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 rich garments on you."  Then I said, "Put a clean turban on his head." So they put a clean turban on his head and clothed him, while the angel of the LORD stood by. Zechariah 3:1-5

This is a fantastic prophetic picture that so moves my heart and spirit every time I read it.

Joshua is the High Priest in the days of Nehemiah and Ezra, Haggai and Zechariah and is during the time of the rebuilding of the temple, as they return from exile in Babylonia.

In this encounter we see a heavenly encounter, almost like a courtroom drama.

The players are God, Satan and Joshua and the angel of the Lord.

The essence of the prophetic picture is that Satan accuses Joshua, he sets out to destroy him.

I love the before and after picture in this extreme makeover. Joshua stands before God, in filthy rags. God orders the rags to be removed and for Joshua to be redressed in rich garments. These are given because of forgiveness and salvation.

For all of us this is our reality.

 

Before

Before we become a Christian we are dressed in filthy rags, stinking of sin and death and guilt.

  • All of us have become like one who is unclean, and all our righteous acts are like filthy rags; Isaiah 64:6
  • I know that nothing good lives in me, that is, in my sinful nature. For I have the desire to do what is good, but I cannot carry it out. Romans 7:18
  • You used to be far from God. Your thoughts made you his enemies, and you did evil things. Colossians 1:21

Before we become Christians we are enemies of God – destined for wrath and judgment, separated, unclean and unholy.

 

After

But a change happens when we become Christians.

We are born again. The old life is dead. We are made alive. We are forgiven and made new. We are made holy and righteous. We are made innocent. We are saved.

  • Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come! 2 Corinthians 5:17
  • But now he has reconciled you by Christ’s physical body through death to present you holy in his sight, without blemish and free from accusation— Colossians 1:22
  • I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me. Galatians 2:20
  • We died to sin; how can we live in it any longer? Or don’t you know that all of us who were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? We were therefore buried with him through baptism into death in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, we too may live a new life. Romans 6:2-4
  • You are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus, for all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ. There is neither Jew nor Greek, slave nor free, male nor female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus. Galatians 3:26-28 
  • For you died, and your life is now hidden with Christ in God Colossians 3:1

What I am trying to stress here and emphasize is that when we become Christians the slate is wiped clean and we are given a brand new life – we become children of God, loved, accepted, cherished, delighted in, free, righteous, holy, pleasing.

 

Catch Up and Get With The Programme!

We need to renew our mind and get it to catch up to this reality.

Instead we often relate to God thinking He doesn’t like us or want us or love us or is indifferent to us. We beat ourselves up about our failings, faults, fears, mistakes, sins.

We reject ourselves. We try to reject ourselves on the behalf of God, but God has his arms wide open in welcome and acceptance.

Sure, God hates our sin. He hates it because sin is wrong and rebellion. He hates it because it erodes our relationship with Him. But His grace triumphs over sin and we can’t let it stand in the way.

  • So whenever we are in need, we should come bravely before the throne of our merciful God. There we will be treated with undeserved kindness, and we will find help. Hebrews 4:16

Our lives as Christians are lives of transformation.

Our lives as Christians must be lives of relationship and drawing nearer to God and becoming more outwardly righteous, which is an outward expression of what God has done already on the inside.

We obey because we love God and want to please Him.

We are transformed because we love God and want to please Him.

They are lives covered by grace.

We are accepted and loved.

Guilt restricts us and holds us back.

Self rejection restricts us and holds us back.

Stinking thinking restricts us and holds us back.

We must not believe the lies of our enemy that seeks to restrict us and hold us back.

The truth is that you are free and beautiful before God.

The truth is by His grace you are good enough to serve Him and know Him.

 

Know Who You Are

As Christians we need to know who we are. We are children of God. New creatures.

Imagine if Joshua listened to the lies of the enemy and saw himself dressed in those rags… I doubt he would have accomplished the rebuilding of the temple and the revival of faith in his community and people!

What if Peter didn’t have this revelation?

He would have been held back by his denial of Jesus and wouldn’t have stood up with confidence and boldness in God on the day of Pentecost and preached the first gospel message, resulting in 3000 being saved that day.

What if Paul didn’t get this revelation?

He may have never stepped out and preached where He did, founded churches, written most of the New Testament?

 

The Big Questions

The big question – is how do you see yourself? And how does that affect the way you live?

Do you understand that you are forgiven, holy, righteous, pure and new?

Are you feeling guilty?

First, ask yourself is there a reason? Are you doing stuff you shouldn’t – cos God will convict you and challenge you on that, because He is your Father and sin hurts you and others, so it is for your own good that you’re warned and uncomfortable. If there is stuff you’re doing that is disobedient and rebellious, then deal with it, grow up, confess and change.

Secondly – if there isn’t a big reason for the guilt, then hunt out its origins. It could be a lie from the enemy. It could be a lie from yourself, that you aren’t good enough, why would God forgive you, doesn’t He know who you are and what you’ve done and what you will do? Then deal with it, grow up, confess that and change. Believe in what the Word of God says about who you are, and that God has forgiven you totally, that is why Jesus died on the cross.

  • How far has the LORD taken our sins from us? Farther than the distance from east to west! Psalm 103:12
  • You will again have compassion on us; you will tread our sins underfoot and hurl all our iniquities into the depths of the sea. Micah 7:17

Do you understand how much God loves you?

  • How great is God’s love for all who worship him? Greater than the distance between heaven and earth! Psalm 103:11
  • I pray that you and all of God’s people will understand what is called wide or long or high or deep. I want you to know all about Christ’s love, although it is too wonderful to be measured. Ephesians 3:18-19

Do you understand that God calls you and empowers you?

If we are held back by guilt and insecurity this will affect how we will be used. Being used by God is a matter of trust – I trust that God will empower me and use me for His glory.

  • We are like clay jars in which this treasure is stored. The real power comes from God and not from us. 2 Corinthians 4:7 CEV
  • But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us. 2 Corinthians 4:7 NIV
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