I live in Fort Worth, Texas, home to the famed Colonial Country Club and the Colonial Invitational Golf Tournament. Shortly after I moved to Fort Worth I heard the story told by a member of the club who took a guest there for lunch one day. His guest, having never been to the Colonial Country Club before, failed to wear a coat, which was mandatory for dining in the club at that time. The manager of the club said to the member, “I’m sorry, but your guest cannot enter the dining room without a sport coat.”
The member pulled the manager aside and said, “Can you help us out here.” The manager said, “I’ll see what I can do.” The manager came back moments later with a sport coat, handed it to the guest and said, “You can wear this.” The guest took a look at the loaner coat and was a bit reluctant to put it on. It was a checkered red and green sport coat! But he knew he had to wear it if he would be able to enter the member’s dining room with his host. So the two men were seated for lunch. During their lunch fellow diners could be seen glancing over at the guest, who was wearing this brightly colored sport coat.
After lunch as they were leaving they returned the coat to the manager. The manager said, “I guess you wondered why people were looking at you while you were eating lunch.” The guest said, “Yes, as a matter of fact I was wondering. I felt quite uncomfortable.” The manager continued, “The checkered red and green coat you were wearing is the sport coat given as a prize to the champion of the Colonial Invitational Tournament. I borrowed it from his locker.”
On occasion I am invited to play golf or dine at the Colonial Country Club. Each time I enter the club I can’t help but think about that story and the privilege afforded a guest one day because he was wearing the coat of the champion. Neither can I help thinking about a vital spiritual lesson that goes with it.
Entrance into the Kingdom of God requires one be clothed in righteousness. Jesus taught: “For I tell you that unless your righteousness surpasses that of the Pharisees and the teachers of the law, you will certainly not enter the kingdom of heaven” (Matthew 5:20). That makes entrance into God’s Kingdom pretty much impossible for the average person who could not match the so-called righteousness of these religious professionals.
But Jesus was talking about a righteousness that was not attained by human performance. The righteousness required for entrance into His Kingdom must be granted by Jesus Himself. The Apostle Paul expressed his strong desire “(to) and be found in him (Christ), not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which is through faith in Christ—the righteousness that comes from God and is by faith” (Philippians 3:9).
I must place my faith in the righteousness of Christ who died as a substitute for my sin on Calvary’s cross. I must accept the provision He has made for my salvation. So when you and I stand before God to enter heaven we will be checked by the Father Himself to see if we are in proper attire … wearing the righteous coat of the Champion Jesus.