Matthew 25:9 (No Oil to Share)

In the parable of the ten virgins we have seen that the foolish virgins represent those who are lacking a full supply of the oil of God’s Holy Spirit.  It is the Spirit who leads God’s people into holiness and it is by means of the Holy Spirit that those who are invited to the wedding feast put on the garments of salvation provided as a free gift of God’s grace (Isa 61:10, Mat 22:8,11).  In this same way the Bride of Christ clothes herself in the fine linen given to her, which is the righteous acts of the saints (Rev 19:8).  Because of the lateness of the hour and the darkness of the night, all the virgins had begun to doze off, but were awakened from their slumber by an outcry or clamor that alerted them that the Bridegroom had arrived.  Only when they went to put their lamps in order did the foolish realize their lack of oil at the time they needed it most to go out and meet the Bridegroom.  At that time they began to realize the foolishness of their situation, for they had so often passed by the fountain of life with which their vessels might have been filled.  To remedy their situation they supposed according to the socialistic spirit of the world that oil might be obtained from those whom they deemed to have more than they, and so they asked, even demanded, the wise virgins to give them some of theirs, for their lamps were going out.  What did the wise virgins say to the foolish virgins when asked to share their oil?  See Mat 25:9, and notice that the Greek construction contains a triple negative (mepote ou me) to emphasize in no uncertain terms that they had none to share lest there not be enough for themselves.  What does this teach us about how even those who may seem to have the greatest supply of God’s Spirit of grace to make their lamps shine brightly, still have only enough for themselves to go out and meet their Lord?[1]  What does this also teach us about the Roman Catholic notion that one may pray to the saints that the abundance of God’s grace they suppose belongs to them might supply their lack?[2]

As those who purport to follow Christ but also love the world are awakened from their spiritual slumber by the clamor of unrighteousness and the storm of judgment that begins to sweep them away, how are they like the foolish virgins in supposing that all they need to do to remedy their situation is borrow a little oil from those who seem to have plenty?  Can the prayers of even the most righteous avail in that day to undo the laws of sowing and reaping for those who have not put on Christ any more than they could undo the law of gravity for one who has jumped out of an airplane without a parachute?  Cf. Jer 15:1, Eze 14:13-20.  As a people resists God’s Holy Spirit and will not drink from the gently flowing waters of Shiloah when they have opportunity, and they wink at sin so that wickedness and perversion are allowed to prevail, is it an easy thing to then remedy that situation, as if the seeds of unrighteousness that were sown and allowed to ripen could now bear good instead of bitter fruit?  See Mat 7:16-20, Zec 7:12-13.

Since the wise virgins had no oil to spare that they could share with the foolish to help them, what did they advise?  See Mat 25:9.  In what way is such advice the best that can be given to those who are foolishly unprepared and discover too late that they are not ready to go out and meet the Bridegroom?  Like the thief on the cross, is it ever too late to repent and call upon the Lord for salvation?  And yet, as Jesus is teaching in the parable, is the grace necessary for such salvation easily obtained on a moment’s notice, especially by those who foolishly gave themselves to the worries of this life, the deceitfulness of wealth, and the desire for other things when they had plenty of opportunity to secure a supply of that oil by which their lamps might have shown brightly and allowed them to go out and meet the Bridegroom?  Cf. Luk 14:16-24, 2Co 6:1-2[3].  How is the advice the wise virgins gave different from what many would offer today: to just say a sinner’s prayer for a free ticket to heaven and read 1Jo 5:13 to encourage them to not doubt their salvation?  Cf. “these things” John wrote by which one may know that he has eternal life: 1Jo 2:3-6, 15-17, 3:7-10, etc…  While salvation is a free gift of God’s grace, what does this remind us about there also being a striving to enter through the narrow door to take hold of the eternal life to which we are called?  Cf. Luk 13:23-24, 1Ti 6:12.

[1] Those that have the most grace, have none to spare; all we have, is little enough for ourselves to appear before God in. The best have need to borrow from Christ, but they have none to lend to any of their neighbors.  Matthew Henry.

[2] Though we have benefit by the communion of saints, and the faith and prayers of others may now redound to our advantage, yet our own sanctification is indispensably necessary to our own salvation.  Matthew Henry.

[3] Getting grace is a work of time, and cannot be done in a hurry.  While the poor awakened soul addresses itself, upon a sick bed, to repentance and prayer, in awful confusion, it scarcely knows which end to begin at, or what to do first; and presently death comes, judgment comes, and the work is undone, and the poor sinner undone forever.  This comes of having oil to buy when we should burn it, and grace to get when we should use it.  Matthew Henry.

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