“The foolish said to the prudent, 'Give us some of your oil, for our lamps are going out.'”
(Matthew 25:8 - NASB)
The story of the virgins is an illustration of what will happen in the last days: there will be some who will be invited into the presence of the Lord, and there will be others who will be shut out, despite longing to enter. In Matthew 24:3, “the disciples came to Jesus privately, saying, "Tell us, when will these things happen, and what will be the sign of Your coming, and of the end of the age?"” And Jesus tells them that one sign of the end is that “most people’s love will grow cold” (Matthew 24:12).
The foolish virgins mentioned above, whose lamps were dying, are a picture of many Christians in the last days, whose love has grown cold. The flame of our lamps is our love for the Lord, and we must long for our flame to be glowing brightly upon His return. Jesus warned us that it is a very real danger that our lamps will go out in the last days. And He teaches the parable of the virgins to reveal what the underlying problem is for those whose lamps are dying: they don’t have any oil!
The flame of our lamps is our love for the Lord, and the oil that feeds the flame, and keeps the flame burning, is His love for us. 1 John 4:19 says, “We love, because He first loved us.” So if we stop loving — if our lamps go out or if our love grows cold — the real problem is that we have lost touch with His love for us. What the foolish virgins ran out of was God’s love! That’s why their lamps were dying! Not that His love has a limit, but that they stopped seeking to know and be found in His love. Jesus said, “Abide in My love” (John 15:9). Make it your constant dwelling place. Always come home to the love of God.
What the parable of the virgins warns against is thinking that we have “enough,” and slacking off in our fight to live in God’s love. Jude exhorts us to “keep yourselves in the love of God” (v24), and that word “keep” is a strong, active word, meaning “to guard.” There is such a subtle danger to not hold fast in His love, to imperceptibly drift from it. Our enemy would love nothing more than to neglect being renewed in His love every day. He wants to hear, “You have left your first love” (Revelation 2:4). It is only those who constantly seek to be renewed — not in their love for God first, but in His love for them— who ultimately have oil in their lamps in the final day, whose flames of love will continue to be burning bright upon His return.
We have to recognize that, without fresh oil, our lamps will certainly go out. That is why Jesus warns us, “in the last days, most people’s love will grow cold.” These aren’t people who never had love in the first place. They’re people who started off well, waiting for the Bridegroom, but through carelessness and unwatchfulness, weren’t diligent to “keep themselves in the love of God.”
“But the one who endures — in fiery hot love for the Lord, fed by the oil of His wonderful love — to the end, he will be saved.” Matthew 24:13 NASB
I never grow weary of these reminders.