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IN TOUCH WITH GOD    by Edward Heppenstall

Faithful to Christ OCTOBER 24


Then all those virgins arose, and trimmed their lamps. And the foolish said unto the wise, Give us of your oil; for our lamps are gone out. Matt. 25:7, 8.

The difference between the five wise and the five foolish virgins is significant. Consider the man whose religion is mainly a lamp without oil. He has polished the outside of the lamp. He is a church member. He believes the doctrines and the standards of the church. He is happy to associate with God-fearing men and women. But his piety stops right there. All this is not enough. The oil of the Holy Spirit is lacking. Christ must live within. The man's inner life must be in tune with God.

We can be morally good—at least, insofar as the world would judge—without God. We can praise justice and morality without God. But spiritual life is dependent upon supernatural power. Religion without commitment is a lamp without oil. Knowledge of God without obedience is also a lamp without oil. Of all the lamps kindled in the church, that which shows you Christ is the trustworthy one. This light lights up the dark places of life.

The foolish virgins' lamps burned brightly while the oil lasted, but they did not burn long enough. They ran out of constancy in their devotion and allegiance to God. They got tired of waiting for the bridegroom to come. They ceased to live their lives from that divine Center who gives life. Their trouble lay in loss of union with God. Christ was no longer present.

We can never do justice to the truth of God's Word until the Holy Spirit fulfills it in our hearts and lives. Religion can be mere lip service, without any real heart in it.

Nothing can be more serious than to be without life from God. By dependence on the Holy Spirit we share each day in Christ's life and His victory over sin. We do not shift our center to depend on ourselves. We are led continually by the Spirit.

The Holy Spirit symbolized by the oil will bring forth the fruit of the Spirit. Our concern is not with the shape or size of the lamp, its external appearance as such. It is the Holy Spirit within us that matters.

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