A Change of Clothes

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 hand to accuse him. And the LORD said to Satan, “The LORD rebuke you, O Satan! The LORD who has chosen Jerusalem rebuke you! Is not this a brand plucked from the fire?” Now Joshua was standing before the angel, clothed with filthy garments. And the angel said to those who were standing before him, “Remove the filthy garments from him.” And to him he said, “Behold, I have taken your iniquity away from you, and I will clothe you with pure vestments.”

There is a wonderful picture of the gospel here that I’d like to consider…Joshua, the high priest, is standing before the LORD with Satan next to him, doing what he does best; accusing God’s people. And Satan does have something legitimate to accuse Joshua of. The filthy garments that Joshua is wearing symbolize his sin. Joshua is guilty. And, since God is holy, Satan knows that God cannot allow Joshua to be in His presence. Though Satan’s accusations are legitimate, the angel of the LORD rebukes Satan.

And yet, the problem of the filthy garments must be dealt with. And so the angel of the LORD commands that Joshua’s filthy garments be removed and that he be clothed with clean, unstained, garments. Joshua’s sin is removed and he is clothed in righteousness. We know from the New Testament that this can only happen through Jesus Christ. Because Christ laid down His life on the cross to pay for our sins, God removes our sin like he removed Joshua’s filthy garments. And he doesn’t just toss them aside, but he put those filthy garments on His Son when He hung on the cross. Through the death of Christ, our sin is completely removed!

Not only is our sin removed, but we also receive Christ’s righteousness. Consider this – when we stand before God’s judgment seat (which we all will), if we have put our faith in Christ, it is not as though we go before Him with a clean “slate” with all of our sins wiped clean. But, our slate that was full of condemnation is taken away and we will have Christ’s slate that is filled with His righteous deeds!

Acknowledge your sin, but also consider that, in the very ways in which you have fallen short, that Christ did not fall short but lived perfectly. And that perfect life is yours!

If you are aware of sinful anger in your life, confess your sin, but also consider that Christ was never sinfully angry, but always had perfect self-control and was only ever righteously angry. If you’ve had lust in your heart, consider that Christ was perfectly pure. Consider Christ’s perfection in light of your sin and consider that if you have been united with Christ, that perfection is yours! Our sin has been removed and we have received the righteousness of Christ as a gift. What amazing grace! Do you feel God’s pleasure with you in Christ?

If you do not know the joy of having your sin removed and being made perfect through Christ, I would ask that you consider how it was that Joshua had his sin removed and was made righteous. It was not something that Joshua did but something that was done to him. God did not tell Joshua to go and clean his clothes and then come back. God himself took his dirty clothes and gave him pure white garments.

All that we must do is to recognize that our clothes are filthy with our own sin and look to Christ in faith, believing that He came to earth to live a perfect life that we could not live and that He gave His life as a sacrifice for our sins. If you confess your sins and look to Christ, God will wipe your sins completely away and will clothe you with the sinless perfection of Christ.

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