We have seen that when the foolish virgins arose from their slumber they went to trim their lamps or put them in order, which speaks of adorning the doctrine of God by means of good works. It is in this way that Christ’s Bride arrays herself with the fine linen or righteous acts of the saints that is given to her by the Holy Spirit, so as to “put on the Lord Jesus Christ and make no provision for the flesh” (Rom 13:14). However, because the foolish virgins were lacking a full supply of the oil of God’s Spirit to last them through the night, their lamps were going out at the very time they needed them most. What warning does this give those whose profession is merely external and falls short of a sincere faith? Although such faith built on sand may offer some comforts in times of fair weather, will it stand against the storms and through the darkest part of the night? See Mat 7:24-27 and note.
What did the foolish virgins think to do to remedy their situation when they realized their lack of oil? See Mat 25:8 and note that “give” is an imperative, and hence more of a demand than a request. How is this like many in this age who have come to expect others to provide for them even though they have not been faithful and diligent to provide for their own needs? Contrast 1Th 4:11-12, 2Th 3:6-13, Pro 6:6-11 and note. Although many in this age rely upon the socialist spirit of the world to supply their physical needs, is the oil of God’s Holy Spirit something that can be shared from person to person? Although as Christians we are called to do good by giving freely to the poor and needy, what does this remind us about there being some things people must obtain for themselves? How is that true of so many things of great value in this life that require faithfulness, perseverance and diligence to obtain, whether it is playing a musical instrument, learning mathematics, or developing skill in a particular trade? How much more true must it be of things that are of eternal value? Cf. Mat 13:44-46. Although such things must be obtained individually, what can we do to help others obtain them? Consider: What sacrifice was necessary on God’s part in order that we might obtain the salvation He desires all men to have? Might that same spirit of sacrifice be required of us in order that others might also be filled with a fullness of the Holy Spirit that bespeaks a true salvation? Cf. Mat 28:18-20 and think: are disciples made easily or in a day?
Did the foolish virgins have any trouble recognizing their own lack of oil, or the extra supply of oil possessed by the wise virgins? Why is that? See Mat 5:16. What does this again remind us about what it is that ultimately separates the true from the false, the wheat from the tares, the good fish from the bad fish, and those who have oil from those who are lacking it? See Mat 7:16-20, Joh 15:8, Tit 2:7,14, 3:8,14, Heb 10:24, 1Pe 2:12. Was it because the oil was too difficult to obtain that the foolish virgins were lacking it when they needed it most for their lamps to shine brightly? Or rather, is it because there was a time when an abundance of oil could have been freely obtained that those virgins are referred to as foolish? See Luk 11:9-13, Joh 4:10, 7:37-39 and consider that it is in this way by means of the oil of the Holy Spirit that God in His grace provides garments of salvation (Isa 61:10) for those who would come to the wedding feast (Mat 22:11-13), and fine linen for the Bride of Christ to clothe herself (Rev 19:7-8), if they will but put them on. What regret must belong to those who lived so near to the fountain of life and walked so frequently past its streams of living water, who at one time could freely have secured the very thing they will at that time lack for the salvation of their souls? See Mat 8:11-12, 13:40-42,47-50, 22:11-13, 24:51, 25:30 and note.
1. Those that take up short of true grace, will certainly find the want of it one time or other. An external profession well humored may carry a man far, but it will not carry him through; it may light him along this world, but the damps of the valley of the shadow of death will put it out. Matthew Henry.↩
2. Those will see their need of grace hereafter, when it should save them, who will not see their need of grace now, when it should sanctify and rule them. Matthew Henry.↩
3. The day is coming, when carnal hypocrites would gladly be found in the condition of true Christians. Those who now hate the strictness of religion, will, at death and judgment, wish for the solid comforts of it. Those who care not to live the life, yet would die the death, of the righteous. Matthew Henry.↩