Sobering Thoughts 8

Mat 7:13 “Enter through the narrow gate; for the gate is wide and the way is broad that leads to destruction, and there are many who enter through it. 14 “For the gate is small and the way is narrow that leads to life, and there are few who find it.

Matthew 7:21 “Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father who is in heaven will enter. 22 “Many will say to Me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in Your name, and in Your name cast out demons, and in Your name perform many miracles?’ 23 “And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; DEPART FROM ME, YOU WHO PRACTICE LAWLESSNESS.’ 24 “Therefore everyone who hears these words of Mine and acts on them, may be compared to a wise man who built his house on the rock. 25 “And the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and slammed against that house; and yet it did not fall, for it had been founded on the rock. 26 “Everyone who hears these words of Mine and does not act on them, will be like a foolish man who built his house on the sand. 27 “The rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and slammed against that house; and it fell– and great was its fall.”

There are very many in the world who are almost and yet but almost Christians…A second proof of it is that of the parable of the virgins in St. Matthew. See what a progress they make, how far they go in a profession of Christ.
1. They are called “virgins.” Now this is a name given in the Scripture, both in the Old Testament and the New, to the saints of Christ. “The virgins love Thee”; so in the Revelation, the “one hundred forty and four thousand” that stood with the Lamb on Mount Zion are called “virgins.” They are called virgins because they are not defiled with the corruptions that are in the world through lust. Now, these here seem to be of that sort, for they are called virgins.
2. They take their lamps, that is, they make a profession of Christ.
3. They had some kind of oil in their lamps; they had some convictions and some faith, though not the faith of God’s elect, to keep their profession alive, to keep the lamp burning.
4. They went. Their profession as not an idle profession. They performed duties, frequented ordinances, and did many things commanded. They made a progress—they went.
5. They went forth. They went and went out; they left many behind them. This speaks of their separation from the world.
6. They went with the “wise virgins.” They joined themselves to those who had joined themselves to the Lord, and where companions of them who were companions of Christ.
7. They went “forth to meet the bridegroom.” This speaks of their owning and seeking Christ.
8. When they heard the cry of the bridegroom coming, “they arose and trimmed their lamps.” They professed Christ more highly, hoping now to do in with the bridegroom.
9. They sought for true grace. Now, do not we say that the desires of grace are grace? And so they are, if true and timely, if sound and seasonable. Why, here is a desire of grace in these virgins, “Give us of your oil.”

It was a desire of true grace, but it was not a true desire of grace. It was not true because not timely; unsound, as being unseasonable; it was too late. Their folly was in not taking oil when they took their lamps. Their time of seeking grace was when they came to Christ. It was too late to seek it when Christ came to them. They should have sought for that when they took up their profession. It was too late to seek it at the coming of the Bridegroom. And, therefore, they were shut out; and though they cried for entrance, “Lord, Lord, open to us,” yet the Lord Christ told them, “I know you not.

You who are professors of the gospel of Christ, stand and tremble. If they who have gone beyond us fall short of heaven, what shall become of us who fall short of them? If they who are virgins, who profess Christ, who have some faith in their profession, such as it is, who have some fruit in their faith, who outstrip others who seek Christ, who improve their profession and suit themselves to their profession—nay, who seek grace; if such as these are but almost Christians, Lord, what are we?  (Matthew Meade, The Almost Christian Discovered, International Outreach)

While some may quarrel with some of the ways that the author interpreted the Parable just above, the points he makes can still be made from other Scriptures. These are indeed very sobering words. What we see is that there are many who are professors of Christ and think that they are okay, but the reality is that they are not. They were satisfied with their preparations and they were satisfied with their convictions and they were satisfied with their religion and their religious actions. These people knew enough of religion to know that they needed grace, so they sought grace in some way. But they did not realize that they needed grace alone and that they needed grace to change their hearts and make them new creatures in Christ.

It certainly appeared to them and to others that they were seeking Christ (the Bridegroom), but they were not seeking Him with a whole heart and they were not seeking Him in truth and love. They were seeking Him in accordance with their own desires and in accordance with their own ability and works. While they thought they were seeking grace and even true grace, they were not seeking it at the appointed time. Religious professors in the modern day should take this to heart as well. Are we satisfied with the things of religion rather than Christ Himself? Are we satisfied with seeking Christ to some degree and yet not seeking Him with all of our being? Are we satisfied with seeking a form of grace and yet seeking it as we please? When Christ speaks the words “I know you not,” it will be over. Let us take this to heart and seek the Lord.

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