Friday, September 22, 2017

Guilt and the Christian Life

"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" (Zechariah 3:1).

One of the main ways Satan and his legions have of paralyzing the believer is through accusation. One way is for the Devil to get us to commit some public sin or indiscretion, and then accuse us and destroy us. But beyond this, Satan works with our guilty consciences to make us feel despair. Every Christian sins every day, and thus the problem of sin and guilt continues to be a roadblock to Christian holiness and health.

We see a picture of this in Zechariah 3. This chapter is part of the “night visions” of Zechariah, and in one of these visions, the prophet sees the current high priest, Joshua, standing before the Lord. It was the task of the high priest to minister before the Lord on behalf of the people.

Zechariah saw Satan standing next to Joshua to accuse him. Of what was Satan accusing Joshua? We can see it in verse 3: “Now Joshua was dressed in filthy clothes as he stood before the angel [of the Lord].”

Normally the high priest wore “garments of glory and beauty,” which symbolized his position as God’s anointed and glorified leader. Now, however, Joshua was dressed in degrading garb. His filthy garments represented the defilement of his life and of his office. Satan was pointing these out to the Lord, and Joshua was standing ashamed. But then “the Lord said to Satan, ‘The Lord rebuke you, Satan! The Lord, who has chosen Jerusalem, rebuke you!’ ” (v. 2). The Lord refused to hear Satan’s accusations, and instead stripped Joshua of his filthy garments and reinvested him with beautiful clothes (v. 4). This is how God deals with us as well. God refuses to hear Satan’s accusations because He deals with us only through His Son.

This story in Zechariah 3 shows us what happens when we bring our sins and ourselves before the Lord. We shouldn’t allow Satan to burden us with them. Rather, we are told to confess our sins, confident that God will forgive us and cleanse us from all unrighteousness (1 John 1:9). Has Satan been weighing you down with guilt over some sin? Confess it and forsake it, and then arise in the confidence that you are now once again robed in Christ’s glory.