eternal life.”

Already clean, already dead, or already there. Today, as my right wrist recovers, I write this reflection to be productive, alive in Him, on His road.

Linkup with Five Minute Friday: https://fiveminutefriday.com/2024/03/28/fmf-writing-prompt-link-up-already/


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