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The Oil of Faith
Faith is absolutely necessary for us to enter the kingdom of heaven. As the Bible says, “Without faith it is impossible to please God” (Heb 11:6), faith is an essential element we must have in order to go to the kingdom of heaven.
Then, how do we know how much faith we have? When we get sick, our body shows the symptoms of that ailment. Likewise, when we fail to fill up our hearts with faith, we come to show many symptoms of spiritual sickness; we always grumble and complain, doubt God’s word, and disbelieve in the power of God. A series of wrong thoughts and behaviors are the symptoms we show when we run out of faith. Jesus said, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is near” (Mt 4:17). As the kingdom of heaven is approaching day by day, we should take time to reflect on ourselves to see what we are still lacking in, so that we can be worthy enough to enter heaven.
The parable of the ten virgins
Through the parable of the ten virgins, let us first find out the secrets of the kingdom of heaven Jesus taught us in parables (Mt 13:10–11).
Mt 25:1–13 “At that time the kingdom of heaven will be like ten virgins who took their lamps and went out to meet the bridegroom. Five of them were foolish and five were wise. The foolish ones took their lamps but did not take any oil with them. The wise, however, took oil in jars along with their lamps. The bridegroom was a long time in coming, and they all became drowsy and fell asleep. At midnight the cry rang out: ‘Here’s the bridegroom! Come out to meet him!’ Then all the virgins woke up and trimmed their lamps. The foolish ones said to the wise, ‘Give us some of your oil; our lamps are going out.’ ‘No,’ they replied, ‘there may not be enough for both us and you. Instead, go to those who sell oil and buy some for yourselves.’ But while they were on their way to buy the oil, the bridegroom arrived. The virgins who were ready went in with him to the wedding banquet. And the door was shut. Later the others also came. ‘Sir! Sir!’ they said. ‘Open the door for us!’ But he replied, ‘I tell you the truth, I don’t know you.’ Therefore keep watch, because you do not know the day or the hour.”
Jesus said the kingdom of heaven would be like ten virgins who took their lamps and went out to meet the bridegroom. The bridegroom was a long time in coming, and they all became drowsy and fell asleep. At midnight the cry rang out: “Here’s the bridegroom! Come out to meet him!” The five wise virgins, who had prepared enough oil for their lamps, received the bridegroom and entered the wedding banquet.
Every lamp must have oil to properly perform its function. The lamps in the parable represent God’s word—the truth, as the Bible says: “Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light for my path” (Ps 119:105). The oil that keeps the lamps burning represents the faith that keeps the truth shining. The bridegroom whom everybody is waiting for is Christ (Mk 2:18–20).
With our lamps of truth, we must not run out of the oil of faith until Christ comes. However, sometimes we just vaguely think we have prepared enough oil of faith, without knowing how much oil we actually have. The wise virgins always examine their oil of faith until the Bridegroom comes. We cannot enter the kingdom of heaven unless we prepare enough oil of faith. Keeping this fact in mind, we need to examine ourselves to see how much oil we have now—if we only have our lamps, so we can prepare the oil of faith as the wise virgins before the Bridegroom comes.
The goal of our faith is the salvation of our souls
The first symptom that those who run out of faith show is the feeling of being bored with their life of faith. Sometimes their hope for heaven fades away, they often grumble and complain, and they even doubt the truth or lose the will to preach the gospel. On the other hand, those who are filled with the oil of faith never give up on the goal of their faith.
1 Pe 1:5–9 . . . who through faith are shielded by God’s power until the coming of the salvation that is ready to be revealed in the last time . . . Though you have not seen him, you love him; and even though you do not see him now, you believe in him and are filled with an inexpressible and glorious joy, for you are receiving the goal of your faith, the salvation of your souls.
The ultimate goal of our faith is to receive the salvation of our souls. However, while walking the path of faith, some of us seem to pay more attention to the outward things than salvation. It is wrong to expect other things except salvation. This is a factor that weakens our faith. As God said, “A man reaps what he sows,” the work that is done without sincere faith cannot help but bring forth bad results.
If we just try to preach God’s word without a mind to save souls, we are nothing but clanging cymbals (1 Co 13:1). We need to always look forward to heaven and set our minds on the goal of our faith—the salvation of our souls. Only then can we be filled with an inexpressible and glorious joy. No matter what position we are in, let us keep our faith firm by always looking ahead at the goal of our salvation, guiding the members of Zion down the right path to salvation, and making efforts for the salvation of all people around us.
Miracles through faith
Where there is faith, unimaginable amazing things happen. Through His work, Jesus has personally shown us that we can achieve everything if we have firm faith.
Mt 9:27–31 As Jesus went on from there, two blind men followed him, calling out, “Have mercy on us, Son of David!” When he had gone indoors, the blind men came to him, and he asked them, “Do you believe that I am able to do this?” “Yes, Lord,” they replied. Then he touched their eyes and said, “According to your faith will it be done to you”; and their sight was restored.
Mt 9:19–22 Jesus got up and went with him, and so did his disciples. Just then a woman who had been subject to bleeding for twelve years came up behind him and touched the edge of his cloak. She said to herself, “If I only touch his cloak, I will be healed.” Jesus turned and saw her. “Take heart, daughter,” he said, “your faith has healed you.” And the woman was healed from that moment.
Jesus asked the two blind men seeking healing through His power, “Do you believe that I am able to do this?” He asked them this question in order to know if they sought healing with true faith in Him. “Yes, Lord,” they replied with faith, and Jesus said to them, “According to your faith will it be done to you.” Then their sight was miraculously restored. It was also through faith in Christ that the woman subject to bleeding experienced the power of Jesus and was saved. The amazing miracles that happened to the two blind men and the bleeding woman were all the results of their internal faith.
Our internal faith is more important than the external environment. I realized this fact even more deeply when I visited our churches in Nepal recently. Nepal is a landlocked country located in the central part of the Himalayan range. It has a population of approximately 30 million, smaller than that of Korea. However, there are many churches in Nepal; Zion has been established all across the country. The members in Nepal are not satisfied with this. They have also planned to preach the gospel even to neighboring countries. I was very amazed by their passion for the gospel, and my heart was pounding when I saw all the gospel workers full of hope for heaven. Even in poor circumstances, they did everything with firm faith. So, God has allowed them to achieve such amazing results of the gospel.
We, too, must have faith strong enough to run toward heaven, focusing only on salvation. Some of us may think they can grow in faith when their environment and circumstances get better. However, the world of faith is not influenced by external environmental factors at all. When Joshua and the Israelites captured the city of Jericho, there were external environmental factors such as the high and strong walls of the city and the people of great size who were living there. In the world of faith, however, they all collapsed. It is the internal faith that changes the external environment; faith does not change according to the external circumstances.
If we have faith, we are surely able to witness God’s prophecies being fulfilled and experience spiritual joy all the time. Faith brings us opportunities to feel the power of God, so we can become even stronger in faith. On the other hand, if our faith weakens, we come to lose opportunities to experience spiritual joy, which in turn makes our faith grow cold. Ultimately, what matters is not our external environment, but our internal faith.
The importance of faith
What farmers want is the wheat, not the chaff. Unripe fruits cannot be har-vested. So, God is waiting for us to ripen spiritually to become good fruits, full of faith.
Mt 10:27–28 “What I tell you in the dark, speak in the daylight; what is whispered in your ear, proclaim from the roofs. Do not be afraid of those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather, be afraid of the One who can destroy both soul and body in hell.”
Jesus has taught us that we should fear God who can destroy both soul and body in hell and have faith in Him, instead of being afraid of those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Let’s take a look at another teaching of Christ about the importance of faith.
Mk 9:17–29 A man in the crowd answered, “Teacher, I brought you my son, who is possessed by a spirit that has robbed him of speech . . . I asked your disciples to drive out the spirit, but they could not.” “O unbelieving generation,” Jesus replied, “how long shall I stay with you? How long shall I put up with you? Bring the boy to me.” . . . Jesus asked the boy’s father, “How long has he been like this?” “From childhood,” he answered. “It has often thrown him into fire or water to kill him. But if you can do anything, take pity on us and help us.” “ ‘If you can’?” said Jesus. “Everything is possible for him who believes.” Immediately the boy’s father exclaimed, “I do believe; help me overcome my unbelief!” When Jesus saw that a crowd was running to the scene, he rebuked the evil spirit. “You deaf and mute spirit,” he said, “I command you, come out of him and never enter him again.” The spirit shrieked, convulsed him violently and came out. The boy looked so much like a corpse that many said, “He’s dead.” But Jesus took him by the hand and lifted him to his feet, and he stood up . . .
To the man who came to Jesus, saying, “If you can do anything, take pity on us and help us,” Jesus said, “ ‘If you can’? Everything is possible for him who believes.” The man’s words, “If you can,” show that he had a dubious mind, not completely believing in Jesus. Grieved at his lack of faith, Jesus taught him that everything is possible for him who has absolute faith.
All history written in the Bible serves as a good lesson for us living today. In such a situation as above, we should have absolute faith that enables us to say, “We do believe. Please tell us, “According to your faith will it be done to you,” instead of saying, “If you can do anything, help us.”
Faith for the fulfillment of prophecy
At the beginning of 2016, our brothers and sisters all around the world resolved with one accord to preach the gospel to seven billion people. Since then, all our churches in each country and region have been running powerfully toward the goal to save all people, keeping Mother’s words in mind.
We’ve already heard the words of prophecy. Nevertheless, if we have complacent thoughts like: ‘When will it be done?’ ‘If I don’t do it, someone else will,’ we cannot say we have prepared enough oil of faith. The fulfillment of God’s prophecies cannot help but be delayed if those who follow the will of God are weak in faith, although God has given us the sure words of prophecy. The days given to us now are opportunities for us to prepare enough oil of faith. The Bible clearly tells us that without faith it is impossible to please God.
Heb 11:6–11 And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him. By faith Noah, when warned about things not yet seen, in holy fear built an ark to save his family. By his faith he condemned the world and became heir of the righteousness that comes by faith. By faith Abraham, when called to go to a place he would later receive as his inheritance, obeyed and went, even though he did not know where he was going . . . By faith Abraham, even though he was past age—and Sarah herself was barren—was enabled to become a father because he considered him faithful who had made the promise.
All the heroes and heroines of the Bible accomplished God prophesied work with constant faith. “Faith” was the very word that characterized them. It’s because God’s work couldn’t be done without faith.
Heb 10:36–39 . . . For in just a very little while, “He who is coming will come and will not delay. But my righteous one will live by faith. And if he shrinks back, I will not be pleased with him.” But we are not of those who shrink back and are destroyed, but of those who believe and are saved.
We must not shrink back and fall into destruction, but have faith enough to save our souls. Let us always pray to God and make efforts to keep constant faith and passion for the gospel mission that we must carry out throughout the world, beyond our given situations.
Everything on this earth fades away and is forgotten as time passes, but there is a world where everything shines brighter as time goes by. That is the world of faith. When our hearts are filled with faith, the external world will change and the words of prophecy in the Bible will come true before our very eyes.
We must become the wise who prepare enough oil, so that we can light our lamps and receive the Bridegroom with joy when He comes, instead of being afraid that our lamps will go out due to the lack of oil. Our brothers and sisters in Zion all over the world are now devoting themselves to the gospel, following God’s command to preach to seven billion people. I would like to ask all of you, people of Zion, to prepare enough oil of faith for the fulfillment of prophecy by fully carrying out the gospel mission given to us.