Weekly Bible Reading Reflection (Week 14): Clothed in the Righteousness of Christ

I hope that these weekly articles have been helpful to you. The session decided to have me write these articles so that the church could be built up, assisted in studying Scripture as we read through the Bible together over the next two years. If nothing else, I hope that you see one of these articles pop up and think, “Oh yeah, I should read my Bible.” If that’s all this accomplishes, then it’s time well spent.


Growing up, there were always Bibles around my house. You got extra “Awana bucks” if you brought your Bible, and there were more than a few times I just grabbed the closest one I could find…because they were all over the house. Today, things haven’t changed. I still have tons of Bibles. They take up close to a full shelf in my study, and I believe they take up about half a shelf at home. Here’s the problem, though: from my childhood until today, I don’t think I’ve ever actually read the Bible like I should.


Now, don’t get me wrong, I study for my sermons each week. I spend time preparing the Sunday morning message, the Sunday evening message, and the Wednesday evening Bible study. Yet I had to take my own advice that I have when we started this Bible reading plan. I fell behind, and I’ve had to jump back in. Now, I say that to (hopefully) accomplish two things. First, if you’ve fallen behind, the fact that the pastor did too should let you off the hook. It happens. People fall behind in their Bible reading plans. No need to “catch up.” Just jump back in and keep reading. Second, though, I hope we can all take a moment and reflect on how important it really is to be reading God’s Word. Today, as I was studying for my sermon on Sunday, I read this from Simon Kistemaker:


The Bible is still a best seller, but the people who regularly read it are a minority. Furthermore, persons who search the Scriptures, as the Bereans did in Paul’s day (see Acts 17:11), are in a class by themselves; they usually attend a seminary or Bible college. But serious Bible study should not be limited to one particular group of people. The Bible is an open book in which God tells us about the riches of salvation we have in Christ Jesus. Therefore, study the Scriptures to be wise in respect to salvation (II Tim. 3:15).[1]


These articles are designed to help you take Kistemaker’s advice. They’re here to remind you to read. They’re here to encourage you to not lose heart. And they’re here to help you to study God’s Word. God’s Word is a means of grace, and there is no more worthwhile endeavor than to study it so that you may know the Author, God himself.


Leviticus 8


With that said, then, I want to take some time to look at Leviticus 8 this week. This is the record of Aaron’s ordination service. You may remember that a few weeks ago we talked about the instructions for the ordination service and how they pointed forward to Christ. You can find that article here. In that article, I focused mainly on the sacrifices offered in the ordination service and how these sacrifices showed that Aaron and his sons needed the ultimate sacrifice of Christ to truly take away their sins.


Well, today I want us to look at how Aaron and his sons didn’t just have atonement for their sins, they were clothed in holy garments. In verses 6-9 we read,


And Moses brought Aaron and his sons and washed them with water. And he put the coat on him and tied the sash around his waist and clothed him with the robe and put the ephod on him and tied the skillfully woven band of the ephod around him, binding it to him with the band. And he placed the breastpiece on him, and in the breastpiece he put the Urim and Thummim. And he set the turban on his head, and on the turban, in front, he set the golden plate, the holy crown, as the Lord commanded.


These garments are very important. They set the high priest apart as the one who will make atonement for the people before God. The entire chapter of Exodus 28 is dedicated to instructing Moses on how to make the priest’s garments. There are beautiful jewels, ornate settings, and a turban on which a gold plate is fastened that says, “Holy to the Lord (Exodus 28:36).” By giving them these garments, God has made Aaron and his sons, poor miserable sinners that they were, “Holy to the Lord.”


And this theme of pure garments signifying the righteousness of God being given to his servants is found elsewhere in Scripture. One of my favorite passages in the Old Testament is found in Zechariah chapter 3. Here Zechariah sees a vision of Joshua, the high priest in his day, being accused by Satan before God. And how could Satan not accuse him. His garments were filthy, meaning his iniquity was great. But God rebukes Satan. He tells him that he chose Joshua. He’s “a brand plucked from the fire.” And so God takes away the filthy garments, saying, “Behold, I have taken your iniquity away from you, and I will clothe you with pure vestments…Let them put a clean turban on his head.” In Zechariah’s day the priesthood had been desecrated. It had fallen far from what it was meant to be when it was established in our text today, but God was faithful. He gave his righteousness to Joshua just like he gave his righteousness to Aaron.


But the theme doesn’t even stop there. Remember Peter says that Christ’s church is a “royal priesthood (1 Peter 2:9),” and when the church is depicted in Revelation 7, it’s worth noting what is said about their garments. In verse 9, John notes that the multitude can’t be numbered, comes from every nation, and they’re clothed in white robes. In verse 13, the angel asks, “Who are these, clothed in white robes?” Then he answers his question in verse 14, “These are the ones coming out of the great tribulation. They have washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb.


So, Christians, I hope you see that the great salvation you have in Christ can be seen all the way back in the days of Moses. It is no less miraculous that God would give you his righteousness than it was for him to give Aaron and Moses his righteousness, or David, or Solomon, or Joshua the high priests. Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, and every sinner that has ever been saved has been saved by his sacrifice and given his righteousness. Thanks be to God!

[1] Simon J. Kistemaker, New Testament Commentary: Exposition of James, Epistles of John, Peter, and Jude (Grand Rapids: Baker, 1987), 55.