TruthInvestigate

“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.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Five selfish virgins

“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.” (Matt. 25:8,9).

“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).

This has always sounded selfish to me. The foolish virgins are crying out in desperate need. But their cries receive no sympathetic ear. Not one good, wise virgin gives up even a drop of her precious oil. These were friends and acquaintances, yet when it came down to the possibility of missing the bridal party, they reverted to the serious business of every girl/fellow for her or himself.

Everyone was on his own. Yes, they had fellowship while they waited for the groom and bride; yes, they had community. But, outranking the priority of mutual joy was the joy of seeing the newly wedded couple and partaking of this special occasion to which they had received a loving invitation.

Yet, you do hear regret in the words of the wise. “Lest there be not enough for us and you.” (vs. 9). There wasn’t a total detachment to their comrades’ need. Nevertheless, there still could be no missing the bride and groom or sharing of oil.

So the needy virgins rushed to find someone to sell them oil, after all the businesses had long closed for the night. Yet, despite their nervous haste, the foolish virgins missed the great event to which they had looked forward for months. Sadly, it just wasn’t safe for the groom to open the door to them at that late hour when they arrived to beg admittance.

Even today, I’ve heard of the ploy of a broken down car and a helpless looking woman standing next to it, with several thugs hiding out 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.

Thieves and murderers roved by night, and the streets were no safer in Christ’s day than they were in Lot’s. (Gen. 19:1-4). So it came as no surprise to Jesus' listeners that the bridegroom would not open the door, since their doors were without windows and voice recognition alone is no guarantee of identity and safety.

This parable which Christ gave on the heels of His discourse concerning His second coming also speaks to that great day. It is a parable of warning, ending with, “What I say unto you I say unto all, Watch.” (Mk. 13:37). The church is educated and warned against the lack of preparedness for the day of Christ.

Jesus, who built into this parable the self-interested wise virgins, loved to share. Christ did not use this story to teach selfishness. His life and example to us was one of continuous, unending compassion on the worthy poor, and even on the unworthy. The Lord healed nine unworthy lepers though they had no interest in God or desire for a friendship with His Son. He healed them because they were friends of one leper who did have faith in Him. The faithless lepers’ friendship with His worthy leprous disciple counted for something to Jesus. It made the unfaithful lepers worthy of His help, even if they weren’t friendly with Him. Beautiful Redeemer!

The Savior’s love went beyond the pale of human goodness and worthiness, yet never beyond His Father’s expectation of perfection. Jesus wanted to teach them and us pity and sympathy, as His Father is sympathic and pitiful to those that fear Him. His door of mercy stands wide open. Their arms still are nailed back as open as they can be. The Father in Christ still welcomes the whole world to come to Them. “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 who longs to be saved, the gleams of mercy will continue to shine out, attracting and drawing His called and chosen and faithful.

But the time will come when that door of mercy will shut which has remained a beacon of health and life to a world becoming increasingly entranced with selfishness and forgetfulness of God. His long-standing appeal, through law and grace, becomes more and more the jest of multitudes outside of religion and inside of it. Many apathetic church-goers make no effort to keep the lamp of their faith aglow in His love. 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. Rev. 18:5.

All who love the gospel of reconciliation and have received a love of the truth, who have received a love of self-denial and have overcome their sins and reap the sure benefits of this in health of body, mind, and soul, will be the objects of hatred and envy. They will be targets of condemnation, false accusation, and persecution. Yet, according to Christ’s parable, not everyone taking part in the great gospel movements in the future will fully receive the gift of God. Some will stop seeing Christ’s grace which enables weak sinners to overcome the allurement of sin. They will grow tired and stop striving for the mastery over self and the world.

Too late, after hearing and apparently heeding the invitation to know Jesus and His power over sin, all who accepted His power to become sons of God but did not daily grow in His grace, but walked without it, will one day see a sudden rise of persecution and the reality of the Bridegroom coming, and they will have a flash of conviction to quickly fix up their character and get ready for the great wedding of Christ to His people. They will rush to those who have received the victory over sin in a knowledge and trust in Jesus, but digging through scripture in hope for evidences of Christ’s character and love takes time; therefore, trust doesn’t come overnight. Those who steadfastly strove to get with Jesus in order to stay with Him can share with these poor souls what they’ve learned, but they can’t give their own personal conviction to their brother or sister. “None of them can by any means redeem his brother, nor give to God a ransom for him.” (Ps. 49:7). It’s the gift of God in this arena; its every man for himself with God, and always has been.

For these desperate souls, time has run out and the laws of the mind and spirituality cannot be abrogated. They run in horror to the Bible to obtain the witness of the Holy Spirit, but all they hear is silence. The Scripture promises make no sense to them; they receive nothing from them. The muted Spirit of Christ which they silenced is telling them, “I know you not.”

“Behold, the days come, saith the Lord God, that I will send a famine in the land, not a famine of bread, nor a thirst for water, but of hearing the words of the Lord:
And they shall wander from sea to sea, and from the north even to the east, they shall run to and fro to seek the word of the Lord, and shall not find it.” (Amos 4:11,12).

Then the fears of horrific persecution, fears which they never overcame and to which they succumb, sweep them away from hope in God, and they are forever driven to darkness. “The people shall labour in vain, and the folk in the fire, and they shall be weary.” (Jer. 51:58). They drown in an abyss of nervous despair while they watch the wise servants of God on the ark of faith, riding safely above the storms of persecution raging against them all around.

“Watch therefore: for ye know not what hour your Lord doth come.” (Matt. 24:42).

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