The Bible speaks of the future “day of the Lord;” a day where everyone who ever lived will stand before Jesus. “For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each one may receive what is due for what he has done in the body, whether good or evil.” (2 Corinthians 5:10).
There will be two types of people in that day. There will be those who receive the resurrection of life and those who receive the resurrection of judgment (John 5:25-29). We will be like the 10 virgins waiting for the bridegroom in Matthew 25:1-13. There will be those like the 5 wise virgins who brought extra oil for their lamps and then there will be those like the 5 foolish virgins who brought none.
In the parable, the bridegroom delays in appearing at his marriage feast. All 10 virgins fall asleep waiting for him to come. When the bridegroom arrives at midnight, the 5 who brought extra oil are immediately able to rise and go into the feast, for they were ready. The 5 who did not bring extra oil, not worrying about being ready, ran in a panic to buy more oil for their lamps. Unfortunately, the doors to the marriage feast are shut, and they are not allowed inside.
I find myself reflecting on this parable regularly. I imagine how the foolish virgins mock the 5 wise virgins for their preparedness. If this were a modern-day parable, perhaps one of the foolish virgins would say, “Chill out!” Or another would say, “Take some Xanax!” But the wise virgins keep their eyes on the prize. There is a feast promised to those who are ready. When they enter into the banquet, they will not regret being prepared. They will rejoice and be glad.
I believe this perspective is essential for believers in Jesus as we fight sin, seek righteousness, devote ourselves to prayer, and live on mission for God. In that day, we will not regret making ourselves ready, we will only praise God and rejoice.
“For the Scripture says, ‘Everyone who believes in him will not be put to shame.’” (Romans 10:11).
If you believe in him, you will not be put to shame. This means you will not regret trusting in him and living for him. For in that day you will be in his presence and you will see him at the right hand of the Father. “For now, we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I have been fully known.” (1 Corinthians 13:12).
In that day, you will not wish you would have had more of what the world offers. You will not wish that you had chilled more. You will not wish that you had partied more or gotten drunk more. You will not wish that you would have had more sex or viewed more pornography. You will not wish that you made more money and spent it on yourself. You will not wish that you watched more Netflix or spent more time on your phone. You will not wish you ate more or slept more. You will not wish that more people liked you or that you were famous and successful. You will not look on any of those things with regret, for you will be with Jesus and you will have his reward for all eternity.
“In that day the LORD of hosts will be a crown of glory and a diadem of beauty to the remnant of his people” (Isaiah 28:5).
And in that day, you will not regret living a life of faith and obedience. You will not regret being a cheerful giver of your money. You will not regret that you devoted yourself to prayer. You will not regret consuming the Bible daily. You will not regret being a faithful member of your church. You will not regret fighting temptation and pursuing godliness. You will not regret spending time with your children and discipling them. You will not regret sharing the gospel with people and being considered a fool or perhaps evil for Jesus’ sake. You will not regret supporting missionaries or being a missionary for life. You will not regret the pains you have endured for Jesus’ sake, the things you repented of, and the good things that you pursued for his glory. There will be no regrets, only praise and joy.
“Then I heard what seemed to be the voice of a great multitude, like the roar of many waters and like the sound of mighty peals of thunder, crying out, ‘Hallelujah! For the Lord our God the Almighty reigns. Let us rejoice and exult and give him the glory, for the marriage of the Lamb has come, and his Bride has made herself ready; it was granted her to clothe herself with fine linen, bright and pure’ – for the fine linen is the righteous deeds of the saints.’ And the angel said to me, ‘Write this: Blessed are those who are invited to the marriage supper of the Lamb’” (Revelation 19:6-9).
Therefore, friends, hold fast to the lamp and oil of faith. What Jesus has in store for you is far greater than anything this world can give. And God will see you through until the end. Notice that the bride makes herself ready because it was “granted her to clothe herself with fine linen.” God is with us. He will keep us. He has granted that we will cross the finish line. “And I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ” (Philippians 1:6).
With such great promises before us and the reality of no regrets in that day, we should strive in the present to live by faith in these promises and in that future reality of no regrets. You will not regret living for God’s glory and the good of others around you, but you will regret living for yourself and for sin.
Oh Lord, open our eyes to see what is true and eternal. Help us to believe that if we love and save our life now we will lose it, but if we lose our life now for your sake and the gospel’s we will save it. Give us grace to live for what really matters, because we know that in that day there will no regret, but only praise and joy.