Monday, May 21, 2012

Not Guilty - Part 2

If you haven't already read part 1, I invite you to do so as it is the frame that holds the picture for this verse today. 

And you, who once were alienated and hostile in mind, doing evil deeds, He has now reconciled in His body of flesh by His death, in order to present you holy and blameless and above reproach before Him... Colossians 1:21-22 ESV

Now, if you remember, we were looking at Zechariah 3 and a vision that the Lord gave to Zechariah of a scene taking place in the throne room of heaven.  At first glance, it might look like the frame and the picture are an odd pair or mismatched, but let me show you what the Lord showed me.

The words "above reproach before Him" made me think of standing before the Lord, in His courtroom.  But what does above reproach really mean anyway?  "Above reproach" or as the King James Version puts it "unreprovable" is Greek # 410 in Strong's Concordance of the Bible.  It means unaccusable!  It comes from G #1458 which means to call in for charges or debt, to lay accusation. 

I couldn't believe what the Lord was showing me!  The enemy tries to make me believe that it's about works, that if I just do this or don't do that... He knows that I'm going to provide ample failures for ammunition and then he seems to haul me before the Lord and throw accusation after accusation in my face - charges that I cannot deny - a debt that I could never repay!  And before I know it, I'm feeling like I'm standing condemned.  Do you remember how Zechariah 3 showed us that the Lord doesn't even let satan talk?  He declares him wrong before he even opens his mouth and so should we!  This verse is like our legal paper that we can wave in satan's face to shut him up!  Because of what Christ did in "His body of flesh by His death", I am unaccusable when I am called in for charges or debt!  No one can lay accusations upon me!  God says!

What about the word "blameless"?  How awesome!  I am without blame, faultless before God because of Christ!  Zero, nada, zilch... NO blame, NO fault!  Praise God!

There was one more word that the Lord brought to my attention.  "Reconciled."  Strong's Greek #604, puts it as reconciled fully.  I like that!  It comes from the Greek words #575 meaning separation, cessation or reversal and #2644 which means to change mutually (a difference), like exchanging currency or as in persons changing from enmity with God to friends with God. 

So let's put this all together... Once I was alienated from God, separated from Him.  When I listen to satan's accusations, he makes me feel that way all over again.  But when I tell myself the Truth and listen to the words of the Judge of all mankind - the highest authority in heaven and earth - I can "behold" (remember that word from Part 1?) that I have been reconciled fully.  A mutual exchange took (and takes) place.  I relinquish the debt of my sin.  That debt that I could never pay and receive Christ's righteousness!  What an exchange!  I now stand without blame, completely faultless before God because of Christ!  And God has declared my case closed!  He will not stand for any more accusations from my enemy.  I am forevermore unaccusable before God!  Wahoo!  And just for our sake, a few verses down He says it again!  Behold...

When you were spiritually dead because of your sins and because you were not free from the power of your sinful self, God made you alive with Christ, and he forgave all our sins. He canceled the debt, which listed all the rules we failed to follow. He took away that record with its rules and nailed it to the cross. God stripped the spiritual rulers and powers of their authority. With the cross, he won the victory and showed the world that they were powerless.  Colossians 2:13-15

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Not Guilty - Part 1

Oh my goodness!  The Lord showed me something this morning that was the New Testament picture of one of my favorite Old Testament scenes!  I've known it to be true but it was like He took me back to envision it anew!  I couldn't wait to blog it!  Then I realized that I had never written about the original Old Testament scene!  So here goes... Old Testament is Part 1, New Testament will be Part 2!

One of my favorite "pictures" in Scripture is from Zechariah 3. I first noticed it as I was reading in the CEV (Contemporary English Version). It's a vision that the LORD gave to the prophet Zechariah. In the vision, he saw Joshua, the high priest, standing in front of the LORD's throne.
...This time Joshua the high priest was standing in front of the LORD's angel. And there was Satan, standing at Joshua's right side, ready to accuse him. But the LORD, said, "Satan, you are wrong. Jerusalem is my chosen city, and this man was rescued like a stick from a flaming fire." (Zechariah 3:1b-2)

What an opportunist! It strikes me that wherever we are, satan is standing ready to accuse us - but, glory to God, the LORD doesn't even let satan get a word in. He knows why satan is there.  He calls satan the "accuser of the bretheren" (Rev. 12:10) He immediately cuts satan off and tells him that he is WRONG!

I love that! For so many reasons, I love that! So why do I so often hear him out? When satan presents to me all of the reasons why the LORD must be ready to give up on me or how I'll never change, why do I listen to - and worse still - dwell on his accusations? But our accuser is clever. Sometimes his words sound like they come through our voice.

I love that it was Joshua the high priest. He was God's man and God had his back. And, I love that the LORD didn't give satan a chance to voice his case!  Satan was simply declared wrong.

The vision continues...

Joshua's clothes were filthy. So the angel told some of the people to remove Joshua's filthy clothes. Then he said to Joshua, "This means you are forgiven. Now, I will dress you in priestly clothes." (vs. 3-4)

How beautiful!  Even the high priest is shown in filthy rags yet receiving grace and robes of righteousness!  We are ALL in need of grace!  No matter how much "good" we have done (or try to do) it is all still filthy rags in comparison with God's perfection (Isaiah 64:6).  When we stand in the courtroom of heaven, they don't measure up!  They are not enough!  BUT GOD, made provision and is willing to redress us!
Now, there is more... something profound in verse 4 that isn't evident in this translation.  The English Standard Version reads this way...
And the angel said to those who were standing before him, “Remove the filthy garments from him.” And to him he said, “Behold, I have taken your iniquity away from you, and I will clothe you with pure vestments.” (emphasis mine)

Do you know what that word "behold" means?  It means to "advise oneself, behold certainly, consider, discern, (make to) enjoy, have experience, mark, perceive, gaze upon."  (Strongs # 7200, Hebrew)  Many consider this angel of the Lord to be the preincarnate Christ.  Awesome! Regardless, in the court of heaven, Joshua was being told to advise himself of this... his sins were forgiven.  An exchange was being made.  His unrighteousness for God's righteousness.  Mark this transaction!  Why?  I believe because the enemy of our souls will try and accuse us again and we need to know we're forgiven!

Read it for yourself!  The scene even continues from here and Joshua is told that if he will walk in the ways of the Lord, he'll have immediate access to the Throne Room of heaven!  That's what we have when we pray!

So where are you?  If you found yourself standing before the Holy God today, have you traded in your filthy, sinful garments for His robes of righteousness?  Have you ever let Him dress you with the robes that He provides?  Have you given Him your sin?  If not, today is the day!  We have no guarantee of tomorrow.

If you have already done that, are you living like it?  Are you living with the security and peace that comes from knowing the Lord does not condemn you?  Or are you listening to lies that leave you discouraged and shamed?  Behold...

O Holy God, Judge of the courtroom of heaven, thank You for the day that You took away my sin and gave me Your righteousness!  I can't fathom the depths of Your love for me - the depths that You went to to provide robes of righteousness for me but I gladly accept them!  Thank You for not even allowing satan to open his mouth against me!  Help me to do the same when he comes to throw my sin back in my face.  I'm forgiven!  I have marked that transaction - and it brings me great joy!  In the Name of Jesus, my Savior, Amen!

Friday, May 18, 2012

A New Picture of God's Faithfulness to His Promises

Well, I've never done this before but I wanted to share a post that I put on my other blog  I hope you appreciate the lesson that I recorded there!