Off With The Old, On With The New

Image © Lars Justinen from

The summer of 2000 was brutally hot in Texas. It was not a good time to be trained in as a UPS delivery driver. I had worked a couple years inside the hub as a sorter, and jumped at the opportunity to become a delivery guy, but being a UPS delivery guy was unlike any other delivery job I had ever had and the heat and frustration drove me to quit and go back to working as a supervisor inside the hub.

I was very frustrated the morning I quit, and just went into my boss’ office wearing regular clothes instead of my delivery uniform, and told him I quit. Looking back I think my boss would have encouraged me to keep trying, but since I wore regular clothes instead of my uniform I had sent him a message that my mind was made up. I had repented of being a UPS delivery guy and my clothes bore testimony to that fact. My boss had no choice but to honor my decision since the uniform was mandatory for delivery drivers.

When an athlete changes teams, he changes uniforms. Along with the new clothes comes a new allegiance for his new team. By taking off his old uniform he is no longer bound to be loyal to the former team. A change has taken place.

In Zechariah 3, Joshua the priest is wanting to pledge his allegiance to God, but Satan was challenging Joshua’s claim. After all, Joshua was still wearing his old sin polluted uniform he got from Satan.

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.” And I said, “Let them put a clean turban on his head.” So they put a clean turban on his head, and they put the clothes on him. And the Angel of the Lord stood by. Zechariah 3:3-5 NKJV

Notice there was no instruction to put the new clothes over the old clothes. The old clothes had to be removed first.

No repentance is genuine that does not work reformation. The righteousness of Christ is not a cloak to cover unconfessed and unforsaken sin; it is a principle of life that transforms the character and controls the conduct. Holiness is wholeness for God; it is the entire surrender of heart and life to the indwelling of the principles of heaven. -Ellen White, Desire of Ages, pages 555-556

In world War II you could not fight for Britain in a German uniform. A football player can’t play for England while wearing a German uniform either. You can’t try to wear one uniform over the other one either. Then neither side will trust you! Remember when David was hiding out with the Philistines so Saul could not find him? When it came time for battle, the Philistines sent David back. The Philistine princes said,

““Make this fellow return, that he may go back to the place which you have appointed for him, and do not let him go down with us to battle, lest in the battle he become our adversary.” 1 Samuel 29:4

No, you can’t hang on to your old uniform when you change sides. A boy does not want his girlfriend wearing her ex-boyfriend’s school jacket. He is not going to try to fit his jacket over the old jacket. The former boyfriend’s jacket has to go before the new boyfriend will let her wear his.

Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new. 2 Corinthians 5:17 NKJV

The new does not cover up the old. The old passes away. Christ’s robe of righteousness does not cover us while we willfully continue in sin. Just like with Joshua, the old clothes had to go. The good news is Christ takes away those clothes for us. Joshua did not take away those filthy rags he was wearing, but he let God have them removed. Likewise we can’t change ourselves, but if we fully surrender to God, God will take away the old uniform Satan gave us, and we will be clothed with the righteous robe of Christ. We have become turncoats. We have betrayed the side of Satan and have become traitors to the prince of darkness and that is a good thing! We have changed sides and we don’t need to wear Satan’s high school jacket anymore. We have put on Christ.

But put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh, to fulfill its lusts. Romans 13:14 NKJV



Off With The Old, On With The New — 12 Comments

  1. at one time when i was in my teen's I left my old boyfriend for some one else but did not want to give up his car he told me I cannot keep his gift if I don't want him I had to make a choice which one I want and so it is with Christ you can't keep Satan's gift and want to accept Jesus gift.

  2. I am puzzled by the fact that in our church the deaconesses have to wear all white and hat at communion or when they are on duty. There are other women who join them. They look down on the ones that are not like them including my wife. I believe they are using their righteousness to show off instead of God's righteousness not to say that they look like a bunch of nuns. My daughter asked me why women can't be servers when giving out the bread and the wine?

  3. That is very true, it is amazing that we are Christians but we are still wearing Satan's garment we only pull God's garment when we need it but for Satan's we wear it full time

  4. Hi Emil, I've been in the church over 35 years and have never seen a deaconess wear white as part of the deaconess dress code.

    It might be a cultural custom in some places but definetely not in Australia.

    God Bless.

  5. William your quote from desire of ages may leave the impression that it is up to us to make the right choices of our own ability and determination.
    Isaiah 61:10 says "I will greatly rejoice in the Lord" Why? One reason is,"For He has clothed me with garments of salvation". "He has covered me with the robe of rightousness". Reason. "Our rightousness is as filthy rags". Secondly Ellen White in Steps to Christ pgs.25-27 and beyond says, we are totally incapable of repentance on our own. She says the same in, "A New Life", page 20. Also in, "That I may know Him" page 109. Our part is to ask for repentance. To me this is the most comforting thought, that we like Paul in Romans 7 do not have to fight the battle on our own. Jesus is not willing to allow that. 2Peter 3:9 He is not willing that any should parish but that all should come to repentance. One would have to make a conscious effort to be lost. A refusal to believe or trust in God.

    • William I guess what caught my eye was what appeared to be a need or a change that we have to accomplish in order to have the robe of Christ righteousness put on us. I believe that the references that I mentioned, say that those changes are gifts from Jesus through, or by way of, the Holy Spirit. Our sinful nature makes it impossible to accomplish the changes that need to be made on our own. We may have a formula and a check list but that is not likely to produce a satisfactory outcome.

  6. Perhaps I should have said something before this except that I do agree with William, we need to change which is something I think is very well supported in scripture. The question, however, is what is being exchanged in Zech 3?

    A serious look at the text in question reveals a two step process. First is the removal, “I have removed your iniquity from you” (Zec 3:4 NKJV) then the second is the charge “If you will walk in My ways, And if you will keep My command . . .” (Zec 3:7 NKJV). That is the same formula Jesus used with the woman caught in adultery. First “Neither do I condemn you” and then second, “go and sin no more” (Jn 8:11 NKJV). It is the same as saying, “I have justified you and set you aside as a child of God, now you must improve through sanctification by the Spirit.”

    The word “iniquity” is to me a strange word that is translated a number of ways but generally it means, “perversity, depravity, iniquity, guilt or punishment of iniquity” which is a sort of parallel to sin or wrong doing. For instance Isaiah recounts one of his visions, “Then one of the seraphim flew to me, having in his hand a live coal which he had taken with the tongs from the altar. And he touched my mouth with it, and said: ‘Behold, this has touched your lips; Your iniquity is taken away, And your sin purged’" (Isa 6:6-7 NKJV). This is the same language used in Zechariah only Zechariah uses clothing instead.

    To me then what is being said in Zechariah is about the same as what John the Baptist testified of Christ, “Behold! The Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!” (Jn 1:29 NKJV). It is the condemnation of sin that is being removed and in its place a clean slate where no sins can be seen. Or to put it another way, the exchange is Christ’s perfect righteousness in place of our total unrighteousness. That is one of the things the cross did for us, He took our sin that we might have His righteousness. It is the language of justification, the free gift of God.

  7. This reminds me of what I read in Christ's Object Lessons, page 316 (in the chapter on the wedding feast parable): "The righteousness of Christ will not cover one cherished sin. A man may be a law-breaker in heart; yet if he commits no outward act of transgression, he may be regarded by the world as possessing great integrity. But God's law looks into the secrets of the heart. Every act is judged by the motives that prompt it. Only that which is in accord with the principles of God's law will stand in the judgment."


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