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Wearing the Wedding Garments

By Watchman | July 11, 2008

“The kingdom of heaven is like a certain king who arranged a marriage for his son, and sent out his servants to call those who were invited to the wedding; and they were not willing to come.  Again, he sent out other servants to call those who were invited to the wedding; and they were not willing to come…Then he said to his servants, ‘the wedding is ready, those who were invited were not worthy.  Therefore go into the highways, and as many as you find, invite to the wedding.’  So those servants went out into the highways and gathered together all whom they found, both bad and good.  And the wedding hall was filled with guests.  But when the king came in to see the guests, he saw a man there who did not have on a wedding garment. So he said to him, ‘Friend, how did you come in here without a wedding garment?’  And he was speechless.  Then the king said to the servants, ‘Bind him hand and foot, take him away, and cast him into outer darkness; there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.’  For many are called, but  few are chosen.”  (Matt. 22:2-14, NKJV)

 

     We’ve been hearing a lot lately from many who call themselves Christians that “God made me as I am; He won’t blame me for what I do,” or “A loving God doesn’t condemn people to Hell because, after all, He made us what we are.”  As I pointed out in a previous post, Jesus’ own words do not bear out this position.  In the process of recreating God in our image, we have ceased to turn to Scripture (the true, unchanging and unchangeable Word) to determine the mind of God.  As did the king in the above passage of Scripture, God will meet us wherever we are and invite us into His kingdom.  He welcomes the poor, the hurting and the sinner and offers him a place at the table of the feast of the Most High God.  However, also like the king in the parable, He expects us to put on the “wedding clothes” appropriate to the occasion.  If we refuse to do so, then we will be cast out of the kingdom.  If accepting Jesus as our Lord and Savior makes no difference in our lives and hearts, then we have not truly come prepared to the wedding.  What are the proper wedding clothes? 

 

 Part of it is told us by Paul in his letter to the Ephesians.  He tells us to girdle our waists with truth, put on the breastplate of righteousness, shoe our feet with the preparation of the gospel of peace and take up the shield of faith with which to quench the fiery darts of the evil one.  The Epistle of James tells us that we who call ourselves by His name must be slow to anger and must put aside filthiness and wickedness and show compassion to our neighbors.  Jesus, in John’s gospel, says that we must love one another as He loved us–and that if we love Him, we must keep His commandments.

 

So, why can you often not tell Christians from unbelievers?  This is an important question, because not being able to find an answer to it causes many people investigating Christianity to lose interest or to condemn the Christian community as hypocritical.  Actually, there are several reasonable answers.  I won’t address them all, but will list a few I consider to be paramount.

1.  Too often, people identify themselves as Christian when what they actually mean is that they are not Buddhist, Muslim, Jewish or actively atheist.  Some may attend church, but consider that if they  do so their “obligation” to God is fulfilled.  Have to point out here that going to church doesn’t make one a Christian any more than walking into a barn makes one a cow.  Too many mainstream churches have been so busy preaching a politically correct view of a rather socialist, all-accepting God that they have neglected to preach the necessity of accepting the atoning power of Christ’s blood for redemption and the casting off of sin.

2.  Often even some born-again believers fail to study the Scriptures.  I remember a member of the Episcopal clergy who said that the Bible is not truth, it just contains truth.  God, however, proclaims Scripture to be His inerrant Word, Holy Spirit-breathed into carefully selected prophets whom He trusted to write down exactly what He told them.  If we do not read Scripture, we cannot know the will of God.  Our entire relationship with Him and the reality of our salvation depends upon whether or not we choose to allow God to be the Lord of our lives.  Our instincts and emotions can play us false:  God’s Word cannot.

3.  Remember, we are all of us works in progress.  Any person (laity or preacher) who claims to be without sin is either lying or fooling themselves.  At the time of our rebirth in Christ Jesus, we are recreated anew and our prior sins washed away “as far as the east is from the west.”  However, because we are human and live in a fallen world, we will sin from time to time.   Sometimes it may take years before we can learn to completely rid ourselves of sins of anger or resentment or pride. Sometimes we’ll get mad and use words we know God objects to, or use our tongues as weapons against others. Praise God!  He’s always there ready to forgive us and lift us back up when we fall!

 

Brothers and sisters, time is running out but it’s not too late to answer the call that God has placed upon your life.  Prepare your hearts and don your wedding clothes and accept the invitation to the marriage supper of the Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world!

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