Clothed In The Righteousness Of Christ
By Randy Bushey
What does it mean to be clothed in the righteousness of Christ? Randy Bushey takes a look at an Old Testament courtroom and how it echoes Christ’s trial.
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The High Priest Joshua
“Is not this man a burning stick snatched from the fire?…Take off his filthy clothes.” (Zechariah 3:2,4).
Zechariah was born as a Levite while the Jews were exiled to Babylon. He was unique in that he was a prophet and a priest.
The first verse of the book can be pegged at October, 520 BC.
Chapter 3 contains an enigmatic little story involving the high priest whose name is Joshua.
Here’s the scene: Joshua – a representative of the people of Jerusalem – is on trial before God.
And he is covered in filthy, soiled clothing. We understand how campfire wood (a burnt stick in the verse above) can be charred black by fire; but here, the Hebrew term is much more loathsome and repugnant – you get the idea.
Satan is vehement in his accusations. Throughout the encounter, Joshua is speechless.
The Righteousness Of Christ
But Joshua’s defense attorney is the Angel of the Lord. (Watch for Him in the pages of the Old Testament; I believe He’s not just an angel, but an Old Testament appearance of the Son of God – the Lord Jesus – before His incarnation.)
We know this is Christ because He says, See, I have taken away your sin.
In the face of the accusations of the evil one – probably all of which were true – the pre-incarnate Christ commands the offending clothes to be removed and replaced with clean, rich garments of righteousness.
The sovereign Judge is satisfied. Justice has been carried out.
The vile cosmic effects of sin have been dealt with.
But at what a cost!
For the Judge, the LORD Almighty, points to a future event: and I will remove the sin of this land in a single day.
This courtroom drama – 5 centuries before the time of Christ – hints at the image of the Cross casting its solemn shadow across the legal proceedings.
Takeaway: The Gospel is: Christ in my place – penal substitutionary atonement. My sin paid for by His Cross; His righteousness clothing me.
May our capacity to be in awe of this truth persistently grow throughout our lives.
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