Saturday, February 8, 2014

Matthew 22: Many Called, Few Chosen


Matt 22:1-14 And again Jesus spoke to them in parables, saying,  "The kingdom of heaven may be compared to a king who gave a wedding feast for his son,  and sent his servants to call those who were invited to the wedding feast, but they would not come.  Again he sent other servants, saying, 'Tell those who are invited, See, I have prepared my dinner, my oxen and my fat calves have been slaughtered, and everything is ready. Come to the wedding feast.'  But they paid no attention and went off, one to his farm, another to his business, while the rest seized his servants, treated them shamefully, and killed them.  The king was angry, and he sent his troops and destroyed those murderers and burned their city.  Then he said to his servants, 'The wedding feast is ready, but those invited were not worthy. Go therefore to the main roads and invite to the wedding feast as many as you find.' And those servants went out into the roads and gathered all whom they found, both bad and good. So the wedding hall was filled with guests. But when the king came in to look at the guests, he saw there a man who had no wedding garment.  And he said to him, 'Friend, how did you get in here without a wedding garment?' And he was speechless.  Then the king said to the attendants, 'Bind him hand and foot and cast him into the outer darkness. In that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.'  For many are called, but few are chosen."

Grace is God calling everyone (both good or bad) to participate in His kingdom wedding banquet. It's free because the entrance price has been paid in full by Christ at the Cross. Grace says, "All are welcome." But that is not the same as saying, "All are Saved". Grace calls everyone, but not everyone will respond to be chosen. Salvation is about being chosen rather than just being called. By grace, God call everyone to come. But it is through faith that those who are called respond and become chosen to enter.

What kind of response is required in order to be chosen? It's simple: we need to exchange our dirty street clothes for the wedding garments provided free of charge at the entrance to the banquet hall. We cannot enter on our own terms; we enter on God's terms. That means getting rid of our old clothes (repentance) and then putting on the new wedding garment (faith/obedience). The story of the man who was found in the wedding hall still in his street clothes represents those who presume on God's grace by not responding to His call in the appropriate way. Grace does not dispense with repentance and faith; grace requires repentance and faith.

This parable is a picture of God's kingdom--everything necessary for our salvation and participation in the kingdom banquet has been done at the Cross. There is nothing left for us to do but to take off our filthy clothes of self-righteousness in exchange for the wedding garment of Christ's righteousness. We can't enter the wedding hall still wearing our old clothes of self-righteousness, for they are unfit for the kingdom. We can only enter wearing the robe of righteousness paid for us by Christ. We just have to ask for it--it's free for all who seek and ask by faith.

So many are called but yet pride has prevented many from being chosen because they refuse to throw off their filthy street clothes. They want God to accept them on their own terms. But without repentance (removal of dirty clothes) and faith (putting Christ's righteous garment), we will not be chosen. If we are not chosen, we are not saved and will be cast into the outer darkness where "there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth" (a reference to Hell).

Let's not confuse being called with being chosen. By grace, God call everyone but it is by repentance and faith we become chosen to participate in the Great Wedding Banquet when Christ returns for His Bride.

Father teach us to respond to Your grace with repentance and faith. Amen.

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