The Cross Has The Final Word
"The cross has the final word.
Evil may put up its strongest fight,
but the cross has the final word."
There is coming a day when all men and women will stand before the Judgment Seat of Christ to give an account for their lives. At that time, each person must stand alone and have their life laid bare before the righteous Judge of all the earth. Imagine what a day that will be. What will be said? How will you feel? As you think back over this past week, would you stand or fall on that day? As you think through the years of your life, will you be able to stand before the judgment seat with inexpressible joy, or only with servile fear?
The Bible offers a picture of one man standing in the presence of the Lord waiting to receive judgment. It is a courtroom scene where the Lord is standing as Judge, Joshua the high priest at the time is on trial, and Satan—the Accuser—shows up as the prosecuting attorney. Zechariah 3:1–5:
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. And the Lord said to Satan, “The Lord rebuke you, O Satan! The Lord who has chosen Jerusalem rebuke you! Is not this a brand plucked from the fire?” Now Joshua was standing before the angel, clothed with filthy garments. 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.” And I said, “Let them put a clean turban on his head.” So they put a clean turban on his head and clothed him with garments. And the angel of the Lord was standing by.
Satan has his case built on solid evidence. Joshua is standing in the presence of the Judge wearing filthy garments. He is defiled. He is dirty. He is covered in his sin.
Just as the Accuser prepares to deliver his opening statement he is immediately silenced by the Lord. Before he even utters a syllable, he is rebuked and consigned to silence by the righteous Judge of all the earth. Now Joshua, standing before the face of God—clothed in his filthy garments—waits to hear his judgment and his sentencing. He knows the depth of his iniquity. There is only one way this can end.
But the Judge does not speak a word of condemnation. Instead, he commands that Joshua’s filthy garments be removed and replaced with pure vestments. But how? How can the righteous Judge not condemn him in his sinfulness? Zechariah 3:4, “Behold, I have taken your iniquity away from you…” God removes all of Zechariah’s sinfulness and replaces it with all his righteousness. In an instant, Zechariah is transformed from a filth-covered transgressor to a righteousness-filled man of God. And this has only been accomplished by the sovereign and gracious power of God. Zechariah is judged not according to his sins, but in light of the righteousness of Another.
This is the story of all God’s children—those who have turned from their sins and trusted in Jesus alone for their salvation. 2 Corinthians 5:21 says, “For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.” The moment faith takes root in the heart is the same moment that the wrath of God is satisfied in the cross of Jesus Christ. Romans 5:1, “Therefore, since we have been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.”
In the Cross of Christ:
1. All of your sinful filthiness is removed in the cross of Christ and in its place pure garments of Christ’s righteousness.
Brother or sister in Christ, if you have placed your faith in Jesus alone for the salvation of your soul, then you can know that your day before the Judgment Seat of Christ will look just like Joshua’s.
2. The enemy has been silenced and vanquished.
And you, who were dead in your trespasses and the uncircumcision of your flesh, God made alive together with him, having forgiven us all our trespasses, by canceling the record of debt that stood against us with its legal demands. This he set aside, nailing it to the cross. He disarmed the rulers and authorities and put them to open shame, by triumphing over them in him.
3. You will stand before the righteous Judge blameless and with great joy.
Now to him who is able to keep you from stumbling and to present you blameless before the presence of his glory with great joy, to the only God, our Savior, through Jesus Christ our Lord, be glory, majesty, dominion, and authority, before all time and now and forever. Amen.