The angel said to those who were standing before him, “Take off his filthy clothes.” Then he said to Joshua, “See I have taken away your sin, and I will put rich garments on you” (Zechariah 3:4 NIV).
We are shown here the saving work of Christ on our behalf. Satan stands to accuse us. Christ stands to save us completely.
We can live for a long time without knowing how filth clings to us and our clothes. Yet when we enter the presence of the Lord it becomes obvious. This happens because of two reasons. One is that Satan will immediately come with accusations because the filth is so obvious. Secondly the very holiness that surrounds the presence of the Lord will make us realize our own utter filthiness.
That tells us some more truths. The most important is that this Joshua was high priest of God’s people. Yet he is represented here as wearing filthy clothes. So what we need to understand here is that the nature of sin and filth associated with it is such that it can easily defile even our best service for God. We may not realize how our selfish thoughts and worldly thinking sometimes mix itself with our best efforts for God’s kingdom. All those make our garments defiled.
Yet the good news is that we are not rejected nor are we left at the mercy of the ever-accusing Satan. God steps into the scene. He takes away our sin. But that is only the first part of His great work done for us. He then clothes us with rich garments. These garments are clean and they represent the holiness with which God clothes us. It is not achieved by our efforts. It is God’s own doing!