God’s Plans for Righteousness
Zechariah 3:1 -10
October 23, 2022
I’ve told the story before, but because it fits so well with this passage, because Reformation Day is next Monday, and because I like the story, let me remind you of Martin Luther’s conversion story (in his words):
I greatly longed to understand Paul’s Epistle to the Romans and nothing stood in the way but that one expression, “the justice of God,” [Rom. 1:18] because I took it to mean that justice whereby God is just and deals justly in punishing the unjust. My situation was that, although an impeccable monk, I stood before God as a sinner troubled in conscience, and I had no confidence that my merit would assuage him. Therefore I did not love a just and angry God, but rather hated and murmured against him. Yet I clung to the dear Paul and had a great yearning to know what he meant.
Night and day I pondered until I saw the connection between the justice of God and the statement that “the just shall live by his faith.” Then I grasped that the justice of God is that righteousness by which through grace and sheer mercy God justifies us through faith. Thereupon I felt myself to be reborn and to have gone through open doors into paradise. The whole of Scripture took on a new meaning, and whereas before the “justice of God” had filled me with hate, now it became to me inexpressibly sweet in greater love. This passage of Paul became to me a gate to heaven.…
If you have a true faith that Christ is your Saviour, then at once you have a gracious God, for faith leads you in and opens up God’s heart and will, that you should see pure grace and overflowing love. This it is to behold God in faith that you should look upon his fatherly friendly heart, in which there is no anger nor ungraciousness. He who sees God as angry does not see him rightly but looks only on a curtain, as if a dark cloud had been drawn across his face.
What plagued Luther’s mind was an awareness of his guilt of sin, and his inability to rectify that problem on his own. He longed to serve God, but he was terrified of God’s wrath. Perhaps you have experienced similar fears — an awareness of guilt and unworthiness and a similar awareness of your inability. The fourth vision of Zechariah in Zech. 3 is for you.
There is a transition in the fourth vision. The first three visions were concerned with external realities — Israel’s liberation from captivity in Babylon, God’s judgment against the nations (and His salvation of the nations) and the ultimate blessings on Judah and Israel in the Millennial Kingdom. The fourth and fifth visions are concerned with spiritual realities. This vision addresses the question, “How will unclean and unholy people experience the blessing of God?” How can those who are stained with unrighteousness be blessed by the holy God?
God comforts sinners by the removal of their sin through the promised Messiah.
This morning, we consider Zechariah’s fourth vision:
- What Zechariah Saw in the Vision (3:1-3)
- What Zechariah’s Vision Meant (3:4-5)
- What Zechariah’s Visions Reveal About God (3:6-10)
Download the rest of this sermon on Zechariah 3:1–10.
The audio will be posted on the GBC website by tomorrow.