The Wedding Garment
This sermon primarily deals with how we respond to the gift of salvation
It is a gift because we do nothing to earn it. Paul says in Eph. 2 that we are saved by grace through faith and not by works -it is the gift of God so that no man can boast! God extends His grace freely to all peoples; “For God so loved the world that he gave his only son…” He then invites us to come and freely partake in the feast of salvation that He has put together. As with the invited guests in the text, we all respond differently to the invitation:
Some reject the invitation out right with no reason; others reject the invitation with reason, some reject it with violence.
The second group of people accept the invitation and attend the feast of salvation on the host’s terms; others accept the invitation but want to be part of the feast of their own terms!
When the first group of invited guests (Israel) refused to attend the banquet, i.e. accept Christ as savior and receive the gift of salvation, God extended an invitation to all other peoples including you and I. Like the second group of invited guests, we accepted the invitation to the banquet and showed up at the feast. The beautiful thing about this banquet (which is symbolic of being born again in Christ) is that the guests were asked to come just as they were. They did not have to come in fine linen and beautiful garments because the king (host) provided each of them with a fitting wedding garment.
As it is with coming to Christ, we need not cleanse ourselves before taking the step. Jesus calls us to come in whatever state we are and He clothes us with the garment of righteousness. We have all sinned but through the gift of salvation God justifies us (declares us righteous) when we believe in Christ and in so doing clothes us in His righteousness making us new.
However, salvation does not end with justification, we must grow in righteousness (sanctification). The process of sanctification is carried out in us by the Holy Spirit who helps to transform us to be more like Christ each day.
Like the man who showed up at the banquet without the wedding garment, some of us accept the invitation to come to Christ, we show up at the banquet but want to live by our own rules.
The wedding garment represents the righteousness of God. Wearing the righteousness of God will manifest in works. Though we don’t need works to receive the righteousness of God, but the righteousness of God with which you are clothed will produce righteous works
The wedding garment also represents the holy character which the Holy Spirit works in us to produce. The holy character is the necessary proof that we are products of God’s grace. It is not enough to accept the invitation to the banquet (saved, justified), we must allow the Holy Spirit whom God gives to us freely to work in us and with us to produce good works (sanctification).