Have you ever thought that as a Christian you are saved by grace, we are to grow in holiness (Christlikeness). Yet we are extremely aware of our imperfections. Sin seems to remain deeply rooted in us. In ourselves we are always dirty, it’s like we have filthy clothes on before the King of Kings. This seems to be a problem.
If we look at the book of Zechariah it gives us a huge encouragement. Zechariah is given seven visions, and in the fourth vision we see a high priest named Joshua. As you think of Joshua in this story, think about you. I know it is bad practice to put ourselves in Bible stories, but bear with me.
In Zechariah 3 we see a heavenly court with a gathering before God. Zechariah is there, this high priest Joshua is there, Satan is there and the angel of the Lord is there. So you read this, think yourself a Joshua, think of the angel of the Lord as Jesus.
Read Zechariah 3:1-4…
“Then he showed me Joshua the high priest standing before the angel of the Lord, and Satan standing at his right side to accuse him. The Lord said to Satan, ‘The Lord rebuke you, Satan! The Lord, who has chosen Jerusalem, rebuke you! Is not this man a burning stick snatched from the fire?’ Now Joshua was dressed in filthy clothes as he stood before the angel. The angel said to those who were standing before him, ‘Take off his filthy clothes.’ Then he said to Joshua, ‘See, I have taken away your sin, and I will put fine garments on you.’”
Its a familiar situation isn’t it? Satan is there bringing accusations. “How can you a utterly sinful human being stand before God. How can God love someone as filthy as you?” And let’s be honest, Satan has a point. We have no hope of standing before God.
And what happens is absolutely awesome. God’s response is clear. Satan, not us, is the one who is judged! “The Lord rebuke you” (Zech 3:2).
And after this it gets more incredible. The angel of the Lord (think of Jesus) turns to Joshua (think of us). Are we the one to be rebuked next? We may think this is heading to another Genesis 3. In Genesis, God firstly judged the serpent, then God turned to Adam and Eve. But that doesn’t happen here. Instead of judgement, we have an advocate who comes to our defence.
We are standing in filthy clothes as we ‘stood before the angel’ (Jesus). And those clothes are removed. Jesus does it all Himself. This Christlike figure says “See, I have taken away your sin, and I will put fine garments on you.”
When we are tempted to think that we are too dirty to come to Him. We are tempted to think we are too guilty return to God after what has seemed too long. But here we are reminded here that He cleans our dirty clothes.
And in Zechariah 3:9, it points us forward to Calvary, it says “I will remove the sin of this land in a single day.” Ever since that day, your clothes changed forever, your standing before God changed forever.
“When Satan tempts me to despair
And tells me of the guilt within
Upward I look and see Him there
Who made an end of all my sin
Because the sinless Saviour died
My sinful soul is counted free
For God the Just is satisfied
To look on Him and pardon me”
“I delight greatly in the Lord; my soul rejoices in my God. For he has clothed me with garments of salvation and arrayed me in a robe of his righteousness…”
Thank you. I needed to be reminded.
Elizabeth Grainger says
Thank you. I needed to be reminded.
thank you so much … how can we ever show our gratitude to such a God … for His loving kindness and undeserved grace towards us …. what a blessing and what an encouragement to pray for those who do not know it yet ….