We often hear how important it is to confess our sins, seeking forgiveness. “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness” (1 John 1:9). However, have you ever thought about how this is even possible? It may be easy to say the words, but what does it take to be really forgiven? “For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him” (2 Corinthians 5:21). Jesus is the only one who can take away one’s sin, making that one righteous before God.
In order to fully understand this, one must remember back to an even that took place in Zechariah. God revealed to the high priest, Joshua, something quite amazing. “1. 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. 2. 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? 3. Now Joshua was clothed with filthy garments, and stood before the angel. 4. 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. 5. 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. 6. And the angel of the LORD protested unto Joshua, saying, 7. 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 3:1-7).
In this event, recognize that although Joshua was the high priest, the only one who could stand before the God representing the people in the Old Testament, he was not worthy to stand before God. He was “clothed with filthy garments” (revealing he was a sinner). The angel of the Lord (as a defender in a court) in this instance was the pre-incarnate Christ (Jesus before He was born as a human being on earth to die to take away man’s sin). This was much like a court of law where the angel of the Lord (Jesus) represented Joshua (guilty, for he was a sinful man). The adversary (much like a prosecutor) here is Satan, the enemy, the accuser of Christians (Revelation 12:9-10). When Jesus took away the filthy garments, the sin was gone, and Joshua was given a change of raiment (see Romans 8:1). Jesus then had a “fair mitre” set upon his head. The high priest in the Old Testament had “… a plate of pure gold, and grave upon it, like the engravings of a signet, HOLINESS TO THE LORD. And thou shalt put it on a blue lace, that it may be upon the mitre …” (Exodus 28:36-37). This mark upon his head (the golden plate) was to be a reminding that he had been set apart and consecrated to God and His purpose. This meant being devoted to God, choosing God’s plan over his own.
How is the event with Joshua the high priest in Zechariah 3:1-4 depicted in Ephesians 4:22-24? “22. That ye put off concerning the former conversation the old man, which is corrupt according to the deceitful lusts; 23. And be renewed in the spirit of your mind; 24. And that ye put on the new man, which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness” (Ephesians 4:22-24).
Jesus is our Advocate. “My little children, these things write I unto you, that ye sin not. And if any man sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous” (1 John 2:1). This reveals that the same thing can happen for us today – if only we will trust in Jesus!
Have you asked Jesus to be your Advocate, forgiving your sin and clothing you with His righteousness?