Snatched from the fire
“Then he showed me Joshua the high priest standing before the angel of the Lord, and Satan standing at his right side to accuse him. The Lord said to Satan, ‘The Lord rebuke you, Satan! The Lord who has chosen Jerusalem, rebuke you! Is not this man a burning stick snatched from the fire’?” Zechariah 3:1, 2, NIV. The accuser, Satan in Hebrew, maintained that Joshua is a sinner, with nothing good in him; therefore, he could not stand in the presence of the Lord and represent God’s chosen people. Did the accuser have the basis for his claim concerning Joshua, the high priest? Yes, he did! “All have turned away, they have together become worthless; there is no one who does good, not even one.” Romans 3:12, NIV. (Paul here provides his translation from the Hebrew of Psalm 14:3)
The high priest Joshua was a sinful human being and, therefore, worthless according to the law. The filthy clothes of Joshua signified that he was a sinner. Zechariah 3:3. The angel instructed those who stood with him to remove the dirty clothes from Joshua. “…Then he said to Joshua, ‘See, I have taken away your sin, and I will put fine garments on you.” Zechariah 3:4, NIV. The “rich garments” represent the righteousness given to those who commit themselves to the Lord. Joshua was a helpless sinner, a “burning stick” unable to get out of the fire. The Lord and only He could snatch the helpless sinner out of the fire. Why did the Lord do it? “‘ But it was because the Lord loved you and kept his oath he swore to your forefathers’…” Deuteronomy 7:8, NIV.
We do not have to wait until we are worthy of acquiring clean clothes needed to stand before the Lord on our own. The yielded believers, who have surrendered their old worthless self, can come into the presence of the Lord as they are. The Lord provides what is needed to stand before Him, blameless. “God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.” 2 Corinthians 5:21, NIV. Paul, in 1 Corinthians 3:10 – 15, states that he, “by the grace of God,” has “laid a foundation,” and “someone else is building on it.” The foundation Paul laid is unchangeable and unalterable. “For no one can lay any foundation other than the one already laid, which is Jesus Christ.” 1 Corinthians 3:11, NIV. God does not demand perfect knowledge, understanding, and excellent works. He requires the righteous works in Jesus Christ. The righteous works is the faith, the trust, that God has, in the body of Jesus Christ on the cross, accomplished everything we need for our salvation.
However, the structure we the sinners make, with an imperfect material, must be built on the one and the only foundation, Jesus Christ. The fire at the end, as Paul asserts, will prove if the material employed is good or not. If not, the fire will destroy the material used. The builder himself, however, “will be saved as one snatched out of the fire.” If we unknowingly employ less than good material to build on the One and Only Foundation, Jesus Christ, will not deny us eternity. Altering the Only foundation, or establishing another foundation of our making, will not be excused. Our righteousness and qualification for eternity with God are in Jesus Christ, and Him only. He is our righteousness. Romans 3″21.