In part one, we looked at the importance of having our eyes opened to our real condition. Have you ever met someone that is very ill but will not admit it? They refuse to go to a doctor, for they say they are just fine. Is there much hope of them getting better if they won’t open their eyes to their condition? It is the same with our spiritual life. We must first realize that we are sinners before we can receive the remedy that God gives.
Previously we established that a robe (clothing) represents righteousness. Because our lives are stained with sin, our clothing is filthy and impure. Can we change the past? Can we undo the many sins we have committed? Of course, the answer to these questions is no. So how can we be reconciled unto God? How do we receive the righteousness of Christ? What changes occur as a result of this process?
I would like for us to dig into a beautiful vision given to the prophet Zechariah.
“And he shewed me Joshua the high priest standing before the angel of the LORD, and Satan standing at his right hand to resist him. And the LORD said unto Satan, The LORD rebuke thee, O Satan; even the LORD that hath chosen Jerusalem rebuke thee: is not this a brand plucked out of the fire? Now Joshua was clothed with filthy garments, and stood before the angel. And he answered and spake unto those that stood before him, saying, Take away the filthy garments from him. And unto him he said, Behold, I have caused thine iniquity to pass from thee, and I will clothe thee with change of raiment. And I said, Let them set a fair mitre upon his head. So they set a fair mitre upon his head, and clothed him with garments. And the angel of the LORD stood by.”Zechariah 3:1-5
Did Joshua have any power to command that the new garments be brought? No. He stood before the LORD filthy and with the accusations of Satan upon him. It was at the command of the LORD that Satan was rebuked, and clean robes were given him.
Sin is separating in nature. It created an impassable gulf between man and God. The righteousness that was accounted to Joshua is the only thing that can bridge that gap. Jesus came and lived a perfect life so that His life could be accounted as our own. Jesus did this so the great gulf could be spanned, and we could be reunited with Him. Oh, what love!
Now that we have established that this clean robe must come from Christ, what steps must be taken to receive it?
“And I say unto you, Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you.”Luke 11:9
Just previous to this verse, Jesus told about a man that knocked on a friend’s door to ask for bread. He searched for his friend and then proceeded to ask for bread persistently. He was not willing to give up, for he understood his need. Jesus then told us to ask, seek, and knock just as this man did. Why are we to search for it? Why does God want us to be so persistent? Because God wants us to realize how much we need it. He wants us to desire after it with all our hearts. If we do, the promise is that we will receive it.
Now that we see how we are to receive Christ’s righteousness, let’s look at the changes it brings into our lives.
“Thus saith the LORD of hosts; If thou wilt walk in my ways, and if thou wilt keep my charge, then thou shalt also judge my house, and shalt also keep my courts, and I will give thee places to walk among these that stand by.”Zechariah 3:7
Disobedience separated us from God. God made a way that we can be united again. This new harmony is expressed in perfect obedience to all that the LORD commands. The promise that Josuha would be given a place in the heavenly kingdom was reliant upon whether he would remain faithful. Day by day, we must walk with Jesus and receive from Him the Holy Spirit. As we do this, we will naturally display the fruits of the Spirit and obedience.
The Bible is full of examples of obedience to the law of God. Jesus Himself said in John 15:10, “If ye keep my commandments, ye shall abide in my love; even as I have kept my Father’s commandments, and abide in his love.” God’s law is an expression of Himself, and God is love. Let’s see what the apostle John has to say.
“For this is the love of God, that we keep his commandments: and his commandments are not grievous. For whatsoever is born of God overcometh the world: and this is the victory that overcometh the world, even our faith.”1John 5:3-4
This is great news! We can have victory over sin and can follow in the footsteps of our Savior. Just as Jesus kept the commandments, we also can keep the commandments. Again let us refer to John.
“He who says he abides in Him ought himself also to walk just as He walked… And everyone who has this hope in Him purifies himself, just as He is pure.”1 John 2:6; 3:3
In the last issue, we looked at how the leaders in Jesus’ day had an outward show of obedience to the commandments of God, while at the same time were evil in their heart. They were attempting to keep the commandments of God without receiving the righteousness that can only come from Jesus. God wants more than an outward show. He wants these acts of obedience to come from a heart purified by the love of God.
Today, I often see the exact opposite. Many claim that love and love only is required. They claim that God doesn’t care about our acts and that we must believe only to be saved. But such religion is presumption. True faith is expressed in acts of love and obedience to God.
Let’s seek today to have that complete religion that Christ purchased for us at an infinite cost. I promise that you won’t be disappointed.
Written by Cory Lamming