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What About the Wedding Garment? – Matthew 22:12

by pastorjuhl ~ November 3rd, 2011

One of the tricky parts of the Gospel for Trinity 20 is the wedding garment. It’s easy to preach “many are called” in the first half of our blessed Lord’s parable. How do you preach “few are chosen” without sounding like a Calvinist? Take some hints from Blessed Martin Luther’s Church Postils for Trinity 20:

“Now the wedding garment is Christ himself, which is put on by faith, as the Apostle says in Rom. 13, 14: “Put ye on the Lord Jesus Christ.” Then the garment gives forth a lustre of itself, that is, faith in Christ bears fruit of itself, namely, love which works through faith in Christ. These are the good works, that also flash forth from faith, and entirely gratuitously do they go forth, they are done alone for the good of our neighbor; otherwise they are heathenish works, if they flow not out of faith; they will later come to naught and be condemned, and be cast into the outermost darkness” (First Church Postil).

“…it is easy to understand what is meant by this man’s being without a wedding garment, namely, without the new adornment in which we please God, which is faith in Christ, and therefore also without truly good works. He remains in the old rags and tatters of his own fleshly conceit, unbelief and security, without penitence and understanding of his misery. He does not from his heart seek comfort in the grace of Christ, nor betters  his life by it, and looks for no more in the Gospel than what his flesh covets. For this wedding garment must be the new light of the heart, kindled in the heart by the knowledge of the graciousness of this bridegroom and his wedding feast. Thus the heart will wholly cleave to Christ and, transfused by such comfort and joy, will so live and do as it knows to by pleasing unto him, even as a bride towards the bridegroom.

“This St. Paul calls “putting on the Lord Christ” (Gal. 3:27; Rom. 13:14), also “being clothed that we shall not be found naked” (2 Cor. 5:3); which takes place especially through faith, by which the heart is renewed and purified, and of which thereupon also the fruits – provided it be the true faith – follow and prove themselves. On the other hand, where there is no faith, there also the Holy Ghost is not, nor such fruits as please God. For whosoever does not know Christ through faith and has him not in his heart, he will also care little for God’s word, nor think of living according to it; he will remain proud, insolent and headstrong, though outwardly he may, with a false semblance, practice hypocrisy and deceit” (Second Church Postil).

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