Thursday, December 20, 2012

Filling the Wedding Hall

Mat 22:9  Go therefore to the main roads and invite to the wedding feast as many as you find.' Mat 22:10  And those servants went out into the roads and gathered all whom they found, both bad and good. So the wedding hall was filled with guests.
Here Jesus gives a parable to explain the ramifications of Israel’s rejection of their Messiah and for that matter the results when anyone makes excuses for not attending the wedding feast of the Son.  One aspect of this parable that doesn’t get much attention is the reason why the King sends out servants to “compel” and gather a second group into the feast.  It is found in the last sentence of verse 22, “So the wedding hall was filled with guests.”  
While God’s election unto salvation isn’t the main topic here, there is certainly a veiled reference to the eternal purposes of God in saving a people for himself, “wedding feast for his son”, vs. 2.  Verse 10 points out that just because some, in fact most, vs. 14, refuse to answer the call doesn’t mean that there is any possibility that Heaven won’t be filled with sinners saved by grace. 
Some teach in essence that the cross of Christ was a shot in the dark with God hoping that some would exercise their “freewill” and believe.  This fails for a couple of reasons.  First of all the Bible very clearly teaches that all men’s wills are by nature depraved and in bondage to sin and they cannot do good, Rom 8:7  For the mind that is set on the flesh is hostile to God, for it does not submit to God's law; indeed, it cannot. Rom 8:8  Those who are in the flesh cannot please God.  If God merely sent Jesus to die for our sins and then called out to sinners to come, none would because none can because none want to.  It is only by overcoming our will as he gives us a new heart that the elect come.  This is the “compelling” that Luke uses in this parable.  Matthew uses the word “invite” and we know that the gospel is at the same time an invitation and an enabling power in the case of the elect, Rom 1:16  For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek.
Secondly this fails because, as our texts states, God had no intention of the wedding hall being even partially filled let alone empty.  He didn’t leave it up to man to answer the call but chose those who would fill it before the foundation of the world.  One thing that seems unavoidable in this text is that once God determined to fill the hall, the servants (Spirit) were commissioned to do whatever is necessary to bring people into it.  Salvation rests in the will and power of God, not that of man. 

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