Rejoicing with the Reconciled
Now Joshua was clothed with filthy garments, and was standing before the Angel. Then He answered and spoke to those who stood before Him, saying, “Take away the filthy garments from him.” And to him He said, “See, I have removed your iniquity from you, and I will clothe you with rich robes.” Zechariah 3:3-4 NKJV
In the above scriptures, Joshua the high priest represents the sinful people of Judah that God had forgiven. The command to take away their “filthy garments” is a picture of the forgiveness and remission of their sins. The promise of God was to remove their iniquity and clothe the people with “rich robes.” “Rich robes” in the New American Standard Bible (NASB) is translated as “festal robes.” Festal means joyous celebration.
The message from God couldn’t be clearer: when one is forgiven and is reconciled to God, it is necessary and befitting for believers to be joyful because the repented is no longer alienated in guilt and shame. If one is reconciled, much like the prodigal son who was in his father’s presence when he returned home (Luke 15:20-22), the reconciled is in the presence of God and is spiritually clothed in God’s righteousness (2 Cor. 5:21). Not receiving and rejoicing with the one who has been reconciled to God is contrary to the loving and accepting spirit of the Father. The refusal to rejoice is rather in the spirit of the elder brother in Jesus’ parable of the prodigal son (Luke 15:25-32). This animus is called the “elder brother syndrome.” The elder brother was angry and resentful that his father would unconditionally accept his repented brother and give him gifts—not realizing that everything that the father gave to the reconciled son was the same gifts and graces that the elder brother already had at home with the father.
Are you angry or critical of others, coming out of sin, just to convince yourself that you are better? This unscriptural sentiment falls extremely short of rejoicing with them. In reality, are you unconsciously angry at yourself for not being perfectly sinless? If not, then stop criticizing the imperfections of others who may unconsciously remind you of your own continued short-comings. This attitude and disposition is classic “Phariseeism”—when you are increasingly self-righteous and hypocritical, unconsciously avoiding facing your own depravity. God wants you to rejoice with and receive the reconciled. They are your brothers and sisters in the Lord. They are now saved and no longer lost. The lost are not saved and the saved are not lost. Rejoice with the reconciled!