“Oh, the unspeakable greatness of that exchange,—the Sinless One is condemned, and he who is guilty goes free; the Blessing bears the curse, and the cursed is brought into blessing; the Life dies, and the dead live; the Glory is whelmed in darkness, and he who knew nothing but confusion of face is clothed with glory.” Trailady

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A person God turned around many times.

Monday, June 06, 2011

Five selfish virgins

“Give us of your oil; for our lamps are gone out” “Not so; lest there be not enough for us and you.” Who was selfish? See for yourself in the context below.

“Then shall the kingdom of heaven be likened unto ten virgins, which took their lamps, and went forth to meet the bridegroom.
And five of them were wise, and five were foolish.
They that were foolish took their lamps, and took no oil with them:
But the wise took oil in their vessels with their lamps.
While the bridegroom tarried, they all slumbered and slept.
And at midnight there was a cry made, Behold, the bridegroom cometh; go ye out to meet him.
Then all those virgins arose, and trimmed their lamps.
And the foolish said unto the wise, Give us of your oil; for our lamps are gone out.
But the wise answered, saying, Not so; lest there be not enough for us and you: but go ye rather to them that sell, and buy for yourselves.
And while they went to buy, the bridegroom came; and they that were ready went in with him to the marriage: and the door was shut.
Afterward came also the other virgins, saying, Lord, Lord, open to us.
But he answered and said, Verily I say unto you, I know you not. Watch therefore, for ye know neither the day nor the hour wherein the Son of man cometh” (Matt. 25:1-13).

To me, the wise virgins always sounded self-centered. The foolish virgins are crying out in desperation. But their cries receive no sympathetic ear from the wise virgins. Not one gives up even a drop of her precious oil. These five virgins were friends and acquaintances with one another, yet when it came down to being ready for the bridal party, they reverted to the serious business of every girl for herself.

Everyone was on her own. Yes, they had fellowship while they waited for the groom and bride; yes, they had enjoyable community together. But, outranking the priority of joy between friends was the risk of losing the joy of seeing the newly wedded couple and partaking of this special event to which they had all received special invitation.

Yet, we do hear regret in the words of the wise. “Lest there be not enough for us and you.” They could have been completely unfeeling and self-absorbed and said, “Lest there be not enough for me.” So there wasn’t a total detachment to their comrades’ destitute circumstances. They were dearly sympathetic with them. Nevertheless, they still could share no oil.

So the needy virgins rushed to find someone to sell them oil; but despite their nervous haste, they returned only to have missed the great event to which they had looked forward for months. They knocked and knocked at the groom’s, but all they got for their desperate pleas was complete and utter rejection.

In those days it wasn’t safe to open the door at night. Even today, I’ve heard of the ploy of a broken-down car and the hapless looking woman standing next to it, and several thugs hiding in the woods nearby. An unwary do-gooder stops to help the woman’s fictitious plight, and her accomplices run out and hurt the good Samaritan and steal his car.

In Christ’s day, thieves and murderers roved by night, and the streets were no safer than they had been in Lot’s Sodom. (Gen. 19:1-4). So it came as no surprise to Jesus’ listeners that the bridegroom in the story would not open the door, since their doors were without windows and voice recognition alone is no guarantee of identity. So, the virgins on the outside of the party heard the sad reply, “I know you not.” (vs. 12).

This parable, given on the heels of Jesus’ discourse in the previous chapter, concerning His second coming, also speaks of that great day. It is a parable of warning, ending with “Watch, therefore.” The church is warned against the lack of preparedness for His return.

Christ loved to share. His life was one of total unending compassion on the worthy poor, and even on the unworthy. He healed 9 unworthy lepers because they were friends of one leper who had a faith relationship with Jesus. In His estimation, the unworthy nine had a friendship with His worthy Samaritan leper, and their friendship with him made them worthy of healing, though they didn't necessarily want Jesus for their friend! So He lealed the nine, hoping His grace would turn their hearts to Him. His love went beyond the pale of human goodness and worthiness, yet He never went beyond His Father’s expectation of justice.

Jesus wanted to teach pity and sympathy to Israel, and to us today. His door of mercy stands wide open. His arms of love are still nailed back as open as they can be. He still welcomes the whole world to come to Him. “The Spirit and the bride say, Come. And let him that heareth say, Come. And let him that is athirst come. And whosoever will, let him take the water of life freely.”(Rev. 22: 17).

And until the door of human probation closes, until the very last soul is saved that wants to be saved, the gleams of mercy will continue to shine out, drawing in His called and chosen and faithful.

But the time will come when that door will shut, which has remained a beacon of health and life to a world becoming increasingly entranced with selfishness and forgetfulness of its Creator and Redeemer. Its long-standing appeal becomes more and more the jest of the sin-loving multitudes outside of religion and inside of it. Carelessness grows out of control toward the offer of Christ to free the world of its idolatry and sin; insult toward God is piled up to heaven by a world daring Him to punish their insolence.

All who love the gospel of reconciliation with God and have received a love of the truth will become targets of false accusation and persecution. Everyone who have received the love of self-denial and have overcome their sins, reaping the sure benefits of this in health of body, mind, and soul, will be the objects of hatred and envy.

But not everyone in the great gospel movements in the future will receive the gift of God. Many will not have strived for the mastery of self. They will not have seen the need of Christ’s grace which enables weak sinners to overcome the attraction of sin.

Too late, after having spurned the invitation to know Jesus and His power over sin, they will have a flash of conviction to get ready for the great wedding of Christ and His people. They will rush to those who have received the victory over sin in a knowledge and trust in Jesus, but all of the most beautiful encouragement causes no response in their hearts ruined by years of unrestrained love for this world.

Digging for the evidences of Christ’s character and love in the Bible takes time; and trusting God and patiently waiting on Him doesn’t come overnight. They are at a loss for any assurance of salvation and run around in vain like profane Esau, wailing, “Hast Thou not reserved a blessing for me? … Hast Thou but one blessing, my Father? Bless me, even me also, O my Father.” Like Esau, they lift up their voice, and weep. (Gen. 27:36,38).

Those who strove to get with Jesus and to stay with Him can share what they’ve learned of Him to their brother and sister but they can’t give them their own personal conviction and consecration. It’s a gift of God. “None of them can by any means redeem his brother, nor give to God a ransom for him.”(Ps. 49:7). In this arena with God, it’s every man for himself, and always has been.

The unwise virgins didn’t take the time to be forgiven. The Prince of peace didn’t seem so important in the times of earthly peace. They squandered their probationary time. The goodness of God they left as a fountain untouched. If they had indulged generously in the grace of Christ, they would now be surely resting in Him. If they had heeded Christ’s offer of His redeeming blood, “Drink ye all of it,” they would be overcomers of the delusive temptation that came over the world.

But, they were contented with simply a profession of discipleship, and nothing more. They hoped a name would save them. They did the rounds of religion; they went to church and suffered through those agonizing hours. They pecked at the Bible here and there, without any real desire to know the Voice speaking to them in it all. They had their lamp lighted, with some faith in it graciously provided them by the Holy Spirit. But, they did not expend any effort to store any extra against an out of the ordinary test of faith. They had the bare minimum, which proved to be not enough.

Now, time has run out for these unwise virgins. They see the sudden rising of persecution, nature in disarray, wars on every hand, and the reality of the heavenly Bridegroom coming; but the laws of learning cannot be abrogated. They run in terror to the Bible to obtain the witness of the Holy Spirit, but all they hear is, “Verily I say unto you, I know you not.” (vs. 12). Then the fears of horrific persecutions sweep them away. They are driven to darkness, as they depart the Advent movement. They drown in the abyss, while they watch the wise virgins on the ark of faith they had built for themselves, riding safely above the storms raging against them.

“Blessed is he whose transgression is forgiven, whose sin is covered.
Blessed is the man unto whom the Lord imputeth not iniquity, and in whose spirit there is no guile.
When I kept silence, my bones waxed old through my roaring all the day long.
For day and night Thy hand was heavy upon me: my moisture is turned into the drought of summer. Selah.
I acknowledge my sin unto Thee, and mine iniquity have I not hid. I said, I will confess my transgressions unto the Lord; and Thou forgavest the iniquity of my sin. Selah.
For this shall every one that is godly pray unto Thee in a time when Thou mayest be found: surely in the floods of great waters they shall not come nigh unto Him.
Thou art my hiding place; Thou shalt preserve me from trouble; Thou shalt compass me about with songs of deliverance. Selah.” (Ps. 32:1-7).


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