Commentary on "The Wedding Garment"
Day 5: Wednesday, June 8, 2011 - Those Who Came to the Feast, continued
Today’s Lesson begins with this question: “Unless one believes in once saved always saved,” then why wouldn’t God, at some point in history, finally separate the true from the false, the faithful from the unfaithful? A final reckoning seems necessary within a religion where all kinds of believers depend on the promises and good works of Someone outside of them.
In the investigative judgment, the Lesson says, the deciding factor will be whether or not Christ’s followers are clothed in the garment of Christ’s righteousness. The man without the proper garment represents those who choose to wear their own righteousness instead of Christ’s. That garment separates the genuine believer from the false, and that separation is what this parable is all about.
We need a clear message about how we obtain worthiness at His Judgment. Being worthy of the King’s invitation begins by heeding it. Our response is by far the most important decision we will make; it is a matter of life and death.
First, honor the King. This begins with acknowledging His authority to judge all things by repenting of our independent, treasonous thoughts. We don’t put God on trial, test Him, judge Him, or doubt His sovereignty over the whole universe (Deut. 6:16). His counsel shall always stand, and he accomplishes all His purposes (Is. 46:10), meaning He can never fail. His ways are inscrutable and His judgments are unsearchable (Rom. 11:33). He is not the political god of the great controversy, where a demi-god named Satan has put him on trial before the cosmos.
There is only One who can Judge whom the Father has given authority (John 5:22,23). Nowhere does the Bible indicate that Satan is allowed to arraign God in Cosmic Court. Any god that is put on trial and needs vindication from his subjects is a foreign god that we must put away from ourselves.
Accept and believe the invitation that all things are indeed ready. “The Lord has prepared a sacrifice and consecrated His guests” (Zeph. 1:7). This is joyful news that leads us to repent and believe the gospel of the forgiveness of sins. His sacrifice for us is complete, the atonement is finished and our sins are gone forever from God’s records (Jer. 31:34; Heb. 8:12). Jesus is very God, and He is incapable of failing His “consecrated guests.” To doubt that He will forever put away your sins is to doubt His words, “All things are ready,” and draw back from His invitation.
When we believe, it is only because the Spirit quickens us with true faith, something we are incapable of generating by an act of will. Like the blind beggar in John 9, Jesus must anoint our eyes to see Him so we can recognize Him for who He is. When we see Jesus disfigured on the cross for our sins, made hideous as a curse for us (Is. 52:14), all our blinding pride is washed away like mud. We can open our eyes and see Him, or turn away in disgust from the sight (Is. 53:3) and remain blind (John 9:39).
When we accept the invitation to repent and believe in the Son, we are given both a new heart, along with a living human spirit (Ez. 36:26; Jn. 3:6; Eph. 2:5). When the Spirit indwells us we will wear that garment of praise instead of the spirit of heaviness.
“The Spirit of the Lord is upon Me…to grant to those who mourn in Zion—to give them a beautiful headdress instead of ashes, the oil of gladness instead of mourning, the garment of praise instead of a faint spirit.” Isaiah 61:1,3
Unless you confidently posses full and final forgiveness of sins, you will have no peace with God, or within your soul. As David said,
“Blessed is the one whose transgression is forgiven, whose sin is covered. Blessed is the man against whom the Lord counts no iniquity, and in whose spirit is no deceit.” Psalms 32:1,2
The garment of praise is the true joy and heartfelt worship that comes from being completely right with God and alive by His Spirit. Forgiveness of our sins means liberation from the chains of self-justification and hypocrisy. It means giving up our right to put God on trial, and submitting to His rule. The life of walking in the Spirit must come from a fresh, clean relationship with God where there is no condemnation. That is the truthful worship that the Father seeks.
In contrast, the investigative judgment described in the Lesson denies our full and final forgiveness of sins, and thus disturbs our peace with God. It denies Christ’s completed atonement, and that Christ’s perfect, outside-of-me righteousness is enough to stand before God right now. In this life, we never outgrow the need for God’s forgiveness in Christ as our righteous substitute. We can joyfully wear our garments of praise, showing off our total dependence on Christ’s merits and power. Being ready for judgment is to:
“be found in Him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which comes through faith in Christ, the righteousness from God that depends on faith.” Phil. 3:3-10
Copyright 2011 BibleStudiesForAdventists.com. All rights reserved. Revised June 8, 2011. This website is published by Life Assurance Ministries, Glendale, Arizona, USA, the publisher of Proclamation! Magazine. Contact email: BibleStudiesForAdventists@gmail.com.
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