The Proper Dress Code for Attendance at the Lord’s Supper

Matthew 22:11-12
       And when the king came in to see the guests, he saw there a man which had not on a wedding garment. And he saith unto him, Friend, how camest thou in hither not having a wedding garment? And he was speechless. Then said the king to the servants, Bind him hand and foot, and take him away, and cast him into outer darkness.

BENJAMIN KEACH (1640-1704): The garment of salvation is Christ’s righteousness.

WILLIAM PERKINS (1558-1602): The most comely garment that ever we can wear is the robe of Christ’s righteousness.

BROWNLOW NORTH (1810-1875): There are two righteousnesses in which a man can stand before God in judgment, and two only. The one is his own righteousness, and the other is Christ’s righteousness; and he must choose which of these two it shall be. It must be wholly the one, however, or wholly the other; for we cannot stand partly in the one and partly in the other.

THOMAS WILCOX (1622-1687): Poor ragged nature, with all its highest improvements, can never spin a garment fine enough―without spot―to cover the soul’s nakedness. Nothing can do it but Christ’s perfect righteousness.

J. C. RYLE (1816-1900): If there is to be in our celestial garment but one stitch of our own making we are all of us lost.

MATTHEW HENRY (1662-1714): All our righteousnesses are as filthy rags, Isaiah 64:6. Our best duties are so defective, and so far short of the rule, that they are as rags, and so full of sin and corruption cleaving to them that they are as filthy rags.

JOHN BERRIDGE (1716-1793): I would not give a groat for the broadest fig leaves, or the brightest human rags to cover me. A robe I must have, of one whole piece, broad as the law, spotless as the light, and richer than an angel ever wore―the robe of Jesus.

JOHN NEWTON (1725-1807): The true believer builds upon the person and word of Christ as the foundation of his hope; he enters by Him as the only door to the knowledge, communion, and love of God; he feeds on Him by faith in his heart with thanksgiving as the bread of life; he embraces His righteousness as the wedding garment, whereby that alone he expects admission to the marriage-feast of heaven.

BROWNLOW NORTH: The righteousness which is the gift of Christ—that spotless robe, that wedding garment—is like the vesture on which the soldiers cast lots, without seam, and woven throughout, and you cannot rend it.

AUGUSTUS TOPLADY (1713-1758): Oh, beware of coming with one sentiment on your lips and another in your hearts! Take heed of saying with your mouths, “We do not come to this thy table, O Lord, trusting in our own righteousness,” while perhaps you have in reality some secret reserves in favour of that very self-righteousness which you profess to renounce, and are thinking that Christ’s merits alone will not save you unless you add something or other to make it effectual. Oh, be not so deceived! God will not thus be mocked, nor will Christ thus be insulted with impunity.

WILLIAM COWPER (1731-1800): What is all righteousness that men devise,
                                                                              What—but a sordid bargain for the skies?
                                                                             But Christ as soon would abdicate His own,
                                                                        As stoop from heaven to sell the proud a throne.

AUGUSTUS TOPLADY: If you do not wholly depend on Jesus as the Lord your righteousness—if you mix your faith in Him with anything else—if the finished work of the crucified God be not alone your acknowledged anchor and foundation of acceptance with the Father, both here and ever—come to His table and receive the symbols of His body and blood at your peril! Leave your own righteousness behind you, or you have no business here.

J. C. RYLE: Self-righteous people, who think that they are to be saved by their own works, have no business to come to the Lord’s Table…They may be outwardly correct, moral and respectable in their lives, but so long as they trust in their own goodness for salvation, they are entirely in the wrong place at the Lord’s Supper. For what do we declare at the Lord’s Supper? We publicly profess that we have no goodness, righteousness, or worthiness of our own, and that all our hope is in Christ. We publicly profess Christ’s merit and not ours, Christ’s righteousness and not ours, is alone the cause why we look for acceptance with God. Now what has a self-righteous man to do with an ordinance like this? Clearly nothing at all.

BROWNLOW NORTH: If you appear before God in your own righteousness, and that righteousness is one whit less perfect than the righteousness which God at such a cost to Himself has offered to you; if God, the righteous Judge, is able to detect the least difference between your righteousness and Christ’s, you will surely meet the fate of him who came to the marriage supper without a wedding garment, and be cast into outer darkness, where there is weeping and wailing, and gnashing of teeth.

MATTHEW HENRY: The day is coming when hypocrites will be stripped of their fig-leaves.

C. H. SPURGEON (1834-1892): It is a cobweb garment that will be rent away at the last day. I beseech you lay it aside, and remember that the truth with which you have to do is this, “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and thou shalt be saved.” If you believe, you are saved. If you trust Christ, be you who you may, or what you may, the wide world over, you are a saved man…The true saint wears the wedding garment, but he owns that the Lord of the feast provided it for him, without money and without price.

JAMES DURHAM (1622-1658): It is in a word, by faith, according to the apostle Paul in Philippians 3:8-10, “I count all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord: for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and do count them but dung. ” And he explains what that means in the next words, “That I may win Christ, and be found in him, not having my own righteousness, which is according to the law, but the righteousness of God, which is by the faith of him.”

RALPH ERSKINE (1685-1752): Can you say, you count all but loss and dung that you may win Christ, and be found in Him; so that you care not what be cast overboard, if you but get to that shore, even Christ and His righteousness? Then welcome are you to the table of the Lord; I invite you in His glorious name.


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