I’ve been talking about the parable of the Ten Virgins as told by Jesus in Matthew, chapter 21. We now understand the illustration of the light, the lamp, and the oil as our righteousness produced by our faith expressing itself through love.
There’s one more thing I want to look at before we move on. There are two verses that I believe will be the icing on the cake for this parable.
If faith and love are the oil and the lamp, then there should be a teaching in Scripture that shows the condition of these spiritual commodities in the last days. After all, Jesus said that half of the Christians’ lamps would be going out just before He returns. Let’s see if that’s a clearly taught truth that can be found in the Word apart from a parable.
We’ve already looked at the point in His ministry where Jesus taught His disciples that they must continue in prayer and never give up. He highlighted this concept by the use of a parable – the parable of the widow and the unjust judge in Luke chapter 18. As He is finishing this teaching, the Lord makes the following remark.
“And will not God bring about justice for his chosen ones, who cry out to him day and night? Will he keep putting them off? I tell you, he will see that they get justice, and quickly. However, when the Son of Man comes, will he find faith on the earth?”
What an interesting thing for Christ to say. He asks us, when He returns, will He even find faith at all on the earth? If faith is the oil that fuels our lamps, then this is in direct line with what He’s saying in the parable of the ten virgins.
Faith, the oil, will be used up in many people’s lives. According to the Lord, many will be without faith in the last days. Don’t let this happen to you. Do what it takes to have that extra supply. I’ll tell you what this requires in a later post of this series.
What about love? How did Jesus describe the condition of love in the last days? I believe that the words that Jesus uses will surprise you, now that you understand the meaning of the light, the lamp, and the oil.
“Because of the increase of wickedness, the love of most will grow cold, but he who stands firm to the end will be saved.”
Could He have made it any clearer? What a description of love in the last days, especially knowing that it’s the lamp that shines our light to the world. Notice that Jesus doesn’t say that that there will be no love in the last days.
He teaches that there will be a form of love, but that it will be cold and lifeless. There’s one thing we know about an oil lamp. When it’s lit and burning, it’s hot. The only way for our love to grow cold is for the fuel to run out.
If we allow our faith to disappear, then the fire of our lamps will go out. We’ll still have the lamp – our love – but it will be a cold and useless love. We’ll be incapable of loving someone into the Kingdom of God. Without our lamps burning, we will not be able to serve God in a way that’s pleasing to Him.
Question: How is a lack of faith and love evident in the church today?
© Nick Zaccardi 2014