Christ's Object Lessons
by Ellen G. White
Chapter 24: Without a Wedding Garment
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God is love. He has shown that love in the gift of
Christ. When "He gave His only begotten Son, that
whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have
everlasting life," He withheld nothing from His purchased
possession. (John 3:16.) He gave all heaven, from which
we may draw strength and efficiency, that we be not
repulsed or overcome by our great adversary. But the love
of God does not lead Him to excuse sin. He did not excuse
it in Satan; He did not excuse it in Adam or in Cain; nor
will He excuse it in any other of the children of men. He
will not connive at our sins or overlook our defects of
character. He expects us to overcome in His name.
Those who reject the gift of Christ's righteousness are [p. 317] rejecting the attributes of character which would constitute
them the sons and daughters of God. They are
rejecting that which alone could give them a fitness for a
place at the marriage feast.
In the parable, when the king inquired, "How camest
thou in hither not having a wedding garment?" the man
was speechless. So it will be in the great judgment day.
Men may now excuse their defects of character, but in that
day they will offer no excuse.
The professed churches of Christ in this generation are
exalted to the highest privileges. The Lord has been
revealed to us in ever-increasing light. Our privileges are
far greater than were the privileges of God's ancient people.
We have not only the great light committed to Israel, but
we have the increased evidence of the great salvation
brought to us through Christ. That which was type and
symbol to the Jews is reality to us. They had the Old
Testament history; we have that and the New Testament
also. We have the assurance of a Saviour who has come, a
Saviour who has been crucified, who has risen, and over the
rent sepulcher of Joseph has proclaimed, "I am the
resurrection and the life." In our knowledge of Christ and His
love the kingdom of God is placed in the midst of us. Christ
is revealed to us in sermons and chanted to us in songs.
The spiritual banquet is set before us in rich abundance.
The wedding garment, provided at infinite cost, is freely
offered to every soul. By the messengers of God are
presented to us the righteousness of Christ, justification by
faith, the exceeding great and precious promises of God's
word, free access to the Father by Christ, the comfort of the
Spirit, the well-grounded assurance of eternal life in the
kingdom of God. What could God do for us that He has
not done in providing the great supper, the heavenly
banquet? [p. 318]
In heaven it is said by the ministering angels: The
ministry which we have been commissioned to perform we
have done. We pressed back the army of evil angels. We
sent brightness and light into the souls of men, quickening
their memory of the love of God expressed in Jesus. We
attracted their eyes to the cross of Christ. Their hearts
were deeply moved by a sense of the sin that crucified the
Son of God. They were convicted. They saw the steps
to be taken in conversion; they felt the power of the gospel;
their hearts were made tender as they saw the sweetness of
the love of God. They beheld the beauty of the character
of Christ. But with the many it was all in vain. They
would not surrender their own habits and character. They
would not put off the garments of earth in order to be
clothed with the robe of heaven. Their hearts were given
to covetousness. They loved the associations of the world
more than they loved their God.
Solemn will be the day of final decision. In prophetic
vision the apostle John describes it: "I saw a great white
throne, and Him that sat on it, from whose face the earth
and the heaven fled away; and there was found no place
for them. And I saw the dead, small and great, stand
before God; and the books were opened; and another book
was opened, which is the book of life; and the dead were
judged out of those things which were written in the books,
according to their works." Rev. 20:11, 12.
Sad will be the retrospect in that day when men stand
face to face with eternity. The whole life will present itself
just as it has been. The world's pleasures, riches, and
honors will not then seem so important. Men will then see
that the righteousness they despised is alone of value. They
will see that they have fashioned their characters under the
deceptive allurements of Satan. The garments they have
chosen are the badge of their allegiance to the first great [p. 319] apostate. Then they will see the results of their choice.
They will have a knowledge of what it means to transgress
the commandments of God.
There will be no future probation in which to prepare
for eternity. It is in this life that we are to put on the robe
of Christ's righteousness. This is our only opportunity to
form characters for the home which Christ has made ready
for those who obey His commandments.
The days of our probation are fast closing. The end
is near. To us the warning is given, "Take heed to yourselves,
lest at any time your hearts be overcharged with
surfeiting, and drunkenness, and cares of this life, and so
that day come upon you unawares." Luke 21:34. Beware
lest it find you unready. Take heed lest you be found at
the King's feast without a wedding garment.
"In such an hour as ye think not the Son of man
cometh." "Blessed is he that watcheth, and keepeth his
garments, lest he walk naked, and they see his shame."
Matt. 24:44; Rev. 16:15.
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