July, Day 21

Text: Matthew 22:11-14

 "But when the king came in to look over the dinner guests, he saw there a man not dressed in wedding clothes, and he *said to him, 'Friend, how did you come in here without wedding clothes?' And he was speechless. Then the king said to the servants, 'Bind him hand and foot, and cast him into the outer darkness; in that place there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth.'  For many are called, but few are chosen." (NASB)

The king examined those who accepted his invitation.  One person stood out because he was inappropriately dressed.  When the king asked him why he was inappropriately dressed, he had no response.  His behavior produced severe consequences. In fact, the consequences were as dramatic as those of disrespectful nobility.  Because he was invited did not mean he could do as he pleased.

The point is not difficult, but it may be easy to be distracted from the focus.  The focus is not on clothing, but on behavior.  The person was dressed inappropriately.  There was an appropriate way to dress for weddings—for example, one would not dress for a wedding as he did to work in the field.  The man knew better and could have dressed appropriately.  He did not behave as he knew how to behave.  He did not show respectful appreciation.

Because he was invited did not mean he was excused from all responsibility.  There is enormous emphasis in the New Testament Epistles on the responsible behavior of those who follow Christ and thereby come to God.  God’s interest in the person does not give the person a right to show disrespect.  Yes, it is God’s desire to extend salvation to all (see 1 Timothy 2:3, 4), but that does not mean all will be saved (see 2 Peter 2:20-22).

In a desire to expand God’s salvation, we often present a “no responsibility salvation.”  While it is true that we cannot earn divine mercy, grace, redemption, and forgiveness (1 Corinthians 1:30), we must behave responsibly (Ephesians 4:25-32).

Suggestion for reflection: What is responsible salvation behavior?  (Read Ephesians 2:1-10.)

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