Precious Jesus

"Afresh, precious, precious Jesus, I resign this body to You, for doing or suffering, for living or dying. Will You accept it? Will You use me for Your glory more than heretofore, that You may have some little return for all the benefits You have done to me? Oh, do grant this request; my heart longs for it, my spirit pleads for it; and "if You will, You can." You know the hot temptation of which I am the subject. Bring Your glory out of it, and keep me from the evil, and it shall be well." - Ruth Bryan

Saturday, April 14, 2012

The Wedding Garment

and he *said to him, 'Friend, how did you come in here without wedding clothes?' And the man was speechless.  - Matthew 22:12

I was reading a book about Jesus' parables by Dr. Boice and came to the parable about the invitation to the wedding feast. I took special note of the man who came dressed inappropriately, and his utter speechlessness when he was asked about his garments.  There are so many today who are wearing the same garment as the man in this parable, and yet they think they have a place at the banquet.  Let's look at what Dr. Boice says concerning this verse....

'What is the wedding garment? It is the righteousness of Christ provided freely to all who will repent of sin and trust in the Lord Jesus Christ for salvation.  If we are clothed in that righteousness, we will be able to stand before God and rejoice in our salvation. If we are not clothed in it, we will be speechless before Him. 
I am interested in that detail - 'the man was speechless'- because that is the same thought Paul expresses in Romans 3:19 when he says that 'every mouth will be silenced and the whole world held accountable to God'. During the long years of his ministry, Donald Grey Barnhouse developed a way of presenting the Gospel that used that text. When he was speaking to a person who wasn't sure he was a Christian, Barnhouse would ask 'suppose you should die tonight and appear before God in heaven and He should ask you "What right do you have to come into my heaven?" What would you say? Barnhouse had learned from experience that there were only three possible answers a person might give. 

Many would cite their good works, saying, 'well, I'd say I've done the best I can  and I've never done anything particularly bad.' That is an appeal to one's record. But, as Barnhouse pointed out, our record is one of sin and thus "no one will be declared righteous in God's sight by observing the law" {Romans 3:20}. It is our record that got us into trouble in the first place. 

A second group of people would respond as did a woman whom Barnhouse once met on a ship crossing the Atlantic. He asked, 'if God demanded of you "what right have you to come into my heaven?" what would you say?' She responded ,'I wouldn't have a thing to say', in other words, she would be speechless. Her mouth would be silenced and she would be held accountable to God. Jesus says that will be the case of all when God actually does ask that question. In this life we may get by with the delusion that our record is pretty good and that God will be satisfied with it. But in that day, when we see God in His glory and understand what true righteousness is, our folly will be apparent to ourselves as well as to all other beings in the universe, and we will be reduced to silence - IF we are not clothed with the wedding garment of our Lord's own righteousness. 

 The third and only acceptable answer, is, of course. "What right do you have to come into my heaven?" 'None at all, so far as I myself am concerned. But Jesus died for my sins and has given me the covering of His own righteousness in which alone I dare to stand before You. I come at your invitation and in that clothing.' 
Will God reject such a one? He will not, for it is such persons He has bid come to Him.' - Dr. Boice, from his book 'The Parables of Jesus' pages 72-73, published by Moody Press

How many today are not properly clothed; they are lacking miserably the 'wedding garment', the righteousness of Christ. They are relying upon their works, their decision, their opening of their heart to 'let Jesus in'. They are relying upon a water baptism, a sacrament, a mere verbal profession with no understanding of the doctrine of regeneration. The free will theology and the salvation by works theology are both equally damning to the soul. We cannot embrace either one and must warn sinners of these deceptive lies. May our great and awesome God be merciful to sinners, may we cry out "Father, in wrath, remember mercy!"

"When the Father sees a sinner casting aside their own righteousness, and simply trusting in His dear Son, He is well pleased." ~ J.C. Ryle


Linda said...

Amen good post lyn.

I'd hate to be going there naked -chuckles.

I heard or read somewhere-don't remember how it goes. Basically this guy wanted to take his gold to heaven and so finally he died and they buried his gold with him. He takes it up to the gates and the Angel Gabriel meets him there and notices the man has bars in his hands. So Gabriel asks him "why are you bringing asphalt with you"?

God richly bless you sister

lyn said...

Good one!

Imagine how many will be speechless on that day, unable to answer because what they thought was the way to heaven turned out to be deception. I do pray for God's saving grace for sinners and for truth to go forth. There is so very much deception in the world, always has been, but it is increasing.

Bless you sister!