Sunday, December 2

The Wedding Garment!

A treasure!

My dear friend made contact with a man who had some sermons and works of Herman Friedrich Kohlbrugge (1803-1875) and he actually copied them for her and sent them to her and she in turned shared them with me. Thank you dear friend. He went to a lot of trouble to hand copy these, on some of the pages, you can see the imprint of his hands. I have been reading and I wanted to share excerpts occasionally. I have read this sermon several times and will read it again today; it is so rich in content. The following is a just a snippet, a taste of his words and way of presenting Truth. He leads us up to the great truth of this parable in Matthew 22:1-14 that ends this way: “For many are called, but few are chosen”

He asks:

“But what is the state of mind of the few who are chosen before they hear of the invitation to the marriage? They are mere wanderers in the streets and highways, and feel themselves lost in trespasses and sins. Meanwhile a longing is awakened after the King and His grace. They know that they are rebels against Him, and have deserved nothing but wrath. And will the King deign to look upon them? O, if He would but cast a gracious glance towards them, how happy, how eternally happy, would they be—how willingly then would they even lie down and die? Is there a possibility that they may enjoy this favour? Certainly; what they scarcely dared to hope for, takes place. In their hearts the words resound, as in a moment: Grace, grace; for thee also there is salvation. The light of eternal mercy shines forth in a pure, clear, and golden ray upon their dark night. In their ears the voice of the messenger is heard, Come, come; it is the King who calls you, and He says, “All things are now ready.” How wonderfully new, as in a moment, do all things appear! They believe the voice, for they cannot do otherwise. Then they come weeping, sighing, contrite, but at the same time full of divine joy. They may be lame, they may be feeble, they may be blind: yet they leap as a hart, and all is light within them.

Then they go into the entrance-hall, and whom do they find there? The King, and those with whom He is well pleased. They see, they understand clearly how every one there has been clothed in the wedding garment. “That covers thee entirely,” it is said, “it covers both thy poverty and they misery; put on this garment and thou wilt please the King. The Bridegroom has prepared it for thee and He Himself wears no other.” How highly favoured they are. Can they take any rest, or find any peace until they have clothed themselves in the garment of the Lamb? Well then, this garment is the all-sufficient atonement, righteousness, and holiness of Christ."

“Oh that I might find some one who could infallibly tell me whether I have on this wedding garment!” “Beloved, the Spirit of God alone seals us; He alone is the infallible witness that we are the children of God.”

For those who charge Kohlbrugge with antinomianism, he further says:

"Do those who are chosen desire it only for this present time, or do they long to wear this garment for ever? If for ever, then this garment will influence their conduct to-day, to-morrow, through all their lives, and even beyond the grave. Here the flesh profits nothing, but spirit and life are only to be found in the all-sufficient, righteousness, and holiness of Christ.

What a wonderful and marvelous truth, thank you H.F. Kohlbrugge!


  1. Carol2:00 PM

    So good! Thanks for sharing, Eileen.


  2. Dear Eileen,

    The followers of Kohlbrugge in the old RCUS, so Rev. Lloyd Gross told me, never read or preached on the Third Section of the Heidelberg Catechism, which informs us of the thankful use of the law.

    Rev. Gross said that when anyone said anything about Christian duty and godliness, they would reply, "I can't do that," as if inability absolved them from responsibility.

    One of the great services the old Westminster ministers did for the RCUS [of which Rev. Gross is one of the few left] was to refute this error.

    It is certainly a very great joy to know that our righteousness is complete before God, being the finished and complete righteousness of our Savior, but if we do not want to mistreat men and have our works bring glory to God as Christ commands, we will do good works as the catechism says:

    Q90: What is the making alive of the new man?
    A90: Heartfelt joy in God through Christ,[1] causing us to take delight in living according to the will of God in all good works.[2]

    1. Rom. 5:1; 14:17; Isa. 57:15
    2. Rom. 7:22; 8:10-11; Gal. 2:20

    Q91: What are good works?
    A91: Those only which proceed from true faith,[1] and are done according to the Law of God,[2] unto His glory,[3] and not such as rest on our own opinion [4] or the commandments of men.[5]

    1. Rom. 14:23
    2. I Sam. 15:22; Eph. 2:10
    3. I Cor. 10:31
    4. Deut. 12:32; Ezek. 20:18, 20; Isa. 29:13
    5. Matt. 15:9; Num. 15:39

    No person is to be a judge in his own cause, but his works are to be defined in terms of God's law.

    Just an idea to lay at the door of your mind.

    C. W. Powell

  3. Hi Bud,
    I never mind ideas being laid at my door, I like to think!

    I do have some simple thoughts on Kohlbrugge from the articles and sermons I have read so far. I think that law and faith are governed by different laws and I believe that Kohlbrugge taught and preached from the law of faith, not the law of works. There is a difference to me.

    The law of works speaks to the flesh and you strive in the flesh to produce fleshly outward works. I think that is what Kohlbrugge was so adamant about not doing to his congregants because that is when we think ‘I cannot do that’.

    Instead I believe he taught from the law of faith, the Gospel! It truly is the gospel, the righteousness of Christ, the ‘wedding garment’ if you will that is preached which causes me to ‘mount up with eagles wings’ and to desire to strive after the fruit of the Spirit (1 Tim 611). I call it ‘striving lawfully’ from the principal of the law of faith. We run the race lawfully (Hebrews 12:1), we strive together for the faith of the gospel (Philippians 1:27), we pursue love (1 Corinthians 14:1), we lay aside every weight that so easily besets us (Hebrews12:1) and run the race with patience, knowing that God is the one who gives the increase in all things.

    BTW, I have about 5 or 6 sermons and I see that two of them are on the commandments. One is the Third Commandment and one is the Tenth. I would be glad to make copies of them and bring them next time I come to Trinity. Then you could read them for yourself and give me your thoughts on what he actually says. Would you?

  4. Dear Eileen and others,

    It is in the practical and pastoral sense that the rubber hits the road. I have no way of conveying to anyone whether I am being obedient "through the flesh" or "through the law of faith." And there is no way for me to know whether his behavior is of faith unless it conforms to Scripture.

    If someone mistreats someone else in the church and I tell him his behavior is forbidden by the Bible [for instance, sins of the tongue, which are the most common and destructive sins in the church], it is his behavior that is in question, not his motives or his love for God. No one can know those, but the law does make it clear what behavior is forbidden and what is commanded.

    If a member is not coming to church, I as a pastor much exhort him not to neglect the gathering of the saints, not to despise the preaching of the word, and not to forsake the rule of the elders. I don't know his heart and can't know it, but his behavior is disobedient. You cannot transform disobedience into obedience by pleading goodness of heart.

    Obedience to the Lord is very hard at times. Even Jesus sweat drops of blood. Thankfulness is not so much a mental attitude as it is a way of life. Sentiment is not obedience. The madman may weep as he murders his victim, but that does not make it love, and a child may weep as he cleans his room, but his behavior is still proper: the room is clean.

    As the old Scottish mama said, "Eat your oatmeal. Nobody likes it."

    "Let him take up his cross and follow me," is the way Jesus put it. Obedience is not only the result of life, but a way of death, renouncing and refusing the way of the flesh, no matter how attractive that way appears to others, or how right it appears to me, for there is a way that seems right unto a man..... It is very often doing what is right no matter how hard it is.

    Though a person has come to the cross it does not mean that he is "happy all the day." Gethsemene refutes that holly, jolly lightness.

    Faith does not make obedience easy. It provides strength to do it no matter how hard. If Christ is working in me both to will and to do, then I should be doing some willing and willing some doing. If not, maybe Christ is not working.

    Eph 3:16 "That he would grant you, according to the riches of his glory, to be strengthened with might by his Spirit in the inner man..."

    Christians are not able to live without sin, but they can live without crime.

    People think that if it is hard it must be of the flesh. Not so. Following the flesh is usually very easy and very emotional and very satisfying and very destructive.

    "Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap.

    "For he that soweth to his flesh shall of the flesh reap corruption; but he that soweth to the Spirit shall of the Spirit reap life everlasting.

    "And let us not be weary in well doing: for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not." Galatians 6

    It is sometimes very wearisome to do well and the harvest does not come immediately.

    Pastor C. W. Powell

  5. Pastor Powell,

    To care for the flock of God is an enormous task, scripture attests to that. Certainly you cannot see into the hearts of the sheep and you make judgements on the outward appearance of 'good work's in conformity to the law of God. I truly do understand your points, all of them.

    I spent many, many years under condemnation, without knowledge of "The Wedding Garment". Then the Lord, in His great and infinite mercy, brought to my heart the Gospel in power and in Truth and taught me that Christ DID die for the ungodly, which was me. He taught me that Christ’s righteousness was my only robe of righteousness, because I had NONE of my own. I knew that, I just didn't believe the remedy until that very day.

    That is the reason I blog about the Gospel more than anything else, I don’t tire of hearing the Truth. I am daily amazed at His Grace to me!

    Thank you for caring!