8 “Then he said to his servants, ‘The wedding banquet is ready, but those I invited did not deserve to come. 9 So go to the street corners and invite to the banquet anyone you find.’ 10 So the servants went out into the streets and gathered all the people they could find, the bad as well as the good, and the wedding hall was filled with guests.
11 “But when the king came in to see the guests, he noticed a man there who was not wearing wedding clothes. 12 He asked, ‘How did you get in here without wedding clothes, friend?’ The man was speechless.
13 “Then the king told the attendants, ‘Tie him hand and foot, and throw him outside, into the darkness, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.’
14 “For many are invited, but few are chosen.” Mt 22:8-14 NIV
When the king came to visit his guests he saw everyone was wearing wedding clothes but one guy. So he asked him, “How did you get in here without wedding clothes?”
There is some debate about these wedding clothes. Some say that they represent the good works of those who keep Jesus teaching. They are robes of righteousness that we create for ourselves by our good lives. Do you think that is possible?
One of the first things Jesus taught was “blessed are the poor in spirit.” He did not teach that we can be righteous, but he did teach that we must be made righteous. No, it is not possible to weave for ourselves wedding garments by doing good works.
There is another way of looking at this. This garment indicates the change God has made in us. It is probably taking it too far to say that the robes in this verse refer to Justification by Faith – because Matthew does not speak of that. But what Justification by faith means is that a person is not made right before God by actions. That right-ness is a gift. It is the work God does for us.
So the man in the wedding without wedding clothes represents those who are inside the community of believers, but who do not belong there. He is in a place that he does not belong because he is not a believer himself. Jesus said that in this age the wheat and the weeds will grow up together and in the last day they will be sorted out. He also said that God will cast his net, and will separate the good fish from the bad fish. So there is to be a sorting out. (Matthew 13)
If a person comes in who is bad that is not a problem because of verse 10. If a person comes in who appear good, that is not a problem. But if a person comes in and has not been robed by the work of God, that is a problem.
The king asked him where his clothes were and the man was speechless. And so he was thrown out. This last part, the only guy who was inside out, is a warning. Do not think that location is salvation. Do not think that because you are in church or have become a member or have been baptized or have taken communion that you belong.
Only those who have had the work of God in them can stay. Here is how this is described in 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 Insiders are out
You do not want to be one of these, who think they are chosen but who refuse the real invitation.
The Outsiders are in
You do want to be one of these, who knows that they do not belong, but who have accepted the invitation.
And One Guy is inside out.
You do not want to be this guy, who presumes that location is not salvation.