11: Covered in Filth

Posted: Thursday, May 29th, 2014
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About The Bride Is Ready Series

Who is the Bride of Christ, and how does she make herself ready? These questions and more are explored in this piercing series as Martha digs deep into the blessings AND requirements of Christ's own Bride.

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Before ever the bride was revealed in New Testament fulfillment, the ‘what’ and the ‘how’ of her preparation were planted in Old Testament promise. The answer given before the question arose. Such a God!

The Holy Spirit – Secret Author of the Bible – painted many pictures of the wedding clothes. What to wear before a Holy Bridegroom, and even the great and mysterious how the dressing is done. Different scenes, from artful angles so we can comprehend the fiber of those “robes of righteousness,” God’s bounteous gift to the all-too-human mess – of us.

God has arisen to solve. Aroused in ancient zeal for this Bride.

Be silent all flesh, before the Lord, for He is aroused form His holy habitation.
Zechariah 2:13 NKJ

A vivid picture is this one…in Zechariah 3.

Then He showed me Joshua the high priest standing before the angel of the Lord, and Satan standing at his right hand to accuse him.

(Joshua – not Joshua of Moses – as a high priest, was the one who had to see his own sin first and then of the people. He took a knife and cut the throat of the animal sacrifices to obey the laws of God to cleanse the people. Joshua knew the price of sin. As a priest, he would be splattered and soaked with the blood of those sacrifices. And as high priest he was required to severely expose his own sin before God or he would die in the Holy of Holies. Joshua knew about sin. He knew the bloody cost of God’s forgiveness.)

Joshua knew. Yet here he is standing…without a word of petition nor a plea of defense. Standing. Such a picture. In the presence of God yet with nothing to defend against a Diabolical Satan, nothing to commend him to a Holy God.

Here was a holy man if there were any holy men. Yet he stands in silence before this group—God watching, the angel of the Lord speaking, Satan accusing, Zechariah listening. Awesome meeting! It would strike you silent.

And the Lord said to Satan, “The Lord rebuke you, Satan! Indeed, the Lord who has chosen Jerusalem rebuke you! Is this not a brand plucked from the fire?”

The answer to Satan is God’s to give. We cannot be charged with innocence. The answer to the vicious enemy is only and simply that God Himself has snatched us from the literal fire of a forever hell. It was His choice. It is His work. By that sovereign selection despite our undeserving, Satan is silenced for the rest of the vision.

Now Joshua was clothed with filthy garments and standing before the angel.

Joshua’s filthy garments were (in literal translation) “befouled with excrement.” Such is God’s view of our badness. Of course! We can see that, at least sometimes, but also – the shocker – the same assessment of our goodness. You wouldn’t go near someone covered with…that! Neither will God.

Standing. A place of silent despair by utter helplessness. God sees us by comparison to His Holiness. We see ourselves by comparison with lowly others and rate ourselves as ‘clean.’

The heart is deceitful above all things, and it is exceedingly perverse and corrupt and severely, mortally sick! Who can know it (perceive, understand, be acquainted with his own heart and mind)?
Jeremiah 17:9 AMP

He knows our complete wretchedness in the secret unveiled self. We think we aren’t so bad. If you have not seen the hopeless dirt of your vile-self, you have yet to stand in the presence of the angel of the Lord and the mirror of a Lighted Throne. When you see as God sees by the glare of His presence, then you simply stand with all your filth, in the human trash of adamic inheritance.

At the end of your strivings to crawl out of that internal robe of filth you will simply…stand. Known. Powerless. Waiting. As Joshua.

What can be done when you are repulsive to God? What is there to say when you can’t change yourself into something holy, yet are required to be so? How can you bear knowing yourself as God knows you…”befouled with excrement?” How can you bear the Satanic accusation when you can not claim innocence to any charge?

You stand.

Effortless. Wordless…and hopeless. To “stand” is to face. Bring your condition in to God. Just go. Face Him in all your devastation. He welcomes you and doesn’t ask for a clean life before you come. Come as you are.

And he spoke and said to those who were standing before him, “Remove the filthy garments from him.”

God has taken upon Himself the task of removing the muck of sin, festering in our nasty soul. What we cannot help and do not even comprehend, He simply lifts from our being…

Again, he said to him, “See, I have taken your iniquity away from you, and I will clothe you with festal robes.”

Such is our helpless-child state that all must be done for us. Even the undressing of depravity is left to God alone. This piercing vision of Zechariah was for a future understanding. A solution promised in the ancient past for our present day. In that day…  A vision now fulfilled and…also yet to be.

We born-again-ones stand between that undressing of the foul and the clothing of divine festivity. We stand strung between the practical wearing of our present freedom and the need of our future splendor. Garments of sin were removed at the cross. Naked. Clean, but naked. We need to go further and be clothed.

Righteousness as a literal garment of holiness, given as a mere gift free for the taking, by the Savior…who appears in this scene as: the Angel of the Lord. Few will stand and let God remove such putrid sin by the simple act of His unassisted work. To be that dependent is to become that clean. Can we comprehend such purity, possible to the vile, the hopeless?

Again, he said to him, “See, I have taken your iniquity away from you, and I will clothe you with festal robes.

God says, “I have and I will.” Stand and receive…

Iniquity: avon 5771 a depraved action, perversity, sin, guilt, a crime, a fault, mischief.

Copyright © 2002 Martha Kilpatrick, The Bride Is Ready

Other Articles in The Bride Is Ready Series