Garments of Grace
A Communist in Hyde Park, London, pointed to a tramp and said, “Communism will put a new suit on that man.” A Christian standing nearby said, “Yes, but Christ will put a new man in that suit!” God does more than change us; He creates us a new. It’s a powerful transformation and one only the supernatural power of Heaven can bring about. When a life comes to the end of itself God can begin His work of change and renewal. Hear the words of the prophet Zechariah as he describes a scene that is taking place before the throne of God:
“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, Satan!’… Now Joshua was clothed in filthy garments and standing before the angel. And he spoke and said to those who were standing before him saying, ‘Remove the filthy garments from him.” Again he said to him, ‘See, I have taken your iniquity away from you and will clothe you with festal robes.’” Zechariah 3:1-4 NASB
Joshua, an ordinary man called to do extraordinary things, was standing before the throne of God. He was unfit, unworthy and found guilty of sin before the Holy One. Satan, the enemy of God, is heard accusing Joshua before all of Heaven. There will always be accusations heard on earth because they are first heard in Heaven. Most of us don’t need reminding of our failures, we can all do a pretty good job at it ourselves. But, just in case we forget them Satan works diligently at keeping them before us by calling them out before God and also calling them out through others. What God wanted to show the prophet Zechariah was how He responds to the sins of His servants and it’s a beautiful truth that is not only powerful but is freeing to any of us who have found ourselves in the same situation.
God never denied that Joshua was clothed in filthy garments, which represented his sins-his failures. God responds with two powerful acts: First He removes the filthy garments. In other words He took away the reproach of Joshua. In one act, God wiped away completely the ugliness of sin from his life. I John 1:9 declares; “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us and cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” Bringing our lives, our garments, in all honesty before the Father no matter how dirty they may be will always be received by Him without judgment. When we fail God, and we will all fail Him at times, it’s vital that we remember the heart of God is always to forgive, not to condemn. Joshua was a servant, a High Priest, who was held to a higher standard already, so how much more would the shame be for him? Even if our position in service for God is one that comes with great accountability, even if we hold the holy office of High Priest, there is still a never ending spring of grace.
God didn’t stop with removing the filthy garments from Joshua, He takes it one step further and this is the step that we often forget in our Christian Walk; He clothes him in festal robes. Festal robes represented a new life, a brand new beginning and a life that can now be celebrated in Heaven! Festal robes were worn during celebrations, times when something great has been done and needs to be honored before others. No one has the right to remove the robes God has put on, not others and not even ourselves. We cannot remove our old robes from us nor can we remove our new ones received by Heaven. Your new life will never change before the eyes of your Heavenly Father.
Don’t let the guilt of failures, the accusations of others, or the whisper of the enemies reminders remove the garments of who you are in Christ. And don’t look for the old garments of another but rather rejoice in the new robes of forgiveness. After all, we’ve all been given garments of grace. The Apostle Paul sums it up best, “…Do not be deceived; neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor homosexuals, nor thieves, nor the covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers, shall inherit the kingdom of God. And such were some of you; but you were washed, but you were sanctified, but you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ, and in the Spirit of our God.” (I Corinthians 6:9-11)
What robes are you wearing?
Founder and President of Jabbok Ministries