Every day we wake up and decide what we will wear. What we wear says something about how we perceive ourselves and present ourselves to others. What do you like to wear? What style do you have?
Did you know that the devil and his demons also like to dress people and are trying to dress you? Satan wants to take the filth of sin—both the sins you have committed and those committed against you—and cause you to wear that guilt and shame. This is pictured in Zechariah 3:1-5. In a heavenly scene into the unseen realm we find “Joshua the high priest,” who intercedes on behalf of sinners in the presence of God.
In the revelation, Joshua, representing you and all of God’s people, is standing between two people. One is “the angel of the Lord,” who is Jesus Christ. The word for angel is a broad one that generally means “messenger.” And the Old Testament distinguishes between “an angel of the Lord,” which refers to one of God’s created angels, and “the angel of the Lord,” which is often God Himself coming down.
In keeping with the revelation of Zechariah 3, picture Jesus on one side. On the other side picture Satan standing ready to accuse. Put yourself in the picture. Hear Satan bringing up all the sins you have ever committed. Hear all of the filthy, naughty, disgusting, horrible, awful things you have ever said. Confronting you with your guilt, he now adds all the vile evil that has been done to you by others such as abuse (verbal, physical, mental, spiritual, or sexual), name-calling, abandonment, and rejection. Imagine that as Satan heaps verbal disgust upon you, with every statement he reaches into a large bucket filled with mud and feces and throws it on you one handful at a time. When Satan finishes, you are standing there wearing all of your sin and shame as “filthy garments.” Demons mock you as you look at the ground defeated, disgraced, and defiled.
Imagine then hearing the voice of Jesus rising in righteous anger to declare with full authority, “The LORD rebuke you, O Satan! The LORD…rebuke you! Is not this a brand plucked from the fire?” Unable to defend yourself, you suddenly realize that Jesus is standing with you, and standing up for you. You then hear Jesus give an order to an angelic soldier standing at the ready: “Remove the filthy garments… I have taken your iniquity away from you, and I will clothe you with pure vestments.” With tears of joy in your eyes and a smile on your face you look up to see the loving face of Jesus as He puts His arm around you.
On the cross, Jesus spiritually wore your filthy garments. To remind you of this, when Jesus walked away from the grave, He left His grave clothes. Once you were forgiven, no one—including you or Jesus—ever needed to wear them again. Theologians like to call this double imputation. On the cross, Jesus traded clothes with you. He wore your filthy clothes of sin and placed upon you His clean clothes of righteousness: “For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.” Martin Luther fondly called this “the great exchange.” Jesus took your place and wore your clothes, and Jesus put you in His place to wear His clothes.
Sadly, confused Christians continue to wear their old spiritual garments of sin and shame, disgust and defilement, filth and failure. They are a bit like Lazarus in John 11. Lazarus was one of Jesus’ best friends. When Lazarus died, Jesus wept and traveled to His friend’s grave. Dead four days, the King James Version said of Lazarus, “he stinketh” (v. 39).
Standing graveside, Jesus called, “Lazarus, come out.” One old British preacher said it was a good thing Jesus said Lazarus’ name, otherwise He would have emptied the entire graveyard. Lazarus, who was dead, was made alive! However, he was still wearing his old clothes, which friends had to help take off him.
Many Christians are like Lazarus. Satan buried them in filthy grave clothes, but Jesus brought them forth and has fresh, clean clothes for them to wear: Like Lazarus, godly friends help us take off our old, filthy garments, so we stop wearing them and start wearing the clean robe of righteousness Jesus has for us. The old clothes are Satan’s counterfeit to the new clothes Jesus has for you.
Mark and Grace Driscoll appear this Tuesday on LIFE TODAY. This is an excerpt from Win Your War by Mark and Grace Driscoll. Copyright ©2019 by Mark and Grace Driscoll. Published by Charisma House. Used by permission.