Thursday, December 15, 2005

The Wedding Feast

At my dad’s graveside service the preacher compared dying and going to heaven to wearing out your old clothes and going to get new ones. He said this in order to explain death to the kids at the funeral. Although there is some truth to his metaphor, it made me think of another story in the Bible that is very important. If you do not like my religious views, you may not want to read any further.

In Mathew 22, Jesus tells the parable of the Marriage Feast. Verse 11 says that there was a man there not dressed in his wedding clothes. When asked why he had come here without his wedding clothes, the man was speechless. The king ordered the man be bound and cast out into outer darkness; in that place there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth. For many are called, but few are chosen.

It seems to me that this parable is saying that you better be dressed for the wedding before you get there, and not expect that your rags are okay or that someone else will provide clothes at the feast.

So how do you dress yourself for the wedding? There are several places in the Bible where we are told to take off the old and "put on" the new. Romans 13:14 says "But put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provisions for the flesh in regard to its lusts". Ephesians 4:24 says, "put on the new self, which in the likeness of God has been created in righteousness and holiness of the truth." Colossians 3:9-10 says, "Do not lie to one another, since you laid aside the old self with its evil practices, and have put on the new self who is being renewed to a true knowledge according to the image of the One who created him." Verses 12-14 say, "And so, as those who have been chosen of God, holy and beloved, put on a heart of compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience; bearing with one another and forgiving each other, whoever has a complaint against anyone; just as the Lord forgave you, so also should you. And beyond all these things put on love, which is the perfect bond of unity." I love that last part about putting on love and other good things. It reminds me of putting on the whole armor of God in Ephesians 6.

It seems to me that if you want to be dressed for the wedding feast, you need to be putting on your clothes right now. You need to be laying off the old stuff in your life and changing into the image of Christ. He equips you with every good thing to do this. Don’t think that your old rags are good enough (back up to Col 3:5 for a good list of what to put off). Don’t wait until you die to get new clothes or you might be speechless like the man in the parable.

The preacher at my dad’s funeral was saying we will be changed in heaven. I can agree with that, but I think that change starts now. I am not saying that my dad did not have on his wedding clothes. I just think we are putting them on throughout life by walking in the steps of Jesus.

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