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Is foot-washing scriptural?

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It is not an ordinance, no one said it is. It is merely a Christian grace to be practiced by Christians just as you would love your neighbor, teach your children, etc. It is a Christian discipline, not an ordinance. I don't take food to the poor every day or every Sunday, but I do it when lead by the Spirit because it is a Christian grace, not an ordinance.

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Jhn 13:4 He riseth from supper, and laid aside his garments; and took a towel, and girded himself.
Jhn 13:5 After that he poureth water into a bason, and began to wash the disciples' feet, and to wipe [them] with the towel wherewith he was girded.
Jhn 13:7 Jesus answered and said unto him, What I do thou knowest not now; but thou shalt know hereafter.
Jhn 13:14 If I then, [your] Lord and Master, have washed your feet; ye also ought to wash one another's feet.
Jhn 13:15 For I have given you an example, that ye should do as I have done to you.
Jhn 13:16 Verily, verily, I say unto you, The servant is not greater than his lord; neither he that is sent greater than he that sent him.
Jhn 13:17 If ye know these things, happy are ye if ye do them.

Being spiritually reared in the independent fundamental Baptist movement, I, too, was taught that Jesus was merely giving an example that we should serve one another with humility as he did, and this text does imply that. However, it also says we are blessed if we do it (footwashing) also.

I beg your pardon in advance this is lengthy, but bear with me. I visited a church several years ago that practiced footwashing (the holy kiss too, we'll slay that giant later,) and I was able to observe. The men separated from the women and went into a fellowship hall. The ladies gathered in the back of the auditorium and began singing hymns, and to be quite honest, it sounded like the angels singing.

The men sat in a large circle and took off their shoes and socks, humbling? yes, but this is a teaching about humility and brotherly love. I watched as men began going to a brother, asking if he could wash his feet, and going to one of two #2 metal basins. The first brother knelt and began washing the others feet and blessing him and praying for him and his family. When he was done they swapped places and the other brother washing the first's as well. Upon drying his feet with towel that was beside the basin, the brothers arose, embraced, and occasionally gave a kiss on the side of their manly bearded cheek. I want to insert, these were manly men, they were construction workers, farmers, and tradesmen of various types. I knew them personally and they were godly men who lead their homes and were exemplary in the church as well as the community.

One brother asked if he could wash another brothers feet and they headed for the basin. The one kneeling looked up with tears in his eyes and confessed that he was wrong in a disagreement they had over some issue and humbly asked for forgiveness. Needless to say they were instantly reconciled in such an atmosphere of brotherly love and humility.

I saw that it did a world of good among the men of the church as well as to the fellowship at large.

We, are a bit too RED, WHITE, AND BLUE, John Wayne, guns a blazin', baseball, hot dogs, apple pie, (and, yes, Chevrolet,) American. Unfortunately, it has cause us to read the Bible through red, white, and blue, colored glasses and we oft say, "That is not for our culture," or something like that. This can be an excuse for not obeying the word of God.

This issue is not, "Do I like this?" but, "Am I going to obey clear commands in scripture?" If we are not going to obey here, where else are we going to culturally justify disobedience to scripture? And, if we lead by this example should we be let down when our children and the next generation of Christians sink to greater depths of disobedience.

Should we practice the "HOLY" kiss?

Rom 16:16 Salute one another with an holy kiss. The churches of Christ salute you.
1Cr 16:20 All the brethren greet you. Greet ye one another with an holy kiss.
2Cr 13:12 Greet one another with an holy kiss.
1Th 5:26 Greet all the brethren with an holy kiss.
1Pe 5:14 Greet ye one another with a kiss of charity. Peace [be] with you all that are in Christ Jesus. Amen.

O.k., if I have heard this once, I have heard it a dozen times, (this is the firey preacher lettin' it rip,) "If God said it once, that's good enough, BUT, if he says it more than once, you'd better pay attention!" You've heard that, haven't you? Well, FIVE times God (he inspired scripture for all peoples throughout all ages,) said, greet the brethren with an holy kiss. You decided who you are going to obey.

Again, I saw this pracitced, brothers with brothers, sisters with sisters, ONLY AND ALWAYS, (just to be clear.) Always on the cheek, and never carried away to some imagined perversion. It is called a holy kiss because it is. I know the quotes from the early church fathers are not scripture, but they are a testimony to the practice regular in the church and Christian community at large in the early centuries.

The problem with these things are they are not "Baptist," but they are Bible, so we need to take off the red, white, and blue, 2007 issue glasses, and let God be true and all men liars. I know introduction of this in most (99.9%) churches would lead to all out war (God forbid if you introduced head covering.) But, I would encourage those of you who are students of the word AND disciples of Christ to prayerfully and carefully consider these things.

Points to ponder,
Bro. Ben

:goodpost:

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It is not an ordinance' date=' no one said it is. It is merely a Christian grace to be practiced by Christians just as you would love your neighbor, teach your children, etc. It is a Christian discipline, not an ordinance. I don't take food to the poor every day or every Sunday, but I do it when lead by the Spirit because it is a Christian grace, not an ordinance.[/quote']

:amen: Thank you for your most thoughtful insight into my question! Thankyou Bro. Ben!

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Jhn 13:15 For I have given you an example, that ye should do as I have done to you.
Jhn 13:16 Verily, verily, I say unto you, The servant is not greater than his lord; neither he that is sent greater than he that sent him.
Jhn 13:17 If ye know these things, happy are ye if ye do them.

What is the primary context of the whole chapter, and what is Jesus commanding us to do in John 13? To forgive one another - to wash one another's feet spiritually. I very much keep that command.

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But foot washing had a practical application back then...dusty dirty feet. Just like today, we greet one another with a handshake instead of a holy kiss. Maybe today we pick someone up and give them a ride to church instead of wash their freshly showered feet?

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And if they already have a car and go to church every Sunday, perhaps we can express our genuine love for them by taking them out for a bite to eat. :ideas: Multitude of :ideas:.....Btw, this makes for an excellent Bible Study! :Green

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But foot washing had a practical application back then...dusty dirty feet. Just like today' date=' we greet one another with a handshake instead of a holy kiss. Maybe today we pick someone up and give them a ride to church instead of wash their freshly showered feet?[/quote']

You mean the "right hand of fellowship" as found in Galatians? :Green You find the Holy Kiss in Scripture, and the "right hand of fellowship" which shaking one another's right hand as a salutation and for signifying approval of someone.

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The command mood here, "greet", is given by Paul to specific believers at Rome and is not a general command to the Church for all time. The "holy kiss" was a custom of the times with which we are not familiar in the modern west. Given that touching of any sort in our culture has more intimate connotations than it did in the ancient world, it is not a custom I should care to revive. I personally think it would do more harm than good.

Footwashing was something Jesus did for the twelve one time (symbolic of humility). It had a special significance that can never be reduplicated. We are nowhere told to "adopt" this as a ritual. The only ritual still valid in the Church today is communion, the remembrance of what Jesus did for us on the cross. To my mind, adding other non-biblical rituals diminishes the important one, thinking about Christ and His death for us, and to that degree is spiritually damaging. The Protestant churches in many denominations are in a phase of re-adopting many Roman Catholic practices and even inventing new ones. That is highly symptomatic of a true lack of interest in the Word of God. Scripture is so deep and wide and broad that hearing, learning, believing, and obeying it all would be hard to do in a lifetime if a person did nothing else. The fact that churches are substituting anything and everything for learning the truth of scripture is just more external verification that this is the age of Laodicea.

Love,
Madeline

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I agree with Madeline.

And yes, in the book of Ruth, her nearest of kin took off his shoe and gave it to Boaz to signify sealing the deal of giving over Ruth.

Footwashing was a custom long before Jesus came upon the earth. However baptism was instituted shortly before Jesus' ministry, by God...and the Lord's Supper was instituted by Christ himself.

Footwashing was the object lesson to teach us servitude. There are many ways to have servitude in our churches today. But we all usually have pretty clean feet, so that would not be one of them.

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Madeline brings up a good point: Jesus only washed the apostles' feet ONCE in 3 1/2 years - so if some think it is some kind of ordinance, why are they doing it more regularly?

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Suzy said:

But foot washing had a practical application back then...dusty dirty feet. Just like today, we greet one another with a handshake instead of a holy kiss. Maybe today we pick someone up and give them a ride to church instead of wash their freshly showered feet?


Yes, it did have a practical and sybolic application. As the text reveals, "...supper being ended..." They had already had their feet washed. Jesus rebuked the the man who didn't offer to wash his feet when the lady poured oil on them and washed them with her tears. Jesus would have already done this grace.

And, as the brother said, nowhere in scripture are we (New Testament believers,) commanded to seal a deal with the swapping of a shoe. This is a New Testament grace. Why are we so settled on explaining it away? I really am curious.

Furthermore, Jerry said:
Madeline brings up a good point: Jesus only washed the apostles' feet ONCE in 3 1/2 years - so if some think it is some kind of ordinance, why are they doing it more regularly?


Using that line of logic, I am going to go through the Gospels and see what Jesus said or did ONLY ONCE, and dismiss it from my Christian life. Furthermore, since Paul commanded giving the holy kiss 5 times, I am going to judge the "professing" church in sin and unbelief because they have not obeyed that which was set forth so evidently.

Now, of course I am not going to do that, but this logic is faulty and invalid. Let's obey the bible, not explain it away, OR rely on what Dr. Leadbottom's Commentary told us to believe.

And, to again clarify, I, nor does scripture, imply this is, "...some kind of ordinance." We are basing this on the error of "some," but the verity of scripture.

Madeline said:
I personally think it would do more harm than good.


Madeline, I have many personal feeling also, but when it comes to scripture, I have to lay them aside and let the word of God speak. The reason Protestants, Catholics, and many sectarian denominations have lost the power of God and become, "Laodicean" is because of over injecting what they "personally think" instead of relying on the clear verity of scripture.

Where this really strikes a blow is that it hits us right where many of us live, in the traditions we have accepted as dogmatic truth. Baptists are just as guilty as Catholics or any other group when it comes to tradition. The very thought of these things move us dangerously out of our comfort zone and we begin to see all the "supposed" problems with obeying rather than trusting, by faith, the blessings of complying WITH scripture. What will they think if I believe this or try to practice it. The fear of man bringeth a snare. There was a time when I disobeyed many things the Bible teaches because I was afraid what the preacher brothers would think, how it would affect "my" ministry, etc. I had to let that die so Christ could live more freely in me. I am still working on that.

Mar 7:9 And he said unto them, Full well ye reject the commandment of God, that ye may keep your own tradition.
Mar 7:13 Making the word of God of none effect through your tradition, which ye have delivered: and many such like things do ye.
Col 2:8 Beware lest any man spoil you through philosophy and vain deceit, after the tradition of men, after the rudiments of the world, and not after Christ.

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Ben, don't read into people's comments what is NOT there. I did not in ANY WAY state we didn't have to do something because it was only stated once. I said I do not believe the passage is commanding us to footwash, but rather to forgive (to wash one another's feet spiritually, as the context is primarily speaking of).

Then I posted a question about why YOU make it some big issue to do regularly (I assume that is what you are doing), when Jesus only ever did it once? If anything, you could say someone was fulfilling the requirement (you think is there) by washing someone else's feet once in their life.

My belief of not footwashing has nothing to do with fear of man or fear of going against traditions, but is simply because I am not convinced by the Word of God that I am required to wash other's feet.

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My belief of not footwashing has nothing to do with fear of man or fear of going against traditions, but is simply because I am not convinced by the Word of God that I am required to wash other's feet.


That's how I see it as well.

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Jerry:

...Jesus only ever did it once...


According to the scriptures he was crucified several hours later. He didn't have the opportunity to. However, he did say we are blessed if we do it. Like the Lord's Supper (though this is not an ordinance,) we should do it as oft as the New Testament assebly would dictate.

My belief of not footwashing has nothing to do with fear of man or fear of going against traditions, but is simply because I am not convinced by the Word of God that I am required to wash other's feet.


Jhn 13:15 For I have given you an example, that ye should do as I have done to you.

Jhn 13:16 Verily, verily, I say unto you, The servant is not greater than his lord; neither he that is sent greater than he that sent him.

Jhn 13:17 If ye know these things, happy are ye if ye do them.

I guess I am reading too much into that text...or you are not.

However, I know that the more important things are winning souls and discipling them to be baptized and learn the doctrines of God. Having said the former, I don't want to appear to go to seed on this, I seldom wash feet, or otherwise, but I DO believe it is clearly there in scripture.

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Ben, may I suggest you go back and re-read my post. I quote "The command mood here, "greet", is given by Paul to specific believers at Rome and is not a general command to the Church for all time." Your reply is an example of what happens when we "wrongly" divide the Word. I would also suggest that do some research as to whom Paul addressed this specific command to. Rest assured that I will respond to the rest of your reply when I get off from work. :tum

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Rom 16:16 Salute one another with an holy kiss. The churches of Christ salute you.
1Cr 16:20 All the brethren greet you. Greet ye one another with an holy kiss.
2Cr 13:12 Greet one another with an holy kiss.
1Th 5:26 Greet all the brethren with an holy kiss.
1Pe 5:14 Greet ye one another with a kiss of charity. Peace [be] with you all that are in Christ Jesus. Amen.

The context of several of the above verses imply other churches and believers. However, I am not saying you specifically need to practice this OUTSIDE of you local assembly, there is clarity and the "command mood" is here for the local assembly. Where the churches at Rome, Corinth, Thessolinica, and Babylon only to do this?

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Jhn 13:15 For I have given you an example' date=' that [b']ye should do as I have done to you.

Jhn 13:16 Verily, verily, I say unto you, The servant is not greater than his lord; neither he that is sent greater than he that sent him.

Jhn 13:17 If ye know these things, happy are ye if ye do them.


I think you are stuck on not really reading what others are saying mode...

I fully believe I am supposed to do what Jesus says - HOWEVER, I do not believe the passage is teaching we are to go footwash, but that we are to forgive one another, as Jesus forgave us - which is the whole context, and WHAT JESUS WAS CLEARLY TEACHING PETER AND THE OTHERS BY WASHING THEIR FEET. He stated it quite clearly:

John 13:8 Peter saith unto him, Thou shalt never wash my feet. Jesus answered him, If I wash thee not, thou hast no part with me.

John 13:10 Jesus saith to him, He that is washed needeth not save to wash his feet, but is clean every whit: and ye are clean, but not all.

Jesus is teaching about forgiveness and cleansing so we can have fellowship with Him. The footwashing was an object lesson to teach that - the command is to wash one another's feet spiritually, not physically - the whole context is dealing with forgiveness - and the OT type, which Jesus is using, is about being cleansed and forgiven.

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PreacherBen and I are from the hills - he is in TN and I am from KY. I guess there is a big difference amongst what the hill people believe and practice and what the flatlanders believe. There even seems to be a different mindset. We were taught to trust God and the Bible and not to follow after the conventions of men. I had never heard of this footwashing thing until I visited a little church in Belize and then I read about it recently on the internet, so I was curious about it.

Flatlanders seem to go more by what their neighbors are doing and what is socially acceptable to their congregations, than by what the Holy Spirit may be teaching them about scriptural aspects of certain things.

If we say that footwashing and the holy kiss are ONLY for the NT churches of the time, then we can just as well say that the entire NT is only for those churches of that day and age. It is exactly that kind of reasoning that leads to trouble. That is how the congregations get led astray in allowing their women to become preachers and Apostacy to creep in.

As I understand this practice, footwashing is not done every single Sunday morning. It is only done once or twice a year maybe? It is done the same day as the Lord's Supper service, and becomes a part of that service, just like singing special hymns and offering up special prayers are a part of the service.

I know the day I was visiting a small church in Belize, a young teenage girl washed my feet, and said a prayer for me - a total stranger whom she had never met before - and then after the service her family invited me to her house for a sumptious Belizian feast! They lived at the top of a hill, and there were six children plus the mother and father. We had Belizian styled beans and rice, fried plaintains, red cabbage coleslaw with lime, and we spent the whole afternoon discussing the many blessings God have given to us! They grew all of their own food and the children were all happy, healthy, well mannered, and loved. I remember that above all else was the love I felt that day.

I keep hearing about how Fundamental Baptist are all about legalism and no love - well I did not feel any sense of legalism or drudgery from that church on that day - just an overwhelming sense of love. It was the sort of love that I have not ever experienced before in any church stateside, so that was why I asked about it.

And no, the feet of the people in Belize are just as freshly showered as our own (they customarily take 3 showers a day!).

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I guess there is a big difference amongst what the hill people believe and practice and what the flatlanders believe. There even seems to be a different mindset. We were taught to trust God and the Bible and not to follow after the conventions of men.


That's an unjustified assumption. I do not "follow after the conventions of men." I am just not convinced of his (and possibly your) interpretation of John 13. I very much apply what I believe the passage is teaching: forgiveness and being a servant - and as Jesus said, I am blessed when I do so.

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I remember when I was a new Christian, way back in 1980. I did not know what the Bible said, and one of the first things I recieved was my own copy of the King James Bible - which I have used ever since. I did not learn and practice everything all at once. I had a LOT to learn about walking in Christ's footsteps, but walk in them I have done. I admit I have tripped and stumbled along the way, and there have even been a few times when Jesus had to carry me, because i was to weak and too weary to follow him on my own.

We learn and we grow and we develop our spiritual maturity in God's own time, through reading and practicing the scriptures. I did not become convicted of dresses only until just few short years ago. I did not become convicted of long hair on women until just about 2 years ago.

Now I am feeling convicted of this footwashing practice. I can read it some more, I can study and pray about it some more, and listen to what the spirit is leading me towards.

Perhaps you are not in the same level of growth and development as a Christian that I am. Maybe others are not either. However, when we feel conviction, do we just let it roll off our backs like water off a duck's feathers? Isn't that quenching the spirit? If I quench the spirit every time I feel convicted of something that God is trying to show me about my life, will I ever grow as a Christian?

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Flatlanders seem to go more by what their neighbors are doing and what is socially acceptable to their congregations, than by what the Holy Spirit may be teaching them about scriptural aspects of certain things.


I think this is an unfair assumption as well.

Just because our church does not "practice footwashing" does not mean we are trying to be socially acceptable. If we were trying to do THAT, our church would be three times the size it is now at least. For example I'm probably one of the only pastors wives in the entire area who does not wear pants to work in the yard, etc. If we were trying to be socially acceptable, I'd start wearing the cute capris and stuff all the other ladies wear.

We do not practice footwashing because we don't see it as commanded in Scripture. Period. I believe we are Holy Ghost led as well.

Perhaps you are not in the same level of growth and development as a Christian that I am. Maybe others are not either. However, when we feel conviction, do we just let it roll off our backs like water off a duck's feathers? Isn't that quenching the spirit? If I quench the spirit every time I feel convicted of something that God is trying to show me about my life, will I ever grow as a Christian?


Huh? Because we don't wash feet in church? :puzzled:

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I think this is an unfair assumption as well.

Just because our church does not "practice footwashing" does not mean we are trying to be socially acceptable. If we were trying to do THAT, our church would be three times the size it is now at least. For example I'm probably one of the only pastors wives in the entire area who does not wear pants to work in the yard, etc. If we were trying to be socially acceptable, I'd start wearing the cute capris and stuff all the other ladies wear.

We do not practice footwashing because we don't see it as commanded in Scripture. Period. I believe we are Holy Ghost led as well.



Huh? Because we don't wash feet in church? :puzzled:



No that is not what I meant at all.

What I meant was that we all have our Christian walk to undertake yes?

Each of us is in different levels of spiritual growth yes?

All I meant is that God deals with each individual differently and individually in a personal way.

Does that clarify what I mean better? I did not mean to say that people who practicing footwashing are better Christians than those who don't because they aren't. God is just dealing with them in a different way than with others it would seem.

There are no Christians who are deemed "better or worse" or "holier than thou" than any others - we are all sinners saved by the grace of God.

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What I see in this thread is two people hyperfocussing on John 13, without getting the rest of the context of the Bible in their understanding of that issue. Jesus was referring to the OT levitical laws about the priests washing their feet before ministering before the Lord. He showed that it needed to be done before we could fellowship with the Lord - needed to be done on an individual basis, as the OT taught.

Exodus 30:18-21 Thou shalt also make a laver of brass, and his foot also of brass, to wash withal: and thou shalt put it between the tabernacle of the congregation and the altar, and thou shalt put water therein. For Aaron and his sons shall wash their hands and their feet thereat: When they go into the tabernacle of the congregation, they shall wash with water, that they die not; or when they come near to the altar to minister, to burn offering made by fire unto the LORD: So they shall wash their hands and their feet, that they die not: and it shall be a statute for ever to them, even to him and to his seed throughout their generations.

Exodus 38:8 And he made the laver of brass, and the foot of it of brass, of the lookingglasses of the women assembling, which assembled at the door of the tabernacle of the congregation.

Exodus 40:30-32 And he set the laver between the tent of the congregation and the altar, and put water there, to wash withal. And Moses and Aaron and his sons washed their hands and their feet thereat: When they went into the tent of the congregation, and when they came near unto the altar, they washed; as the LORD commanded Moses.

James 1:23-25 For if any be a hearer of the word, and not a doer, he is like unto a man beholding his natural face in a glass: For he beholdeth himself, and goeth his way, and straightway forgetteth what manner of man he was. But whoso looketh into the perfect law of liberty, and continueth therein, he being not a forgetful hearer, but a doer of the work, this man shall be blessed in his deed.

Ephesians 5:26 That he might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word,

John 13:5-10 After that he poureth water into a bason, and began to wash the disciples' feet, and to wipe them with the towel wherewith he was girded. Then cometh he to Simon Peter: and Peter saith unto him, Lord, dost thou wash my feet? Jesus answered and said unto him, What I do thou knowest not now; but thou shalt know hereafter. Peter saith unto him, Thou shalt never wash my feet. Jesus answered him, If I wash thee not, thou hast no part with me. Simon Peter saith unto him, Lord, not my feet only, but also my hands and my head. Jesus saith to him, He that is washed needeth not save to wash his feet, but is clean every whit: and ye are clean, but not all.

If all Jesus was dealing with was physical footwashing, then He wouldn't have needed to explain it to them:

John 13:12-17 So after he had washed their feet, and had taken his garments, and was set down again, he said unto them, Know ye what I have done to you? Ye call me Master and Lord: and ye say well; for so I am. If I then, your Lord and Master, have washed your feet; ye also ought to wash one another's feet. For I have given you an example, that ye should do as I have done to you. Verily, verily, I say unto you, The servant is not greater than his lord; neither he that is sent greater than he that sent him. If ye know these things, happy are ye if ye do them.

He was dealing with the forgiveness and cleansing of sin that was needed to fellowship with Him, and that was so necessary before we ministered before Him and served others.

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