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What About the “Wedding Garment”? (Trinity 20 – Matthew 9:1-8)

by pastorjuhl ~ October 17th, 2012

Three from Luther:

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 luster 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 be pleasing unto him, even as a bride towards the bridegroom. – Second Church Postil

Before Judgment Day, sitting among the guests is the person who does not have on a wedding garment, meanwhile doing little else than to ridicule the bridegroom. At a marriage a person ought to dress up out of respect for the bridegroom and the bride; it is a great insult to both if he does not. If a blacksmith arrives from his forge dressed in his long overgarment and skullcap, with coal-lack bears and face covered with soot, and wants to mix with the wedding guests and be a part of the marriage procession, everyone, particularly the bridegroom, would think that the man was either out of his mind or that he was doing this to spite the bridegroom. This is exactly what the improperly dressed guest was doing. that is why the king addresses him, saying, Friend, how do you come to be here without your wedding garment? In other words, By coming without proper dress you dishonor and spite me! These are the kind of people you will find also in the church. They listen to the preaching, are baptized, partake of the Sacrament, and yet do not wear wedding garments; that is, they do not believe, do not demonstrate any serious intent, make believe they are Christian, and use the name Christian, just as the pope and his band, in order to fill their stomachs and have a good living. They do not become Christians for God’s sake or for the sake of their soul’s salvation, but only because the name puts food into their stomachs. And there are such despicable people also among the Christians, such as today’s factious spirits, fanatics, and all false Christians, who are looking for something in the gospel other than God’s glory and their salvation, namely, for their own glory, wealth, and power. – Second House Postil

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