The Hearing of Faith
[Matthew 22:11] says, “But when the king came in and beheld those reclining at the table, he saw there a man not clothed with a marriage garment.” The man without a marriage garment must surely have been a saved one. How could anyone answer God’s calling, yet not be saved? As long as we have answered God’s calling, we have been saved. In verse 14 the Lord Jesus speaks of many being called, and in Ephesians 4:1 Paul points out that we, the saved ones, are the called ones.We have been called to be saved. Although the man in verse 11 was called and saved, he nevertheless lacked the marriage garment.
This marriage garment is typified by the raiment of embroidery in Psalm 45:14 and signified by the fine linen in Revelation 19:8. This is the surpassing righteousness of the overcoming believers in Matthew 5:20. The man not clothed with a marriage garment is saved, because he has come to the marriage feast. He has received Christ as his righteousness that he might be justified before God (Phil. 3:9; 1 Cor. 1:30; Rom. 3:26), but he has not lived Christ out as his subjective righteousness that he might participate in the enjoyment of the kingdom of the heavens. He has been called to salvation, but he is not chosen for the enjoyment of the kingdom of the heavens, which is only for the overcoming believers.
The second garment has been neglected by today’s Christians.
The wedding garment signifies our qualification to participate in the marriage feast. The New Testament mentions this feast at least twice, in Matthew 22 and in Revelation 19. According to Revelation 19, those invited to the marriage feast are clothed in white linen. The white linen in Revelation 19 is the marriage garment in Matthew 22. This white linen signifies the surpassing righteousness. Matthew 5:20 says, “For I say to you, that unless your righteousness surpass that of the scribes and Pharisees, you shall by no means enter into the kingdom of the heavens.” This surpassing righteousness which qualifies us to participate in the manifestation of the kingdom in the coming age is typified in Psalm 45, where we are told that the queen has two garments. We, the believers, should also have two garments.We all have the first garment, the garment that qualifies us to be saved. This garment is the objective Christ whom we received as our righteousness before God. In Christ, who is our righteousness, we have been justified and saved. But after receiving Christ, we need to live Him out. We need to live by Christ so that Christ may become our subjective righteousness. This subjective righteousness, Christ lived out of us in our daily life, is the white linen, the second garment, the marriage garment that qualifies us to participate in the marriage feast...
There is no problem regarding our salvation, for we have been called and justified. But what will be your situation before the judgment seat of Christ? Will you be qualified to enter the marriage feast? If you believe the first part of the gospel, then you must also believe the second part. How we need to look to the Lord for His mercy! We need to pray, “Lord, have mercy on me. I have received You, Lord, but I need more grace to live by You. Lord, because You are my Savior, I know that I am eternally saved. But I need Your grace that I may live by You as my life.”We need to speak by Christ, and even our anger must be according to Christ.When we are about to lose our temper, we should consider whether or not we are losing our temper by Christ. If we do this, we shall have a proper Christian living by Christ.
The second garment has been neglected by today’s Christians. Martin Luther helped us to know the first garment, Christ as righteousness for us to be justified by God. This truth was recovered more than four hundred years ago. But in the Lord’s recovery today we have come to the second garment.We need both the objective and subjective righteousness. This is an important matter in the Gospel of Matthew, for it is a requirement of the kingdom.
Life-study of Matthew, pp. 685-687, by Witness Lee.
From Issue No. 84, April-June 2005