We have been discussing the end times and how we must always be ready for Christ return. Waiting on others can be frustrating especially for people that do not like to be late or that think if you are not ten minutes early then you are late.
We say things like “ARE YOU READY YET?” as we grow in our frustration with the person that is still getting ready. Each individual seems to get ready at a different pace than each other but we must all get ready.
As a child Easter was the day we had to dress up. Suits were bought and family pictures would follow so everyone had on their best outfit and took extra time doing their hair. The reason Christian put so much emphasis on Easter is because it is because Christ not only died but rose again that we are made ready by Him.
All other religions are about you doing things to earn favor with God. Many people believe that if they do certain things and don’t do other things then that automatically qualifies them to be ready. The problem is that what they are wearing is not acceptable attire for the occasion.
We have all gone to different functions and the first thing we ask is, “what are we supposed to wear?” You cannot show up to a place where you are supposed to have a jacket and tie and not have one.
But Christianity is about Jesus giving us our clothes so that we can be ready for God. Just like we have to have certain clothes to get into places, the Bible says that we have to be righteous in order to see God.
Isaiah 61:10 I delight greatly in the Lord; my soul rejoices in my God. For he has clothed me with garments of salvation and arrayed me in a robe of his righteousness, as a bridegroom adorns his head like a priest, and as a bride adorns herself with her jewels.
The theme of preparing for the wedding banquet is the image Christ gives us in being ready for His return. In Matthew 22 we discussed that the groom would show up un-expectantly and get His bride.
Everyone would be invited to the wedding banquet and clothes would even be given by the King so that people would be dressed properly. If you were not dressed properly then you were thrown out. (See Matthew 22:1-14)
2 Corinthians 5:21 God made him who had no sin to be sin[a] for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.
Revelation 19:7-8 Let us rejoice and be glad and give him glory! For the wedding of the Lamb has come, and his bride has made herself ready. 8 Fine linen, bright and clean, was given her to wear.”
See also: 1 Peter 1:4;
People don’t accept the free gift because they want to earn their own salvation.
We are made righteous it is not something we earn on our own. We have to accept the free clothes that are given to us instead of showing up in our best outfit thinking it is good enough.
Righteousness is a condition not an action and it is a condition we cannot earn on our own. Jesus Christ died and rose again so as we accept the free gift of salvation from Him then we are declared righteous as well.
Romans 3:10 As it is written:“There is no one righteous, not even one
Just like the Man in Matthew 22 thought he was good enough with how he was dressed so many people do not accept the free righteousness (Clothes) that Jesus Christ offers. They do not believe that their actions separated them from a Holy God who is sinless. We compare ourselves to each other and think that we are righteous. The problem is when we stand in front of a Holy God then we see just how short we fall of His perfection.
One of the things I hear often is that God is not fair. The thought is if a person is good enough then God should cut them a break and allow them into Heaven. I will tell you that God is not fair because He did not make us pay for our own sins. God is not fair because He sacrificed Himself in order to be in a right relationship with us. If God was fair then none of us would make it to Heaven.
Have you ever heard the phrase Scape Goat?
We use the phrase to talk about someone who gets the blame even when it was not their fault. According to Leviticus 16 Jesus is our scape goat who symbolically carried our sins out into the desert and away from us. The message of Christianity is simply that Jesus did for us what we could not do on our own and that was making us righteous so we can be with God.
People do not want to accept the free gift because it is humbling
Joni Erickson Tada says that she understands being clothed in righteousness. Joni is a paraplegic and has to humbly accept the personal and private act of being clothed by someone else. Most of us do not know what that is like to have someone get intimate with us to the point of helping us put on every piece of clothing we have on.
Because we are independent we do not need any help getting dressed. Just like Joni has to rely on someone to dress her, we as well have to rely on Christ to get us dressed. It is humbling because you can do nothing to earn it. You are latterly helpless to do anything but accept the free gift.
If there was any other way to Heaven then Christ died for nothing.
When we fully understand the it is by Christ sacrifice that we are made righteous we will praise Him all the more. When we realize we cannot earn His favor on our lives we accept Jesus as our Scape Goat.
How are you clothed?
There is a set of clothes that are waiting for you that are offered freely if you will accept them. The problem is people either do not see themselves properly or think they can always come later to receive them.
The people who do not see themselves properly are divided into two groups. The religious and the sinners. The religious think that their actions help them find favor with God and therefore God will accept them because they look pretty good. Remember the problem is not whether or not you look pretty good the problem is if you are perfect. So the first group, like the religious leaders of Jesus day, reject Christ free gift because they believe that how they act will get them into Heaven.
Yes when we are clothed properly it changes our actions but our actions do not change our standing with God.
The other group is the sinners who know that they have done bad things in this life and they do not come to Christ because they believe they are not worthy of Him. The truth of it is, non of us are worthy of Christ. Again, He gives us our clothes and He makes us righteous.
So the good news is you can not be bad enough, the bad news is you cannot be good enough.
The other group is the ones who believe that there is always more time to come to Christ. These people the Bible warns us about because they want to live for themselves. They know to accept the free gift of Christ means to sacrifice your life for the sake of Christ. So they selfishly continue on doing their own thing thinking they always have time to follow Jesus. Unfortunately, too many of them tragically die before they give their lives to Christ.
All three groups will have clothes waiting for them that will never be picked up. When Christ died on the cross He made it possible for all people to go to Heaven but too many will not accept the free gift.
Have you accepted the free gift of righteousness?
Have you allowed Jesus to intimately get into your life and change you?
As we see ourselves the way God sees us we will not only beg for mercy and forgiveness, we will chance every part of our lives for Him.