Passage in Context
To understand this passage, one must understand "in Context" Jesus's remarks, and not pull a particular phrase out which on it's own appears ambiguous.
Jesus was meeting with His disciples. These were the ones who left all and followed Him from the beginning of His ministry. In John 13, they were assembled together to eat the Passover, and also to receive their final instructions before His Crucifixion. Peter was blessed,
"and Jesus answered and said unto him, Blessed art thou, Simon
Barjona: for flesh and blood hath not revealed it unto thee, but my
Father which is in heaven."(Matt. 16:17 KJV)
he was also given pre-eminence,
And I say also unto thee, That thou art Peter, and upon this rock I
will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against
so the idea that he had somehow fallen, or being in danger of falling from grace because of a false perception of what Jesus was saying is ludicrous.
The Lord prefaces His remarks by saying,
"Jesus answered and said unto him, What I do thou knowest not now; but
thou shalt know hereafter."(vs 7)
Peter's response betrayed his misunderstanding in verse 8; when the Lord counters with
"If I wash thee not, thou hast no part with me."(vs 8), Peter immediately goes to the opposite extreme and says,
"Lord, not my feet only, but also my hands and my head."(vs 9)
Then the Lord has to correct him again,
"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."(vs 10)
Jesus then explains the meaning to His disciples,
If I then, your Lord and Master, have washed your feet; ye also ought
to wash one another's feet.(vs 14)
He is modeling servant leadership, a lesson that Peter understood later on in his ministry;
Neither as being lords over God's heritage, but being ensamples to the
flock.(1 Pet. 5:3 KJV)
Jesus was demonstrating a style of leadership that at first offended Peter; He was doing a servant's task, which was foot-washing. The action didn't take away from Jesus's authority, He said,
"Ye call me Master and Lord: and ye say well; for so I am."(John 13:13 KJV)
But in washing His disciple's feet, He was telling them 'This is how I want you to demonstrate your authority', not in striving for position and recognition, but in serving those under your care.
Jesus is gently admonishing Peter for failing to understand the object lesson He is demonstrating. Peter's salvation was never in jeopardy, rather, he is being used a 'teaching opportunity' to reveal an important lesson on servant leadership.