"The kingdom of heaven is like unto a certain king, which made a marriage for his son, . . . And when the king came in to see the guests, he saw there a man which had not on a wedding garment: and he saith unto him, Friend, how camest thou in hither not having a wedding garment? And he was speechless. Then said the king to the servants, Bind him hand and foot, and take him away, and cast him into outer darkness; there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth. For many are called, but few are chosen. "
"Calling and justification are not one and the same thing. Calling is the drawing of the sinner to Christ, and it is a work wrought by the Holy Spirit upon the heart, convicting of sin, and inviting to repentance."
We are all called, but only those who have put on the wedding garment will be chosen. What is the wedding garment?
"The parable of the wedding garment opens before us a lesson of the highest consequence. By the marriage is represented the union of humanity with divinity; the wedding garment represents the character all must possess who shall be accounted fit guests for the wedding."
"To the church it is given 'that she should be arrayed in fine linen, clean and white,' 'not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing.' The fine linen, says the Scripture, 'is the righteousness of saints. '
How do we get this imparted character, which is the righteousness of saints?
"By His perfect obedience He made it possible for every human being to obey God's commandments. When we submit ourselves to Christ, the heart is united with His heart, the will is merged in His will, the mind becomes one with His mind, the thoughts are brought into captivity to Him; we live His life. This is what it means to be clothed with the garment of His righteousness. "
Many do not want to believe this. They believe that the wedding garment is just a covering Christ gives us when He comes, but they are deceived. The garment is the character which God works in us.
"The righteousness of Christ is not a cloak to cover unconfessed and unforsaken sin; it is a principle of life that transforms the character and controls the conduct. Holiness is wholeness for God; it is the entire sur-render of heart and life to the indwelling of the principles of heaven. "
"Even your thoughts must be brought into subjection to the will of God and your feelings under the control of reason and religion. Your imagination was not given you to be allowed to run riot and have its own way without any effort at restraint or discipline. If the thoughts are wrong the feelings will be wrong, and the thoughts and the feelings combined make up the moral character. "
"Moral perfection is required of all. Never should we lower the standard of righteousness in order to accommodate inherited and cultivated tendencies to wrong-doing. We need to understand that imperfection of character is sin."
"Men may now excuse their defects of character, but in that day they will offer no excuse."
"God will accept nothing but purity and holiness; one spot, one wrinkle, one defect in the character, will forever debar them from heaven, with all its glories and treasures."
What are spots and defects of character? Since the "thoughts and the feelings combined make up the moral character," defects must be wrong thoughts and feelings, or wrong attitudes.
How could God allow us into heaven with hearts having resentment, bitterness, envy, jealousy, hatred, evil surmising, or any other defects of character? The character will not be changed when Jesus comes.
"Many are deceiving themselves by thinking that the character will be transformed at the coming of Christ, but there will be no conversion of heart at His appearing. Our defects of character must here be repented of, and through the grace of Christ we must overcome them while probation shall last."
"If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. " 1 John 1:9
"The blood of Jesus his Son cleanses us from all sin. "
Today our hearts may be clean. Today we may have a right attitude. If we will come to Jesus and give Him all our wrong thoughts and feelings, our wrong attitudes, the blood of Jesus will cleanse us from all sin. He can change our hearts and fill us with His love today.
"Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it; that he might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word, that he might present it to himself a glorious church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing, but that it should be holy and without blemish."
"It is only the blessed and holy who will be ready for the first resurrection; for when Christ comes, He will not change the character. . . . The Word of God declares that we must be found blameless, without spot or wrinkle or any such thing." ST 2-9-1891
"It is the spiritual and moral character that is of value in the sight of Heaven, and that will survive the grave and be made glorious with immortality for the endless ages of eternity. "
"Be diligent that ye may be found of him in peace, without spot, and blameless."
"The grace of Christ must be woven into every phase of the character."
"In his efforts to reach God's ideal for him, the Christian is to despair of nothing. Moral and spiritual perfection, through the grace and power of Christ, is promised to all. Jesus is the source of power, the fountain of life. . . . At every step we touch His living power."
We will look at one more example of people who thought they were true followers of Jesus but then discovered that they were deceived. What were the Laodiceans needing?